I want to tell you why Hades is so good

Title I want to tell you why Hades is so good
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Features
When October 17, 2020

Unlike Bruce Geryk, I'm going to tell you what makes Hades so good. But I'm going to narrow it down to one thing...

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You should merge this post to Bruce’s thread about game music.

More seriously, I think this pacing is the reason the Supergiant games lose me: the careful narrative makes me more aware of the mindless repetitive and obligatory (to good games) filler, and actually disappointed in it where I wouldn’t mind it if the outfit wasn’t so brilliant, probably.

Wow this game has got it’s hooks in me; it’s like a distillation of everything Supergiant have done right before.
Tom, you didn’t mention God Mode. Did you use it? It’s one of the main factors that made me reccomended Hades to someone I normally wouldn’t.

I did not. But I just now looked at god mode, and it seems like a straight-up toggle for 20% damage resistance. Is that what’s going on there? And, as near as I can tell, there’s no achievement for NOT using god mode. In which case, I’ve found the first thing in Hades that I think is officially dumb. I mean, if they want to include difficulty levels, include difficulty levels. Don’t just stick a toggle in the settings screen with some coy descriptor. Ugh. Okay, that’s it, I’m docking one star from the review! Oh, wait, I didn’t write the review…

But you’re saying you think the game is too difficult for some folks without that toggle? I can’t speak to other people’s thresholds for difficulty, but I’ve been perfectly happy with the rate I’m advancing, even though I’ve only reached the third area a couple of times after 25 attempts. I don’t feel frustrated with the rate of metaprogression and it feels like every run has been rewarding enough.


The game’s charm was lifted for me after I reached the 3th area regularly. The massive health of enemies from then on really made every encounter a trudge, unless I got an overpowered build on the way. It wasn’t rare for me to just let myself be sent back to Hades’ throne. I guess you are right: even then, I didn’t walk away in the middle of a run! But I attribute it also to my experience with lost mid-run saves with the Switch version’s early crashes (thankfully fixed), and the apprehension it generated.

God Mode is an initial 20% damage resistance and 2% more each time you die.
It’s pretty genius because it’s just another progression system, it’s not story mode, but eventually ensures you’ll be able to see all the story.

I managed to get to the end boss a couple of times in 60 attempts, eventually turned God Mode on to see the rest of the story.

Man, Qt3 has gone coo-coo for Hades!

To me, good pacing isn’t one thing the game does well in and of itself, it’s the end result of basically doing everything well.

But yeah, pacing-wise the third area often feels like the “lull” in every single run. If your build isn’t up to date in its damage, it feels like a tedious uphill battle against spongey enemies. It’s ironic that it’s the nicest-looking place in the game and my reaction is always, ugh, this place again? But it’s only a few minutes until you get back to the good stuff, right?

I think my least favorite enemy in the whole game is the large chariot. It just has so much damned health and engaging it, especially in melee, is such a chore. At least it doesn’t have a soul, much less an armored one! Thank god(s) for small favors!

This might be one of your best reviews ever, Tom.

This is true.

I was just telling my son this last night as he was playing room after room of “Just one more room…” before supposedly going to bed: The story area is big, but not so big that you feel like you have to spend a ton of time there. And then when you start a run, you get that one boon at the beginning, because of course you want to see how you’re going to start. And then every doorway is a clue to what you’re going to get next, and every room ends with a tantalizing new ability that you’re itching to try out. And every now and then it’s just “What does the pomegranate do again?” so you progress out of curiosity. It’s brilliant.

Got him!

I picked up this and I’m enjoying it but I’m winding down after ~18 hours. I have around 25 deaths in and can kill Theseus and his pet Cow around 50% of the time, depending on the weapon I picked. But after I beat them I die shortly afterward in the rooms before Cerberus. I’m at the point now where the rewards are trivially small for each run and it takes a lot of time to make it the rooms where I might see something new.

I spent all my Titan blood questionably, and now I need a ton more but of course I can’t get anymore.

I don’t regret the $25 I spent on this, and this game may be the pinnacle of rogue-likes. But ultimately, rogue-likes suck.

Almost 47 hours in and still going strong, here!

I have a friend who has neurological issues, and God Mode lets him get through the game to see all the content and hit all the story beats. He really appreciated the way it’s presented, so I think that’s pretty worthwhile as is.

I agree 99% with the superb pacing assessment, but… what were they thinking with fishing?

Reducing the resource grind because you can sell them?

I kind of like it! A little breather before the next room. I definitely do not like, however, how after the credits roll two-thirds of the areas for getting topside fish disappear, and how they often don’t even get the little bell to ring letting you know they’re there in the first place. The whole cutting you off from Greece and reverting to the early access-style “endings” for runs is a misstep, in my opinion.

God Mode is bascially an easy mode for people who want to enjoy the story more. It’s not really how the game is balanced… i think this is a common design trope nowawdays, didn’t celeste have a mod like this?

IMO it’s something any game with a proper story to follow should at least consider adding. I suck at playing games, but I still like to experience their tales more often than not.