Hand of Fate 2 is a direct sequel to the original Hand of Fate. Released back in 2015 from Brisbane based Defiant Development. Hand of Fate 2 takes place 1,000 years after the first game (few minor Hand of Fate spoilers incoming). You have defeated the dealer. You have sent him into oblivion, he got a little beat up and now he’s back with a vengeance and wants to test your mettle.
The first thing that you notice about Hand of Fate 2 is its high level of polish. The team at Defiant have paid a lot of attention to the finite details of the world. That’s not to say that the original Hand of Fate was lacking polish. However, Defiant have taken what was great about their first game and improved it.
I didn’t get to try out deck building, which I am a little disappointed about. However, the decisions that come with playing the deck are fun. They have an emphasis on building your character the way that your character would play. It has found the joy that many of us got from playing Pen & Paper Role-Playing Games. It took that joy and worked it into a video game with a super cool prose.
As mentioned earlier, Hand of Fate 2 doesn’t introduce anything super innovative. but it wasn’t needed from the original Hand of Fate. It builds upon mechanics introduced in the first game. It feels a lot more nuanced than the first game ever did, and that might not be something that all players enjoy. However, as a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure novels it gave me the exact level of customisation that I wanted.
My complaints with the experience that I had are the same that I had with the original game. Its combat encounters leave me desiring a lot. I picked the hardest campaign that was on offer at PAX (apparently) and it just felt clunky. It did not help that my companion (the newly introduced Colbjorn) did a whole lot of nothing, either.
All that said, if you’re buying Hand of Fate 2 for it’s combat…don’t. You’re doing it wrong. The parts that you do buy it for are the interactions at the table. All of which were unique. The game flows well. Although the narrative is not at the focus, the encounters are well written and well thought out. I hung around after my turn was over, just to watch a few folks give the other campaigns a go. It was impressive to see the vastness of topics, lengths and experiences. It’s going to be a cool game.
Defiant are looking to release Hand of Fate 2 on PC, Mac and Linux in early 2017. You can find a link to it’s Steam page riiiiiiiiiiight……here!