Hand of Fate 2

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Hand of Fate 2 Game Poster Image
Approachable RPG has cool presentation, fussy combat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Scenarios alternate between heroic goals, mercenary ones, between political oppression, banditry, selflessly aiding others, protecting innocent.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players can choose to be as good or as selfish as they want.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence

Action combat with optional blood. Story sections tell of violent acts; players use melee weapons, guns to cause injury. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional mention of wine, taverns. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hand of Fate 2 is a downloadable single-player fantasy role-playing game (RPG) for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game has randomly generated dungeons, with violence as its central theme in its gameplay. Its storyline features common people suffering from a viral pandemic, starvation, political oppression, and banditry, but it also includes moments of selfless sacrifice, helping others, and protecting the innocent. Action sequences contain combat with melee weapons and guns; characters bleed (though blood can be turned off in the options menu) and can be killed. Wine and taverns are mentioned occasionally; otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.

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What's it about?

HAND OF FATE 2 reunites players with the mysterious and sinister Dealer from the first Hand of Fate and features a unique approach to role-playing. It alternates between action sequences and games of chance (dice, cards, a roulette-like game). Players progress through randomized dungeons represented by groups of collectible encounter cards. These cards present players with a range of possible circumstances -- events, characters, shops, or battles -- as well as the chance to collect gold, equipment, and supplies. Battle manifests as third-person 3D fights with knives, swords, guns, and clubs. Successfully completing scenarios grants players new encounter cards that can then be used to customize decks in later scenarios. 

Is it any good?

This represents a rare example of a fantasy role-playing game that pleases both ends of the spectrum, from skilled players to RPG newbies. Hand of Fate 2's fairytale-like presentation pulls you in right away, setting the scene and making character creation totally approachable. It starts by introducing dungeon-crawling through a tarot-like layout of cards that you reveal one by one and eases you into accessible deck-building. New players will rejoice that instead of an overwhelming rule set, they're given a series of fun encounter cards and asked simple, multiple-choice questions whose answers send the story on different trajectories. But experienced role-players need not worry. Hand of Fate 2 has all the usual RPG elements. They're just tucked inside a narrative wrapper that keeps the mechanics from eclipsing the fun. Scenarios/dungeons vary greatly and unlock in chunks, but don't have to be played in order. This is great if one proves too difficult. Even better, tough scenarios get easier as you earn new encounter cards, and replaying them with different decks makes for a totally different experience. If Hand of Fate 2 has a weak point, it's combat. Controls are clumsy, and character animations often seem slow to respond. Still, mediocre action isn't enough to derail the role-playing fun. The game's amazing presentation, interesting storytelling, cool graphics, and high adventure more than make up for it, and are sure to have role-players of all skill levels eating out of its hand. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how role-playing reflects a person's personality. Do you enjoy playing characters that are like you, or the opposite of you? 

  • Think about what's most important in role-playing games: Story? Combat? Loot? Is there something else that drives you to play?

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