A volume that seems like early access, ‘Hades 2’ – Inven VRESP

The reputation of Supergiant, an indie developer that has garnered attention through masterpieces such as ‘Bastion’ and ‘Transistor’, has further improved with the release of ‘Hades’ in 2020. The fact that it sold more than 1 million copies and was selected as Game of the Year at award ceremonies where developers vote directly, such as BAFTA and GDC, speaks volumes about Hades’ outstanding artistic quality.

On May 7th, the sequel to ‘Hades’ appeared through Steam Early Access. Typically, highly popular IPs focus on marketing before release. It was a sudden release, without going through any pre-heating process. In a way, this shows the developer’s confidence in saying, “There is no need for long words, we will show it through gameplay.”

If the previous work was considered an outstanding game not only by gamers but also by developers, it is natural to have expectations for the sequel. However, we now know very well that there are not many sequels to ‘Better Brother Than Brother’ that meet those expectations. Indeed, will ‘Hades 2’ go beyond the huge halo of its predecessor and be recognized as another masterpiece from Supergiant Games?

In fact, even now in Early Access, it seems to be about halfway through.

Game name: Hades II
Genre name: Hack and slash, roguelike
release date: 2024. 5. 7.
review version: Early Access
developer: Supergiant Games
service: Supergiant Games
platform: PC (Steam, Epic)
paly: PC

Back to hell – art and storytelling that still retain their charm

Like ‘Hades’, which was loved for its Greek mythology, fast-paced music, and battles that were as fast-paced as the music, ‘Hades 2’ also has all the charms of the previous work. In addition to the unique art style that has now become a special feature of Super Giant, the action roguelike grammar that has been developed since the previous work shows off its unrivaled charm in the latest work.

‘Hades 2’ depicts the journey of ‘Melinoe’, the sibling of ‘Zagreus’, the main character of the previous work. Melinoe is a witch who trains with her teacher Hecate in order to slay Kronos, the Titan of Time (and her grandfather) who captured her father Hades, and is characterized by a unique story development that is different from Zagreus. do.

▲ The main character of this work is Zagreus’ sibling, ‘Melinoe’.

The aunts, uncles, and even the Greek gods who help Melinoe on her journey are also excellently portrayed. Not only the unique art style, but also the dialogue you can hear during each interaction. The fact that it is set in Greek mythology, which is relatively familiar to users, helps in understanding the story, which has been reinterpreted following the previous work, and provides the small fun of seeing the gods expressed uniquely.

The art style that Super Giant has accumulated so far can be felt even in the map on the way to defeat Kronos. As of the early access version, there are about five or six areas (both above and below ground), each with unique art and gimmick elements that can be used in battle.

▲ Greek mythology reinterpreted through unique art is still attractive

In particular, the charm of storytelling in the ‘Hades’ series plays a very important role in offsetting to some extent the boredom that comes from ‘repetition of death’, which is inevitable due to the nature of the genre. It is said that the fun of roguelikes is experiencing death countless times due to reasons such as skill or luck and trying again, but if the story becomes stagnant in the repetitive process, gamers who want the game’s story may feel rejected.

In that context, ‘Hades 2’ seems to be well aware of its charm. With engaging character interactions and storytelling based on Greek mythology, we made the repetition of death feel like a very natural occurrence. It’s as if Kronos, the Titan of Time, is playing a trick.

So that repetition doesn’t feel like repetition – colorful interactive devices

The charm of the ‘Hades’ series lies in the characteristic combat itself of the roguelike genre, but the fact that the story flows naturally in conjunction with repetitive gameplay also plays a part. ‘Hades 2’ was also able to clearly confirm this from the early access stage.

Derived from ‘rogue’, the roguelike genre today is divided into many more detailed subgenres. In general, it can be divided into games where you have to repeat the cycle again with nothing left after death, and games where you repeat the game again with something you gained from the previous game and become a little stronger. ‘Hades 2’ falls into the latter category, and through various reinforcement elements, it encourages players to ignite their spirit of challenge with the thought, ‘But this time, I will be able to go through more stages than last time.’

And, in the process, interactions with NPCs and story development, which change each time, play a key role in ensuring that the entire game does not feel repetitive, no matter how many times the player progresses through the same stage.

▲ The process of gathering materials and strengthening serves as proof that the death of the previous day was not in vain.

