Hades Review – To Hell And Back, Again And Again

The first time I beat the final boss in Hades, I felt an enormous sense of relief. I’d been fighting to see this ending for hours (months, technically, if you count my time in early access), and in roguelikes, it feels better than usual to see an ending. But while I was definitely a little too proud of putting together a set of abilities and perks that shredded the boss after they wrecked me just a few tries ago, that wasn’t why I felt tears welling up. I’d gotten so caught up in the story of my character, Zagreus, and the heroes, villains, and gods that had helped him here that I was elated to have finally gotten him to the end of his journey. What sets Hades apart isn’t just that it’s a great roguelike with the kind of repeatable depth that makes it engrossing to play for hours, but also how it uses its structure to tell an ongoing story about family, secrets, and resolution.

That Hades’ narrative is so entwined with its combat is nothing new for the developers at Supergiant Games, who’ve established themselves as masters of putting your actions in sync with the stories they tell. In a roguelike such as Hades, it means playing as Zagreus, a god of rebirth. Tired of living under his father Hades’ thumb and seeking answers about where he comes from, he sets out to escape to the world of the living, battling various undead monsters, living creatures, and mythological figures on his way out.

Hades captured on Nintendo Switch
Hades captured on Nintendo Switch

Your godliness justifies the endless runs through the depths of the underworld, since dying and coming back to life is par for the course in Greek myth. One of the best parts of Hades, in fact, is returning to the House of Hades time and again after you die. It’s not just a pit stop on the way to the next run–it’s the centerpiece Hades hinges on. There, figures such as Achilles, Hypnos, and Nyx console you after your deaths, praise you for making progress, and confide in you about one another. You chat with them, undertake side quests, and exchange gifts to deepen your relationships. Eventually, they become vital allies on your quest, even if they’re not in the thick of combat with you.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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