Hades 2 Gets Better the More You Play It

A real treat.

Hades 2
Supergiant Games

Just like its predecessor, Hades 2 has launched in Early Access, promising updates and and evolving experience until at least the end of the year. What’s truly surprising, however, is the astronomical amount of content already packed into the game. Hades 2 is already substantially larger than the first game, with more biomes, more bosses, and characters. Even more remarkable is how the sequel has managed to redefine its roguelike formula, not just iterating on what came before, but transforming it into something new and exciting. Nowhere is that more clear than with how Hades 2 evolves, how it rewards your playtime with wild new systems and twists. It’s a game that starts out strong, and simply gets better the more you put in.

Hades 2 is the first sequel SuperGiant Games has ever made, after developing a reputation of making unique standalone games like Bastion and Transistor, and initially there were some questions as to how that might pan out. Would doing the same thing again hurt the uniqueness that the studio has built its name on? Play just a few hours of Hades 2 and the answer to that questions is a resounding no.

Hades 2 does an impeccable job of incrementally introducing a ton of features, like new gods, new upgrades, alternate paths, and more.

SuperGiant Games

At a glance Hades 2 uses the same roguelike formula as its predecessor. Playing as Melinoe, daughter of Hades, each night you embark on a trip into the underworld, taking on random abilities and items to try and take your run as far as possible. All of the elements are the same, but the way SuperGiant has fleshed out Hades 2’s systems is impeccable, fine-tuning every element of the game to make it immensely replayable. More than that, though, Hades 2 absolutely nails the sense of progression, with the game growing in leaps and bounds as you get more familiar, and comfortable, with combat.

The emphasis here is twofold, in how both Hades 2’s core mystery plays out and how the game layers in wild new gameplay options dozens of hours in. A lot of the game’s storytelling is intentionally subdued and mysterious, much more fitting for the witch-y setting and characters it introduces. Zagreus’ story was about exploring the emotional core of the Hades family, but Hades 2’s story is much more about viewing those relationships from a different angle, examining how the flow of time integrally changes our lives.

Because of that the story in this sequel is much more drawn out, almost drip-fed in a way, but it really works. Different runs can shed light on new pieces of the story, depending on the routes you take and characters you meet along the way. It ads a phenomenal sense of the story adapting around your actions, which is then reinforced by its gameplay.

Twenty hours in you might think you have a good grasp on the systems of Hades 2, but then it adds some new wrinkle or twist, and this happens multiple times. You unlock a new route to the surface with entirely different enemies, bosses, environments, and materials. Suddenly, everything is worth a closer look again. Later you can upgrade your weapons and Arcana, allowing for drastically different builds. An early game pair of weak blades get strengthened to a preposterous extent. Then, there are Chaos trials that require you to use a premade build, essentially teaching you how many varied options there are for the game’s combat, as you cozy up to the family’s most distant relative.

Between story developments and new gameplay options, it feels like Hades 2 is introducing something new every few hours. You’re constantly depending your understanding of the story, or unlocking some kind of boost or bonus to make your runs more successful. The first Hades felt like a breath of fresh air for roguelikes, but Hades 2 feels like it’s nearly perfecting that formula.

It’s legitimately incredible that Hades 2 is an Early Access game, as what’s here feels like a fully complete experience, a fantastic action game with nearly limitless options for replayability. The more time you put into Hades 2, the more you get out of it. The game liberally rewards your time commitment by making sure you always have something new right around the corner. Forty hours in, and I’m still discovering new builds, new ways to play.

Everything that Hades 2 already has makes me ridiculously excited to see what SuperGiant has in store, and what the game will look like in one year’s time.

Hades 2 is available on PC in Early Access.

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