Developer Supergiant Games is known for creating titles with rich narratives and sophisticated themes, and one of Hades’ great triumphs is how these elements are seamlessly integrated into a roguelite structure. With a seemingly limitless array of character interactions and plot progression, Hades seeds his storytelling over many hours of repeated runs, as you lead your character on one attempt to escape hell into the next. . Along with weapon and character upgrades, new story information is among the most satisfying rewards. But it also means you’ll be eager to see those plot threads resolve, and in order to do that, you’ve got to be prepared for a particularly long road. Zagreus is the son of the mighty Hades, who rules the realm of the dead with barely subdued anger that is matched only by his insistence on total control. He’s the definition of a bossy father, and Zagreus’ desire to go it alone feels as much like a family drama as it is the telling of a familiar mythology. His quest to find a mother he has never known puts him in touch with a who’s who from Olympus and the ancient Greek world, including Zeus, Athena, Achilles and Medusa. The constantly shifting dynamic between these characters is a lot of fun, from the sibling rivalry between the Olympians to reconnecting old flames like Orpheus and Eurydice, and I love the way the pieces of history slip between the action sequences. and during them. Each escape attempt involves a series of isometric arena battles, attacking an impressive variety of enemies in throws that demand precision and close observation. The combat is fast-paced and challenging, hinting more at sleek action games like Devil May Cry than isometric RPGs it might look like at first glance. The adrenaline rush is still high, but there’s also the potential for encounters to turn into frantic button smashing as you spam all available attacks to bring down enemies before they can trigger their worst counters. New weapons unlock regularly and can drastically change your playstyle, from heart-seeking bow precision to the furious melee domination of the Twin Fists of Malphon. The most awe-inspiring feat of design is how even the same weapon inevitably feels different with every stroke, as God’s bounties alter and enhance individual armaments, spells, and other abilities. As I stepped into the rhythm of going from one death to my next attempt, I was constantly excited to see how my approach could change. Among the many familiar names encountered, Zagreus meets the good Sisyphus, who keeps pushing a boulder up a hill he will never cross, never complaining about his task. It’s a fitting allegory that speaks to the larger game, which has kept me engaged through its slow improvement in characters and fiction, but on a path that I felt more and more sisyphus as I went along. was playing. I spent dozens of hours picking out the different plot threads and researching upgrades. It’s nice, but as the hours go by, my interest in the same sequence of rooms has grown thin. I wanted a recap, even though the game required more escape attempts. Even after “winning” this tease goes on for hours before a proper conclusion. The story spans too many hours of play to keep the excitement going throughout, but there is absolutely an abundance of content to discover along the way. Hades is a massive game, with a wealth of additional content to appease even the most die-hard of engagement. A “god mode” offers a gradual increase in damage resistance after each death, putting victory within reach even for those with a cap on their skills. On the flip side, risk takers looking for more rewards may eventually find a way to increase the difficulty. Alternating boss fights, new weapon aspects, hidden scenarios and many more invite the player to lose themselves in the potential of Hades. These variations and additional options bring the game to life, long after the charm of standard completion attempts begins to wear off. Even serious engagement doesn’t guarantee the story will end without many hours of investment, and only the most dedicated players will see the full spread of what Hades has to offer. But Supergiant’s latest installment is a beautiful and thoughtful twist on Greek mythology, overturning those old stories and turning them into commentaries on modern relationships. High octane action gameplay may take you to hell for the first time, but I guess you’ll stick around to experience this eccentric and fascinating family.