Hands of War 2 – Guidology’s OFFICIAL Review
Hands of War 2 is the sequel to the extremely popular Hands of War which was featured on countless sites and portals. Hands of War is a pretty free-roam, make your own choices kind of game that allows you to join multiple factions, gain allies and make new enemies! Along the way you’ll equip your hero with countless weapons and armors, benefiting you in battle! There are three different classes to choose from, Ranger (which once again is over-powered, yay!) Warrior and Wizard all of which will start with different weapons and will give you totally unique gameplay experiences as you’ll want to join different factions and you’ll have a different battle style! Like the previous Hands of War, Hands of War 2 comes with a huge map to explore and to fight in! Hands of War 2 is currently out on armorgames.com, but will be released to kongregate.com on Tuesday, April 5, 2011.
The difficulty of this game was pretty good and a fair amount of strategy had to be put in for the bosses. While I was only playing in “Normal” mode the entire game and, yes, I do plan on completing the game on “Epic” (the highest difficulty level) the game seemed a bit easy. The only real difficulties that I had was when I had to face the bosses, specifically the Spellbound Guardians, as well as a couple of other self-healing units, such as the battle clerics in northeaster Tempor. For me I went through the game pretty quickly and with little difficulty, but there were a few bumps, like I just mentioned. I’d suggest that if you are stuck in this game that you train a bit more. There is a big difference between every level as you gain more health, energy and can upgrade your stats. Just make sure that when you are training that you fight enemies that are close to your own level. As you kill enemies with a higher level you earn more experience points. When you’re fighting a boss always be sure to bring a couple of units with you for back-up. I needed a couple of extra units to fight off the Spellbound Guardian and Brin Guardius towards the end of the game. If I remember correctly, the difficulty options only change the amount of damage that is dealt to you and no other factors.
Like the last Hands of War, this one was played from a top-down view and the gameplay itself was fantastic! What I liked about this game is the fighting style. For me, personally, I like that all you have to do is click to attack. This makes battles fast and easy to engage and get into. Shadownreign RPG, also by Axis-Games, plays very similar to Hands of War, but you have to hit a bunch of number keys to attack. I like how simple it was made to attack in Hands of War 1 and Hands of War 2. What I also love about the Hands of War series is that you get to select your class. This really allows users to create their own gameplay experience and fighting style. What I do miss about Shadownreign RPG, that neither of the Hands of War games have is that in Shadownreign RPG you could put your skill points in different sub-classes. Like if you wanted to use more bow attacks you could use your skill points to learn these new attacks and increase other stats that would directly benefit you. At the same time though, the stat system in Hands of War 2 is very straight-forward and isn’t confusing at all and even includes brief descriptions of each stat when you roll your mouse over the words.
The actual storyline of Hands of War 2 is fantastic! For those that don’t recall the opening cut-scene, or have not yet started the game, basically, after the HeartStone was reforged and used in the battle between the Alliance and Shadownrunners, Tempor a land riddled of civil war was looked upon by greedy neighbors as a chance to conquer the land! As the enemies invaded Tempor, the Shadowrunners and the Alliance decided to form an alliance to fight off the invaders, or die in quarrel among themselves and the enemy. The leader of this new faction, the Phoenix faction, was granted the almighty power of HeartStone and could choose, when necessary, to use it. This council and their leader soon became known as the “Black Council.” As the phoenix held off the invaders the land soon fell into a tranquility and the cities and towns grew prosperous and rich. Soon quarrel broke out between the Phoenix and many wanted to take the lands that had attacked them and seek revenge, while others believed that fighting anymore would be unnecessarily and would bring problems to the currently happy, tranquil and safe Tempor. The Black Council quickly passed an exile to all those whom disagreed with their actions. On the night of the exile, Brin Guardius, stole the HeartStone and hid it. Loyalist soon ended his life. Outrage over his death sparked civil war once again among the Phoenix faction and the new rebels called themselves the Guardians. The Phoenix strive to bring revenge upon the neighboring village and bring honor to the land, while the Guardians seek the end of the Phoenix and for peace in Tempor.
I actually loved the simplistic art in Hands of War. I know that there are probably a lot of people that are saying that the art could be better. I used to be one of those people, but you really learn to appreciate art over time. I loved the top down view and the simplistic look and design of everything and honestly, I was hoping that HoW2 would keep the same minimalist art style that it’s prequel had. The environment was actually nicely drawn and look quiet good and looked even better tiled, such as with the grass. The grass, even though tiled probably hundreds of times in the game looked fantastic and you didn’t see any seems in the pattern and it flowed really well. The trees looked a bit like bushes in my honest opinion, but they still looked very good and the drop shadow was the perfect addition to create the depth perception that the artist was after! The items that were strewn around the game, such as the barrels, sleeping bags, et cetera were all well designed and I especially liked the strewn, wrinkled look of the sleeping bags which made them look used and made the camps more like something that you’d actually see in a more medieval time period. The fires were all well detailed, but I would have added a bit a sparked bursting off from the fire every now and then to get that crackling fire effect. Nevertheless the ever-changing gradient was a genius idea. What I really liked about HoW2 was that when you changed armors you could see it in the game. Unlike some games, that don’t allow you to see your character change, this game allowed you to see that and made you want to collect new items in a way foreign to some other games. I really admired the boss design and the enemy design. All in all, the art was really well done and I loved the simple look of the game!
