Monday, November 30, 2020

Hades Review - A Satisfying Adventure Through Hell

Hey there. Who wants to linger around in hell? Well, unless you're Satan himself, I doubt anyone else would want to hang out in the underworld. So it feels only natural that you would want to get out of there and fast. What if I were to tell you that the Prince of Darkness, Zagreus, is the one that wants to escape his hellish home world and join the Greek Gods on Mount Olympus? That's where we find ourselves when we dive into Hades, by Supergiant Games. I've spent some time playing Hades on the Nintendo Switch and now I'm ready to give you guys my review. Let's get started.

CONTROLS

Hades - Boons of Artemis
Boons of Artemis! Deadly Flourish works with my special attack and increases the chances of Critical Damage!

Hades has a fairly simple set of controls to use. The control pad/joystick will control your character and the control buttons are used to attack and dash. The controls are pretty easy to pick up and though the they sound simple enough, dependent on which weapon you hold or boon you have equipped (more on this in the gameplay section), the controls will vary slightly. And the best part is the that game will help you in getting used to the new set of controls. When equipping a new weapon, you can see the new set of controls on the top left corner of the screen and you can test out the move set all you want on a dummy enemy. As for the boons, there is a slight description of the action needed to take on the right side. The best part of boons is that they generally work in tandem with your weapon's move set so the learning curve is pretty low.

GAMEPLAY

Hades - Boons of Athena
Boons of Athena! I have a choice of three but I can only choose one!

The gameplay for Hades, generally speaking, if pretty straight forward. You defeat all the enemies in a room in order to proceed to the next room. Continue to defeat enemies and enter new rooms until you reach boss fights, and ultimately, finish the game. The gist of it is pretty simple, but there is so much more to this game. This is not a typical hack and slash folks. You will die in this game. You will die... a lot! You will need help from the Gods. You will need to strategize. If you don't, this will happen.


After each death, you'll get a chance to regroup and strategize. Strategy will be needed if you plan on getting Zagreus to Mount Olympus. Especially once you start to incorporate the boons (power ups) bestowed upon you by the Greek Gods. Throughout your journey, you'll come across messages from the Gods stating that they are willing to help you out. Activating the message will enable you to choose one of three boons. These boons will greatly affect how you will play the game. Boons come in the offensive, defensive, buffs, and debuffs variety. The cool thing is that the boons will reflect the respective god or goddess' attribute. For example, obtaining boons from Zeus will incorporate lightning into your attacks or defensive strategies. Message from Hermes? Then you can welcome boons focused on speed. Oh look! Aphrodite! Looks like I'm about to inflict the debuff Weakness onto some foes!

Hades - Message from Aphrodite
A message from Aphrodite?! Time to imbue my attacks with Weakness!

Now... boons are only active when you are trying to escape Hell. If you die, all of your boons will go away and you will be brought back to your home. Here, Hades himself will mock you for, "coming back", and failing to escape. 

Hades
Stupid boy, huh... I'll show you!

But that's not the only thing you can do at home. In your room, there is a Mirror of Night. This is the only place where you can obtain permanent power ups that will carry over into your next escape attempt.

Hades - Mirror of Night
Permanent Power Ups!!! YES!!! I NEED THESE!!!

And because Hades is a roguelike game, the game will randomly generate levels, randomly generate enemies, and randomly generates which messages and power ups you'll encounter during your escape, making it super rare to encounter the same path more than once. This gives Hades a very high replay value and avoids feeling repetitive. 

Now, these are only some if the core elements of gameplay. There are also keys, coins, building materials and purple gems that will also affect gameplay... but I'll leave those out for you to discover on your own.

VISUALS & SOUNDS

Hades has a pretty unique look to it and is visually stunning in it's own right. You can tell that the devs spent time giving each design the attention it needs. Every character that you can interact with has it's own unique design that exemplifies the characters personality. But the characters is not the only place where the visuals shine. The layout of the Underworld deserves huge props for making a visually striking environment. The way specters litter the room, the way the enemies move around, and the way the environment itself can be used in battle. It all flows very well bringing you a very satisfying adventure.

As for the sounds, I love the voice acting here. Each character has it's own unique voice that fits very well with the character. Also, I absolutely love the quips that come out of Zagreus as you venture along. It's really hard to show just how good the voice acting is without a clip, but I'll give you a small taste of the voice work in this video clip of me getting my ass handed to by one of the first bosses in the game, Megaera.

CONCLUSION

Hades is amazing, my friends. Simply put, it's fun to play. After each death, I want to go right back in and give it another go... and because your boons will go away after death, you find yourself being a little more cautious of how you go about defeating enemies to advance through the game. Through trial and error, I've been able to find some strategies that seem to work well with certain boons, but are practically useless with others. lol This gets my brain going and wants me to go back out there and try again. The atmosphere sucks me in and I find myself immersed in the environment.

If you're looking for a great time waster, that is not mundane, and has a high replay value, then Hades is your game! It's a satisfying adventure through hell! See you on top of Mount Olympus! Later!

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