Combining the collectible deck building side of Yu-Gi-Oh with the dungeon fighting scenes of Fable or Dungeon Siege, Hand of Fate combines a unique blend of card-dealing and interactive challenges.
You start the game with an inbuilt tutorial, dealt with 100 health, 10 food and 0 gold. In front of you sits the dealer, who talks through what is happening and deals the cards for your journey. The playmaker so to speak.
Choices are given to you by the playmaker
You make your way through the level, depicted by a set of cards in a pattern on the table in front of you. Choosing your next card, you then have to decide whether to partake in the challenge written on the card - however some events are compulsory. These scenarios include button-mashing fight scenes, as well as more tactical ventures including mazes and puzzles. There are some text adventure elements snuck into this game at this point - where incorrect moves cost you some of your commodities. You may even be lucky enough to find a travelling merchant who can offer you supplies to assist with your journey. On some levels there are set routes you must follow, whereas others require choices, which can be rewarding or hindering towards your end goal of defeating the levels’ champion.
If you’re successful at your venture, you are awarded gain cards, these can contain health, gold or food that prepare you for the rest of your journey, both in the current level and beyond.
Every step along your card path costs you 1 food, so in theory just by moving through the game and not winning and challenges, you can lose by starving to death. Along the way you will find travelling merchants, who will offer you supplies or better items for your armoury. Alternatively you may find puzzles, monsters or bosses. Things are spiced up as you move through the game, with curses and blessings being added to the gameplay, which opens up a more complex system.
One of the maze of puzzles you must face.
With the tutorial complete and your first set of rewards saved, along with the AI getting more tricks, so do you - the Deck Builder is unlocked after level 1. This facility brings back the trading card game way of thinking. As the player you can control the equipment (swords, shields, helms etc.) as well as the encounters (monsters, traps, puzzles). A “recommended” option is available, which sees the player have access in game to the best equipment, and the easiest challenges. However as you progress, you must have larger decks, and thus the ability to keep out hand challenges and have a high hit rate with your better equipment is reduced over time, as a way of naturally increasing difficulty aside from the AI getting smarter, which also happens.
After only 4 levels, I found gameplay very repetitive, choosing very similar options and then swinging my newly equipped axe 3 times before dodging, and then going back for 3 more swings. This went on for quite a few sessions, and this is where my original likeness for a modern RPG style with interaction, slowly slipped out of my hands... With the controller staying on my desk, before booting up Destiny.
It’s unfortunate as I feel the game could have potential, the other issue being the current editions finishes on level 12, I will endeavour to get that far without becoming too bored.
Hand of Fate (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
A good idea, which comes out as a bore due to repetition. Could further development improve this game further?