Welcome back to the table. The dealer is ready for you; you being ready for him is another story…
If you are not familiar with Hand of Fate (1), the game play is a mix of a card game and some live combat scenes with some dice rolling thrown in for good measure. The result is a bit like playing AD&D with a DM, only one player (you), and a whole lot of NPCs out to kill you. So, a lot like an AD&D campaign…
Anyway, as you sit across from the strange man with a lot of scarf going on, he deals the cards which decide your fate. You have a game token on the table you can move to an adjacent card, at which point the card is turned over to reveal an encounter, or an action, or a round of combat, or…you get the idea. There is some story involved so it isn’t just endless grinding, but it is mostly stock stuff.
The stakes get much higher as the game goes on; it isn’t just for personal gain that you fight, but the fate of kingdoms (no pressure). There is the standard progression fare as well: upgrade your weapons, armor, skills, and such. Keep a mental list of your weapons because the kind of enemy you face may be better handled with a particular type. If you have to take on three bandits, go for the sword (lower damage points, but faster on the attack). If you are up against one or two big opponents, perhaps the war axe is in order (slower but more damage per hit).
Speaking of combat, there is some good news and some bad news. If you have played the first installation of Hand of Fate there are a few changes (arguably for the better) in regards to the action controls. You can use the left mouse button to attack and WASD to move around with the E key for defend/block.
On the other side of the coin, the controls don’t seem to respond in the snappiest of fashion. If your machine doesn’t have a higher end video processor, you get some latency which can throw of your combat moves timing.
This brings us to the game’s graphics. It is visually very nice with good detail and fluid movement of the characters. The downside of this is the game is a video resource hog. If you are playing on a laptop, definitely keep it plugged in. You may also need to turn the resolution down to minimum to keep the video from getting jerky.
Another mild annoyance with the game is that when you die (which is very likely) you have to start over at the beginning of the segment. Unfortunately, you can’t skip the intro or preliminary stuff and get back to the action—you have to let it play every time.
So Here It Is
Hand of Fate 2 is a good follow-up to the first installment and is worth a play. There are choices to make which can have a minor impact on how things play out, and the main story doesn’t change much, but there is good replay value based on the differences. There are cards to wonder about until you turn them over, there are dice to roll (even if they are virtual), there are tokens to collect, health to watch, enemies to vanquish, and a day to save—all the fun stuff we want in an adventure game. The mix of card game and fighter action provides some variety and keeps things interesting. The visuals are very good and the combat is challenging. The game is currently available on Steam for $29.99, which is a bit on the high side, but you get plenty of game for it.
Genre: Action/strategy RPG
Developer: Defiant Development
Minimum Requirements: macOS X v10.9, 2.4GH Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 4 GB available disk space
Availability: Now on Steam