hand of fate 2 pax west 2016
With the rise and popularity of video games, it would be easy to access that video games have begun to eclipse and overtake the traditional market of physical, non-video games. On the contrary, video games have been perfect for the board game market. In recent years, card games, board games, and tabletop games have increased in their popularity and community, becoming well known among audiences within the greater gaming community. Physical stores, such as Nerdvana in Egg Harbor New Jersey, have sprung up across the country as well, inviting new players into the tactics of tabletop warfare and card battling. For gamers of today, there is a passionate feeling and nostalgia for games of the past. These were ways to play and tell a story long before the scope of today’s games. It is this passion that Australia-based Defiant Development managed to merge the old and new in a beautiful combination of fantasy, tactics, and action with Hand of Fate. Released in February 2015, Hand of Fate combined traditional card-battling, as well as Dungeons and Dragons like story-telling, as well as action combat.
Players would navigate through card decks, seeing different paths set along the way. It was up to players to make choices within the situations presented in those cards. On some cards, the player would encounter an enemy, and the game would warp into the card, creating a battlefield to which the player could instantly move and fight, similar to a hack-and-slash type game. The outcome of that battle would determine what cards would be drawn, as well as what would happen next on that adventure.
The game was a solid success on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam, with many players lauding its design, gameplay, and interesting attention to details of both old and new mechanics. Of course, this excitement means that Hand of Fate 2 is coming our way. On the 6th floor of the Washington State Convention Center, there were hundreds of booths featuring the latest upcoming video games in the next year. In one particular area, the floor was yellow, which highlighted all of the bright developers coming from Australia, as well as to be featured at PAX Australia. Defiant Entertainment had a booth and was showing their game, Hand of Fate 2.
As I stepped into the booth, I was warmly greeted by the Hand of Fate 2 team. Tracie Hearne, Public Relations welcomed me and told me about the studio. They were proud of what they were able to build and wanted to share some details with me on how the game came to be. Defiant Entertainment was s studio, forged from the collapse of the global economy, a cataclysmic economic event that devasted all markets and industries, especially video games. Out of work, a special team of developers banded together to form a new studio. Sacrificing resources and pouring time into the studio, Defiant Entertainment managed to create Heroes Call, a free-to-play action RPG that would serve as the basic foundation of Hand of Fate. From there, the studio would release the first Hand of Fate game in 2015, and now a sequel was slated for release in 2017.
Tracie gave me the rundown of the game and had the choice of one of three tales. Like the first game, players would select a tale. From that tale, a specific number of cards would be presented to you, detailing your stats. Each card would offer a different situation as to where your character would go and what you would be doing. Each choice made would affect your character differently as well as the plot set upon. For example, players may select a card detailing a ravenous plant. Players could choose to throw an inventory item at it to be distracted. However, they can try and run past it, running the risk of injury. For some cards, a battle scenario is presented.
From that point, the game warps into the card and the presentation change entirely. Instead of making choices, you are thrust directly into the combat scenario presented. Using the bumper buttons and analog sticks on the controller, players maneuver, attack, and defend themselves. The outcome of this battle will affect your character, as well as your progress on the story. A different element to the sequel is meeting set goals to advance and complete the final chapter of your tale. For my specific tale, which involved being cursed, my objective was to build my character’s overall health. Completing this within the cards presented is not easy as every decision matters and cards are randomized.
I began my tale, being informed that I was cursed. I had the mark of death, and the “Reaper” was coming for me. I was told that it would arrive after a certain amount of time. This also made me a marked target for bandits looking for a fortune. The first few cards presented indicated my character’s path and outcomes from those events. In some case, as well as choices, I would receive some rewards but also be notified of lurking dangers. My cards indicated every passerby to be looking at my character with concerned looks as if everyone knew I was marked for death. Through wise choices in cards, I was also able to increase health and collect gold.
I eventually came upon a bar with a place to stay. I asked information in regards to the curse and found local information. I was able to rest and restore health. Venturing forth, I had my first encounter with bandits., The game then warped onto the battlefield. Despite the fact that I was cursed, I was still a capable fighter. I even had a backup fighter fight side-by-side with me as well. From here, the game became pretty intense, as every choice made in battle would affect the outcome of the adventure. Tracie taught me how to use effective counter-attacks, as well as how to avoid attacks from other enemies. Eventually, I was successful and was able to build both gold and health.
One cautious moment came when a card presented a grotesque plant monster. I was given the option to either run around it or throw something from my inventory. I checked my inventory and cautiously thought of what to throw. There was a piece of equipment that I felt that wasn’t necessary. Sacrificing it, I threw it to the plant and was able to get by with no injury. My stats were raised as well. I made the choice to spend the night at the tavern once more as rest was important for my character. Before I knew it, another card with bandits was drawn. Once again, the game warped onto the battlefield, and I was locked in a quick ally fight. I had a better handling of the controls, as well as the ability to make a counterattack.
Shortly after that battle, the Reaper had come. According to my stats, I had reached the goal of collecting enough pieces of health. Because of that, this final card was drawn, enabling the fight with the Reaper. Once again, the card morphed into a battlefield, and I was locked into a fight for my life. The reaper used dark magic and swift attacks. I was able to dodge, defend, and return attacks. I was informed I could make a counterattack, and if memory serves me right, it as able to connect one counter attack. However, because this was effectively a boss fight, I wasn’t going to rely on counter attacks. My A.I ally helped as well, attacking the Reaper. As I dodged and made good strikes against the Reaper, I could see I was winning the fight. Despite losing health, my tenacity kept the battle going. Eventually, I was victorious in the fight. With that, the curse was lifted, and my demo concluded.
My impression of Hand of Fate 2 is extremely positive, with a unique take on adventuring with the combinations of card tactics and actual battles. The visuals presentation were sharp, even as the game was in an Alpha build. The controls handled well, and the sound was very presentable as well. Defiant Entertainment has lived up to their studio name, as they not only have a unique game in development but have also introduced an AAA quality impression upon me and fellow PAX WEST attendees.
Hand of Fate 2 will land on PC’s and consoles sometime in Q1 2017.