Hades review

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Need to know

What is it?  Greek mythology as a permadeath hack-and-slash.
Expect to pay $20/£16
Developer Supergiant Games
Publisher Supergiant Games
Reviewed on Windows 10, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060
Multiplayer? No
Out Now
Link Official site

Different as they are, Supergiant’s previous games—Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion—have all been summed up the same way. Story, art, music, voice-acting, atmosphere? A+. Combat? Kind of B-. Hades feels like a response to that, a Supergiant game that focuses on the fighting and elevates it to the absolute top-tier. This isn’t a spoiler because you’ve looked at the score, but they nailed it. The combat’s fantastic.

Hades doesn’t short us on the other stuff either, though it easily could have. It’s a roguelike, or a roguelite, or an action-RPG with permadeath. Whatever you call it, it’s a genre where story is secondary, either hidden away in the lore encyclopedia or otherwise in the back seat—the back seat of one of those cars with a window separating it from the driver.

Not so in Hades, where every character is fully voiced and has more to say with every run. You’re Zagreus, son of the death god, prince of the underworld. You believe the whole “ruling in Hell” thing is overrated, so with the help of your distant Olympian family you’re going to fight through every shade, fury, and other mythic monster between you and the surface to escape. Because fuck you, Dad, that’s why.

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

The best Greek myths are about gods and heroes, and when ordinary mortals are involved they boil down to fairytale morals about how you should obey your weird husband no matter what because he might turn out to be the West Wind. Hades knows this, and focuses on legendary characters like Athena and Achilles, painting them in broad archetypal strokes. My favorite’s Dionysus, god of wine, hedonism, and everybody just being like really cool, but everyone from long-suffering fury Megaera to layabout Sisyphus is brought to life, with a solid vocal portrayal and art like they stepped out of a Mike Mignola comic.



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