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Cat's Cradle: Hades game is a wonderful escape

Video games have become an essential modern pass time. New titles like “Sifu” and “Elden Ring” or sequels like “Dying Light 2: Stay Human” and “Horizon Zero Dawn Forbidden West” are the latest in games that fill our time with joy and frustration alike. Though, it is in moments between releases or before the next big game that audiences get a chance to enjoy their favorite games.

The game that carried most of us through the Pandemic came out of the corner of the gaming scene to take the spotlight: “Hades.” Released in 2020, Hades became a must own game. Blending elements of romance sims, roguelikes and Supergiant Games formula, Hades has become a modern classic.

The premise is simple: you have to escape Hades, the Greek underworld by fighting a series of bosses. Each death puts you back at the beginning with a few items or resources retained for the next journey. This is the core of a roguelike.

Roguelikes are procedurally generated games that see’s a player through a series of rooms to fight bosses and the eventual ending. Roguelikes come in all shapes and forms from gun themed “Enter the Gungeon'' to the evangelist horror of “The Binding of Isaac.”

Rougelike is meant as a light RPG, players quickly accumulate items and skills to beat the dungeon. While, most often the story takes second fiddle to complex item and material management. This is where Hades stands out.

Hades' story is something pulled from the annals of Greek Tragedy. You play Zagreus, the son of Hades as you attempt to escape the underworld and join your family on the Greek Pantheon. Each encounter with a god is fully voiced and often random. Based upon your items, your relationships or what gods you’ve spoken to each encounter differs.

This lends to Hades' massive replay-ability as each subsequent escape brings something new. A new god, ally or enemy that occupies the depths of Hades. Each foray slowly builds a larger story for the player as characters and Greek mythology play out with a unique spin.

The excellent story is balanced with an incredible art design. Supergiant Games made waves with their unique game “Bastion.” The blend of art direction and music made for a unique video game experience. This carries across subsequent games like “Transistor” and “Pyre.”

Hades stands out for it’s incredible blend of each. Having highly detailed character cards and rock laden music, Hades creates a unique visual style for the Greek underworld. Equal parts Mike Mignola and Hirohiko Araki, Hades is a spectacle. This is supported by the combat.

Hades takes on a frenetic, though tactile, pace asking players to react quickly and plan ahead for specific encounters. Subsequent escapes expand the player's repertoire, though an escape on the first attempt is always “possible.” It’s an asymmetrical fighter that blends the best elements of previous Supergiant games. 

Hades is a highly replay-able game. Encouraging attempts and different methods, the game is not only engaging but relaxing. As semester progresses, there isn’t a better way to unwind than to flip on your preferred station and attempt an escape from Hades. 

Benjamin Ervin is a senior studying English literature and writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Benjamin know by emailing him be425014@ohio.edu.


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