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Hades

Developer / Publisher: Supergiant Games
17 September 2020
Hades - cover art
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1,790 Ratings / 7 Reviews
#91 All-time
#4 for 2020
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Title
Its a game about hating your dad, fixing your dad's broken marraige, and you can romance a floating head who then politely turns you down because she would prefer to remain friends. Its good.

As Dom from Fast Saga would say, its all about Family.
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A roguelite worthy of gods
Hades is the culmination of SuperGiant's past games, almost feeling like a greatest hits at moments. The combat draws a lot from the simple chaos of Bastion, the story telling from the dynamic dialogue of Pyre and the art style and soundtrack feel closer to Transitor. All of those design principles wrapped up in greek mythology and a roguelite structure that feels very coherent to the story of the game.

You play as zagreus, trying to escape the underworld in each run, with the objective of trying to escape your father and getting in touch with your mother. You must transverse 4 levels of the underworld to reach the surface, and through this transverse you face multiple rooms with enemies and traps. To your aid come the other gods of olympus, giving you power ups that can be upgraded throughout the room, in which you try to piece a synergetic build. The chaotic gameplay means that encounters are fast, and the game controls really well and is satisfying, which is essencial given that 95% of it is combat.

Artstyle is gorgeous and cartoonish, that looks really well still but also in the fast chaotic motion of combat. Soundtrack is also stellar, providing a lot of metal riffs to the fast frenic combat encounters.

The major flaw i can point out is that its not really endlessly replayable as a roguelite, as the powers each god can provide are limited, and with knowledge after a while you will be always striving for a particular build. It still gives plenty of gametime before it reaches that point, and provides plenty of permanent upgrades and story progression post ending to keep things fresh.

As a roguelite experience its not as great as Enter the Gungeon, Slay the Spire or Binding of Isaac, but it essencially elevates itself as a game over those due to the strenght of its core gameplay, story and visuals.
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Threntall 2020-02-29T13:57:24Z
2020-02-29T13:57:24Z
5.0
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Supergiant's played with fire. The result is a hot, attractive spectacle, and a searing disappointment.


Sing to me, o Muse, of Hades,
son of Supergiant, which hurled down
to the House of Death many wasted hours of mine,
better spent recalling Bastion
or replaying Transistor.

Many sing its praises,
and it has won countless prizes
in the contests of men;
yet my chorus is one of lament,
black as my mind fades
in the moments the gears of gameplay
gruelingly grind to a slog,
and the narrative novelty
is nowhere to be found.

Supergiant, a beacon of light
against industry titans long degraded,
one among those giants
that first raised indies
to their rightful place on Mount Olympus,
a bastion of hope in a world
less brave day by day,
less new year by year.
Has it now settled down in its throne,
has it put aside its arms and shield?
Has it taken up its cup, brimming full?

Hades feels less like a fruit of passion, and more like an accident of crisis, a step backwards, a product of pandemic circumstances, an attempt, although very successful, to reach a wider audience in exchange of character: Zagreus, next to Supergiant player characters from before, looks like a soulless intruder from any other franchise. Fit, handsome dude that carries a big sword? How can one forget the moment the voiceless kid woke up, the player surrogate, gray hair and chibi frame, like the other pole of an entire, vast world stretched between him and the omnipresent narrator. And how about the subtle dynamic between the silent singer and the talking blade in Transistor? And don’t get me started on Pyre, where you are a literal and literate (as opposed to illiterate) disabled person, poring over ancient lore in a wobbling wagon, heralding the dawn of the new world one Space Jam basketball game at a time. And Hades’ Zagreus? A headlong teenager-slash-young adult with family issues, sorting it out with his overbearing dad and distant mother? Sure, it’s not necessarily worse, but it betrays a certain shift in attitude. The minimalist otherworldliness that we associate with Supergiant can’t reasonably exist alongside a main character like Zagreus. The player, too, is robbed of the privilege of identifying freely with a silent protagonist, which coupled so brilliantly with the alienation felt towards the crumbling worlds around.

