Hades had its full release on September 17th of last year. Supergiant Games‘ latest release was an instant hit with gaming fans on PC and Nintendo Switch. For the first time, this renowned indie game has brought its unique blend of action RPG and rogue-like storytelling elements to current and last-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles. And even if you, like me, dropped dozens of hours into the original release, the Hades port may still be well worth revisiting.
As you may well know, Hades tells the story of Prince Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to escape his father’s Underworld domain to reach the mortal realm. As the prince fights his way through the various regions of the Underworld, he faces daunting enemies, firey hazards, and monstrous bosses that all seek to halt his progress. Whenever the good prince fails to overcome one of these challenges, he is whisked back to the Halls of Hades, where he is restored in the pool that all the recently dead emerge from. Having been reborn, the young prince can interact with several denizens of his father’s house before rearming and heading out once more to attempt to escape this eternal prison.
While the rogue-like genre of play, die, and start over is nothing new in the gaming space, Supergiant Games did something unique with their creation by incorporating the mechanic into the storytelling of Zagreus’s quest for freedom. Rather than have every death start the narrative over, as is the norm, each death merely signaled a new chapter in the prince’s trials. This gave the game a narrative hook that is generally lacking in the rogue-like genre, and the hook is just as enjoyable in the Hades port as it was in the original.
While the surprise may not have been there, the opportunity to receive the advice of Achillis, the nurturing support of Nyx, and experience the panicked shyness of Dusa made my heart warm all over again. Even Zagreus’s short pointed exchanges with his distantly cold father brought a nostalgia that feels far too heavy for a game I played less than a year ago. Though getting to play this time around on my platform of choice certainly doesn’t hurt this Hades port at all.
While I enjoyed my many hours with Hades when I played it on my Nintendo Switch, the game’s gorgeous art style, memorable character designs, and beautiful visual effects shine all the brighter on my Xbox Series X. No matter how many explosions or magical effects came to litter my screen, the game kept the action running smoothly so I could safeguard my precious health and perhaps Zagreus might finally escape the Underworld.
In a direct comparison between the two, I found that I had a better sense of control of Zagreus as I dashed around the various chambers of the Underworld on my Xbox Series X. I also had a far clearer picture of what was going on, but that is partially due to my almost exclusive use of my Switch in handheld mode.
And for any veterans of the original release who might think that the game will prove frustrating with all the hard-earned upgrades stripped away, let me tell you, it is not. Not only did I find the anticipation of having those upgrades that I knew would change the game for me exciting to chase down again, but I also discovered that my many hours of previous gaming made me far better at fending off the many dangers that the Underworld threw at me. Where it took me many hours to reach the further points of the game’s journey during my original plays with it, when jumping back in with the Hades port, I found myself reach the third area of the game’s journey in just my fourth run.
So if you came into this wondering if the Hades port is worth a second look, I could not recommend it enough. The charm, character, and challenging gameplay that made it an instant hit last year gives it more than enough appeal to warrant a second go. If you never got the chance to check out the game when it was originally released and have more questions about gameplay nuances, you should check out our original review of Hades here.
Hades is currently available on PC and Nintendo Switch and is arriving on PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and Xbox Game Pass on August 13th.
So if you came into this wondering if the Hades port is worth a second look, I could not recommend it enough. The charm, character, and challenging gameplay that made it an instant hit last year gives it more than enough appeal to warrant a second go.