Hades | Multi-Platform Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
Hades is a roguelike dungeon crawler, developed and published by Supergiant Games. The game was initially released on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch in September 2020 and it was released on PlayStation and XBox in August 2021. It is a multi award-winning game and earned the title of 'Game of the Year' in 2020 by various websites and publications. For our review of Hades, we decided to do something a little different. Such was the hype and to a certain degree, the levels of inital addiction to Hades from all 5 of us at G1A5W3G1AN, we have all chosen to contribute to the review, with a section from each of us. We will be doing our usual ratings out of 5 each, and then give a total at the end out of 25. As you can imagine, all 5 of us went into Hades with different and varied skill levels on this kind of game, and each of our sections of the review is based on our own experience of the game since it launched on consoles this week. Both Tina and I were playing on the PlayStation 4, Laura has been playing on the PlayStation 5, Victor was playing on Windows PC, and our new reviewer Paul was playing on the Nintendo Switch, so we have covered all of the platforms that we review here on the blog. Hopefully by all 5 of us giving a little insight into our thoughts on the game, it will give you an idea of just how much we all love it, so please read on for our multi-platform multi-reviewer coverage of Hades.
In Hades, you play as Zagreus, the Prince of the Underworld, on a mission to escape. To do this there are 4 biomes and the chambers within them are procedurally generated so that when you die and return to the House of Hades to begin a new run, the layout and path to your escape will be different each time. To assist you on this hack and slash mission, you are able to equip boons, which are abilities and upgrades. There are various weapons at your disposal, each with their own advantages. The 4 biomes, which are filled with enemies for you to defeat, also contain a boss level. The beauty of Hades is that in order to reach your escape of the Underworld, you will have to play through the game and die many times. The good news is that upgrades obtained during your runs are permanent, and you only lose the boons you go in with, should you fall. After each death, Zagreus returns home, where he can lick his wounds by talking to the various inhabitants, purchase upgrades to the House, or just plan and train for his next run through the biomes. Hades is played in an isometric view and features an incredible original in-game soundtrack and some really stunning artistic design.
g1a5w3g1an - PlayStation 4
I would never really say that I am all too big a fan of roguelikes, and to be completely honest with you, I think that Hades is actually the first one that I have played. When I first heard about the game, it looked very like Path of Exile and Diablo, which did initially put me off. I am pleased to say though that my fears were dispatched quicker than a Wretched Lout at the hands of an Eternal Spear. Hades completely took me by surprise. It grabbed my little Loki feet with its big Hulk hands and it slammed me off the floor repeatedly. And I love it! But Hades is not a game about Norse mythology, it's a game steeped in Greek mythology. One of the many things that makes this game shine is the story. You play as the Prince of the Underworld trying to escape to Olympus, seemingly stuck in a loop where you set off, die, return to your home, set off, die, return to your home, over and over. But this is actually the point of the game. In order to get better, and stronger, you need to rinse and repeat this process, maybe 100s of times. And every time that you do, almost everything is different. Hades looks stunning and plays to absolute perfection. Games do not often instantly grab me with every aspect, visuals, music, gameplay, but Hades really did just blow me away on every level. I also found that during my first playthough, I was discovering things that I kind of wanted to change slightly, so just started over. By "change slightly", I mean the path I was taking through the game. There are so many options, ways to play, and builds to try, that Hades supplies you with so much replay value. As I mentioned before, initially I think that I skipped the Nintendo Switch version thinking that Hades was just another game like Diablo, but now after playing it on the Playstation, I really want to pick it up on the Switch for those little gaming fix runs through the Underworld late at night while in bed.
I am by no means a great gamer. I would say I am average at best, and Hades caters for all levels. Whether you are a novice or a god at gaming, you can pick this game up and tailor the settings and difficulty to suit. It's a hack and slash game so there will be plenty of button bashing and sore fingers, along with the despair as you reach one of the biome bosses, only to end up dragging yourself out of the pool of blood back in the House of Hades foyer. I have not really talked about the soundtrack yet. As well as absolutely complementing the game, on its own the original soundtrack is just so good. There is a full album's worth of music here to get you through your many playthroughs of the game, with each track suitably setting the tone of the area or part of the game you are in at that time. You can listen to all 30 of the tracks from the amazing Hades soundtrack by Darren Korb on Spotify or YouTube. Hades is an absolute gem of a game. It is a game everyone should own. And now that it is available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, it is accessible to almost everyone. It is very deservedly a multi award-winning game, and it is certainly going to be getting a lot more play time in this household for some time yet. We may even be picking it up on the Switch as well. There really is absolutely nothing at all about Hades that I can fault. Update: Both Tina and I do now own the Switch version. The temptation was just too much. g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 5 glances in the Mirror of Night out of 5.
