PAX South 2017: ‘Hand Of Fate 2’ Smooths Its Predecessor's Roughest Edges

Hand of Fate 2
Hand of Fate 2 Photo: Defiant

We’d never seen anything quite like Hand of Fate, when the deck-building dungeon crawler slid onto PC and consoles back in 2015, and Defiant Development is hoping it can instill that same sense of awe and wonder when Hand of Fate 2 is shuffles its way out the door later this year.

If you missed out on the first game, Hand of Fate is a dungeon crawler that relies on prebuilt decks of cards, assembled by the player, to determine the layouts of each dungeon explored by the player. There are equipment cards, to improve your character’s stats, and location cards that can impact everything from fighting location to the random events that unfold during your war against the Dealer. And random number generators played a big, arguably outsized, role in the first Hand of Fate, much to the chagrin of many HoF players. Combat is relegated to one-off encounters, generated by your card dungeon, and any fans of the Arkham franchise should quickly recognize Defiant’s take on the “Batman combat” that’s been repurposed for dozens of other games. But some of the game’s core mechanics have been tweaked for Hand of Fate 2.

One of the most obvious changes to Hand of Fate’s core mechanics involves the game’s slow-motion camera; a source of constant frustration in Hand of Fate 2’s predecessor. In the first Hand of Fate, time slowed down based on the player’s combo meter. The more consecutive hits delivered, the slower it would become. The idea was to let players feel like a badass in hectic situations. But the mechanic bogged down the game’s combat systems, incentivizing players not to deliver too many consecutive hits. This time around, Defiant is changing things up a bit, using a slow-motion zoom shot to highlight the final kill in any given combat encounter. It’s surprisingly effective, much like the X-ray cameras made popular by the Sniper Elite series, and doesn’t seem like the sort of thing to ever get old. The team also says it's taken steps to dial back the role RNG plays in the outcome of each run.

The other big change involves the structure of the game’s campaign. Hand of Fate asked players to take on twelve different “bosses”, each presenting a unique challenge that the player had to overcome. For Hand of Fate 2, Defiant has prepared a 22 stage campaign, divided up into tiers, which can be completed in non-linear fashion. The circumstances surrounding the franchise’s key players have also changed pretty drastically. In the first Hand of Fate, players defeated the Dealer, banishing him from the kingdom in the process. But another 100 years have passed since the events of the first game. And the hero we’d steered to victory in the first game has apparently become quite the overlord in the sequel. So the Dealer has returned, with a new protege in tow, in hopes of dethroning the man who took everything from him.

For more on Hands of Fate 2, take a few minutes to check out the story trailer from the 2016 PlayStation Experience. Then head down to the comments section and let us know what changes you’re hoping to see in Hand of Fate 2 when it hits PC and consoles later this year.

Hand of Fate 2 is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. The game is expected to debut sometime later this year.

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