Hand of Fate 2 is an interesting title. Picking up a hundred years after the events of the original Hand of Fate, the sequel has you acting as the protege of the Dealer intent on revenge. With a stronger emphasis on better deck building than the first game, Hand of Fate 2 aims to challenge the player like never before.
New additions to the game feature two-handed weapons and dual-wielding, expanding upon the choice the player had before in terms of the combat system. Additionally, Fame has been added to the game, and once you gather a certain amount of fame you can unlock a legendary weapon. Some of these weapons have an effect on the story, just as a warhammer I unlocked that allowed me to progress to the final boss.
In fact, victory conditions are much more varied this time around. Reaching a specific card won't necessarily guarantee you victory. Sometimes you'll need to unlock the legendary weapon to reach the end boss, as I did; while others may require you to accumulate a set amount of gold to finish the mission. As I played the game at PAX West, I noticed that I wasn't just gunning for the last card on the table. I had a tangible goal - unlock the legendary warhammer - and that drove my decisions and gameplay. It's a noticeable - and stellar - difference between the sequel and the initial release of Hand of Fate.
Also new this time around are side mini games, making the game of chance more prevalent in the game.. An example of this side game would be the need to roll a certain number on a set of die, almost akin to a Saving Throw or Armor Class check in Dungeons and Dragons. This adds a new element to the card game aspect and does have bearing on the full 3D combat scenarios. I lost a throw and as a result came up against a band of marauders, intent on relieving me of all my items. Conversely, I won a throw and as a result my companion helped rescue a family from a burning building.
Companions are also a major addition to the new game and at PAX West, developer Defiant Development showcased Colbjorn for the first time. The heavy, club-wielding companion makes the most out his massive frame, knocking enemies aside like rag dolls. As I played alongside Colbjorn, I enjoyed watching him clean up the Northern enemies I couldn't quite finish off. Colbjorn, like the other companions the developer is targeting for release, has his own backstory, as he is an outcast from his own home. This addition of character depth can go a long way in helping the player establish a connection with the companion he or she decides to use.
All in all, it seems Hand of Fate 2 really takes what was great with the original release and expands upon that. Hand of Fate 2 releases on Xbox One and PC in Quarter 1 2017.