It’s been about six months since Epic launched their ambitious bid to challenge the dominance of Steam in the world of games digital distribution. It’s also been six months of updates for the Fortnite-backed storefront’s first major exclusive: Hades.
Developed by Supergiant Games, best known for critically acclaimed indie titles like Bastion, Transistor and Pyre, Hades is an isometric roguelike with solid replayability and a unique hook: it might be the first great roguelike with a story worth seeing through to the end.
Of course, it should be noted that the story in Hades is not yet finished.
Hades is the first Supergiant game to launch in early access and that means that buying it right now won’t get you the full experience that the developer eventually intend for the game. It’ll only get you everything that Supergiant have developed so far.
However, if you get in now, you might just save some money. Supergiant say that the Epic Store pricing for Hades will rise as they add more content to the game.
According to the developer, “earlier adopters will receive the many free major updates we expect to release as we continue building the game in Early Access.”
What did Supergiant Promise?
When it launched into early access alongside the Epic Games Store, Supergiant outlined their long-term vision for the game on their official blog.
“Though the game is a work-in-progress, we think Hades already offers many hours of exciting action and engrossing narrative.”
“We felt it was in an ideal spot for us to continue development in partnership with our players, to help us make it even better. By playing in Early Access, you’ll be able to see the game take shape over time based on our plans and your feedback.”
“We expect to add features, events, characters, weapons, powers, environments, and more, all while fine-tuning every aspect of the experience, for at least a year and a half from our initial launch. During Early Access, we expect to launch major content updates on a regular basis, with the possibility of smaller updates in between.”
What did they deliver?
Thus far, Hades has received four major updates.
The Chaos Update
The Chaos update added Chaos boons, improved in-game animations and introduced infernal contracts - which allow you to raise the difficulty of the game for better rewards. It also introduced three new enemies, six new level layouts and the Wretched Broker - a merchant to whom you can trade surplus resources.
The Good Times Update
The Good Times update added Dionysus to the game’s pantheon.
It also brought with it the new Adamant Rail weapon plus new abilities, balance changes, several new (fully-voiced) narrative events, enhanced art and visual FX and a brand new song from frequent Supergiant collaborator Darren Korb.
The Good Times update also built on the infernal contracts introduced in the Chaos update by adding new infernal gates.
The Murder Death Kill Update
The Murder Death Kill update added the new Wrath mechanic to the game (allowing you to built up energy during fights and then expend it for a powerful ability), a new NPC (Thanatos), 20 new boons, two new enemies, two new bosses, several new story events plus the usual cocktail of balance, art and visual FX improvements.
The Beefy Update
The Beefy Update made significant enhancements the core gameplay loop in Hades by changing the your dash ability works and allowing you to stack more weapon upgrades than the game previously allowed. The in-game interface for managing boons was also reworked.
This update also added a third zone to the game in the form of Elysium. Elysium contained two new bosses - Theseus and the Minotaur. There’s also brand-new music to go with the new zone plus new art, visual FX and a bunch of new fully-voiced story moments.
Six Months Later, should you play Hades?
Although it is still very much unfinished, there’s still a ton of reasons to look at picking up and playing Hades in its current form. It’s a lot of fun, the voice-acting and front-of-house storytelling becomes only more and more compelling the more time you give it and the boon system does a great job of keeping things interesting from run to run.
If the game's first few months in early access are any indication and Hades only gets better from here on out, the current price is gonna seem like a bargain in six months time.