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Community Article: Indie Insights - Hades

Written by John Edwards

2020 has at times felt like the movie Groundhog Day, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, repeating the same day endlessly. In Hades, Zagreus tries to escape from the underworld and his titular father, against his wishes.

Zagreus has a great deal of options at his disposal when trying to repel the hordes of creatures Hades has sent to stop his son. With a selection of weapons, regular and special attacks and a useful dash, Zagreus is an adept and agile fighter but will still end up dying, only to emerge once again in The House Of Hades.

2020 has at times felt like the movie Groundhog Day, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, repeating the same day endlessly. In Hades, Zagreus tries to escape the underworld, having already died. He ignores his father's jibes and finds help with his relatives, the Gods of Olympus.

They confer on him boons based on their own powers which can combine in surprising ways to aid Zagreus is battling the various denizens that are trying to stop his escape. They can enhance your weapons and change the nature of Zagreus rather basic Cast projectile. Some will even give you a Call which acts like a special meter bringing in that God's power when filled.

Because Hades is procedurally generated, your route will never be the same each time and you may find some boons help more than others or even an unlucky roll of the dice means you're back in the House Of Hades before you know it.

2020 has at times felt like the movie Groundhog Day, no end in sight no matter what you do. In Hade's escape can seem difficult, with the challenges seeming insurmountable. Just getting out of the first region is difficult in itself.

But soon you'll start understanding which of the different weapons available to you suits your playing style and what boons will enhance your performance. You'll look out for the Daedalus Hammer bonus above all and get better at reading attacks and dodge timings. Before you know it you'll be getting to later regions as a matter of course, even if each time you find yourself back in the House Of Hades.

 

2020 has at times felt like the movie Groundhog Day, where developing and maintaining relationships is so vital to personal growth, even under unusual circumstances. Zagreus has a lot of people he can talk to in between dying. The residents of The House itself, the Gods who provide you boons and even a three headed dog to pet.

By developing these relationships you can unlock more of the story and trinkets which can help you with your escape attempts. Some will ask you for help, needing you to modify the House through renovations or fulfil contracts. There is an astonishing amount of dialogue in the game and it is superb throughout.

It is fortunate there is such variety given you will be doing essentially the same thing over and over, the evolving relationships help ensure that even when facing off against the same boss for the fortieth time it's still interesting.

2020 has at times felt like the movie Groundhog Day, where even amongst the repetition there is room for personal growth and learning. In Hades each death brings progress. With additional resources held over from each attempt, you can improve your chances with the Mirror Of Night, making it slightly easier. If you find yourself struggling too much there's an optional God Mode which reduces the damage you take and increases that bonus reduction when you die.

Eventually, through perseverance, you will escape. It may not be with the weapon you expect, or with your favourite boon. You might have had a lucky run with which enemies you faced, Charon happened to have the right thing in his shop just when you needed. Or maybe you just mastered the combat and overcame bosses you previously struggled against. However it happens, you will escape.

And then you realise that's just the beginning.

2021 feels like the end of the movie Groundhog Day, after a long struggle there is hope and new beginnings. In Hades, Zagreus may have escaped the underworld but that will not be the end of his story or of those he has met or has been helped by.

Waking up in the House of Hades again you will have more you want to do and see. Weapon aspects to unlock and put to use. Boon combinations to get the special Duo option for your favourite two Gods. There's a floating Gorgon head to romance and an ancient warrior to help. There's even a rock which I can't help but hope will talk back to me eventually.

In Hades, you repeat the cycle of death and rebirth in The House Of Hades, but what you do in between those points is so fascinating, compelling and enthralling that you can happily remain in that loop for another year.