Hades Review

There’s not much that may be said about Hades at this time that hasn’t been postulated.  This past year, Supergiant’s Hades came out of early use of critical acclaim, rocketing up many game of the year lists to close the 2022 and it was deserved and needed praise.  While Supergiant has carved out a distinct segment on their own with their highly stylized isometric titles, the developer seems to have taken the lessons learned from Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre to put forth their best effort yet with Hades.

A rouge-like dungeon crawling ARPG, Hades is really a breath of fresh air for any genre that's been well tread during the last couple of years.  The marks of the near perfect game, Hades excels in just about all areas: Gameplay, Art Style, Music, Presentation… the game is teeming with personality and style and it’s just a lot of fun to play.

While last year’s release was limited to laptop computer and Switch, Hades is finally making it’s method to the PlayStation and Xbox consoles, whilst debuting to a massive audience on Game Pass.  The good thing is that Hades hasn’t improved the situation dramatically much within this release.  It has translated to the new consoles with little lost towards the human eye alone.  Actually, if only for the matter of convenience, Hades would be a blast to dig back to on my small PlayStation 5 on my big screen. If you like rogue likes, you don’t need to read much further.  Hades is really a near perfect example of the type of game.  It’s hard to imagine anybody who enjoys this kind of experience to turn away unsatisfied with Hades.

For those who want a bit more, Hades is really as described previously an action role playing game set inside the constraints of the rogue-like formula.  Like modern games in this genre there are plenty of persistent upgrades that’ll help you stay playing, but each run is a which you can “beat” the sport using the random power-ups and abilities which are thrown at you during said run.  The persistent abilities and unlocks that you simply earn with time will make things easier.

In Hades you play as Zagreus, the prince of the Underworld and also the defiant son of Hades.  His quest would be to leave the underworld in the dismay of his father, looking for his mother Persephone.  On the way, Zagreus is along with the Olympians who offer him powerful boons that permit him to battle through four quantity of a underworld.  Like other games by Supergiant, this is an isometric title.  Each room that Zagreus clears offers him distinct benefits for doing this, whether that’s power-ups in the Olympians, currency to purchase items to help, or persistent items that can be spent on upgrades that provide Zagreus to develop stronger.  Each level is end-capped by a powerful boss.  Fighting the right path to the surface is the goal and to do so you’ll are confronted with four distinctly challenging levels and said bosses who roadblock that progress.  Zagreus includes a slew of unlockable weapons that he can use to take on this concern.

While it doesn’t sound much different than many more rogue-like titles, Hades most certainly feels different when you dig in.  Unlike many games of this type, Supergiant succeeds in presenting a compelling narrative and an interesting cast of characters.  Something that is usually missing in games of the type.  Each time that Zagreus fails in his attempt to make it to Greece, he’ll have the opportunity to construct relationships using the many underworld inhabitants.  Nyx, Achilles, Medusa, and much more is going to be there to lend there advice to Zagreus on his quest.  Build said relationships and you’ll earn powerful keepsake items which assist you to in your quest.  It’s a tale that’s masterfully told by Supergiant.  The connection between Zagreus and his father, the Olympians and also the inhabitants of the underworld is one that shows a level of dysfunction that is hardly represented in the source material and lends a level of a relatability towards the cast of characters.  Not have we seen a rogue-like game with your a strong narrative base as we see with Hades.

And it’s supported in the gameplay department too.  Hades is really as enjoyable a dungeon crawler just like any.  Although it may go through a bit mashy when you get lucky enough to build one of the game’s many OP builds, typically the combat is both challenging and fun.  Most rooms have branching paths which let you get different upgrades for your character so no run ever really feels the same.  There are a variety of Olympians that provide Boons to Zagreus and builds can go in almost any quantity of directions on any given run.  That’s area of the fun of Hades.  It’s a “what's going to I recieve this time” kind of game.  There’s plenty of games such as this, however, many of them just aren’t that fun when you don’t get decent weapons or abilities.  With Hades, you can choose a weapon that you want in the beginning after which build around that weapon.  Over the long haul you are able to unlock special power-ups for said weapons, and when you actually dig in to the game you can unlock hidden upgrades and attributes for each weapon by fostering your relationships using the cast of characters in this game.  Hades is nice built on good, built on good.  In the core gameplay to the narrative, towards the unlockables, modifiers and more… everything feels organically implemented that you should unlock and unfold.  While most rogue-like titles do not have pacing, Hades has this incredible pace towards the game have a tendency to seems like you’re working towards something.  And it’s almost always greater than a feeling.  As you become stronger, you can’t help but allow it to be further and further in your journey.

Supergiant has always been known for their incredible focus on the small details of their games and they’ve haven’t yet released a game title yet that hasn’t had both a rocking soundtrack and stellar voice cast.  Hades isn't any different. Once more, the cast of characters who voice this dysfunctional underworld family are incredible and the music is once more a higher point for that experience.  The level design and art style get this to world come to life in a manner that you simply haven’t familiar with this Greek mythos before.  The tales and the characters are conversant for just about any that have delved into Greek mythology, however the way that they're introduced to the player are in such a way that make the content feel fresh.  Hades puts many games to shame, frankly.  Small or big.  There are so many small details that are there only to hammer home that artisanal feel.  Hades feels like it had been made with loving take care of every single aspect of it.

The Verdict

Look, if you have Game Pass this ought to be the first thing you play the moment it releases.  The amount of enjoyment that you’re likely getting from it will cover at least a month of the subscription towards the service.  That said, Game Pass or not, Hades is really a game that you simply shouldn’t miss.  Whatever you like games for, graphics, gameplay, fun factor, it’s got this all in spades with equally exceptional quality wherever you decide to listen to it. If Hades got past you last year for whatever reason, don’t let it manage you again.

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