Weaving stories of solitude, silence and solidarity before, with Hades, Supergiant for the first time take up a pre-existing theme and setting, Greek mythology, while giving up everything that made their previous titles truly mythical. As ancient mythology, especially Greek, has been one of the most overexploited venues in gaming, it seems Supergiant trade their unique flair for worldbuilding for brand recognition and broader appeal. Even one of their signatures, the teasingly obscure single-common noun titles are gone: Bastion, Transistor and Pyre made an eternal name for themselves, engraved in the player’s vocabulary and memory, but Hades lays out exactly what it is and the little it can offer. There is, of course, nothing wrong with a game adopting and adapting a source; though, Hades manages to suck the life right out of the world and characters it treats, removing what makes mythology so mystical, epic and titillating at the same time, and replacing it with the bare outline of a sitcom, a lighthearted series centered around a moderately wacky dysfunctional family. A sitcom is the closest thing to the banal experience of playing Hades: a series, consisting of samey episode after episode, none more important than the other, except for the season finale, where something permanent and significant finally happens, yet it doesn’t last long, as right around the corner another season waits, another season with roughly the same cast of one dimensional stock characters, plus or minus one, maybe with new ideas here and there, but sticking to the old formula to a T.

It feels *that* redundant to have to fight your way to the surface ten times, just to be able to see through the main story whose conclusion is long foregone and foreseen. Never before had Supergiant resorted to such narrative indulgences, familiar from subpar television, as petty misunderstandings and obstinately hiding stuff from each other—Zagreus never talks to his father openly at their house, because? He can’t ask his mother to step in for a moment so that they can finish their conversation, because? All this would be okay in the logic of myth, like we see it work so beautifully in Bastion, Transistor and Pyre, where the tip of the iceberg is so evocative that we know for sure that there is an ice giant, a supergiant Atlas underneath, that gives meaning to the gaps in the narrative. Hades, however, giving in to its slice-of-life-simulation and Stardew Valley emulation aspirations, is at best an armada of ice floating past each other, words and sentences of no consequence, faint plotlines with no rhythm, dramatic moments of no weight, decisions involving no stakes. The narrative of Hades *is* the relationships between characters. But they are watered-down shadows of what they could be, and the few relationships that do go somewhere demand upfront a significant workload of going through the motions of the repetitious core gameplay. Little to no plot progression happens during these bouts, as the goal of the main story is to reunite the nuclear family, the goal of the extended game is to reunite with the extended family, and the side goals consist in reuniting a few side characters. In a game like this, one would expect these personal ties to develop in interesting ways crisscrossing with the general narrative. Sadly, there is no depth or flexibility to character interactions in Hades. The only influence you can have on Zagreus’ relationships is in the redistribution of his nectary wealth, and the longest conversation doesn’t stick around for more than a few bite-sized textboxes. This is no problem for a game like Stardew Valley, whose gameplay loops are much more numerous, and chained together in more unpredictable, diverse combinations—interpersonal bonds serve only to enrich the central experience, rather than sustaining and driving it. Games like Persona or Fire Emblem, on the other hand, enjoy the strong force of a linear narrative evolving in tandem with gameplay. The world of Hades, made up of a derivative setting that grows tired fast and characters that can never get too close to you, is stretched out too thinly between the roguelike bookends that it has to support.

Even if it wasn’t for the roguelike structure that disrupts the narrative pulse and prevents central progress from taking place due to its cyclicality, Hades would still pale in comparison to its predecessors. All it can claim to do better is its fluid and diversified combat—but already in Bastion, it was nearly seamless, and already in Transistor, action never got old thanks to enemy and power variety—all Hades adds on top are the elements of chance and bitter recycling. More than anything, Hades reminds me of a visual novel embedded in a MOBA client, like in the League of Legends Spirit Blossom and Ruination events. But the pure mechanical pleasure of play and outplay is better savored in multiplayer, and unlike some other roguelikes, the variation from run to run in Hades is so low that each run winds up feeling like another match, just maybe with another champion who looses arrows instead of casting spells. Its much-lauded soundtrack is forgettable, especially in the face of the monumental achievement that was Bastion’s music, whose melodies and beats still ring out today, each inseparable from their levels, with two solo vocal performances, raw gems, that will stand the test of time. While satisfactory overall, the voice acting in Hades cannot come close to the plaintive tranquility of Transistor’s antagonist, or the somber, sorrowful sincerity of the sword, or the original narrator in Bastion that shook the gaming world’s foundations and started a narrator craze. As for Pyre, who can forget the bespoke credits song, or the duet hymns that accompany the climactic rites? The music in Hades blends into the background perfectly, in harmony with the noise on screen, the same rooms and enemies that the player has to face time and again in their endless toil.

