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Hades (Xbox Series X) – Review

Hades is a roguelike action dungeon crawler made by Supergiant Games, and winner of 50+ GOTY awards for 2020, and is finally making its way to release on the Xbox and Playstation platforms.

Players are placed in the role of Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape the Underworld to go to Mount Olympus. As Zagreus ventures onward, you will come across other Olympians and acquire buffs to aid in the escape. Upon death, Zagreus is sent back to the gates of the Underworld where he can chat it up with Hades and others. Also yes, you can pet the goodest of boys, Cerberus. As you die, you keep what treasure you had on hand, which can then be used to unlock new weapons and level up abilities, or just to raise friendships of the others in the Underworld.

The controls for Hades are easy to learn for a hack and slash dungeon crawler and given there are different weapons, certain attacks will play out better than a previous weapon. For example, the sword being the starting gear the special attack is a slam that deals damage in the area, whereas the shield that can be acquired later can be thrown with the special attack and can bounce off-targets, so think Captain America.

In terms of combat, there is a style that each player will lean towards. I personally find the bow to be my go-to choice, but I will always swap around if I am having issues progressing. The dash ability is a godsend and gets even better once you get a good buff from an Olympian, changing it from something that is just meant for defence into something that can be used aggressively.

The graphics and level design for Hades are amazing. The gates of the Underworld, with their Greek designs to the pits of hell, each zone and room offered something new to look at, even if it was just a small thing like a statue or design etched into a wall or floor. The character designs are spot on. The enemies had so many good designs, including my favourite, the Skeleton Hydra. My hat goes off to the person that designed that boss.

It was an early highlight that I made note of giving praise towards. Hades also offers an amazing soundtrack that was created by Darren Korb. He has worked with past indie games and done an amazing job on their titles as well. Hades takes more of a metal approach in the majority of the music, which blends in great with killing minions of the Underworld. If it works for Doomguy it works with everyone.

The difficulty of Hades was harder than I first expected when I started playing. Being a Dark Souls player, my first thought was it can’t be too hard and boy was I beaten to a pulp. This is not a bad thing at all; I much prefer a game that is going to challenge me fully.

Games like Hades are the ones I will remember and keep returning to, making sure I am still able to best it. I can see how Hades won so many GOTY awards in 2020. It is a masterpiece of a game, and while it may be a game that turns people away from the difficulty setting, it is still one I will urge people to play to experience how great it was all put together. Hades is definitely going to be a game I will play a lot.

The Good

  • Amazing gameplay
  • Many interactions with Greek gods/demigods
  • Can pet Cerberus
  • Kickass soundtrack
  • Offerers different combat playstyles
  • Great level design and details

Written by: Shane Walsh


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