This game is available on both PC (on Steam) and the Nintendo Switch as a purely digital only game. On both platforms, when you see the game for the first time in the store, you will see the game’s portrait filled with outstanding review scores from various game outlets. I was tempted to make the purchase as I wanted to know whether this game was worthy of all the hype and critical acclaim. Did it live up to the hype?
Yes, Hades does live up to the hype. It is a game that I couldn’t put down after picking it up. The gameplay is addictive, well designed and heaps of fun. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, who’s wanting to escape from hell. As soon as you jump into the game, you are not given much information and you will, like me, wonder what on earth you have to do. But I realized death after death, that I needed to fight my way through the challenges to the escape hell. Admittedly, this was probably one of the best ways to introduce players to a game like this. Dying in Hades in not ‘game over’, rather it is a chance to get more of the story and re-equip yourself for the next escape from hell.
The blend of role-playing elements and action are outstanding. Each escape requires you to collect as many resources as you can, so that when you die, you are able to acquire more skills, weapons or accessories to help make your next escape easier. The more you die, the more powerful you can become. But for any hardcore enthusiast, you can certainly try beating the game on your very first escape run (but that’s not what the developers had in mind for the vast majority of players).
As part of your escape, you need to clear floors of all enemies that appear. The enemies get increasingly threatening and hard as you get closer to the end of the escape. When you clear a floor, you are normally given a choice of reward for clearing the next floor. This is usually an important decision, as you want to get the reward that will either help you get the next upgrade when you die or power you up so that you can tackle the remaining challenges in the escape.
You can unlock and play with six different weapons, from the sword, bow, spear, gun, gloves and shield. Each weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. The sword is a balanced weapon and has worthwhile upgrades that make it great to do area of effect damage. I found the spear and shield to be my preferred weapons. The spear with upgrades can be really effective at damaging enemies from afar without putting you in danger, while the shield provides protection against most enemy attacks.
The charm of Hades is that the story and its characters have a mix of spunk and sassiness, for example the way Zagreus talks to his father Hades and the first boss/es in each escape. The character portrait look great and the whole aesthetics look refined and stunning. It’s a really nice to look at game.
As you progress in each escape, you choose how you want to power up Zagreus. You can imbue him with the power of certain Greek gods like Zeus for thunder, Poseidon for water and Hermes for speed. I enjoyed some of the surprises that came from mixing the various gods powers together to make Zagreus a lethal machine on the battlefield. Most of the buffs you get on each escape is down to luck, but you can equip accessories to increase your chance that certain gods will bestow their powers on you.
I tended to prefer the accessories and upgrades that awarded extra life so that I could get closer to the end of the escape. I also preferred the powers bestowed by Athena (who awards shield powers) and Poseidon (because his dash upgrade was really useful in clearing a floor quickly).
I felt a sense of great achievement when I completed the final boss and saw the ending. I didn’t expect it when I bought the game, but this game was so incredible and amazing. Also, when you complete the game, you unlock a new tier of challenges and rewards.
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