Auto Ads by Adsense

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Review: Hades (PC)

 In 2019, some colleagues of mine were raving about Hades. Not being willing to pay full price, I waited for a sale, and when Epic Games offered it for $16.24 and stacked a $10 coupon to bring it down to $6.24, I decided to pay for it, since the Playstation version was unlikely to drop its pricing for Hades to that level for at least a few years.

Hades is touted as a rogue-like. Randomly generated dungeons, limited number of lives, and restricted saving to prevent save-scumming. You start out with one weapon type, and each time you go through the dungeon, you have the chance to grab power-ups that can be used to unlock weapon types, special abilities, and even add rooms to the dungeons that have a chance to aid you rather than hurt you. As you progress, you unlock conversations with various characters, eventually being able to stack special effects as favors from Gods, and tackling tougher and tougher levels until you manage to hit and beat the final boss.

I'm sure other people are better at the game: it took me 51 runs before I managed to beat the boss. As you play the game you learn which effects stack well with which other effects, and which choice of weapons (you're incentivized to change weapons through a mechanic that rewards you with more persistent reward bonuses) demand the selection of which abilities, and when to pick trade-offs like increased wealth vs better power-ups.

The reason this game drew me in while other rogue-likes didn't is the increasing impact of your power-ups over time. As you accumulate them, you make further progress, even if you're unskilled at controller movement and couldn't dodge an attack to save your life. This meant that I was more and more willing to do another run since I knew it wouldn't be wasted. Furthermore, the meta-game was deep enough that I started approaching it as a resource allocation problem.

The kids loved the story enough that they became more interested in Greek mythology as a result. So now they know the names of Poseidon, Hermes, Thanatos, Eurydice, Orpheus, and Demeter. Many people claim that video games have no educational value, but my guess is those people are also the same people who claimed that comic books have no value, yet I impressed my GP teacher first day at RJC by naming the president of the USA during WW2, something I learned by reading a Batman comic.

I did the game through 10 defeats of Hades, and I still found it fun enough to want to keep playing. That's rare! I hardly ever revisit games that I "finished".

The game was fun, and I hardly ever finish games, so that means I'll put a recommended tag on this.

No comments: