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Hades review
by NafaryusDestiny

Hades is the perfected "rogue-lite" formula. Supergiant deftly weaves gameplay and story together, creating impactful moments narratively and mechanically.

There's so much to talk about here, but I want to focus on two things: how well it pulls off the rogue-lite formula, and how well it tells a story at the same time. If you're unfamiliar with rogue-lites, they're a genre of game where you have to clear the game in a single attempt while grabbing upgrades along the way. You likely won't win on your first try, but you'll learn something and be better prepared for the next attempt.

I've long held that Binding of Isaac is the peak of the rogue-lite genre for numerous reasons: variety, meaningful choices, and synergies. Hades has a healthy amount of variety between each run, but not so much that you're dying to RNG every time. Hades has freedom to choose your playstyle, with multiple choices both before and during each run that culminate in satisfying displays of your power. Hades also has powerful synergies between effects and upgrades, allowing for further experimenting and customization in each run. All of these aspects are compounded 6 unique weapons that each provide unique playstyles that you choose before each run.

Then there's story. The basic premise is that you must escape from the underworld, and each death has you taking the River Styx back to the depths of Tartarus. There's plenty of Greek mythos to immerse yourself into, but the important part is how they tie every aspect of a traditional rogue-like to these story elements. Upgrades are blessings from the Olympians; bosses are mythological figures payed by your father to keep you from reaching the surface, weapons are from epic tales, the memebers of Hades' court of the dead greet you with enthusiasm every time you die, and everyone has personality. There's thousands upon thousands of dialogue lines in the game, and it wasn't until 60+ hours in that I heard a single repeated line. Dialogue is similar to Bastion's narrator, commenting on your choices throughout each run, or your deaths from previous escape attempts.

If you're a fan of Supergiant's previous game, fast-paced action RPG's, rogue-lites, or even visual novels, Hades has something for you and is worth every penny of it's $25 price tag.

Other reviews5

I've reached the credits and dumped more than three dozen hours into this game, so I'm considering it completed. I know there's an epilogue that I'll get to sooner rather than later, but I do want to move onto other games to some degree.

A lot has been said about this game and it's all been said before. The reactiveness of the characters is mind-blowing, the story is more a story than a narrative but fits not only the style of game but the medium of video games perfectly. It avoids the common roguelike problem where you just kinda... stop when you're done with the game by giving you specific gameplay goals and narrative justifications to continue. Tons of hashtag #content but, rather than just filling up time, they all have little sidestories and lore attached that you can actually view without reading a wiki like in Pyre and Transistor - two of the biggest failings of those games IMO.

Really this feels like the culmination of everything Supergiant has done so far, to the point where each previous game was like a "test" of how to put this all together. The ensemble cast and character portraits of Pyre, the reactive story of Pyre, the weapons and combat or Bastion, the music stems changing on the fly like Transistor, the style of lore and setting of Transistor - yeah it's not the same setting but it does the same thing where it's a unique spin of a common setting. It even continues the themes that I think Supergiant has been so good at tackling so far - using the video game medium to tell stories of cycles of pain. Zagreus is just as stubborn and withdrawn as Hades and it affects both of them. The gods constantly stab each other in the back and then pretend everything is ok at the drop of a hat, Hades and Persephone included even though they pretend to be above it. You actually get more out of the narrative from replaying it, since continued replays reinforce the narrative theme in interesting ways.

The only thing that doesn't excite me too much is the soundtrack. It's solid, but Bastion and Transistor are some of my favorites ever, even if I wasn't as keen on Transistor's gameplay as Bastion or Hades. This just kind of ends at "solid." Even the use of changing around stems on the fly was much more impressive in Transistor, both thematically and technically speaking.
I love this rougelike. Superb voice acting, a fresh gameplay loop, and intriguing characters. The hand-painted visuals are gorgeous, and the action is so fun, it draws you in. Dying is more or less an opportunity, almost desirable. I can't wait to find out the true ending.
«Can’t stop playing»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
This game is Magical.

Supergiant Games just keep making these wonderful experiences! Hades is Exceptional in almost all regards. It feels like the next evolution of a Roguelite that even rivals Giants such as Dead Cells.
The core is that the gameplay is just fun on its own and has such deep combination and variation that reruns almost always feel different. But on top of that and the gorgous visuals, Hades true achievement is its story. Despite being a repeptetive Roguelite it tells a well writen, charming and engaging Story of the Family around Zagreus (son of Hades) in a 'Mature Disneys Hercules' style and it's simply enchanting.

This game is magical and deserves every praise it gets :-)
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
The best roguelike ever made. Completely confident and fun and it somehow found a way to approach the roguelike genre with more than a one-note story. It's a game that pushes me to keep attempting to escape from hell and then rewarding me even for the most pitiful attempts with permanent upgrades and new story events and character moments. And everytime you hurl yourself out the window with weapon in hand you learn a little more and never feel unrewarded for your time.