That extra touch of creative daring and attention is noticeably lacking in Hades, which gave Bastion its sublime scene of compassion, gave Transistor its mechanics infused with poignant story, and gave Pyre its inimitable aura of ceremony. Even the brushwork is more lax, the designs less detailed, environments simpler, more similar to art styles of other games, to cartoons. Even the main menu is sort of nondescript, isn’t it? It dabbles in Greek mythology, but refuses to go all in—there is no Lord God Apollo, no Hephaestus, no Tantalus in Tartarus, no Ixion, not nearly enough unique encounters to last even ten victorious escapes. And in the end, all we get for the credits sequence is the static animation of a boat going down the river Styx, while in Bastion, Transistor and Pyre, the credits were stories in and of themselves. It’s as if Hades is unwilling to be itself to the fullest, to make something of itself, something beyond gears to grind to death, forever and ever.

Perhaps the punishment of Sisyphus was the inspiration for Hades, an otherwise uninspired game that brings together the distinct repetitive appeals of action rogulikes and life simulators that can be played fondly infinitely and indefinitely. After all, one must imagine Sisyphus happy.

Yet, even for Sisyphus, Hades must leave much to be desired. Playing it is not a labor of love, but an exercise in futility. Sisyphus’ boulder smiles wide with a face of his own, but Hades struggles to put his real face on even tens of hours in, gazing blankly behind a procedurally generated mask of chaos, beckoning with empty promises. It is a genre experiment that succeeded popularly but failed in terms of personal memorability, sacrificing all that made Supergiant supergiant, their freeform games always unlike anything else. Tragically, Hades brings together many themes and genres, from roguelike to hack and slash, from dating sim to household management, Greek mythology to family drama and sitcom, but it ends up being the most generic of all.

I’m aware that Hades holds many treasures for those looking to keep themselves busy, lulled at every turn by a narrative conceit that even after tens of hours, refuses to let itself go. But that is what playing Hades feels like to me: business, busywork, needless dilution of content. Bastion was so dear to me when it came out, and I finished it three times over the years without once tiring of it—I was so impressed, it led me to publish a fanzine where I almost gave it a ten. It changed the way I thought, the way I felt about games. Hades is generic, tiring and unexciting, looking at it the way I’ve been looking at games ever since Bastion. I am sad to see Supergiant go down a different path than the one that brought us these wonderful games so far.

Hades fails to live up to the legacy of the classics that Bastion, Transistor and Pyre have become; nor does it do justice to classical myth, managing to turn it into something mundane and monotonous.

With all this in mind, I give this game my classicist’s rating of “lament it”.
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Theomedes 2021-11-27T13:47:56Z
2021-11-27T13:47:56Z
2.0
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Although I don't enjoy reducing my thoughts and impressions to a monolithic numerical rating, I feel like it is par for the course here; hence the score you see, reflecting as best it can my relationship with Hades.
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Addicting and intuitive roguelite with frenetic hack' n' slash combat and a moderate level of challenge. The cartoony design and colorful graphics are usually not my thing, but it really helps your eye find out what's going on in all the mess. Even though you keep dying and restarting all over again, the different weapons and random boons can dramatically change your playing style with each playthrough. It might start to feel monotonous on your 40th attempt or so, as you will begin to memorize patterns and end up picking up the same upgrades.

