Hades is a rogue-lite action role playing game developed and published by Supergiant Games. The same studio behind other well known entries in the rogue-like sub-genre like Bastion (2011), Transistor (2014) and Pyre (2017). Hades was originally released in December 2018 but was still in early access stage until it was officially released for Microsoft Windows, MacOS and Nintendo Switch in September, 2020. Supergiant Games have been known for presentation of their games, and this game offered just that.
The game is loosely base on Greek Mythology and follows the protagonist Zagreus who is the son of Hades, God of the Underworld, in his quest to escape the underworld to uncover the truth of his birth mother. He is aided by several major and minor Olympian Gods, and several other notable figures in Greek Mythology in his journey in the form of boons. Every boon provided by the numerous Olympian Gods and other characters, like Achilles, have the option to be upgraded and used as a means to progress further in an effective and an efficient way. The game has a simple yet vividly explained premise in terms of story but the way it delivers the end game is what stands out in the end.
Visual and art direction
The game is presented in an isometric view with the player in control of Zagreus. It is built extremely well with exceptional attention to detail on level design and depiction of the various characters in different stages of the game. The game’s animated visuals is what allows it to drive its narration in such a seamless and a fluid manner. The game falls in line with the developers aesthetic presentation of their previous entries in this genre and it is an absolute delight to look at.
The voice acting provided by the cast goes a long a way in controlling the narrative and creating a lasting impact on the players. Each Olympian gods’ voice is a refreshing take on their personalities and offers a fresh perspective on them. The dialogues for every characters are well written and does more than enough to keep the player fixed to the ongoing and ever-evolving conversation.
Supergiant Games’ emphasis on the lore of each character lays a solid foundation in understanding every supporting characters role in Zagreus’ quest to escape the underworld. There is perspective provided as to why each character is aiding Zagreus in his journey thereby revealing their ulterior motives behind their actions for some, if not for everyone.
The game follows arena based hack & slash gameplay where the player faces a plethora of foes wave after wave in every chamber on Zagreus’ way to escape the underworld. The player goes through different biomes of the underworld wherein each biome has a variety of foes to slay with increasing level of difficulty. The gameplay mechanics are simple and satisfying and take little to no time to in getting used to it.
The controls are relatively simple and easy to get used to. Having played on the Mouse & Keyboard and the controller, I can positively say that it’s just a matter of time until you get comfortable to either of them. One added benefit that players would get on the controller is the aim assist which can be turned off depending on the players taste.
The control bindings are customizable (on either mediums) and can be reconfigured to the players convenience during gameplay as well. There was no noticeable lag or latency between pressing of the buttons and the actions performed in the game and offers a seamless experience consistently.
The games’ offering on the music front is vastly addictive and offers the perfect amount of highs to get your adrenaline pumping while the gameplay gets intense. Very reminiscent of the Doom series and can be placed in the same spectrum even if it doesn’t reach the levels that Bethesda Studios attained with Doom. There is a considerable amount of depth provided and successfully accomplishes it’s desired effect on players.
The games’ completion attains fruition when Zagreus finally meets his birth mother if one is looking at it from a point of view of “finishing” the game. But, the game has so much more to offer than that. From unlocking different weapon upgrades to keeping the conversation relevant to the storyline with every available character, you just wont be satisfied with “completing” the game just once.
The game is built in such a way that it wants you to fail, but at the same time, it does not demotivate you but rather hooks you on even further to better your previous attempt. The games’ strong narrative also compliments the combat by advancing the plot every time you die.
All in all, Hades is an extremely fun and addictive game where there is always scope for enhancing the narrative and the combat which makes you feel like the grind should not stop until you’ve unlocked all that the game has to offer. If you haven’t played the game yet, I recommend that you get to it as soon as possible!