I loved the music in Hands of War 2. It was really adventure-ish and made the game sound really epic! I could listen to the music forever and it would be hard to tell where the loop was. Like I mentioned, this is a really good looping track, not to forgot that it sound amazing and has the adventure feel to it! I like how it loops because, while it does seem like a short loop, on 5-10 second or so as I can tell it blends with the beginning of the song so well that you hardly notice that there is a loop at all. I also liked how the music changed as you engaged into a fight! The music swiftly and unabruptly changes from that adventurous tone that you have to love to a more dangerous and exhilarating tone that I think we can all agree to translates perfectly into English: “danger.’ This pieces is also a pretty short loop, but you’d never know it unless you did listen closely to the music! This music was also quicker, more dangerous and clearly more action-packed. The sound effects were also right on. I loved the sound of the wizards shooting bolts at you, or the archers and knights firing and swinging relentlessly at you as you fought tirelessly back. Of course, all of these sound effects, each had their own corresponding sound effects that perfectly resembled their ideas. There was also another simple sound effect for picking up items, such as gold and armors. There were also more sound effects for buying from merchants in the city, which was greeting by the sound of money and more sound effects for other miscellaneous things.
The difficulty ramp wasn’t actually that noticeable. Invest in the correct skill points and you’ll have a fairly powerful warrior, or whatever your class is the entire game! I noticed that even though the enemies do be come more powerful and the enemies do deal more damage and appear in larger and more ominous crowds later in the game, that if you invest points correctly, keep your weaponry updated with the latest warder, blademaster, or magician quest and have some relatively decent armors that you’ll be fine throughout most of the game. This is how I pretty much countered the whole difficulty ramp situation and fought back against the increasingly dangerous enemies as the civil war in Tempor raged on. While the enemies were mainly very weak for most of my “Normal” difficulty experience, the enemies will be much more difficulty and dangerous when I play “epic,” or “heroic” mode later on and while the enemies were nothing compared to my attacks, especially in addition with my tactics, the bosses were still quiet challenging. I actually really started to feel the difficulty ramp increase as I faced the Spellbound Guardian and as I ventured into the northeastern section of Tempor and when I entered the final shard dungeon. If you’re have trouble in the game, just buy a couple of units to bring with you and you shouldn’t have any trouble killing off whatever you’re trying to kill.
In my opinion, the replay value was high. I liked the game and I’m curious to how the the other classes will work out for me and how the other difficulty modes are. Especially if you haven’t completed both main storyline there’s going to be that lingering question as to what the other storyline will be like! This game definitely needs to be played through a minimum of two times to get the full experience of the game as you are allowed to complete both, individual, storylines. Of course there are all of the optional side-quests and factions that you can join along the way, so if you think that you’re done with the game at the end of your first time through, you’ve probably only complete 30-40% of the game and still have the other storyline to follow, the side-quests, the Mercenary and Merchant side-quest, as well as the Warder, Magician and Blademaster side-quests. There is really a lot to do in this game! For me, I can’t wait to try out all of the other classes and difficulty modes! When Hands of War 2 arrives on Kongregate, this Tuesday, April 5, 2011, I definitely hope to see the Kongregate API implemented with high-scores such as most kills, quickest game completion time, number of factions allied with, et cetera. The Kongregate version will definitely have a lot of replay value.
All in all, Hands of War 2 was an awesome RPG game! All fans of the original Hands of War, or Shadownreign RPG, also by the same developer, will love Hands of War 2! Some new additions to the game include allies, that you can bring with you into battle, new bosses, new weapons and armors and an 14 by 10 map, for a grand total of 140 areas to explore and fight enemies in! The storyline is also very interesting, be sure to take your time and read the cut-scene in the beginning of the game and the text in game! In review, the difficulty was perfect and you could choose the difficulty of the game based on your skill with these type of games. I completed the game in “normal” mode first, but I hope to complete “epic” mode in the near future! The gameplay and the storyline was amazing. I loved the simple battle controls and hot-keys. I also enjoyed the fact that you could pick your class and difficulty mode for the game. The music was really nice and was actually a pretty short loop, but looped very well and almost undetectably. The music was also pretty adventurous and provoked thoughts of heroism/adventure. The music also changed depending upon your situation, such as if you were engaged in battle. In addition, the difficulty ramp was pretty good, but I bet that i didn’t feel the effects as much as someone that was playing in “heroic” or epic” mode for example, as the effects were easily countered with investing points wisely and not as much as actually challenging the user much in normal mode. Finally, the replay value of the game was pretty high. This game allowed you to do so much! You could join many, many factions and make many alliances and enemies, all of which change the game a lot! In conclusion, the game was fantastic, Hands of War 2 is one of the best games so far in 2011 and will definitely be on my list at the end of the years of recognition of the best games of 11′!
Hands of War 2 Walkthroughs:
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