I had a blast until the final boss, but my interest exponentially dropped after finding out that I had to beat the game nine more times to get the real ending.
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manicure 2021-11-16T12:44:36Z
2021-11-16T12:44:36Z
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I can see why people love Hades, and I myself spent a whole weekend playing it kind of intensely before being done. It's another one of those "roguelite" games which keeps the random dungeons and powerups but ameliorates the difficulty by letting you unlock permanent upgrades instead of kicking you when you're down. The fast and intuitive gameplay also makes for something that can quickly become engrossing. But the game doesn't have as much variety as it initially lets on, at least in terms of enemies, stages, or weapons to play with. You will only spend more time with it than necessary if you're invested in the story, which is a sort of twee re-interpretation of the myth of Hades and Perseophone, with various other Greek gods in supporting roles. There's even a bit of dating sim stuff, and the characters were clearly designed to be easy on the eyes. But the story's ambitions actually feel constrained by the roguelike structure, and the dialogue isn't outstanding enough to be worth experiencing on its own. As a whole, Hades is a very attractive package, but it's too shallow to stay gratifying in the long term.
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screechdreams 2021-10-10T06:14:59Z
2021-10-10T06:14:59Z
3.0
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I'll have to admit, Supergiant Games have gone a long way since Bastion which was their first game and released 10 years ago, I had a friend in college who loved Bastion, and would go on how great the story and music was, and a few years after it was on PC it ended up coming to PS4 when I played it. Bastion was decent, but it got repetitive and the level design left a bit to be desired, but it had potential and the story was pretty solid. Well over the years I kind of lost touch with them, when Transistor came out, it didn't interest me like Bastion and I heard it was a step down and I sort of left these guys out of my radius for a good 5 or 6 years after I played Bastion. Then last year a game called Hades released and it started getting a lot of attention around E3, especially with the heated Last of Us 2 controversy and many gamers and media arguing that Hades was the true game of the year and even IGN awarding Hades GOTY. Hades was the game the made Supergiant Games a household name and now they had the attention of millions.

About a year later, Hades ended up coming to the main consoles, and well the best way I can describe the game is it's super addicting and it is setup where you can progress fast and it doesn't feel like you ever waste time. The goal of the game is to clear through 4 areas of the game and beat a boss at the end of each area, along the way you can pick up powers for your weapon and abilities to assist you as well as increase your power, health, and upgrade points for when you are in the main hub. Basically you go through a series of rooms in each area that will contain an item either an upgrade, ability, health, etc., and after you clear the room you are presented a choice of 2 or 3 rooms that have a symbol that you can choose depending what you want to upgrade then you clear that room out you rinse and repeat until you reach the boss. Some rooms have a merchant where you can buy upgrades and others have characters who can upgrade your abilities. At the end of each area there is a boss that gives you a powerful upgrade item when you defeat. At the end of the final area you fight the final boss, then you basically reset to the beginning. If you die anywhere in your run, you go back to the beginning area but keep your points to upgrade your abilities permanently. Many of these are vital and key to progressing, like giving you resurrects after you die, increasing your health, giving you the ability to heal by collecting certain items. Also you can talk to various NPCs in the main hub, upgrade your weapons later on in the game, customize what abilities you want and change the aesthetics of the hub.

When you are ready to begin a new run after you beat the game once, you can add additional challenges and handicaps to get more resources, like increasing enemies health and adding extra armor to enemies. The runs are pretty short and if you get good abilities, you can easily beat a run in 45 minutes or possibly even less. Each area is roughly around 10 minutes. What's fun is that each run is different, you get different abilities, different upgrade paths, and you can explore different weapons which each have unique movesets and upgrades. There are a total of 6 weapons you can use, although I really found 2 or 3 of them to be useful while the others kind of feel a bit difficult to use or not as powerful. The thing about Hades is that when you get good abilities and good run its addicting because you want to destroy everything and see how fast you can clear rooms and bosses. When you're doing bad in a run and die before you reach the final boss, its still addicting because how short each run is and the upgrades you pick up on the bad run still stay with you so you can upgrade in the hub.

I guess my main problem with Hades is that it really doesn't offer a whole lot of variety in design. You go through the same 4 areas and pretty much put that on infinite repeat. Sure you can play around with different weapons, abilities, upgrades, but the enemies are still the same, the areas still look the same, the bosses are still roughly the same, except the first area they will occasionally give you a different version of the same boss. After you beat the game 10 times you end up getting credits and beating the game. There is additional things you can explore liking giving gifts to the various characters and exploring new dialogue, and there are tons of dialog in this game, everytime you die or beat the game characters get new dialog. The story is pretty basic for the most part, and nothing super deep. This game is more about the gameplay and atmosphere. And the music is pretty good too, very catchy and upbeat. The other problem I have is that there is just too much grinding required if you want to see everything, each run you only get so much darkness and keys to upgrade, and to upgrade the hub you'll need different material and if you're lucky you'll maybe get 50 of that in a single run, and many of those upgrades cost 100-200 and there are dozens of these, that means you'll need dozens if not nearly 100 runs to get all the upgrades for the house as well as fully upgrade your weapons and abilities. If you are a completionist this is a nightmare because you'll easily run over 100 hours trying to max upgrade everything. But even as a non-completionist its still a lot of grinding just to get the good upgrades and unlock everything. I've played for about 15 hours maybe and I still haven't unlocked all the abilities or upgrades, and am not even close to having them all unlocked. And I cleared the game about 4 times only.

