Hades (2020) Video Game Review

details
Title: Hades.

RELEASE DATE: 2020.
Console (played on): PC.
Mode(s): Single-Player.
GENRE(S): ACTION, Adventure, fantasy.
Developer: Supergiant Games.
Publisher: Supergiant Games.

Designer(s): AMIR RAO, GAVIN SIMON, GREG KASAVIN, EDUARDO GORINSTEIN & ALICE LAI.
Programmer(s): Gavin Simon, Andrew Wang, Dexter Friedman, Alice Lai & Nikola Sobajic.
Artist(s): Jen Zee.
Writer: Greg Kasavin.
Composer: Darren Korb
Voice Actor(s): Logan Cunningham, Darren Korb, Marianne Miller, Peter Canavese, and many more!

My Overall Rating:

Rating: 10 out of 10.

thoughts

Sometimes you just don’t want to stay in an abusive environment, a place that you are condemned to call home yet despise it for the bitter and frustrating relationship you have with your parents. Running away thus seems like the only option left, to find a safe haven where you can finally breathe fresh air and pluck raisins as you cruise down grapevines. Unfortunately for the prince of the Underworld, his father Hades won’t make it easy for him to escape his realm and reach his relatives at Mount Olympus. Being my undeniable 2020 game of the year winner, Supergiant Games’ latest hack-and-slash game Hades is a phenomenal tour de force showcasing brilliantly-addictive gameplay and a narratively-ingenious story revolving around Zagreus and his quest to not only escape hell but to also unravel the dark secrets of his father Hades while discovering the complex relationship between the gods in the Greek pantheon.

What is Hades about? The game is centered around Zagreus, the prince of the Underworld, who has grown tired of his father’s dismissive and brutal ways, condemning him to a life without love or passion. Determined now to escape the Underworld and reach Mount Olympus, he fights his way through four different ecosystems (Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx) in hopes of reaching the final door out of hell. Throughout his quest, his mentor Achilles provides him with various Infernal Arms (weapons varying from swords to bows), while the Olympians offer him gifts known as boons that shape his combat style and skills according to what he picks (e.g. Poseidon gives water-based effects). Meanwhile, his father sets loose dangerous creatures and beings to halt his progress and return him to his duties in the Underworld. While his motivation seems trivial at first, a family matter and a brewing war are at the heart of this tale. But the most important question is: Can Zagreus escape his father’s grasp?

Hades gifs | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

One element that stood out the most for me with this game is the impeccable characterization of the Greek gods. Their personality shines like the scorching flames of the Underworld and gives them singular godly qualities that you subconsciously expect them to have. Festive, protective, joyous, feisty, honorable, quirky, comical. Each god comes with a complex persona that they fully embrace as they come into contact with Zagreus and sometimes even between each other. Without pointlessly reintroducing themselves, as if they needed such a presentation, they all come with a bundle of history and experience that immediately jump at you, teasing you with information, leaving you craving for more. It is through these interactions that we learn tidbits about themselves, their past, and how they view Zagreus in his quest to escape hell. What makes them a touch more perfect is the contemporary take on these gods and the amount of dark humour that they dish out. It is simply refreshing to hear them speak with sarcasm, irony, or cynicism, while conveying their godly status.

The other element that makes this game stand out is the fantastic gameplay mechanics. It is smooth, aesthetically pleasing, and filled with surprises. Utilizing a basic attack, a special move, a dash, and a Cast (ranged attack), you’re off to destroy strange creatures of all kinds looking to kill you. The incredible variety of combinations accessible throughout each run thanks to the random Greek god boons is what essentially makes this game unputdownable. There is no particular setup that dominates over another as every combination has its perks and leaves the player to adapt according to his playstyle or curiosity. But what happens when you die? Death is integral to the narrative, completely taking away the obvious cathartic rage from the equation, and turning it into a welcome opportunity for narrative and character progress. Death simply returns Zagreus to the House of Hades, forced to confront his father in failure as he emerges from a pool of blood, but also to explore and interact with the other godly entities present in various rooms.

