Hades Review – Action and Mythology in Hell

After the resounding success of Hades in 2020, Supergiant’s phenomenal game is also launching on consoles. Bringing some welcome improvements for console gamers, the title becomes a must-play game for those who want to try the roguelike genre. Read on in this review to find out all that Hades has to offer. 

Story

The premise of the game is quite simple: Zagreus, son of Hades, god of Hell, wants to escape his father’s influence and escape the realm of death. Unsurprisingly, it’s not that easy to escape Hell, even for a god. Hades has placed enemies, traps, and many other obstacles to prevent any soul from escaping his domain. Thus, the game’s roguelike mechanics come into play, where the Inferno transforms with each Zagreus escape attempt, but the game’s story advances with new information, avoiding the monotony associated with each run.

A parental encouragement worthy of the god of Hell

The characters in the game are mostly well-known mythological characters such as gods, demi-gods or even long-ago heroes like Achilles. They are extremely well written and have superb dialogue, but more on that later. Also, Zagreus’ quest is seen by the gods of Olympus who join the prince.

The game’s story isn’t the best part, it’s pretty rudimentary. Also, the portrayal of Hades is quite clichéd, as he is a strict father and a character that everyone is afraid of, which has been seen in dozens of other portrayals. However, the story is told like a mythological tale, with the player discovering something new with each attempt at the prince’s escape, which is very enjoyable for mythology buffs.

Gameplay

The title’s gameplay is what makes Hades particularly addictive. Through the roguelike formula, where the character’s death brings him back to the beginning of the game, Zagreus feels the weight of escaping Hell. The integration of mechanics into the story is particularly well done, which increases the immersion of the game.

With each escape attempt, the player will encounter new enemies, new weapons and different powers granted by the gods who help Zagreus. So every run will be different, and I can tell you that in the 30 hours I’ve already played, I’ve never encountered the same room twice. Of course, each area of the game, four in total, has a boss at the end, but even these present some welcome surprises.

Choosing abilities granted by Dionysus, God of Wine

The game does an excellent job of mitigating the monotony of the genre by introducing mechanics one at a time. As such, it’s particularly difficult, if not impossible, for a player to escape the first few attempts in Inferno. Needless to say, Hades has enormous replayability. Each run being different, it will be a long time before the game becomes repetitive, players can thoroughly enjoy it.

However, it should be noted that Hades is not a game for everyone. It is quite hard, and perhaps the roguelike mechanics are not appreciated by some players. We also tested the game on the PlayStation 5, and while it moved splendidly, there were instances where frames per second dropped during the game’s exhilarating action. Nevertheless, the gameplay is very engaging and well put together.

Graphics

The game’s graphics match the atmosphere perfectly. The art-style is fantastic, being a combination of hand-drawn rooms and 3D character models. The combination provides a pleasing aesthetic to the eye, and sets it apart from most games. The characters are also very well drawn and rendered on screen, and the special effects are very good.

Infernul, pus în perspectivă

Graphical bugs were few and far between, usually associated with the large number of enemies appearing on screen, but not at all annoying. The game also runs great and looks spectacular.

Sound

This is where Hades really excels. The game’s soundtrack is phenomenal. A combination of epic ambient music and rousing rock during combat make for a memorable sound experience. But it’s not the soundtrack that’s most surprising, it’s the dialogue. Besides the voice actors doing an excellent job, with each character having a distinct character and feeling, the dialogue is of the best possible quality.

King of the Olympian gods, helping Zagreus

In total, Hades has about 21 thousand lines of dialogue that change depending on the prince’s adventure. If he meets Athena first, for example, if he meets Aphrodite after some time, she will make a remark about the goddess of Wisdom. Thus the game remains new and seems to be constantly evolving. Besides the number, the dialogue is very well written and captures the soul of the characters and the game.

Atmosphere

Hades has a very well-defined atmosphere. For those who are fond of mythology, the game will feature familiar locations, characters and monsters that make Hell a very realistic representation. From the mention of the legendary weapons used in the war between gods and titans, to the narrator’s remarks and Zagreus’ counter-arguments to them, the atmosphere grabs you.

A moment of respite between zones

Few of the game’s moments took me out of immersion. But most of the time, I stayed glued to the TV playing, even forgetting to take screenshots sometimes for use in this review. Overall, the atmosphere in Hades is enjoyable and very good, but it has a few shortcomings due to the roguelike mechanics. Thus, although this is implemented in the story, it sometimes leaves question marks with reference to certain parts of the game.

Conclusion

Hades is a superb game. It richly deserves all the awards and accolades it has received, and for those who didn’t get to play it last year, porting it to Xbox and PlayStation consoles is another chance. Although it is quite hard and may pose a hurdle for many who want to try it, Hades is definitely worth a try.

Our criteria at Games Row for rating games are as objective as can be. Of course, reviews are influenced (also) by personal experiences. So our ratings may not meet everyone’s expectations.

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