Supergiant Games are no strangers to making a good game. Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre are all bangers in their own right.
But Hades really is something very special indeed. This game is the sum total of everything this clever and creative development team have learned over the last decade. They’ve maintained that passion and desire for weaving an effective and compelling narrative. Understanding how to tell that story just right and make it an integral part of the adventure.
That’s what’s so immediately unique about this procedurally-generated loot and slasher. Yes, ultimately, you move from room to room, fighting bosses, killing creatures, and collecting shiny stuff, but sometimes you’ll stumble across a point of interest which tells you a bit about the dank depravity surrounding you.
Another time you’ll be able to instigate a conversation that helps paint a picture about a character, and throughout each run you’ll be able to benefit from unique gifts from Gods willing to help you out.
Every time you learn something different about the world you’re trying to escape. Which is a good thing because that’s not exactly clear when you set off on your first run. You get there’s some dissension between Hades and his son, Zagreus, and that not all is well at home with all his subjects, but Supergiant Games choose to prolong the mystery.
Personally, that’s the thing I most love about Hades. It’s a typical rogue-lite in that you’re going to die a lot and will have to gradually work your way through the Underworld step by step, but there’s no such thing as a pointless run. You’ve either honed your skills or you’ve uncovered a new nugget of information.
Supergiant Games have found a way to keep the game interesting, which is a huge stumbling block many Roguelites have faced and has kept them from aging as well as they might have liked. They have found a way to weave their high-quality storytelling into a genre that hasn’t conventionally relied upon it.
Not just that, but they’ve done it in such a way that it feels like every game that follows will now have to embrace some form of storytelling because it has rejuvenated the genre in such a positive way.
Hades doesn’t just rely on its story to carry itself, though. Before you begin each run, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of weapons – each one handling incredibly differently. And in fact, it’s set off a series of debates online as to which weapon works best.
Some say the bow is the weakest, whereas I actually found I made the most progress when using it. There’s an incredible shield – reminiscent of Captain America’s own – which you can throw and bounce between multiple enemies.
You’ve also got equipment like a spear and a sword, each one working in well in close range. It’s up to you what you want to experiment with and where you feel most comfortable. Some weapons definitely work better against some enemies than others.
And that’s all part of the learning curve of Hades. The game won’t spell everything out for you – you ultimately need to be the one to figure out how to escape the Underworld and that often requires an effective cocktail of buffs, spending your money wisely – both during runs and at home – as well as using the right weapon and understanding the rhythm of each boss. All that comes from time, patience, skill, and a little bit of luck.
I love Hades. This game has given me a greater appreciation for roguelikes than I’ve ever had before. It blends my love of storytelling through witty dialogue and well-developed characters and marries it with fast-paced, well-balanced action.
Even if you don’t make it to the end, you’ll still get a mostly complete picture of the story as you plough through run after run.
I feel the thrill of winning each battle, delicately choosing which room to move onto, feeling the twists and turns in the story, and building up the world around me in my own image. I haven’t got to the end yet – I’ve come close but there’s still work to do – but I know I’m going to keep coming back to this game. Time after time, day after day.
This year continues to give us amazing games as well as a whole new generation of consoles. And yet, here I am, hopelessly hooked on this wonderful take on Greek Mythology.
I love scratching Cerberus behind the ear, standing behind Hades much to his continued annoyance, and continuously killing the target skeleton over again and again.
This world is just so much fun to explore. From skimming the scorching lava on boats, to weaving between broken pillars in the midst of epic battle.
I’ve been waiting years for Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla looks like so much fun, but I think, when it’s all said and done, Hades is going to be my Game of the Year.
I’ve struggled to make time to write this article because I just can’t stop playing. I feel like I’ve seen enough to make a judgement, then the game throws another curveball and makes me see things a different way.
Hades is incredible. Every inch of it memorable, and writing this review has just talked me into doing another run. Supergiant Games have made their masterpiece, and it is wonderful.
+ The writing is first class
+ Each weapon feels so different, making each run so unique
+ So incredibly addictive
+ Wonderful cel-shaded like aesthetic
+ Sensational score and voice acting
– This game won’t go easy on you
Hades is now available on PC and Switch
Code kindly provided by Supergiant Games
Tested on Switch