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Hades 2 fulfilled my greatest wish from the first game, and all it took was a simple change in direction

Supergiant's sequel has introduced an Olympian challenge.

Hades 2 key art showing Melinoe performing some kind of spell, a blurred image of the game in the background.
Image credit: Supegiant Games

It might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but the worst part about the original Hades is that it ended. A roguelite, with an ending? Ok, sure, you can keep doing runs as often as you like, but narratively everything just kind of ties itself up after you successfully do enough of them. I do really enjoy a good roguelike (or -lite), but I'm not someone that can play them forever - part of Hades' appeal is the way it builds its narrative. Back when I finished it, there was one thing I was hoping Supergiant would do as DLC, or perhaps an update, but it never materialised. But lucky me, though, as they've only gone and put it in Hades 2 instead.

Spoilers for Hades 2 about a particular area you can visit.

You see, once you finally manage to beat old daddy dearest in the original Hades, Zagreus is able to go off and find his mother up on the surface, though the Fates unfortunately bind him to the Underworld, ultimately resulting in his death. It's cruel, it's upsetting, it's good storytelling. But for me, as greedy as it might have sounded, it wasn't enough. I wanted to go to Olympus, where all those relatives of Zagreus lived who were kind of dicks but I wanted to meet anyway.

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Mostly, I just thought it could have made for some interesting gameplay, even outside of the storytelling possibilities. What would the enemies be like above ground? How hard is it to get there? Would Zagreus even be able to survive that far? As it turns out, these are all things Supergiant appears to have wondered too, as not too far into the game, you find that you are in fact able to go to the surface world – and make a break for Olympus. And best of all, the methods to get there, and stay up there, tie into Hades 2's revision of the first game's mechanics so deliciously well.

Where resource collecting was a small element in the first Hades, it's been expanded upon in its sequel. Melinoe is a witch, so she needs various ingredients to complete certain incantations, which allows her to introduce things like healing wells and other such advantages across her runs. But these incantations are also necessary for progressing certain parts of the story. Sometimes you'll need various ores or minerals, other times you'll need more familiar items like nectar, but they're not all things you can get on one run.

In turn, it means you can't rush up to Olympus. The first time you get up there, after clearing the first room you find that your health steadily declines until you die. Of course, there are ways to make some of that health back, but the fights are tough enough where you aren't going to survive for very long. You are able to learn of an incantation that lets you stay up there, but it requires resources you can only get up top - meaning you have to brace yourself for a bit of a challenge.

It's such a clever way of bringing Hades 2's natural gameplay and narrative loop together, because it doesn't just say "ah to hell with lore, let's just get to the cool stuff." It remembers what was so special about the first game, the slow unravelling of story through continuous escape attempts, and more tightly weaves its systems amongst it. And ultimately, it offers a breath of (quite literal) fresh air.

I think this addition is a really good example of how, even when Supergiant is somewhat repeating itself with a sequel – the first time it's ever done one – it knows exactly how to encourage the player to reach for new heights, whether they be the actual Mount Olympus, or taking down the god of time. Of course, the climb to the gods isn't quite finished yet, that's what this early access release is for after all. But I certainly can't wait to see how it ends up. Even it will require quite a lot of dying.


Hades 2 is available in Early Access now, and it's making us all remember how good the first one is. Better yet, you don't really need to have played the first one if you want to jump into the sequel.

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