Hands of War 2 - Free-roaming, fantasy-touched RPG battle action
Written by the Victor (Read: Survivor)
In times of war, it is only the victor’s account of the events that will be truly remembered by the people of the future, so what if you have a chance to choose your side? Hands of War 2 is a wildly entertaining free-roaming RPG with depth and is a sequel to the popular original title, Hands Of War. Axis Games are the responsible party for this series of engrossing RPG titles in which you must take control of a central character and choose your own allegiances with different factions in your adventure by using your combat skills and powers to prove your loyalty to whichever group of allies you choose. The entire adventure is based on a sizeable map which you must explore thoroughly, battling with allies against opposing factions, and interacting with other quest-imparting people along the way, gaining experience points and improving your character’s capability in the process. It’s a true RPG with fantasy war thrown in for good measure, so be sure to enjoy it.
Hands of War 2 is played from a birds-eye perspective and you control your character’s movement with the directional arrows or WASD keys. Press the left mouse button to perform your currently-selected attack and also use Spacebar to perform your secondary attack. The main aim is essentially to engage in a series of quests issued to you by various people throughout the game. As you proceed, you will encounter conflicting groups and factions that are at war with each other, and you will be required to join a side at your discretion. The choices you make are entirely up to you in the game, and your decisions will shape the course of your progress through the game.
Stop Giving Me Choices
Upon beginning a new game, you are able to choose your difficulty from the choices of normal, heroic, or epic if you dare to face such heights of gaming frustration (which I most definitely did not). Before embarking upon your adventure, you also have to make a character choice. The options are between a Ranger, Wizard, or Warrior. Each character possesses particular properties that give them advantages/disadvantages over the other in battle. The Ranger and Wizard, for example, both have long-range bow and magic attacks respectively, whereas the Warrior has short-range melee attacks. The Ranger is fast, but deals moderate damage, whereas the Wizard deals high damage at moderate speed, and the warrior deals low damage but has high armour.
With this being an RPG game, you are able to level up by gaining experience points through battling enemies. All of the characters possess five different attacks that you can use during battles which can also be upgraded depending on your current level. For example, the Ranger possesses a bow and starts with a Falcon Strike attack that is basically just a regular arrow show; this can be upgraded up to rank 5 to increase its power. New attacks can also be taught to him (and the other characters), with Ice Trap, Nature’s Grace, Triple Shot, and Trueshot also being attacks that you can learn, each with their different power and properties. This means that beginning the game with a different character will allow you to experience a different battle experience every time, and coupled with the open choice of factions available to you, means that your progress through the game is delightfully unpredictable, or at very least more entertaining than if this feature wasn’t available.
Clouds in a Otherwise Clear Sky
It’s not all pure, unadulterated RPG of the highest quality, unfortunately. The most noticeable downfall is the extremely simplistic graphics. I’m not referring to the top-down view here, but rather the very plain textures and basic animations of the characters, and also the busy nature of the menus, which can get extremely annoying after a surprisingly short while. The aiming and shooting system is also a little jerky and fiddly, but this is quite minor and only noticeable in the busiest of battles. In all, these clouds that block out the otherwise blistering sunshine of a great RPG game with depth and replay value are wispy and minor at most. This is a huge improvement on the first, but the graphics are in need of a serious overhaul.