The Dealer is a quite interesting chap.
In my limited experience with tabletop RPGs, the key to the success or failure of the adventure is in the skill of the dungeon master. Hand of Fate 2 is the latest attempt to bring the tabletop to the Switch, with a skilled dungeon master who is willing to rely on the heart of the cards, dice, and other elements of chance. The result is a fun adventure, but one where avoiding battle sequences will be paramount to the enjoyment.
Hand of Fate 2 picks up immediately following the events of the 2015 original, which released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Most of the game is spent with The Dealer, who weaves stories based on the traditional tarot arcana (The Fool, The Magician, Death), while doing a fine impression of British comedian Stephen Fry. As the stories play out, you earn cards for weapons and story elements, which get added to a loadout and shuffled into the cards The Dealer includes. The cards are face down until you choose them to flip, and there are forks in the layout that can take a while to navigate.
One of three chance-relevant things can happen when a card is flipped: A dice roll, a card draw, or a battle. The card draws are one of three or four, while the die are usually designed to hit a specific roll on three six-sided die. The battles use the weapon cards, and the controls are simple to learn with most beyond attacking or evading set up by button prompts on the enemies. The battles run at a consistent frame rate in docked mode, but the transitions to and from the battles came to a complete stop every single time. Because of these freezes, it can take 20 - 30 seconds to move in and out from a combat sequence. I found myself actively avoiding battle sequences when I was picking my own cards, but the story always ends on a battle so you will have to deal with it. In further research, this is an issue endemic to the game as it also happens on other console versions.
Hand of Fate looks strong, even if most of the graphics are static images with the odd card flip. I had some difficulty differentiating my character from certain enemies early on, but it’s easy to switch that around. Most of the sound is banter from the Dealer, but the music is not really noticeable and the sound effects are standard grunts and shouts. The story text isn’t voiced either. It’s a good game to have background music or a podcast for.
The original Hand of Fate was a game I had heard a lot about, but never got around to. The Switch is encouraging me to go back and pick up a lot of these titles, and this is one worth grabbing a hold of. Just be sure to watch the cards and choose your battles wisely, and you’ll have a tale that will live on through the ages.