Hand of Fate 2 – PAX Australia Preview
When Hand of Fate was released a couple of years ago it caught quite a few of the Player 2 crew, including myself, in its unique web. The strange mix of 3rd person combat and TCG mechanics came together in an addictive and entertaining manner that had me hooked. We also have a special place in our hearts for Defiant Development because they granted us our very first interview, about funnily enough, Hand of Fate. So when Hand of Fate 2 was announced I just knew I had to get some time with the game to see what new tricks were being brought by the Dealer this time around. Luckily I was able to do just that a PAX Australia 2016, being led through an early challenge by Producer Kim Allom.
The first thing I noticed was how much better the game looked. Everything is cleaner, more detailed and extra vibrant. It is clear that some serious polish had been put into the graphics department. The combat was silky smooth as well, with no signs of frame rate drops or pop in textures, something the original was let down by at times. Everything seemed just snappier in general with loading times down and the superfluous animations that were associated with store cards relegated to the past. It is clear this game is technically a huge improvement over the original title.
Speaking of the original, the Dealer is back with his wonderfully malevolent tones intact. The story goes that after being defeated in the original game, the person that beat the Dealer went on to become a vicious Emperor and has ruled the kingdom for 100 years. In that time the Dealer has clawed his way back to the world of the living and is using his “game” to train the person that will kill the Emporer and get his revenge. It felt to me that making the protagonist from the first game into the antagonist of the second was a very clever move by Defiant and allowed me to be instantly invested in this weird and wonderful world.
Combat has also taken a few steps forward with some new weapons classes for players to master. Along with the original sword and shield combo from the first game, there is now the choice to play with two-handed weapons and dual wielded weapons. Two-handed weapons are slow but powerful while dual wielded weapons are much faster but deal less damage. Both of the new classes lack the ability to parry (no shield, no parry) but two-handed weapons can block attacks while the quicker speed of the dual-wielded blades allows for more efficient dodging. Along with these new fighting styles there are now power moves, that can be used after reaching a combo count of 8, and finsher moves that can be used on stunned enemies to add some further depth to the combat.
In all my time with the game was far too short. I didn’t get nearly enough time with it to examine the new “table” structure (the game is no longer a linear series of levels with boss battles but an open table with a wide range of challenges that can be tackled in any order) or the new cards on offer. But that is in no way a bad thing because it has left me wanting more, much more. I can’t wait to see if this quality holds up over the full game beause if it does this will be one hell of an expereience.
Hand of Fate 2 is coming to the PC and Xbox One in 2017.