Review: Hand of Fate 2 (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review: Hand of Fate 2 (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

Card games are real life now.
Hand of Fate 2 harkens back to old school board games. Using a mix of card based table-top RPG elements, story telling and action enhanced gameplay, players are tasked with various missions to advance the story. After going through some tutorial challenges and selecting the general look of the main character, players can dive deeper into this fantasy world. There is quite a bit to like here, however, some elements of the gameplay might frustrate some (gamers).

The majority of the time, you will be viewing a table where The Dealer, a mysterious Dungeon Master-like character, gives a little bit of background on the story and game world. The campaign is the main draw in the game. After choosing a challenge and the cards that can appear, you’re brought to the table where numerous cards are laid out face down. Cards that are laid out on the table help further along the story as well as introduce interactions with enemies, townspeople and potential allies. From the starting point, you move your character piece to adjacent cards. Once on the card, it will be flipped to reveal what will happen next.
The chance element of the game can be frustrating at times. While navigating the map, you’ll sometimes come across hazards that will just take off health or make you lose valuable, like food or money. Other times, you get to take fate into your own hands by drawing cards, rolling dice, trying to stop a spinning wheel of cards and more. I don’t know if it was just me, but I found myself coming up short in these a lot more than I thought I would.

While the majority of the game centers around the cards and story aspects, there are times when you will fight enemies in real-time combat. Utilizing the equipment in your inventory (that you pick up during the mission), you take on your foes in a small arena-like area. Weapon types featured include sword and shield combos, heavy weapons (like battle axes) and dual wielding small weapons. You can use any weapons that you like in battle, but it definitely behooves you to choose carefully depending on what enemies you are facing. For example, having dual wielding weapons against big, burly Norther Raiders in the game will put you at a bit of a disadvantage because you are not able to stand your ground with blocks and counters. You’re free to play however you want, though, which is nice.
The fighting mechanics feel really good and there are lots of visual cues to let players know what kind of attacks are coming at them. If an enemy is coming at your with an attack that you can block, they will temporarily have a green outline around them. If they are coming at your with an unblockable attack, they will turn red which lets you know that a quick dodge is in order. Learning these enemy tells are paramount to ensure victory in combat. You can also be joined by an NPC character who can give you buffs or help you during combat. The AI isn’t great, but the options to assist you with defense or attack are helpful.

Graphically, Hand of Fate 2 looks pretty good for what it is. The environments look nice and are varied but are a bit on the small side. Doing this allows the game to run pretty smoothly. The character models also have a surprising amount of detail that you usually wouldn’t find in a game mainly based around cards. The sound design is also well done featuring some great moody tunes and a little bit of voice acting. Most of the game will have you reading a lot of text and honestly, I would have loved to see more actual voice acting here.

Hand of Fate 2 is a simple and yet complex game. While I did enjoy the combat elements and the dialogue, the chance card encounters and randomness were kind of a put off for me. It wasn’t bad, but sometimes I just couldn’t believe how unlucky I could be at times. If you’re looking for an action romp through a fantasy world, you’ve got the wrong game. However, for those looking for something a little bit more slow paced, Hand of Fate 2 might be for you.

Final Score: 6.5

[Review code provided by the publisher]

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