First impressions of Hades 2: a big step forward from a game that was already masterful

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    As someone who has invested over 200 hours into the original title, imagine the honor I felt being one of the first people to get early access to Hades II. Here are my first impressions of the game during its technical release, from the combat and upgrades to the characters and story.

    Challenging and non-repetitive combat.

    Hades’ best selling point is its roguelike combat, and Hades 2 has somehow managed to perfect what was already perfected down to a science. Hades 2 features roguelike, hack-and-slash combat that is indistinguishable from its predecessors. You have your divine blessings to make each run more unique and a random room of enemies to keep you on your toes.

    Screenshot of pro game guides

    What I will say though is that this game seems infinitely more challenging compared to Hades. It’s the way Erebus, the first floor, feels like you’re going through an amalgamation of Asphodel and Elysium, the later floors of Hades. Enemies are protected after the second room and appear as infinitely as the warriors of the Elysian Fields.

    Fortunately, Melinoe enters the underworld stronger than her last run. Like the Mirror of Night, Melinoe can unlock Arcana, which permanently improves the effectiveness of her kit (attack, throw, dash), as well as his HP and Magic bars. I’ll talk more about Magic later.

    Screenshot of pro game guides

    As Hecate’s apprentice witch, Melinoe’s molds are also not simple thrown gems like Zagreus’s. In her unenhanced form, she can summon a magic circle which can trap enemies. They are perfect for preventing a mob of them from approaching, giving you enough time to move towards their vulnerable rears and stab them with your weapon of choice. For now, we only have access to two weapons that are already seen in the Game Awards 2022 reveal trailer: his staff and daggers.

    Related: All the voice actors in Hades 2 (so far)

    Adding magic

    One of my favorite parts of Hades 2 is the Magic. All three parts of Melinoe’s kit can be boosted omega movements (Ω) by holding down its respective key or button. These charged attacks cost Magic (represented by a blue bar). It replenishes as much as your HP, that is, it doesn’t unless you have a boon that can gradually replenish the gauge or a statue that instantly fills it.

    Screenshot of pro game guides

    In short, magic, although powerful, must be preserved. I found this a bit refreshing as much as how spells in DnD are limited by spell slots. There’s really no cheating in Melinoe’s journey to the Underworld, which is how I like it.

    Introduction of new gods and other legends.

    Supergiant Games knew that fans hated and embraced certain perks, and the influence can really be seen here. Demeter as one of the first gods you can find? Yes please!

    In addition to the returning gods, you also have new ones. The most notable is Apollo, which I’m only going to mention because he is seen in the trailers. His speedy team actually makes me think we won’t receive any blessings from Hermes, but who knows…

    Screenshot of pro game guides

    In addition to the gods, there are also Greek heroes. The first one you can find in Hades 2 is Odysseus, The hero of Homer’s Odyssey. You may know him as the cunning mind behind the Trojan Horse.

    There are plenty of other surprise visits waiting for you in Hades II, and I certainly won’t reveal that to people waiting for the game’s release.

    A family and family history plagued with difficulties.

    Hades is a story about family (like Orpheus and Eurydice’s “It’s in the Blood”), and Hades 2 is very similar. In fact, the stakes are much higher and the impact of the narrative is much greater if you have played Zagreus’ story. First spoilers ahead below this point!

    Related: Who is Thanatos in Hades? History, encounters and more

    Melinoe is the daughter of Hades and Persephone, the younger sister of Zagreus. The goal of this young witch is to recover the underworld from the clutches of the powerful Titan, Cronus, father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. Her family is trapped in the underworld.

    …the game won’t tell you all this directly, but if you poke around enough things in Crossroards and talk to the gods of Olympus enough, you’ll get clues. Which, by the way, is a format I’m a big fan of.

    Screenshot of pro game guides

    Masterful storytelling is when the narrative allows you to piece things together yourself. So yeah, I’ve barely beaten Erebus and I almost burst into tears a couple of times. So what?

    Verdict: Hades 2 is a big improvement over its predecessor, but no less familiar

    From the limited areas we had access to, it’s safe to say that Hades 2 will not disappoint. It maintains the spirit of Hades repetition, without the need to be boring and repetitive, with a greater introduction of new characters, mechanics and areas. Even returning gods and familiar sights are updated with new outfits and continuing narratives.

    I’m going to play it a ton now, but it’ll be interesting to see how much this game will change in early access and full release. Maybe put fewer of those wailing enemies on the first floor?

    Interested in Hades 2? Check out Hades 2: Release Date, Early Access, Platforms, and More at MyFullGames!


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