In the roguelike genre, where you have to unlock various devices with the goods accumulated through countless deaths, you have to repeat battles that feel largely meaningless until these elements are unlocked to some extent. And, in the process, some players can easily get bored. Conversations with NPCs that change every time, I don’t know what the conditions are, but elements that are solved one by one relieve a lot of the boredom.

There are various NPCs such as Odysseus and Nemesis in the ‘Forkwood’ area that Melione uses as a base with her teacher Hecate, and each night (going underground to proceed with the battle is expressed as night in the game), they give each other to the main character. I tell you a different story.

Sometimes this may be a story about the enemy the protagonist meets and defeats at the end, a story about a place that is currently blocked and cannot proceed, and sometimes it may be a story about Kronos and Hades, which run throughout the story. In this way, ‘Hades 2’ makes the entire game appear to have one natural flow through interactions that change even during repeated play. Even if it’s a series of deaths caused by the player’s skill.

▲ When you look at the detailed NPC interactions, there are times when you forget that it is a roguelike.

This is Witch’s Fight – a different tempo, but still enjoyable build exploration

So what about combat, which takes up most of the gameplay? First of all, the concept of the main character Melinoe as a witch is different from the previous game’s Zagreus, so it offers gameplay at a very different tempo from the previous work.

In the case of the previous game, it was possible to perform an explosive melee attack through a quick dash and then increase the distance from the enemy by dashing again, but Melinoe’s dash has a slight cooldown, so it is too risky to use recklessly. Instead, it appears to be easier to have a stable build through a combination of magic that restricts the opponent’s movement, Omega skills that are used by pressing the button, and long-range weapons.

▲ Haha boom boom boom

The overall game progression is not much different from the previous work, ‘Hades’, or any other roguelike genre derived from it. Defeat all enemies in a location, acquire rewards for that location to strengthen your character, repeat this, and move forward. In the process, it is definitely fun to strengthen your weapons and skills through the grace of the Greek gods or the hammer, and create your own specialized weapon.

The basic combat skills in the game include general ‘attack’, ‘skill’, and ‘magic’, and since each of these three types of attack methods has an ‘Omega’ skill, it is possible to attack in approximately six ways. Attacks and skills vary depending on the weapon Melione is equipped with, and the magic is the same in the form of setting up a floor that restricts the enemy’s movement. Since there are quite a few types of enemies that ignore attacks and approach you, using magic at the right time is also a way to survive.

Of course, the battle tempo of ‘Hades 2’ may differ depending on whether the player prefers close combat or long-distance combat, but this does not mean that it does not support close-range weapons at all. Depending on the grace you gain, melee attacks can also be powerful weapons.

▲ Of course, you can also fight heavily with an axe.

The favor of the gods, which can be obtained randomly in each stage, is also based on these six attacks. This is a format where you can choose what characteristics to give to magic, or what blessings to activate through attacks or skills. For example, Hestia, the goddess of embers, can inflict dot damage on a magic plate, and Demeter can give certain attacks the effect of freezing enemies.

These bounties of randomness force players to make choices at every stage. What skills would you like to specialize in this session? It’s fortunate if the blessings come out according to the goal you initially set, but since the blessings you encounter in each stage and the list of blessings are random, it is difficult to hit the desired build every time. Given the nature of the genre, in a way, it is natural.

However, the joy that comes when you achieve the ‘high point’ build with the effects you really want coming out one after another is great. Once you experience the joy of having an explosive attack method that synergizes with the favored weapon skills of the gods, there is a high possibility that you will be glued to ‘Hades 2’ for a while.

▲ Aphrodite’s loyalty and loyalty

Of course, the ‘unlock elements’ mentioned above that do not disappear even in repeated deaths also play a big role in the game. The ‘Spell’, which is performed by collecting various materials, adds beneficial locations to each stage or provides the opportunity to enter a new location, and the ‘Arcana’ system, which works together within limited resources, is stronger from the start in this episode than in previous episodes. It is used as a driving force to take shape.

The same goes for accessories obtained by increasing affinity with NPCs. Each accessory has abilities that provide beneficial effects in battle, and the longer you play the game while wearing the same accessory, the more powerful it becomes. Add to that the weapon aspect, which changes the weapon’s appearance and some of its abilities, and it’s enough to give you confidence that even if you explore the same area, you can get different results than before.

▲ What will I receive next? When I think about it, time flies by

Is this really the amount under development? – The volume is similar to that of trying ‘all’ before.

