A few years ago, Hand of Fate, a card game action roleplayer, was out for computers and consoles everywhere. It did well enough to warrant a sequel, and hey look, that's what the reviews about: Hand of Fate 2!
Going off from the original Hand of Fate, The Dealer brings us back for another game. Playing cards again, you play a story where an Empire... and there's conflict... It was any fantasy RPG ever. Since your own story changes with the cards, I'm not sure how much I can say. I didn't even know why my character was playing the game at all, and while they do eventually tell you, you got the sense of being a character within a character. The individual storylines are fine, in many ways they're like D&D, but the bigger story is as bland as it comes.
The controls on the PS4 were fine I suppose. It lagged at times, but in terms of finding the right buttons, it wasn't bad. I'd actually say you could not look at the controls and guess what button was what to play and you'd still do great.
The graphics in the game were a bit everywhere. Some were good – the aged designs of the cards looked great. In fact, during the game with The Dealer, everything was spot on. But then comes combat. Hand of Fate 2 does this thing where, during the card games, you play the combat portions in character, so one minute it's a card game, the next you're suddenly playing Skyrim. Here, graphics go down. Enemies are copy pasted to an absurd degree. World graphics, like bridges and grass and trees are meant to look real, but look so computer-graphically made. It also has that 'shiny' effect of when they try and make graphics realistic so much that objects appear to look shiny – even tables in dark rooms. It did well in many places, but graphics could have used more care in many others.
As you play, you go through a choose your own adventure sort of game with the cards, and everything you need, from gold to food, is decided by the cards. It's very random what happens and what you get, and the game routinely screws you over – there was an attempt at balancing everything for combat, but it didn't do enough. I died. A lot. Through no fault of my own half the time. I didn't get the right things through the cards to even be given a chance, and when I died, the ENTIRE challenge is over, and you have to start again from the top. There's not even a save option. And remember what I said about controls that can lag? Well, that's in effect too. Computer help comes in through companions, but even then this only does so much. Sticking with the cards, gameplay is fine. But in combat, you can get screwed over so many times it stops being amusing.
Music is typical fantasy fare, but with a modern tinge. It's kinda like the Sherlock Holmes movie view on Victorian music – it's there, but with modern tinges. It's very slow and tense during the card parts with the Dealer, then it gets all Lord of the Rings during combat. It's not bad music at all, and is slightly above standard. Sound is okay, too, except for the Dealer. He's the narrator and says things so unlike a human says them, or if he's talking down to you. It....it's not great. He was the reason I got annoyed a lot. Even with the dodgy combat. I cannot tell you how, in trying to make a spooky yet authoritative character, they forgot to give him a character. And his voice brings it home. You want him to shut up 2 seconds after he starts talking because you 'get' whats going on and don't need it explained. If he was given a smaller role or he let the words do the work on screen, I'd give sound and music good grades. But he drags it down.
There were a few bugs here and there. The frame rate wasn't the best, especially during combat. During attacks, it seems to have skipped a frame here and there as your character us suddenly in a different moment of attack sometimes. There's also a lot of clipping problems I noticed in combat with certain things, like legs going through bridges and things. There's nothing that breaks the game, but there's enough to get mildly annoyed at all the tiny mistakes and the lag.
Hand of Fate 2, despite all of it's problems, was actually pretty fun. You get a story told through the cards, and it's nice to see a lot of change, as it adds to the replay value. The Dealer, the combat, and the lag, among other things, drags this down. The randomized 'what you get' is at an absurd level too. But again, even with all that negativity, there's a solid game in there, and I say it's very much worth playing, and is just at the level of being passable over everything weighing it down.
Final Score: 6.5 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.