Hades II Impressions – A Masterpiece in the Making

    Supergiant Games has done it again!

    Supergiant Games, throughout their entire history, has had one major unwritten rule: they never do a sequel. Every game they have done, from Bastion to Transistor to Pyre has been a one-off. Supergiant has followed this rule to the letter, which brings me neatly onto their most beloved game to date, by far: Hades.

    Hades initially released in 2018 via Early Access on PC. Over the years, the game came out of early access, released on all systems, and received dozens of awards. The game reached critical acclaim in 2020, which led people to hope for the prospect of a sequel. Yet many were quick to realize that a sequel would never release, as Supergiant is not known for making sequels no matter how beloved their games are. This would change in 2022, as out of literally nowhere, Supergiant announced Hades II.

    After that, the floodgates opened and the questions began: when would the game release? Who is this new protagonist, Melinoë? What happened to Hades and his family? Most importantly, how would Hades II live up to the predecessor. After the sequel’s release on early access, I can confidently say that Hades II has the potential to not just surpass the first game, but become the become the best roguelike ever made.

    The Story of Hades II: Gods You Know, Titans You Don’t

    Hades II starts, much like Hades, in the midst of a character attempting to fight against a higher power. In the first game, it was Zagreus, the son of Hades who was attempting to find his mother on the surface. He had to fight his father at every step of the way in order to escape the grasp of the Underworld. In Hades II, it’s Hades’ daughter, Melinoë, who must fight to save her father from a new monster: the Titan, Chronos. Rather than going up to the surface, Melinoë must go down to the Underworld to save her family.

    The story is compelling in its parallels to its predecessor, yet is just as thrilling in how it differs as well. After exploring just a few of the game’s many layers, you can tell that Supergiant has so much that they wanted to expand on after the first Hades. There is plenty of material here to work with: more gods and goddesses, more human characters, and more intrigue added to the house of Hades.

    After around twenty hours in Hades II, I am all too eager to pour dozens of more hours to the game’s riveting story. The main reason for this is due to the game’s brilliant characters, who are just as fascinating as Hades II‘s predecessor, if not more so.

    The Gods and Goddesses of the Underworld and Beyond

    Supergiant Games has always been unmatched when it comes to character designs. This is due to the work of Jen Zee, who has frequently shined as one of the greatest art directors in the entire gaming industry. Her work on Hades was beloved by many as she managed to create fantastic new interpretations of one of history’s oldest mythologies. Hades II is no different, as Zee continues to evolve her style and bring the Greek mythology to life in new and exciting ways.

    Hades II features many returning characters, such as Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, and countless more. Most of them have gotten redesigns that reflect their ongoing war against Chronos and his forces. That said, some of the characters have unrevealed designs, such as with Charon and newcomer, Narcissus. While it may be disappointing to some, it’s important to consider that this game is a work-in-progress, with more updates undoubtedly releasing soon.

    Hades II Artemis

    Speaking of newcomers, Hades II has plenty of brand new characters that add some exciting new layers to the game’s world. On the surface world, Melinoë inhabits the Crossroads alongside many of her co-conspirators that seek to bring an end to Chronos’ reign. These characters include Hecate, Melinoë’s teacher in the field of magick, Nemesis, daughter of Nyx and goddess of vengeance, and the legendary Odysseus himself. There are also plenty of new gods and goddesses, eager to lend Melinoë aid, such as Hestia, Apollo, Hephaestus, and more.

    Hades II is brilliant in its characters, story, and much more. However, a roguelike is nothing without its gameplay and world. Thankfully, Hades II has a fantastic world and addicting gameplay, that won’t fail to hook you in.

    Brilliant Roguelike Fun, With Plenty of Surprises to Spare

    Hades II is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. It takes everything that made the first game addicting and bumps it up to an entirely new level. There are five weapons to play around with, with more to come in the future. Each weapon feels unique and tailored to a specific playstyle. Want to become a close-ranged power house? Use the axe. Want to hit your enemies at a distance? Use the Umbral Flames. No matter how you choose to enjoy the combat of Hades II, you have more than enough ways to fight against the Underworld’s many dangers.

    Speaking of the Underworld, the inverted structure of going from the surface into the world below is a great way to keep traversal fresh and surprising. Each stage looks absolutely gorgeous, even on the Steam Deck. I didn’t see any signs of stuttering or visual error whatsoever. It looks just as good as the final release of Hades on the Nintendo Switch.

    The stages have various challenges that continue to escalate as you go deeper and deeper into the Underworld. The boons gifted by the gods and goddesses of Olympus give helpful upgrades that make each challenge a bit less difficult. The game has frequent spikes of difficulty, but they never feel unfair. Instead, they feel like necessary obstacles on the road to defeat Chronos, once and for all.

    There are so many surprises along the way to the Underworld. There are brand new characters, new areas, and new ground tread that makes Hades II’s early access the beginning of what will undoubtedly be one of the greatest games of the last few years. It is a masterpiece in the making, and I am so excited to watch how it continues to grow over the coming months.

    Hades II is available now for early access on PC via Steam.

    Saras Rajpal
    Saras Rajpal
    Saras is a passionate creative writer, with a love for immersive sims, superhero games, and Persona. He is currently writing a thesis about Persona 5 and is pursuing a career as a full-time writer.

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