Menu

Hand of Fate 2 Review- A Trip With a Mage

 

When you think of a video game, what comes to mind? Is it an open world with an immersive environment, or maybe a linear story that involves a lot of combat-rich gameplay? Whatever it is that you think of, rest assured that Hand of Fate II will give you something different than what you expect. Hand of Fate II opens with you getting into a carriage with a mage-like figure, whose scarred face only heightens the sense of mystery around him. He tells you of this ‘game’, one that will help you regain your forgotten memories, all as a deck of cards begin to float and flutter around him.

 

 

You start off with a few tutorial levels that let you get your bearings and set up a backstory for your character. (If you have played the first Hand of Fate don’t worry, as there are elements in this tutorial that are new to the series.) You’re then shown a large map, littered with markings that signify the many destinations that you have traveled to in the past. Your objective is to make your way through the whole map, fighting the mage’s enemies. Consider this as training for a much larger battle that lurks in the shadows of the map. As you progress you find new areas and the challenges with it. All of these challenges vary in difficulty, in differing ways. One challenge can be more on the side of resource management as you travel with limited supplies to a certain destination, whereas others can be hordes of monsters that you fight one after another, and even escort missions where your companion can get kidnapped and take to a random place on the map. I have not (yet) run into a challenge that was a copy of a previous one.

When you play HoFII you have to build a deck of cards that you think will best suit your needs for the challenges ahead. You need to choose encounters like fights and trade posts, companions, equipment, and even supplies that you can take along with you on your journey. There will never be a perfect combination of cards for any given event. You have to make the best of what you get and see if you can survive throughout the game with the cards you were given. At first, you start with a pre-built deck so you can get used to the gameplay and strategies you’ll use throughout the game. It is only later that you get to build what you think to be the dream deck. When preparing a deck, you never know what exactly is ahead so you have to be sure to make the deck mostly balanced, but you can add your own twist to it by prioritizing certain types of cards. Some cards need certain circumstances to be activated, so be sure to know what you have in your deck so you can prepare accordingly.

 

Gameplay

 

HOFII is mostly a ‘Dungeons and Dragons’-like game. The mage acts as the dungeon master, and you are a pawn that moves around on the board in front of him. The board consists of placed encounter cards that are laid out according to the scenario. You can move to cards that are in front, behind or side to side. Each time you step on an uncovered card, it flips over and you have to play out the scenario given on the card. These can range from ambushes and fights to good fortune, dice rolls, a wheel of fortune-esque game, and even a pendulum. As you play you slowly learn more about your past because you are reliving it, but you also learn more about the mage whilst he talks about certain things. You learn more about his personality, but there’s always a feeling that he’s holding back some potentially-crucial information about your forgotten past.

The major change from the original game is that reaching the last card does not assure victory. You need to complete certain objectives before completing that stage, or even to enter the final boss fight. This is a major change that makes the gameplay different from the first game, necessitating a more in-depth exploration of the playfield.

When you are ready for your journey the mage adds a certain number of encounter, equipment, and supply cards of his own for the cards to fit the story at the time. He then lays them all out onto the 1st stage. As you go along facing whatever the cards have to offer, you lose food at each new card, all the while gaining health if you have lost any in exchange. Food is a very important factor in this game and needs to be managed well. If you start to starve you lose 10 health per encounter and can die quite quickly.

 

 

Some of the encounters that you run into are fights. These fights are things you must actually partake in. No, there is no turn-based Hearthstone-esque combat that you have to slave through. You actually get to take control of your character and fight the battles in real-time. Fighting is where the equipment cards come into play. HOFII introduces two-handed weapons and dual-wieldable weapons, alongside the returning single-handed weapons from the original game. Each enemy has its own weakness, allowing the player to have an advantage in fights that you could not have previously. With these different weapon types comes the option to change weapons before a fight, in order to match what you have against an opponent. This is a very useful feature that can make combat easier, especially when you have to deal with low health situations. When fighting. the enemies can have varied attacks ranging from light, heavy, and some have ranged attacks depending on the situation.

 

 

A new thing that has been added are the Companions. Companions allow for certain perks in both combat and board mode. You find companions on quests and get to choose who you start each mission with, but be careful who you choose for they can prove to be more of a hindrance at times. The companions all come with their own special encounters that you can complete, earning you specific rewards. These side-characters are an interesting addition that can give you an edge in either game of chance on the board or in combat situations.

 

 

Unlike the original HOF, this time around there is more of a branching type of level selection. After you beat the 1st level you can then choose out of the ones that become available. After you complete a certain amount of those, more levels open up that you can do in any order. This map feature allows you to skip certain levels that your character or deck don’t mesh well with, but also allows you to be a ‘completionist’ and take them all on. The experience of this game is all in how you play it; there are a lot of options that can be opened up because of certain playstyles, meaning you choose what happens.

 

Sound

 

People who know me understand that I am really picky about sound design. Due to a musical background, I tend to notice things others do not when playing video games. Sound lag, choppy sound cues, repetitive tracks, and even glitches; HOFII has polished off all of its effects quite nicely.  I will say I think the mage talks A LOT which can interrupt your reading of the cards. This I am sure is for plot development, but it really distracts you from learning about your quest when he is speaking over the mission briefing.

The soundtrack is okay. It gets a bit repetitive when you play for extended periods of time. The same “reaction” noise will play whenever events trigger, or you find an item. The songs are meant to repeat the longer you stay on the one task, but I never noticed much change in the tracks that would play. This game’s main focus was definitely not the sound design which is not bad, however, there are things that they could have improved in this area by adding a bit more variety to the soundtrack and the reaction noises.

