Prince and Prisoner, a Hades EA Review
We all have that moment in life where we want to branch out and do our own thing; we experiment, try to make a change or just grow up and face life on our own. There also comes a moment in every teenager’s life when they just want to leave the nest and see the world or rebel against their parents. We face difficulties, but it molds our character and personality. Life experiences help us evolve and develop our aptitude and learn our strengths and weaknesses. This is how I see Hades: the prince of the underworld, Zagreus, wants to escape from hell to join the Gods and Goddesses in Olympus and find his mother. Fortunately, he can count on the Greek Pantheon’s help (for the most part) to do so.
If you are familiar with Greek Mythology, you will be pleased to see several familiar figures who will help or hinder you in your attempt to escape Hades’ realm. Beware all the enemies you’ll have to face to get to your goal, as Hades won’t let you leave that easily. Your father sends waves and waves of his hordes and some of his best fighters to stop you as you try to escape, from lowly harpies to ancient Greek heroes. The struggle is difficult but Zagreus can count on the Gods and Goddesses to help him with boons and perks. By the will of your family and friends and their combined powers, you might be able to defy your father’s order and ascend to the land of the Gods.
The game was released in early access last December, and the developers at Supergiant Games are currently working on its final build. Just like their previous releases—Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre—both the soundtrack and artstyle are amazing, different from their other games but of equally superb quality. The dialog’s well written and adds a touch of humor to the game’s narrative, and it does a good job at illustrating how each character relates to Zagreus.
In this rogue-like hack and slash you start by picking your weapon of choice. Zagreus can choose between six different weapons and each one of them has a different version that you can unlock that has distinct attacks. It all depends on your play-style, which makes it interesting and versatile. Also, every run will give you a different build as the boons are random and the combinations are infinite. You’re given a choice of different paths you can take depending on what type of upgrade, boost, ability or currency you need. You’re going to want to keep a balance between power and health, mainly because if you die in the middle of the ascension you’ll have to start over; there’s no need to worry too much as you’ll get more lives (up to three) as you progress through your quest for freedom, but at the start a risky build can spell early defeat.
A single playthrough isn’t very long to complete either, which makes Hades a very good time killer. The game offers enough variety for it to be easily replayed; optimizing your build, trying to see how strong and effective you can get, and generally just experimenting with the game’s systems is quite entertaining. As a form of permanent progression, the game also features room customization and house upgrades that you can get by spending the underworld’s different currencies. The “Heat” gauge gives us a nice twist for the genre, allowing you to test how far you can get and what your limits are by making the game harder. As a bit of respite, the underworld features hidden fishing spots that appear randomly in rooms, giving you a little break from all the fighting.
For an early access game, Hades is promising. Recent updates have added plenty of new content, such as weapons and Gods, and there’s still more to come. Needless to say, you’ll have to play a while before you can say you’ve seen everything the game has to present. I’m really looking forward to its full release, but even in its current version there’s more than enough polish and material to keep me trying to crawl out of the underworld time and again.
Hades can be found on the Steam store here.
It can also be found on the Epic Games store in this link.
Console releases are also expected, but not confirmed, once the game exits early access.