Hades' made me a believer in early access games

Composer Darren Korb also adds a soothing epic touch through his music that never ceases to boost the rapid-action gameplay while enchanting you into a deranged obsession for destruction as you shred through vile beasts in hopes to come out unscathed. As if you needed any more incentive to play this game as you reach the end, expect a twist that will narratively justify and encourage you to keep on trying multiple attempts to escape the Underworld, hoping to one day deplete Supergiant Games’ dialogue reservoir. With over 50 runs and 10 completion clocked in, I still find myself mesmerized by the endless gameplay possibilities and the innumerable storytelling elements that are still out there to be discovered. While Zagreus’ journey seems like an infinite and vicious cycle of violence at first glance, have no fret, it quickly evolves into a fascinating family drama that displays the complex bond between gods and the absence of communication between them that often encourages conflict.

Hades (2020) is a roguelike dungeon crawler masterpiece following the Son of Hades in his quest to escape the Underworld of Greek mythology.


EXHIBITA
Hades (2020) is out on PC, Mac, and the Nintendo Switch since September 17th, 2020.

Have you played this game?
Will you? What do you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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28 thoughts on “Hades (2020) Video Game Review

  1. Oh wow, what an enthusiastic, thorough review, Lashaan! I feel almost tempted (not in the least because I love Greek mythology ;)) It looks quite fun, tbh – glad to hear you had such a blast with it!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahah yes, I am! It’s a well-kept secret but I’ve been sharing a couple of video game reviews here and then for a couple of months now. So far I have a review for The Last of Us Part II (2020), Doom (2016), Miles Morales (2020), and Hades (2020)! 😀 Hahahah glad to know that you’re also a fellow gamer, Jon! 😀

      Like

      1. Awesome! Glad to find someone with a similar taste in games. I cant wait to try Hades out, but Age of Wonders is a serious timesuck. I’m still on the first series of campaigns and am 65 hrs in. Lordy!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I’ve never been drawn to games with this style of gameplay I do like the story aspects and I’m glad to hear how much you’ve enjoyed it. Strangely, I think I’d get more enjoyment out of watching someone else play who’s enthusiastic about the game than I would playing it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this could indeed be quite fun to watch too! There’s always something going on and each “run” is as original as the last one. You should try checking out some YouTube videos on playthroughs if you’re ever curious hahah Thanks for reading, Todd! 😀

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  3. Thank you for the recommendation, Lashaan. I’ve been hearing a bunch of year end goodness out of this title and I hear they will be adding it to GamePass soon, so I’ll be checking it out then. I’m still thoroughly enjoying Immortals Fenyx Rising, which is also a Greek Mythology title. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So good! I’ve done about 60 runs and 4 completions (I spent a lot of time trying to get out with the shield before I realized just how good the spear was). I absolutely loved that every time I thought I had the game figured out, it threw a new twist at me! And I enjoy the random aspect of the boon system, of trying to find new ways to make things work so I can escape. I could say my goal is to get to the true ending, but really I just want Thanatos to love me and all of my energy is going into that lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was mind-blown that 10 completions to complete the main story… Apparently, the epilogue chapter requires you to get over 30 more completions!!! At least there are way too many good reasons to return to the game to even care for that in the end hahah I’m with you there. The random aspect of building yourself till the end is so addictive. And that Zagreus-Thanatos energy is strong hahahah

      Like

  5. I am here for this review on easily the best game of 2020, though the time it took me to actually finish the game is unreal haha. Everything about the game was so fluid in its actions and narrative. As much as I adore Zagreus, Achilles stole the show for me and i loved how they wove in the history of these Greek heroes into the narrative. Safe to say I adore this game!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was mind-blown that you needed to beat the game 10 times for the main story and then almost 30 more times for the epilogue chapter! Talk about replayability hahahah Achilles role in this story was quite fascinating, then again, I could probably say the same for everyone in some way hahahah I do love that voice actor Logan Cunningham does like 6 different voices in the game!!! So insane!! 😛

      Like

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