NOTE: Much of this review depends upon our review of Hand of Fate 2 on the PC since the game is largely unchanged. Please click through to read about our impressions of the game on PC.
The ports keep coming to the Nintendo Switch and I’m cool with it. Last week, Defiant released their action “RPG-board game hybrid” Hand of Fate 2 on the Switch. I had the opportunity to review the game on PC last year and really enjoyed my time with it. It has since had DLC and free updates added, along with support from the modding community, making the game a much different experience since my review.
The Switch release includes the DLC (Outlands and Outsiders) and updates from the PC version up to April 2018, giving us a great opportunity to see what Defiant has been up to since the release of HoF2. Since we reviewed the game last year, there is no need to rehash all that we’ve discussed. HoF2 is a great game (I gave it an 8.3/10) and still is, but how does it fare on the Switch?
First and foremost, the game fits on the Switch. The nature of the pickup/play/put down anytime mechanic works well for HoF2’s gameplay. The board always tracks your movement and you can easily access your inventory or check the mission status via the campfire. I played this a lot on my commute to/from work and never felt that the portability detracted from the experience. It also looks really great on a TV! Don’t have time to keep playing or need to turn off the Switch? No worries. The game saves after every encounter, so you are good to go for a later round.
Is there a downside of playing handheld? Sometimes the onscreen text can be a bit small; this is an issue with a lot of Switch ports, but not something you can’t solve by holder the screen a little closer. Also, I played the game via mouse and keyboard in my initial review for PC and found that playing with the Joycons or Pro controller was way easier. The Batman Arkham-style combat lends itself to having the buttons you need all in one place, and stretching to nail down a key on the keyboard can hinder your reaction to some of the quick enemy attacks. Not sure why I didn’t think of this when I reviewed it on the PC, but I wanted to give it the full mouse and keyboard experience. Live and learn, I guess!
It also seems there could still be a few bugs to work out. I had issues with the initial deck building before beginning a mission where I couldn’t select my companion, forcing me to restart the game. Also, the load time for the battles were a bit sluggish compared to the PC version.
All in all, Hand of Fate 2 is a great game to pick up on the Switch. After spending time with it on two different systems, I have to say that the Switch version offers a better experience. The control scheme and gameplay make HoF2 on the Switch easy to pick up and play anytime, further lending itself to the reason why people love the portability of the system. However, those of you who are all about customization, the modding community won’t be available to you here.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Gameplay - 8/10
Design - 9.5/10
Challenge - 8.5/10
The Switch has the upper hand
I'd recommend this version of Hand of Fate 2 over the PC version due to its accessibility on the Switch and included DLC. This bumps up the overall score as this game is nearly perfect for portable gaming.