One more thing, ‘Hades 2’ is really, really massive, considering it was suddenly released into early access without any special promotion. If you are a gamer who has been hesitant due to problems with the completion of some early access games recently, there is no need to worry about ‘Hades 2’.

Based on the early access build, what players can experience in ‘Hades 2’ is an underground world made up of four stages, a part of the surface world, and various interactions that can be found at the base, Fork. At first glance, the volume may not seem that great, but when you actually try it, you can easily realize that it takes quite a lot of time to experience all the content.

Through four stages, you can reach Tartarus, where the final boss, Kronos, is located, but along the way, various materials needed to strengthen the main character, Melinoe, are scattered around. In addition, the materials needed to unlock arcana cards and weapon aspects are considerable, so the farming process is inevitable.

Also, there are elements that can be easily missed if you do not read the dialogue closely. For example, in order to learn a spell that unlocks a weapon aspect, the gimmick is that you have to attack the teacher Hecate once with a different weapon. Even in repeated play, elements to avoid repetition can be identified in these places.

▲ Some of the art still looks unfinished, but the volume is truly amazing.

There is also a map that goes up to the ground at the request of the Olympian gods, including Hermes. As the ground part is Early Access, the story is not complete, so it feels like it is cut off in the middle, but since there are weapon enhancement materials that can only be obtained here, it will help you create a build to ultimately defeat Kronos. .

Even ‘Chaos’ zones, which make an already difficult game even more difficult, play an important role in expanding the diversity of the overall gameplay and creating a new experience every time. Unlike regular grace, grace obtained from Chaos requires passing a ‘trial’ that gives a debuff for a certain period of time, and better effects are guaranteed when you overcome the trial.

Considering these various gimmicks and character enhancement elements, the current volume of ‘Hades 2’ is too large to be called early access. Of course, there are still some art or icons missing, there is no chapter that concludes the story, there is no final part of the ground part, etc., but even if these are improved, it will be a good game. You can see that.

▲ The above-ground part also has a different charm from the underground part.

Be careful of the spicy level of difficulty – if it’s too difficult, play ‘God Mode’

Although it has been arranged to strengthen characters with various elements, ‘Hades 2’ is still a very difficult game. Whether it’s due to lack of skill or lack of luck in receiving favor, there are many cases where one mistake becomes a direct ticket to the crossroads.

This difficulty applies to both regular monsters and boss monsters, and if you have an honest pattern in the beginning, you can experience being completely distracted by the unstoppable monsters pouring in in droves towards the end when Kronos is present. In particular, the frustration felt when there is no stamina recovery stage right before meeting Kronos is as stimulating as the pleasure of completing the build.

▲ A screen you will see countless times in the future.

What’s welcome is that ‘God Mode’ is included in the options menu for players who want to experience the story in a more convenient way. However, this does not mean that it is completely god-like. When you activate god mode, enemy attacks hurt a little less, and the damage reduction rate increases slightly every time you die.

In other words, ‘God Mode’ is not a panacea. It just leaves the possibility of surviving a little bit longer than in normal play. Still, the damage is reduced by about 20% at first, but if you continue to die, it will reach 50 or 60%, so if you are a gamer who is worried about high difficulty, we recommend actively using ‘God Mode’.

Although it suddenly appeared in early access, ‘Hades 2’ is a game with such volume and immersion that it can be considered an already completed game.

It’s natural to remember the previous game and compare things, but the gameplay, which instills hope in what will happen if one more grace comes out, also has the power to make you focus entirely on the game.

Supergiant Games is aiming for an official release at the end of this year through the game menu screen, and has announced plans to update new regions, crossroads, new weapons and aspects in the future. As well as story expansion.

That means ‘Hades 2’ can get better in the future. Just as the previous work, ‘Hades’, was created as a work that captivated the world through feedback received during the early access period, we can eagerly await the official release of ‘Hades 2’.

About Michael Steven

I am a news writer, editor and journalist with more than 13 years of experience. I have an MA in Journalism and have published work in various publications around the world. With me, you don't have to worry about copyright and defamation issues or being punished by search engines. You get original work that complies with media laws. Communication: I really prioritize good communication with clients, from their expectations to the initial plan and vision of the project in particular. Tell me what you want - even down to the level of 'how' you want it written. Nonetheless, I must note that self-expression is very important to me and I hope to reach a solution together with the client but not at the expense of the quality of the finished product.

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