Why try new things? If you look at any screen shots of Hand of Fate it looks like a card game (ccg) in the vein of Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone. Hand of Fate is not a card game at all. Hand of Fate is a choose your own adventure book brought to life with RPG and rougelite elements.
After seeing the screenshots I was curious but skeptical of Hand of Fate, but now I am a believer. This is definitely the surprise of the year so far and gets better with every run.
The art style, music and world are very cohesive which make it feel alive, mysterious and interesting. The aesthetic feeling is much like Fable’s stylistic classic RPG style, but more grim and fearsome. Hand of Fate impresses with its ever evolving world and gameplay, in the beginning it can feel easy and simple, however it begins building on each element, evolving in every way possible. New enemies, new equipment and new adventures. Hand of Fate will teach you something with repetition then diversify the experience which prevents it from becoming predictable or mundane.
The narrator/dungeon master/dealer, is a mysterious wizard-type character that is beautifully animated with great voice acting and well written evolving dialog that is foreboding, making you aware of your previous actions and choices. The dealer lays out event cards that your player piece walks across, turning over to reveal the next event where you must make a choice or fight enemies, visit a shop, etc. The amount of cards for each level becomes more and more, from linear to branching. When you are making choices you are reading text and picking fail success cards from four cards to add chance to your risky decisions.
When you are ambused or pick to fight enemies instead of running away you enter an arena style environment within different settings to fight enemies in 3rd person action-style combat which is reminiscent of the Batman Arkham series counter system. The equipment cards you acquire through chance or at shops are equipped to add new weapons, shields, items and spells to modify your combat. There are also non combative scenarios where you take to the action RPG setting to risk your health points to gain riches in a trapped treasure roomS or reclaim your item goblins you have stolen before they are able to escape through their portal. Even these scenarios evolve and are made harder after a few levels.
Each card is a part of a category like equipment weapon, shield, armor, accessory, or event; meeting a elf maiden, an ambush or even the rye challenge of a demon. As you play the game you get good and bad cards to make your deck that gives you unique agency over how each run goes. The game starts from 0 each time, yet you are constantly and progressively fighting new bosses and getting better equipment. Hand of Fate is a fresh new idea born out of great aspects of old games made new with escalating and creative story telling.
Defiant Development has crafted a well made, beautiful, stylized RPG where you are discovering the secrets of its world while telling your own stories as you go. Hand of Fate is an amazing surprise that is also the most unique game I have played in a long time.
Hand of Fate comes available via PSN or Xbox Live at 4pm PST on Feb. 17