The original Hand of Fate was a fantastic concept that failed when it got to executing the concepts. The idea of having randomized encounters laid out in a card game style, while using Arkham-style combat worked decent enough, but ultimately everything felt repetitive. While Hand of Fate 2 changes many of the encounters, it often adds a significantly higher difficulty that ultimately feels far more cheap and more frustrating overall.
The idea of Hand of Fate 2 is fairly similar to the original. You play a game where a set of cards are laid out face down in a path. You choose which directions to go on the path and each card holds a random encounter. You can choose which cards are in the deck yourself or you can use a recommended deck compiled with cards you gather over time. Completing each game nets you more cards, which can be added to tweak each game’s difficulty.
If a card reveals a combat encounter, you’ll have to fight a set of enemies using Arkham-style combat. You counter, dodge and bash enemies but ultimately, the combat feels really mushy. There’s this slight delay and a lot of times the game simply can’t decide which enemies you want to target. If you are in a fight and an enemy is about to attack you, for example, you can counter that attack but there is a definite delay when you trigger a counter attack that can often lead to you taking damage. Dodge rolls are even worse, where sometimes you will actually roll into an attack.
Moreover, though, the actual combat is just sluggish and every move feels far slower than it should. You can be surrounded by enemies and the game simply doesn’t respond in the way it needs to to keep you alive. You can gain companions in order to help you through encounters, although their usefulness varies. Sometimes they will blast their way through enemies and other times they will literally fight air for a solid 10-20 seconds.
The biggest change to Hand of Fate 2 is the way that you complete each game. In the previous game, you were generally just trying to reach the end of a path. Hand of Fate 2 adds in a set of challenges that you have to complete in order to have the best chance of success. And these are absolute garbage.
A lot of the challenges rely on you completing certain tasks in specific ways, or reaching certain points after completing various encounters. One level requires you to travel through a town, rescuing villagers. The issue is that you have no idea of where the villagers are, which ultimately leads to you just going through every possible path and hoping you run into villagers. And a lot of those encounters are only combat challenges.
That’s one of the less offensive ones, though. One is laid out as a grid and you have to go through the grid to collect relics. Half of the cards cause you to lose health or supplies, which are needed in order to simply survive. So, you go through this grid, hoping you hit somewhere that you won’t lose anything on, lose half your health, all of your supplies, and reach the end of the encounter and die. Which makes you redo the entire encounter. Which is incredibly frustrating.
There are other requirements that are equally terrible. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to include games with escort missions is clearly a cruel person. It’s not that these are challenging and that is somehow a bad thing. It’s that these challenges can’t really be prepared for. The level of randomization in each game along with the sluggishness of the controls means that each game feels like an exercise in frustration. Add to that the fact that the difficulty ramps up heavily as you progress and you have what is ultimately a game way more challenging and less rewarding than it’s worth.
Hand of Fate 2 ultimately needed some amount of variation and they absolutely did just that. Each game has its different requirements and while those are cool, they ultimately are far more frustrating and less forgiving than they should be. Individuals who love incredibly high difficulty will enjoy the changes, but that same difficulty and randomized elements could easily turn off people who enjoyed the original.
SCORE: 5.0 out of 10
A code for Hand of Fate 2 was provided to Pixel Related for review.