Hand of Fate (PC) (2015)

Overview: A fantasy, action roleplaying game whose basic gameplay mechanics use cards to craft the experience.

20190907:
Continuing to make my way through my Humble Bundle purchases, today I arrived at the Humble Down Under Bundle and I had trouble choosing which game to play. Among the games, Hacknet and Satellite Reign looked fun but not games I felt like getting into. In contrast, gameplay for Hand of Fate seemed relatively casual.

The "dungeon master" shuffles the cards.

Setup: Xbox controller

Steam Game Time: 2.1 hours

20190908 AM Hours:
My son woke up at night and so I stayed up to monitor him while he was on the pillow. I played some more Hand of Fate.

Gameplay Log:
I realized you can try and follow the cards. It's like the shell game, except with loss of information.

The player character (right) deals the finishing blow.

Steam Game Time: 5.0 hours (total game time)

20190908:

Gameplay Log:
After defeating the Queen of Skulls, I went to the Jack of Skulls and then the Queen of Dust to complete several tokens.

Steam Game Time: 7.6 hours (total game time)


Areas are composed of cards with various layouts. Each area in a level has an entrance and an exit - except for the last area with the boss.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Great graphics - both during fights and at the table
+ Love the theme; especially how cards come to life and stack onto the player
+ Reasonable rate of difficulty increase
+ Good dialogue and lore
+ Reasonable learning curve
+ Sound effects
+ Rumble effect; it's been a while since I've played a game with rumble feedback

One of the bosses, the Queen of Skulls.

Minor Cons:
- Essentially linear gameplay; perhaps the game provides some choices here and there, and perhaps most choices are initially limited as a way to teach the player how to play
- I think it would be more fair and fun to shuffle the cards like the shell game. The shuffle can be fast, but at least give an edge to a player who has the skill to follow the cards.
- Sometimes the audio tracks repeat or he makes a quip about taking too long when I'm actively reading dialog; the quip should only play if the player truly idles.

Cons:
- Equipment is a little confusing
- The game doesn't describe what happens when the player runs out of food; running out of food results in losing 9 health per move
- Combat is initially cool (due to counter attacks) but becomes repetitive and loses it's appeal


Certain events involve "Chance." To an extent, the player can partially follow the cards and increase their chances at picking an optimal outcome.

Summary:
The combat felt like it would imitate combat from Batman: Arkham Asylum or Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Instead, it is unfortunately simple. When applicable, the player can attack, counter attack, stun, roll, or use an artifact. As a result, I would recommend players considering Hand of Fate to think of the combat as secondary to the game's deck and role-playing elements.

Hand of Fate (PC) (2015)

Relevant Links:
Hand of Fate (video game) (Wikipedia.org)
Hand of Fate (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Hand of Fate (Steam Store Page)

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