 

Graphics

 

The graphics are almost a copy of the original HOF which is fine because it’s a sequel. There are updates to magical effects, new animations, and smaller details were ironed out from the last, leaving this game as a tasteful 2nd game in the HOF series. There are some things like swords phasing through people’s sides when being stabbed, but nothing too bad that bothered me to the point of trashing it. The style exudes a feeling of comfort, one that kept me interested even when looking at the board for long periods of time.

There is one thing I would like to chime in on. I think the devs have something against the hair on the side of your character’s head. All the hairstyles have a shaved head on the sides and a long bit on the top. I would have liked to see more variety in this. As a person with a non-side shaved head, I would like to be represented in this game.

Would I play again?

 

Yes! This game has different ways to play and each has its own rewards and penalties that I would really like to see. From choosing what style you play and what companions you can use for certain situations, this game is fun to play and gives you a good variety of things to choose from which keeps you going for round 2.

Final Thoughts

 

All in all, this is a great game. This has a wonderful storyline that encourages you to keep going even when you’re dead tired, keeping you from really ever wanting to put it down. All of the different factors play well with one another. The chance games, dice rolls, combat trials, and even pendulum skill games; all of these play into the main scheme of things and allow you to win either by chance or by your skill in combat. The music keeps the game from having dead silence but could definitely use a more revamped track for maximum gameplay experience. The visuals are perfect for a game that jumps in between combat and strategic card game allowing you to keep its board game-esque and yet stay immersed in what you are doing. With all the new additions I think this is a great sequel to a great game allowing new people and already experienced players to have a wonderful time with the game. I definitely would recommend Hands of Fate II.

This review of Hand of Fate 2 is based on the PC version of the game. A code was provided by the publisher for review. 

 

  When you think of a video game, what comes to mind? Is it an open world with an immersive environment, or maybe a linear story that involves a lot of combat-rich gameplay? Whatever it is that you think of, rest assured that Hand of Fate II will give you something different than what you expect. Hand of Fate II opens with you getting into a carriage with a mage-like figure, whose scarred face only heightens the sense of mystery around him. He tells you of this ‘game', one that will help you regain your forgotten memories, all as a…

Hand of Fate 2

User Rating: No Ratings Yet !
  • 8.5/10
    - 8.5/10
8.5/10

Summary

A wonderful story line making you want to keep going even when your dead tired. All the different factors play well with one another. The chance games, dice rolls, combat trials, and even a pendulum skill games. All of these play into the main scheme of things and allow you to win either by chance, or skill in combat. The music is fine keeping the game from having dead silence but nothing too terribly fancy. The visuals are perfect for a game like this allowing you to keep it board game esc and yet stay immersed in what you are doing. With all the new additions I think this is a great sequel to a great game allowing new people and already experienced players to have a wonderful time with the game. I definitely would recommend.

No comments

Leave a Reply

Newsletter

Links Awakening Cover Art

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review

The original Link’s Awakening has a special place in the hearts of those who played it. Its surreal, Twin Peaks-inspired atmosphere and its character-driven story combined to create a unique…

September 22, 2019, 92

The Sojourn Review – Le Pneuma, Portal Deux

Well, I’m sure we’ve done this rodeo… many, many times.   From Portal to Pneuma, Qube to Quantum Conundrum, Braid to The Bridge, blah blah blah, we have another one after so long. The ol’ narrative puzzle-platformer dance that’s…

September 20, 2019, 75

September PlayStation State of Play Announced

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten one of these. After five months of near radio silence with the last month airing in early May, Sony announced that the third…

September 19, 2019, 56
Isometric gameplay still of Disco Elysium, portraying gunplay

Disco Elysium Announced for October 15th Release

The long-anticipated open-world detective RPG Disco Elysium has a release date and it’s sooner than you may expect! Developer ZA/UM’s intricate translation of pen-and-paper character development to a stylish isometric…

September 18, 2019, 64
Cinematic still of skateboarding simulator Session, showing player's character olleying off a ledge

Early Access Launch Trailer for Session Has Released

It’s been a vacant few years for skateboarding games in the aftermath of the implosion of the Tony Hawk franchise, and EA’s radio silence on the trajectory for Skate, but…

September 17, 2019, 190
Cover art for the first 3 dragon quest games that are now coming to Nintendo Switch

The First Three Dragon Quest Games Are Coming Soon to Switch

Publisher Square Enix has announced via twitter that the original three Dragon Quest games are coming to the Nintendo Switch. All three games are coming to the eShop on September…

September 16, 2019, 77
PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 Surpasses 30 Million Units In United States Market

PlayStation 4 is nothing short of a resounding success for console manufacturer Sony. The console reached the impressive 100 million units shipped milestone faster than any other console, making it…

September 16, 2019, 59
The Game Awards Logo

Geoff Keighley Announces the Date for The Game Awards 2019

Geoff Keighley is not only famous for making a cameo appearance in Death Stranding, he also created The Game Awards – the annual celebration of the best of the best…

September 13, 2019, 100
Girls doing yoga using Ring Con controller

Do Yoga, Kill Monsters in Ring Fit Adventure on Switch

Last week Nintendo shared a pretty bizarre teaser trailer showing happy families getting physical with a mysterious ring-shaped peripheral. Today they drew back the curtain and officially announced Ring Fit…

September 12, 2019, 127
Left Alive gameplay image, features main character Mikhail behind cover

Left Alive Postmortem Review– Metal Gear Slop

Dead in the Water Amidst the legendary blowouts of its contemporaries Anthem and Fallout 76, it is the relatively under-the-radar Left Alive that has been given the bomb beneath the…

September 9, 2019, 193