“Hand of Fate 2” is a surprisingly engaging experience that’s on its way to becoming an indie classic. Developed by Defiant Studios, this RPG adventure blends “Dungeon & Dragons” with in-depth action elements. This game takes you back to medieval times, where you’re allowed to design your route through a series of mini side stories that keep the game feeling fresh with every varying objective. With solid presentation, this is a perfect start for anyone who’s never played a deck-builder before.
In “Hand of Fate 2,” you can play as either a male or female avatar with a few color variations. While the customization is limited, it doesn’t bear on the overall experience for you’ll only be seeing your character during action segments.
Speaking of which, these action segments occur very often which is good if you’re not fond of the continuous reading. The action is worth mentioning for its sheer amount of variety and depth. You can choose between light weapons (swords,) heavy weapons (axes,) and duo weapons like clubs and small knives. You’re also given long distance weapons that serve a variety of purposes, such as a Holy Water grenade which easily eliminates the undead.
You can truly feel the weight of the weapon with every swing you land on your enemies; the game makes you feel like the most formidable foe in all the land. The block-counter mechanic keeps your eyes peeled on all of the action. Weapons, armor and shields all have their own stats and vary in power and weight. That being said, the weapons are notably unbalanced. Two-handed weapons are just as fast as light weapons and deliver more power, so there’s no real incentive to varietize your weapon choices. It’s unfortunate because the other weapons are fun to use, but you’re likely always going to use the “heavy” weapon due to the natural laws of dominant strategy.
The entire game surrounds deck-building. You collect a new set of cards which you can reuse for later objectives. Each objective serves as its own little side-story that requires you to maneuver a map one card at a time. The cards themselves all have uniquely detailed drawings reminiscent of medieval artwork, giving the presentation a charming touch.
You can tell the game was always testing your resourcefulness and consequence. Each step you made on the board subtracted your food intake which retains your health. You’ll be given unlucky hands, favorable dice rolls, time-testing wheelspins and much more. This luck-based system offers a well-executed analogy on life’s random mishaps, which is what the game aims for. Your every move becomes wary the more you stumble upon wretched environments, all while an old dealer across the table takes you through the game with his poetic words of wisdom.
Every character you come across has an objective of their own, making you feel apart of a world with people who have their own goals. For the ones you help, it is your decision making and wit that depends on whether or not they reach their goals safely. If you are to fail certain objectives, the routes and dialogue may change. This is deliberately designed for you to take your time and adapt to the missions rather than rush through them. There is so much thought put into every nook and cranny of this game; every detail is a sign of passion from the developers. You’re able to catch on to all of these details, yet on the surface, all you’re doing is playing a card game.
“Hand of Fates 2” is the game you play when you want to know why card-based RPG’s are as popular as they are. It’s an incredibly accessible game with decent replayability, solid action sequences and a quest. Not just any quest, but your quest. One that you can design for yourself, allowing you to take the helm of your very own RPG experience. It all starts with a deck of cards.