I don't want to tell you why Hades is so good [review by Bruce Geryk]

Title I don't want to tell you why Hades is so good
Author Bruce Geryk
Posted in Game reviews
When October 14, 2020

Sixty hours of gameplay later, if you believe the Steam statistics, I’m thinking about what it is about Hades that has me so captivated.

Read the full article

Nice write up, damn I don’t think I have had 60 hrs of free time to play games since the pandemic started.

Excellent review. I’m also one of those completely surprised by how good Hades is. ARPGs seem to come and go but Hades is truly something special.

I’ve never heard of Hades. Well, I guess I can’t really say that now that I’ve read this review, but I am certainly not aware of it beyond this context. I’m a little iffy on the whole rogue-like thing; I was enjoying them back when they were still just ‘Rogue’ and hadn’t developed enough of a following to actually inspire ‘-likes’ to pop up all over the place. I guess it all seems a bit faddish to me, though that’s not enough to make me discount a really cool game just because other people have heard of it. Sounds cool enough to take a look at least!

Dang it, I gotta go add Hades to my wishlist now. Between Bruce and Brandon (who said nice things on Divided by Werewolves), I have no choice!

Can anyone comment on how the Switch version is? I like the PC one plenty but would like this for everywhere-gaming.

Yikes. I hadn’t even heard of this. Going to buy it right now since Brucey likes it.

It’s fantastic, and I’m 45+ hours in and loving it, but absolutely does get bits of slowdown when there are tons of particle effects onscreen. My reflexes aren’t good enough that this causes me to play WORSE, but I know it bugs some people. Later this month, there should be a patch that enables cross saves between the two.

I will say this about Hades: You don’t need 60 hours of free time to enjoy. You just need five minutes for a quick runthrough. Then maybe another five. You can play whenever, and you can stop whenever (theoretically, at least).

Never would have imagined this would be a game for Geryk.

I stopped playing on Switch due to performance issues. Some others around here don’t notice or don’t seem bothered, but I like my games with rock solid frame rates.

I did play quite a lot before that point, the game is surely awesome. But shelved to wait for the cross-save patch so I can buy it again on PC without restarting from scratch. :)

Kinda surprised this one wound up beneath the notice of several Qt3ers, if it managed to pierce my “not actually much of a gamer” bubble. It’s a fantastic, artfully crafted gorgeous little gem of creative storytelling, beautiful music, engaging strategy, and bullshit hard wtf how am I already dead again action roguelike gameplay that I endure to enjoy the rest :-P

I bet the epic exclusiveness made people put it out of their minds :P

I think the “Roguelike” categorization is maybe a bit overused these days, but the essential elements that Hades draws from are:

  • randomly-generated content
  • discovery and limited retention

Basically, the levels are randomly generated each time you play through, and after you die, you end up with some improvements that will benefit your next runthrough: Either you understand more about an enemy, or you get bonus points that let you power up one of your abilities, or…a whole host of things, really. But the general concept is that every playthrough is different, and you’re leveling up through the metagame the whole time.

The one thing that Hades doesn’t have is:

  • permadeath

…but that’s written into the story in a very clever way.

Yeah, that’s why I bounced off it. Just not my thing. I gave it about a dozen runs and wasn’t making much progress. With this sort of game, I need to devote myself completely to it to get any enjoyment out of it, and these days I tend not to do that for action games.

Well, if you wanna get technical, it has permadeath. If you die during a run, there’s no getting it back. No saving, except to suspend the game, etc.

What it does have is metaprogression, keeping stuff between runs.

What’s @tomchick 3 Ps for roguelites again?

Palin, Palin & Palin I think

Was that before they added the “god mode” option? It’s basically a dynamically adjusting difficulty setting. Enabling the option gives you 20% damage resistance, and increases that % every time you die.

Uh oh, it looks like Andy Bates is prepping defenses on another weird hill! :)

Hades absolutely has permadeath. When you die, you lose all your upgrades, bonuses, and abilities, and have to start from square one. You have to go back and fight that same boss all over again. You have to reboot from the beginning. Bruce’s review even talks about how it’s built into the narrative.

The three attributes of a modern rogue-like such as Hades are 1) procedurally generated geography to encourage a sense of exploration, 2) permadeath to raise the stakes, and 3) meta-progression to ease the pain of permadeath.


This Bruce guy seems pretty bright, he’s definitely going places!