Hades II Technical Test impressions: More of a great thing

Hades II Technical Test impressions: More of a great thing
Images via Supergiant Games

Written by 

Dave McAdam


19th Apr 2024 16:03

Hades is a game of repetition; trying over and over again, improving constantly in order to achieve a goal. It makes sense, then, that this would be the first game from Supergiant Games to get a sequel. Hades II looks to bring back everything that made the first game legendary, expand upon it, and go further than it did before.

With the Hades II Technical Test, I got hands-on experience with the sequel, to see if it holds up to the legacy of the first - and the omens are good.

Take what's old...

Melinoe looking out over Erebus in Hades II
Click to enlarge

For anyone who played Hades, it goes without saying that the game established a winning formula. A blend of well-crafted rogue-like gameplay with excellent characters, writing, and art design.

The biggest surprise in the announcement of Hades II was that Supergiant Games was finally making a direct sequel, something the studio has never done.

A welcome surprise, as Hades is an excellent game, and fans could likely tell from the first trailer that much of what made the first game great returns in Hades II. The same style of presentation and gameplay, with some new twists.

The first Hades laid down some rich soil, and Hades II is beginning to grow new things in it. Melinoë, the new protagonist, has some moves that Zagreus did not. The younger sister of the previous protagonist has been raised as a witch and an assassin, both heavily influencing her fighting style.

Meeting Hecate in Hades II
Click to enlarge

Melinoë wields different weapons, each with different attacks and effects. Her cast is not a projectile, but rather an area-of-effect spell which slows enemies who step inside of it. Also unlike Zagreus, Melinoë can sprint if you hold the dash button down.

She has a magic meter that she can draw from to perform more powerful attacks. You still have your Attack, Special, and Cast abilities, but now you can hold the button to perform the Omega version.

This uses some of your magic, which replenishes between rooms, and can add effects like making a ranged attack hit multiple enemies or having your cast ability deal damage as well as slowing enemies.

This simple new addition adds an entirely new level of strategy to the gameplay. Now, you have these more powerful attacks that rely on a resource. What's more, those attacks can also benefit from the drastic changes brought about by boons from the gods.

This effectively doubles the potential of your builds in each run, giving you six attacks to modify instead of three.

...and make it new

Melinoe fighting shades in Hades II
Click to enlarge

There are plenty of new gameplay elements here, but they are built into the same framework as the first game. The art, the music, the voices, the characters, the heart and the charm of the original are all here, perfectly preserved in the transition between games.

It might seem redundant to praise a sequel for staying as close to the previous game as possible, but Hades does so much right that it would be a shame to put it aside. Hades II seems to cleverly keep what worked before, expand on what needed more, and leave everything else well enough alone.

Melinoe after being defeated, returning to the Crossroads
Click to enlarge

You get the same style of gameplay but with new weapons, boons, attacks, and systems. Where Zagreus' story was a personal tale of escaping Hades, Melinoë is fighting to save the world from the Titan Chronos, but her quest is fueled by revenge. Many of the gods and other mythological figures return, with new additions that are equally well presented.

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Final Thoughts

Even from this early look, Hades II is doing a lot to make returning fans (like me) extremely happy. It's more of a great thing, and there isn't much to criticise there.

What is truly exciting is knowing how much the first Hades developed over time. Using that as a starting point, Hades II could eclipse the first game and become something even greater.

Played on PC via Steam. Code provided by the publisher.

Dave McAdam
About the author
Dave McAdam
Dave is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon, after several years of freelancing across the industry. He covers a wide range of games, with particular focus on shooters like Destiny 2, RPGs like Baldur's Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, and fighting games like Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8.
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