Hades

Published 2020
Rating 9/10
Status Finished on 2020-10-24

I don’t think I have anything interesting to say about Hades that hasn’t been already said by many of its (justifiably) adoring fans. It’s a legitimate contender for GOTY, and deservedly so. The game is interesting, fun, and succeeds at everything that it sets out to do. If I were to try and sum up its victories in a few points, here’s what I’d start with:

  • Weapon and build variation mean that characters feel much different within minutes of each run.
  • The core gameplay loop sits at around thirty minutes, which is perfect.
  • Story progression (which fits perfectly within the framing device of the game) is tied to death, so you look forward to losses as opposed to the common roguelike feeling of “well, jeez, that was a waste.”
  • Metaprogression (both in terms of your character getting stronger between runs and the difficulty scaling up in the postgame) is incredibly smooth and elegant.

The plot, setting, voicing, and art direction are all just really good and, again, tie in extremely well with the story. I’m at a loss to say what can be improved about it: the runs started feeling a little repetitive towards the end, and some of the currency/story unlocking is stingy, but it’s just an incredibly good game and one that I look forward to playing more of down the line.

…So why isn’t it a 10? Because it didn’t consume my life, I guess. The two most recent 10/10 games I played were CrossCode and Slay The Spire, both of which I daydreamed about and spent shower time thinking about and never wanted to end. Hades…didn’t hit me that way.