Tina - PlayStation 4
I don't think I have ever found a game that has entranced me in such a way as Hades. I had no real interest in playing it until I was recommended to do so by g1a5w3g1an, with the promise that I would be able to pet a three-headed dog. I am not much of a fan of roguelike games and tend to avoid them, but with Hades I was sold! What first stood out for me in this game were the characters and the intelligent storyline - the Prince of the Underworld wanting to escape from his home and battle his way through to make it to the surface, where his true intentions are revealed. The familiar faces of the Greek Gods with whom we are very familiar make a regular appearance to help the Prince on his quest. The amazing storyline was helped by the wonderful voice acting - highest commendation goes to Logan Cunningham, who voices a number of characters, with my favourites being Hades himself, and the storyteller. Even before we delve into the gameplay, the storyline itself had me intrigued.
The biggest attraction of this game, aside of the tonnes of lore available, was the idea that death is certain and inevitable, but is necessary and will make you stronger. As a less than average player, I felt that players of various skill levels could appreciate this game and have so much fun with it - I found out that there is also a God Mode, which can make the game even more accessible, but I have avoided using this for now. I found it so clever that while it is still painful to face defeat, it is the essential essence of the game and you become stronger because of this. You also have more opportunity to discover the lore in the Underworld, including Zagreus' main intention to escape. You have plenty of opportunities to try a run with different weapons and praying to the RNG Gods that you will get some killer boons - Tidal Dash is definitely my favourite boon for the moment and my weapon of choice would have to be the spear.
The game is fast paced and exciting, leaving you on the edge of your seat at every battle. As the biomes are procedurally generated, you always come across something different and exciting in every run. This can turn into a great advantage as well - the two occasions I managed to reach the final boss in Asphodel were the only two occasions where I did not have to ride on the "Barge of Death". With each run as well opens up the opportunity to experiment with different boons - provided that one of the Greek Gods show up or it is available to purchase in Charon's Shop. Boons cannot be carried over, which is also a clever idea, as it would not take you very long to become extremely overpowered.
One last thing which ties this game together is the awesome soundtrack. Each chamber and biome provides a great backing track along with it, which makes the game all the more enjoyable. On a further note, as mentioned earlier, the soundtrack was made by the voice behind Zagreus himself - Darren Korb.
Hades is a game where there is such a strong urge to invest time and energy into the game. Unless you are an endurance player, I would recommend to pace yourself slowly, take plenty of breaks, and keep yourself nourished. It is one of those games where you want to spend all your time available with it, but I did find myself getting physically and mentally tired quite easily with it without taking the breaks needed. That comes down to the intensity of the game and the inability to put down the controller once I have begun. I blame the dog, Cerberus. You can pet him, you know?!
Tina's Rating: 5 Cerberus Pets out of 5.
Lj - PlayStation 5
I fell in love with Hades watching someone stream their journey from an attempted escape artist all the way to escaping in 12 minutes over 100 times. I knew it would be a game that I'd adore and pre-ordered it 3 weeks before its release and spent 3 weeks excited every single day and Hades didn't disappoint me at all. I was instantly attracted to its beautiful graphics and incredibly smooth gameplay that takes you from feeling weak and useless to... almost a god!
The storyline is exceptional and it really amazes me how much story the developers have managed to pack into a roguelike, and coupled with some amazing voice acting, the story really is portrayed so well. The art style is stunning and the character designs still impress me. There is a massive learning curve but once you get moving through the dungeons you quickly realise escape is attainable! I absolutely couldn't recommend Hades any more than I do and probably couldn't rate it any higher. For those who would just want to enjoy the storyline there's God Mode where the game is significantly easier. I opted myself though to just play on the normal difficulty and the satisfaction I get out of making it further and further increases with every run.
There is a massive amount of replayability in Hades because you'll always want to beat previous times, try out new weapons, experiment with the various boons and there's a massive prophecy list to work through which is like quests you tick off throughout your runs.
With weapons ranging from a spear to a gun - there's something for everyone and no weapon in and of itself is better - it's just what you prefer. Unpopular opinion, but I adore the bow and I've been told "you're the one person the bow was made for" but it just goes to show that Supergiant Games really created this game for a wide audience. In this review, overall between the 5 of us, there is a wide range of play styles and experience levels each giving their own opinion and I feel this speaks absolute volumes about the accessibility of Hades, despite the obvious challenge.
There was one painful moment though, which could be a bug or just a serious misfortune, but my first encounter with Thanatos caused my game to crash and shut down. It has happened again in Elysium and could be worth investigating, however any game can crash for any manner of reasons, so this won't be affecting my rating. Update: On August 18th, Supergiant Games released a patch for Hades for PlayStation 5 owners to prevent the crashing issue that I mentioned above. I've had no issues since this patch and it is fantastic to see Supergiant react so quickly to one of the few issues with the game and to come up with a resolution within less than a week of the release. I can now enjoy the game without fear of losing a potential escape attempt.
Lj's Rating: 5 death defiances out of 5.
Victor - Windows PC Hades has been out for a while on Windows PC, but the new console release has reignited the hype, and while playing the Steam version myself, I don’t understand why I was putting it off for so long. I am quite the stranger to roguelikes so far, but as the second title I ever tried in the genre, in a very short amount of time, Hades has already sold me on the concept. How the game makes me feel like I’m progressing and having fun, doing the same thing over and over tens and maybe in the end even hundreds of times, is beyond me, but it sure works.
