There is no shortage of RPG games on the Nintendo Switch yet despite that, Hand of Fate 2 seems to carry a certain charm that makes it an experience worth the wait. Despite taking a long time to get released on the Nintendo Switch hardware, the transition seems to have worked out well resulting in a port that is not only fun to play, it doesn’t suffer from any noticeable downgrade in quality to fit the requirements of the Nintendo Switch hardware.
Hand of Fate 2 is a deck-builder tabletop experience simplified into a game. It plays mostly as part role-playing and part board game. It is hard to describe how deep and full of depth the underlying mechanics are in Hand of Fate 2, and their true extent can only be seen if you play the game yourself.
Despite being a sequel, there are is a lot of similarity between this game to its predecessor since most of the gameplay mechanics are still retained in this one. The combat is one of the biggest drawbacks that remains dull with little improvements to offer. The dungeon crawling and the character customization aspect are better now, and the role-playing and writing make the game more immersive so you have a better picture of the surrounding.
Hand of Fate 2 is a unique twist on the choose your own narrative experience. The focus of the game is a mysterious character who is known as the Dealer. He will explain the basic tutorials, guide you through this journey, and help you get a better understanding of the situation. He will also shuffle the cards at hand and offer you choices to pick between them. The choices are what make each adventure that you begin a unique experience since there are many combinations that you can try during your journey, and each can result in a different outcome.
The story is conveyed in an old-fashioned way by basically telling the player a particular scenario in writing. You will be often given choices to pick from many options. If you come across a set of enemies or get asked for help from other humans, you will have to decide how to approach each scenario. If you try to defend them, you can get a different reward, however, if you ignore their requests, the story can change and so does your path during this journey.
This type of narrative is not for everyone, admittedly, it will need you to use your imagination and read the events that happen to form your own conclusion, but it never feels like a boring experience because the developers have done a great job in integrating it with the gameplay elements. You don’t just have to pick choices, you have to carefully determine your actions. You also have to prepare yourself for the consequences of the choices that you make in the story.
Deck building can get addicting easily as you try to decide the best outcome for your character. You can keep up a deck that helps you during a challenging situation. You can decide to focus on keeping a good set of weapons or settle on money and health items. It is the choice that you make that matters here and this is ultimately the reason Hand of Fate 2 is an improvement over its predecessor since a lot more cards are in the sequel for you to pick this time around.
The game will occasionally throw a combat encounter at you that ends up transporting you to a playable section in which you control your character. This is where the health and other stats of your character matter for the most time and if you take enough damage or don’t manage to finish off the enemies, it can result in a failure. What’s interesting is how the health is kept constant during your journey and can only be recovered if you do certain actions like using a card to heal. This will make you carefully consider each battle.
There is some way to power through the battles, either by healing your character using special cards or equipping them with a more powerful weapon that is also handled using the deck. Boss battles make the combat extra tricky but they can be fought if you are prepared for them. While the game works as an action RPG during combat, it also rewards defensive moves. You can quickly evade, block with your shield or parry attacks. This is helpful because enemies can easily get a hit on your character resulting in the loss of valuable health, so learning the combat system will help you get through some tough encounters easily.
While it is still fun, the random aspect of the game’s story and mechanics can often end up rather cumbersome. These are mostly seen in mini-games that rely on shuffling cards or rolling dice. They don’t stay the center focus but they still represent a part of the game that doesn’t end up as fun as the rest.
Technically, this is a pretty good port that works well on the Nintendo Switch, both in docked or in portable mode. Some minor qualms include a low frame rate during certain combat sections and the load times you have to face with each battle.
Hand of Fate 2 Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: A new hero rises to challenge the Dealer in Hand of Fate 2! Master a living boardgame of infinitely replayable quests - unlock new cards, build your adventure, then defeat your foes in brutal real-time combat! Draw your cards, play your hand and discover your fate!
As a sequel, there are some solid improvements made that result in an overall better game. The deck building is better now and there is more variety of cards added. Writing feels more concise but the combat is still rather shallow and the load times for each battle don't really help the flow of the game. The effort to port it to the Nintendo Switch is a success without any major flaws or drawbacks holding the game behind compared to the other console versions.