Hades - The Full Game Review
Updated: Feb 1
88/100 – An excellent, well-polished roguelike
Hades is a roguelike set in the mythological Greek underworld. The characters and stories told are loosely based on their real-life depictions. You play as the son of Hades, Zagreus, who is on the search for answers about his missing mother. To find these answers, Zagreus needs to escape the underworld and find his mother. However, even Hades himself is out to prevent this, adding to the mystery.
The game is well-polished and you will rarely if ever, encounter any bugs. Coupled with combat and gameplay that feels fluid and responsive and you have a formula for a great game.
The game offers two difficulty modes, normal and hell mode. The normal mode gives you the best experience for new players, where hell mode handicaps you at the start of each run giving you a greater level of challenge. Weapons, charms, boons, and character power unlocks present you with a lot of customization. Giving you a wider variety of experiences during your runs.
Earning darkness, a currency in the game helps improve your character making your future runs a bit easier. But you have to sacrifice powerful boons on your current run to earn it. The tradeoff between current and future power gives you more to think about during your runs.
Random encounters such as hell gates that have unique challenges or chaos boons that add negative effects for several zones spice the game up. Again, you have to think about your tradeoffs and whether to go for better rewards with higher levels of risk.
Everything is fully voiced in the game and is well-done. The music is a mixture of classic Greek and hard rock that adds to each of the zone's atmospheres. Giving the world a rich and unique feel that makes you want to explore more of it.
After a few playthroughs, the game begins to feel stale, a problem with roguelikes in general. You may notice zones with similar layouts, and the monsters you encounter are limited, to say the least.
The story is relatively short and dragged across multiple playthroughs. It could feel unsatisfying if beating the game once is what you'd consider the end for you.
The difficulty of some zones far exceeds others, which can seem unnatural over your progression in the game. Monster abilities that allow them to hit you for constant damage or poison you can feel a lot harder to deal with than some boss fights.
Some weapons are a lot more versatile than others, leaving you to pick them over others. This is further exacerbated when compared to how powerful these versatile weapons can be regardless of the boons or powers you choose in your runs.
Collecting a form of currency called the nectar of the gods allows you to give them to notable characters in the game, who in return, give you some more backstory and charms.
The NPC called the contractor allows you to customize the house of Hades and add some little bonuses in your future runs. This can make your runs a bit more challenging or easy, depending on how you choose to interact with the customizations.
The game features a basic form of fishing as a mini-game that rewards you with currency when turned in at the end of your run. A nice change of pace from the usual slogging it out.
The art style is excellent and adds a unique feel and mood to the game.
A great game that sticks to the core of what makes roguelikes great. It still has plenty of untapped potential but does what it offers almost perfectly. The story isn't strong or unique, but the characters feel rich and interesting enough to want to know more about them. The true beauty of this game comes from trying all of the different builds and seeing how they interact with each other. Playing the game is an enjoyable experience, and you can expect your money's worth out of it.