The game is wonderfully well crafted in so many aspects, that it is difficult to know where to start this review, or end for that matter. The most important thing to me, and probably to most people, is the general enjoyment of the gameplay and mechanics. The gameplay itself is both extremely fast-paced, with intense bullet hell encounters, but also includes slow and carefully calculated decision making and character building. Every choice feels important to your build, and every option feels viable in some way. The amount of choices, both when it comes to weapons, boons and other ways to equip and improve yourself, are vast, and there is sure to be something befitting all playstyles and every type of player out there. And not just that. Your own way to play will evolve with every run. There is always something new to discover, and with your increasing knowledge, you will do better and better.
You will also do better and better because of the permanent upgrades you acquire the more you play. There are dungeon improvements, darkness skills, weapon improvements and more, to be made once you have the resources for them. This will help you to progress, but at the same time, does not feel all too impactful at the same time. Every time I make it a little further, it feels like I both improved my character, but also improved myself as a player, and sometimes maybe got a little lucky with ability combinations. Hades has the perfect balance between building, learning and careful consideration, in order to progress.
But Hades is so much more than a well-balanced roguelike. With detailed, anime-inspired artwork, rock-accompanied lutes and ingenious story telling riddled with dark, insidious humour, Hades takes elements from numerous cultures, and infuses classic Greek mythology to heights transcending Olympus itself.
And I am ready to die a thousand times in order to reach this height in a future run.
Victor’s Rating: 5 nectars out of 5.
PaultheBrave09 - Nintendo Switch
Working away from home a lot leaves me with much less time for gaming than I would like, that is where the Nintendo Switch has been somewhat of a life saver for me. I decided to pick up Hades after seeing a couple of friends commenting on it and I am so glad I did. This is the first time I have ever dipped my toes into the dungeon crawling delights of the roguelike genre and I must say Hades has me totally hooked.
You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades as you journey through the Underworld in a bid for freedom to Olympus. Doused in Greek Mythology, the storyline and characters along with the wonderful soundtrack, complement the hack and slash gameplay absolutely perfectly. You will come into contact with figures such as Achillies, Poseidon, and the King of Gods himself, Zeus. In your attempts to escape the wretched bowels of hell you must be prepared to die, die again, die some more and you guessed it... die some more times. And with every death the game throws you right back to the start of the game, but fear not, each time you die you emerge from the Pool of Styx you have the opportunity to upgrade stats, change weapons and chat to various characters inside the House of Hades. With every trip through Hell I found myself choosing a different build for my character in order to find the weapons and stats which suited my playing style best. There are almost endless possibilities which makes the replayability factor extremely high. The combat is extremely satisfying and there is a pretty sizable roster of enemies which prevents the gameplay from becoming stale as you make your many attempts to escape the depths of Hell. There are 6 different weapons to unlock, each with their own unique gameplay mechanics which will push you to play differently and ultimately affect which weapon modifiers and paths you choose on your journey to Olympus.
One criticism I sometimes have with Switch ports of games is a drastic loss of graphic quality compared to their console or PC counterparts; however, this is certainly not the case with Hades. The visuals are stunning with bright, vibrant colours and crisp, clear lines. The isometric camera angles really allow you to appreciate the beauty of the environment. In handheld mode however, some of the text boxes could be a little tricky to read for some, due to the scaled down size of the screen but honestly, this did not bother me in the slightest as it is something that I have become accustomed to on the Nintendo Switch. It takes nothing away from the glorious interactions between the characters.
Hades sucked me in right from the get go and it still continues to chew me up and spit me back out in the Pool of Styx. With its challenging, addictive combat, its heartfelt storyline and stunning visuals to boot this should be an essential for any gamer's collection.
PaultheBrave09's Rating: 5 bullseyes with Artemis’ arrows out of 5.
Just to add, in the options menu you have settings for master volume, music, SFX, voice, as well as for the brightness. You can select subtitles, vibration, and screen shake. Also, on this page, you can select an on-screen timer display to keep track of your runs. You can choose to have damage numbers on or off during combat. And finally you can select God Mode in this section, which makes the game a little bit easier to play, if you are finding it difficult. In the controls menu, you can fully map all of the controls if you are not happy with the default layout, and you can switch the aim assist on or off here. There are also language options as well as a very extensive credits page, which you can scroll through at your own pace. Hades auto saves regularly, displaying an icon on screen when doing so, and there are 4 save slots available to you.
Hades as you can see really has had quite the affect on us all. It really is such an immersive and thoroughly enjoyable game. It appeals to all levels of gamer, has a great story, the game mechanics and the combat just work so well. Added to that you have the outstanding music on the soundtrack and the brilliant voice acting, all adding up to create this great little indie game. It is no real surprise then, that after we add up the individual ratings, Hades scores... Overall Rating: 25 out of 25.
For more information on Hades please use the following links...
Many thanks to Supergiant Games for our Playstation 4 Review Key.