I just wrapped up Going Under (as in, saw the credits, I still have a mode to investigate) and I might be inclined to say I enjoyed it more than Hades overall. Hmm. A few things I love about it:
The theme isn’t just a wrapper; it bleeds into pretty much every aspect of the game, from its structure and concepts, to its enemies, weapons and skills (even the ‘Working From Home’ update is a genius marriage of our current real-life predicament, an in-game scenario and the new mode itself). The writing is very sharp and witty, Aggro Crab-stabbing at capitalism, the tech industry, consumerism, corporate culture, automation, exploitative labour and various other related topics, all with some serious flare, creativity, humour and heart. How it balances all that tonally is very impressive. I thought Atomicrops’ puns and wordplay were good but Going Under’s is nuts.
The gameplay loop isn’t as immediate or addictive as Hades, but that’s fine because holy shit Hades was dangerous. The combat is loose and has more in common with Zelda’s L/Z-targeting and Power Stone’s room-wrecking chaos. Weapons break frequently so you’re constantly having to improvise and grab what you can, thrashing and throwing stuff as you go. It can be absolute carnage, but in the best way.
The big thing for me is the structure and length of Going Under. Each failed tech startup is its own distinctively themed dungeon, with unique enemies, weapons and bosses, and they each take around 30 minutes to complete. As you hit different milestones, the story develops and escalates, new skills get added to the pool, the dungeons and bosses change, all while you’ve got the different mentor objectives to juggle and complete. All these layers keep things interesting and the big finale/showdown is the cherry on top–it’s so good!
It took me about 25 hours to do my first run on Hades and another 25 or so to roll the credits. I’d be lying if I said it maintained its momentum throughout that time. Your last run isn’t that different to your first run. Hades was my game of the year alongside Doom Eternal but I was honestly glad to finally wrap it up. It’s taken me 25 hours to roll the credits on Going Under (your mileage may vary) and I’ve had such a great time from start to finish. There’s variety and plenty of surprises here so I didn’t burn out. I actually finished wanting more, which is the best feeling to end a game with. There’s an ‘Imposter Mode’ which is a gauntlet of sorts so I’m keen to try that out now. ‘Imposter’ as in ‘imposter syndrome’ and you access it via the mirror in your tiny company flat. It’s a very clever game.
The presentation is impeccable too. It’s chunky, bright and bold and the graphic design pops and transitions beautifully. The soundtrack is also fantastic.
So, yeah, I’m a fan and would highly recommend.