I've put about ten hours into it, escaping the underworld twice... I feel like it has a pretty good feeling of progression, better than most roguelikes. I did get a bit burned out after a few poor runs, as luck of the draw can be a significant factor I think... some of the gods just have better boons than others. And then sometimes you decide to collect a lot of coins instead of going straight for upgrades, and hardly ever get a chance to shop. Oh well, them's the breaks.
After 25 hours and 24 escape attempts, the credits have rolled! And yet I feel like there's still a good bit more left, even just story-wise.
I'm not sure it's even my top Supergiant game I played this year (I came away really impressed by Pyre) but I've already played it more than their previous three games combined, and am most likely to continue playing for a quite a while. They did a great job building a fully realized experience around the roguelike (roguelite?) foundation.
I've actually never played a Supergiant game, I know Bastion and Transistor got a ton of praise but something about the perspective / style / ??? always turned me off so I never checked them out, but people won't shut up about this game, so I just bought it.
I want to try Pyre as well, that looked up my line a bit.
I'm the same way, the painterly(?) style feels very Deviantart to me (not in a low-quality way, just not my thing), and I think I associate isometric games with real-time strategy and Diablo-esque grinding. And I always thought Pyre was multiplayer-only and wrote it off as a totally different thing?
It probably gets better, though. I'm just a dilettante.
I feel like people like it mainly for the story implementation and being able to power up after runs (which allows the player to cheese their way to victory, if necessary, and makes death not feel like a 'waste of time' for people who don't regularly cotton to Roguelikes). But the core combat doesn't seem as dynamic as Spelunky or as tight as Dead Cells to me. The perspective is different, though.
I too felt for a while that Hades, while obviously very good, perhaps wasn't as mechanically interesting as the version of Dead Cells I played (I have no idea what that game looks like now after so many updates), and I tended to wonder why people saw it as GOTY material. But I keep seeing interesting new builds in my runs, and I can't stop playing.
And I feel stuff like THIS is why it's GOTY material, and that's perfectly valid.
So I dove into this more, did like... 4 or 5? runs. The last one I got pretty far due to getting some "get 2 hp back every time you hit an enemy" thing. Kind of made it feel cheap, though it DID bring your overall hp down a ton. Still, I got WAY further than I would have without it, which I guess is just part of the roguelike experience, but it feels a bit weird to me knowing that I probably won't get that far again for quite awhile unless I get some lucky stuff again.
I'm also not sure what like... anything is. I have a choice of doors but each door just has some vague symbol on it so how do I choose? What does the mirror do? What does the construction guy do? Some people call this a Rogue-lite since you can hold onto stuff each run, but how do I know what is permanent and what is temporary? Do I actually have like 5 different collectibles with no idea what any of them do or am I just overwhelmed and confused?!
As for the gameplay itself, it's... pretty good. But kind of reminding me why I'm more of a fan of 2d platformers than the isometric action game. I feel like 95% of what I'm doing is just dashing around taking my stabs when I can get them safely.
I'll probably get into it more when I start to understand it more, but at the moment I'm just like... yeah, it's not bad.
Oh man, I like this game's style! This is how you tell a story in an action game. Badass premise and no forced exposition.
And, while I'm with anand on preferring roguelikes without permanent upgrade systems, I think there's something to be said for having something to do in the downtime between runs. After dying in Spelunky 1, I'd sometimes just throw a rat up in the air and try to catch it for ten minutes while I decompressed. I think that this barebones approach works well for the Spelunky games; Spelunky 2's way of slowly building out your camp without much point to it beyond aesthetics adds to the mystery and charm. But I can appreciate that in Hades, there's a sort of meaningful story progression to keep you entertained when you don't feel like committing another half hour to a new run. It seems like a lot of permanent upgrades have trade-offs anyway, so I don't find it too egregious.
But I'm with Zero; this top-down hack-and-slash genre just isn't my thing. I might try a run here and there going forward, but I don't foresee this game digging its claws into me.
It's overwhelming at first, but eventually, the game will tell you how you're supposed to use some things, while other things, you'll figure out eventually on your own. For instance, if you got a Diamond and don't know what to do with it, just hold on to it. It's fine. Eventually you'll see a use for it.
If you need more help and explanations:
The mirror and the construction guys are your permanent improvements that stay from run to run. The mirror gives you advantages such as improving your chances of getting better boons from gods, or gaining the "Death Defiance" ability which can give you back half your health upon death. The construction guys can let you "improve" Hell by adding, say, the chance to stumble upon an HP-replenishing fountain mid-dungeon. There are also purely cosmetic improvements, which you probably shouldn't prioritize.
The mirror requires darkness and keys, and the construction guys, gems and diamonds.
You'll get an understanding of what the symbols mean in time. The hammer-like icon means the reward for that chamber is an improvement to your weapon. A key or a dark stone are for use with the Mirror. Gems for the construction guys. Each god has their own symbol, so at some point you'll know which god is which, and what they give you. Athena has lots of boons that allow you to Deflect attacks (send them back at the enemy). Poseidon has boons that knock enemies back (and into walls, for extra damage). Etc.
Sometimes you'll see two god icons for one door, that means you can get both, but it will be extra difficult: you'll have to pick a god's boon, and the other will "attack" you while you kill enemies in the room. For instance, pick Poseidon's boon second, and you'll have to dodge a wave going around the level while you deal with the enemies.
A skull below an icon means a better chance of a better reward, i.e. a Rare or Epic boon instead of a normal one. Rare or Epic boons simply have better stats than normal ones, there is no other difference.
Keys, gems, Darkness, Diamonds and boss rewards, you get to keep between runs to power the mirror, the construction guys, etc.
Boons, weapon upgrades, money, you don't get to keep.
I'm now nearly done with the story bits of Hades, I believe.
I've romanced Mageara, Than and (ugh) Dusa. One relationship that seems stuck for reasons unknown is Hypnos.
I've brought together Hades and Persephone, Nyx and Chaos, and Orpheus and Eurydice. I'm just missing Achilles and Patroclus, but I was stuck going through Nyx's stuff so I couldn't set it in motion.
And I've given Sisyphus back his paperwork.
It's a good video game, Brent.
If I have one piece of advice, it's to never give up halfway through a run. I've had numerous instances so far where I'd lose all three of my Death Defiances rather early on, only to be somewhat overpowered for the end game. A build that may give you a tough time in Elysium might just be perfect in the final section of the game.
@Guillaume There's one more event (that I know of) on the "main" story quest left for you. Persephone may have hinted at it already. It does take quite a few runs to get going, though, if I remember right. It's not a huge event, but I suppose this game's narrative is almost entirely "small" events.
I don't remember whether or not I got that far with Sisyphus myself, but otherwise I feel like I've done most everything as well. But with this game, it's just as likely I have plenty more I don't know about, haha.