So Hades is super fun addicting and easily this studios best game, but it just gets a bit repetitive after you've beat it enough times and seeing the same enemies and bosses. Sure the game does give the bosses new abilities after a few runs, but they fight mostly the same. The game does have some fun weapons to play around with and cool abilities, but I just wish there were more variety and the game could have been a bit longer. I know it couldn't be too long because if you die after a run then you could go back hours instead of just 30 minutes, but they could have added 2 areas maybe that are 45 min each instead of just the one. Maybe after you beat the game 10 times and unlock all the abilities and weapons you unlock a new World as a reward. I hope Supergiant does something like that because they got a good formula with this, and Hades is probably the most fun I've had playing a game in a while for the first few hours. But I feel like its one of those games after you do a few runs and unlock the best weapons and abilities that it is one you pick up every once in a while for a little fun, but its not one I can consistently play for weeks on end.
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Catalog

Xalechim Hades 2022-09-28T01:21:31Z
2022-09-28T01:21:31Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pdrmz Hades 2022-09-27T15:51:33Z
2022-09-27T15:51:33Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
milesflikke Hades 2022-09-27T10:48:43Z
2022-09-27T10:48:43Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
smuggler09 Hades 2022-09-27T07:43:45Z
Switch
2022-09-27T07:43:45Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Projekt_Cloudz Hades 2022-09-27T02:34:21Z
2022-09-27T02:34:21Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ca_Game Hades 2022-09-26T20:57:35Z
Windows / Mac
2022-09-26T20:57:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Roguelite
hotcoldwave Hades 2022-09-26T19:50:23Z
2022-09-26T19:50:23Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DavidSS Hades 2022-09-26T02:22:18Z
2022-09-26T02:22:18Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Aysenthesys Hades 2022-09-26T01:54:51Z
2022-09-26T01:54:51Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
bup02 Hades 2022-09-25T23:39:11Z
2022-09-25T23:39:11Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
boekplate Hades 2022-09-25T22:11:06Z
Windows / Mac
2022-09-25T22:11:06Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SeNor_Salt Hades 2022-09-25T20:08:12Z
2022-09-25T20:08:12Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Early access date
06 dec 2018
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  • Previous comments (77) Loading...
  • buchi 2022-08-07 21:49:38.274994+00
    It's fun but gets boring quickly lol. No chance I'm replaying it after my first successful run.
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  • Brandon657 2022-08-09 05:02:16.494846+00
    pretty much. not enough enemy variety or room variety to justify being a roguelike.
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  • King_Naija 2022-08-18 20:48:36.383204+00
    My only fault with this game is no DLC. A weird complaint but I would've loved an expansion that added like 2 to 3 more gods with a whole new area of the underworld. A new biome would be so refreshing.
    reply
    • King_Naija 2022-08-18 20:49:32.701311+00
      Sadly supergiant doesn't do extra content like that so there's no use of asking.
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  • catfish72 2022-08-21 00:17:33.418312+00
    holy mid batman
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  • yeule 2022-08-29 03:44:40.638066+00
    one of my favorite games of all time but yeah i would have liked DLC lol
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  • Aysenthesys 2022-09-26 01:56:50.679649+00
    Took me about 15 runs to beat Hades for the first time. I felt relieved. Apparently you have to beat the thing about 10 times to get the "true ending". No way. I had a lot of fun with it, but it can feel longish and repetitive after a few runs.
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  • babyclav 2022-09-26 01:59:59.486324+00
    tumblrcore
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  • kaibo 2022-09-26 11:15:11.27403+00
    i dont get this game at all.
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