Screenshot by Siliconera

Preview: Hades 2 Feels Like Going Back Home

There are few comfortable video games that make me feel like I’m wrapping myself up in a warm blanket or returning home to see a loved one I haven’t visited in a long time. But Hades 2 is exactly that. So far, it feels like it includes the right mix of elements the original Supergiant Games award-winning title, all while forging its own path.

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Hades 2 is a direct sequel to the original hack-and-slash roguelike, and it picks up right from where it left off. I checked out the 2024 technical test on PC ahead of its release in early access, and it held nothing back. The game started with the new protagonist Melinoë seemingly picking up with a new run of the underworld.

I immediately had a quick moment to get my bearings with her skills and jumped right into the fray. The sense of progression in this sequel pretty much feels like a duplicate of the first game, which I don’t mind. But instead of the often grim and red tones of the first game, this title has green everywhere. It’s a neat touch.

Screenshot by Siliconera

Among the initial abilities I had access to in the Hades 2 preview included the standard thrust tied to several spears. This is the basic attack Melinoë gets with her default weapon, and it is surprisingly my favorite of the three I had access to. It offers just the right bit of range, which reminded me of my one of favorite Zagreus weapons: the bow.

Speaking of bows, one of the two other powers I had was one. I could hold it down to aim in a line ahead of me or charge it up for a more magical variant of its attack. The final ability involved a fascinating magical circle. It slows down opponents, which saw a lot of use in battle. I often set it up to gather up enemies, and then take them out at once. The circle even helped in escaping a near-tragic situation.

Overall, the new base abilities in this game feel pretty good so far. As always, upgrades exist throughout a run to make these skills better. For instance, I picked one upgrade that added scorch to my bow attack. This burned up enemies and dealt further damage to them.

Each run feels quite different in this game too, as the dungeon generates random boons. I had to pick carefully to decide if I wanted to prioritize bolstering my health or visiting Charon for supplies, for example. These neat little on-the-fly decisions make or break runs. The whole randomness and uncertainty of the situation already make this game so much fun.

Screenshot by Siliconera

On my first run, I made it all the way to the final boss of the technical test. I lost in unsurprising fashion, but it challenged me in a way most of the other enemies didn’t. The first boss, without any spoilers, is a literal test for both Melinoë and the player. It feels like a sharp uptick in difficulty over the otherwise pretty easy enemies before it.

Playing Hades 2 immediately felt like I was tapping into muscle memory. This made powering through the initial enemies quite easy, but the boss battle showed this sequel’s true potential. It forced me to use every ability at my disposal to slow down the foe, launch arrows from afar, dodge, and slice my way to victory.

But for many players like myself, the gameplay will feel unchanged. As such, the true excitement comes from the new story and characters. Some characters return to offer boons, such as the stunning Aphrodite, but there are plenty of new Greek gods and goddesses as well. Without spoiling, I am so much more invested in this tale than the original.

Hades 2 Preview 1
Screenshot by Siliconera

It deals with a new threat in Chronos and a surprising premise I didn’t expect. Because of this, I am even more hyped for the early access release. Fortunately, it plays as smooth as butter even now on Steam Deck.

Hades 2 is currently in its technical test phase. It will release for early access on PC via Steam in 2024.


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Author
Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.