Hades is a life-like action NGO where the story is as important as fighting.
Unlike them, Supergiant’s previous games — Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion — are all summarized in the same way. Story, art, music, voice-over, atmosphere? A+. Fighting? Type B-. Hades feels like a response to that, a Supergiant game that focuses on combat and lifts it to the absolute top. This is not a good one because you’ve looked at the score, but they’ve nailed it. It’s a great fight.
Hades is also not short of us on other things, although it can be easily there. It’s a roguelike, or a roguelike, or an action NGO with permadeath. Whatever you call it, it’s a genre where the story is just a thing, or hidden in a legend encyclopedia or in other words in the back seat — the back seat of one of those cars has a window separated from the driver.
Not so in Hades, where every character is fully voiced and has much to say after each run. You are Zagreus, son of death, prince of the underworld. You believe that the whole thing of “rule in Hell” is overestimated, so with the help of your distant Olympian family, you will fight through every shade, rage, and other legendary monsters between you and the surface to escape. Because fuck your father, that’s why.
The best Greek myths are about gods and heroes, and when ordinary mortals are involved with them, they will recede the fairy tales of whether you should obey your odd husband no matter what because he could be the West Wind. Hades knew this and focused on legendary figures such as Athens and Achilles, drawing them with extensive classical lines. My lover Dionysus, the god of wine, hedonism, and everyone was like great, but everyone from Megaera to the regional Sisyphus came alive, with a solid voice and art as they came out of the Mike Mignola comics.
When other games come up with the story as a reward for success, Hades uses it to reward failure. With each death, Zagreus was sent back to Hades’ House, where his father judged the spirits and legends gathered. Take around the court to see what they will say (and pat Cerberus), allowing you to relax and breathe after your latest death that makes your hands tremble. When I die in The Dead Cell, I want to get rid of it, but in Hades, its sting is immediately removed because I am chatting with an incarnate of darkness and watching what happens to Orpheus. Then, back in this area, I bought another round of upgrades and tried again.
At the start of each run, you choose a legendary weapon, such as an Aegis shield, that accepts a benefit, such as a weapon from Dionysus to increase hangover damage (read as “poisonous”) for your attacks and enter the first of the three realms of the underworld. They are made up of random chambers, where a number of enemies appear, you defeat them, collect rewards, and enter the next chamber.
Attack and dethron the gods
All weapons are unique. Hold the attack with a shield and you will block it, then rush forward. Its special allows you to fight it off enemies then catch it as Hellenic Captain America. The spear can also be thrown and recovered, but only returns when ordered, allowing you to re-position first and arrange new shades to skewer, while its holding attack is a swirl of effects. Then there’s Adamant Rail, literally a gun, complete with grenade launcher attachments.
In addition, you have a long-range attack called the cast and can unlock the call, a supreme thing best sized by any god you are indebted to it earned by filling up a god gauge. I often forget calls because that measuring bar doesn’t stand out underneath the attention-attracting red health bar, although sometimes a pop-up text will remind me (maybe because the game knows I rarely use this).
The real star in your arsenal is a dash that can take you past enemies and objects while combining with attacks to create a fast attack. Anyone responsible for time and animation should pat themselves because the plunge feels great, whether used to smash his back against a skeleton or to squeeze through a pole as soon as the minotaur rushes, so he stabs his bull into a large marble instead of me.
Manolycies are essential, not only to avoid attacks, but also to set up walls to inflict additional damage, activate traps then plunge out of the blast zone and knock down support columns to take down the masons. Catching the beat, launching a combined blow then zooming around the battlefield as if I were having wings on my sandals, put me in such a focused state that I didn’t notice the soundtrack emphasizing the action. If a game can distract me from the concussion-making Darren Korb then it’s doing everything right.
What Hades’ battle reminds me of is bastion’s dream challenges, especially when playing with quirky weapon combinations at the end of the battle. The battle of Bastion is considered its weakness, but my interesting thing about a game from 2011 is that the fight takes place really and Hades feels like an evolution of it — can only plead with the gods in Hades to bless instead of the curse and can buy mid-run upgrades as well as return to your center.
I should talk about upgrades, right? Gold coins, the eye cover of the dead, can be used at Charon’s store when it appears in a room for temporary support and healing, while pieces of darkness can be used in Hades’ House for permanent upgrades, such as damage to the burden or the ability to defy death and return to a half-health state when you fell. Gems bought for central renovation as well as for the underworld, additional rooms with healing tanks or smashable vases for obols.
I haven’t even mentioned diamonds, titanium blood and other currencies later in the game. It sounds a bit much, but it’s given at a uniform pace and steady improvements that feel balanced with my own improvement when I play. As soon as I got used to using attacks into my dash-based tactics, I bought an upgrade to do more damage to anyone I use. There was a balance between its rewards and my own skills, both of which pushed me further. That was the time I was most involved with the roguelike’s upgraded tree since Rogue Legacy.
That’s half what got me back to Hades, and the other half is the story of Zagreus going on. He could easily become the protagonist of the worst-flavored video game, an angry rage who is smoldering with general rage. Instead, it was his father Hades, a gato scones Santa, who spent the day screaming at the paperwork and whining about his underlings, who took on the role. The lovely Zagreus, with a witty sense of humor, and when Hades sarcastically asked how the latest attempt at destroying the kingdom went, he replied, “My search was fun, thanks for asking.” The prince also seemed to be a decent person, listening to the nuances as they talked about their deaths, appreciating the servant, who was also a slit-throated head, and noting who was the employee of the day while saying, hey, well. for you, Achilles.
Sure, I want every run to end in victory, but I also want to buy that musical rack for the throne room, unlock all the moths, and see how this romantic side thing unfolds. Like Orpheus, I look back, only different from him, I am happy to continue repeating this cycle.