Hades PS5 Review - Roguelike Masterpiece Comes to Console


Replaying games isn't something I do very often. Once tends to be enough, and I'd usually rather experience something new and make a dent in my ever-growing backlog.

As soon as the PlayStation and Xbox versions were revealed, I knew Hades was going to be an exception.

Roguelike Resurgence

Following the early access period on PC, Supergiant's game was a phenomenon on Switch, winning game of year awards left, right, and centre in 2020.

Among the Roguelike resurgence, Hades stood out for a few reasons, and it's just as good on PlayStation 5.

While the various parts that make up Hades are all magnificent, it the precision in which everything works together that makes it so special.

At face value, it's a pretty straight forward twin-stick action game, with you using whatever weapon you choose to defeat a group of enemies and move onto the next chamber. But add in all the other elements and it's a complex beast that's a blast to play, even for people who don't usually vibe with the repetition of roguelikes.

The boons that each of the gods offer you, which are essentially upgrades and abilities, are what make each run different.

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Putting together a build you're comfortable with is essential, but what you're offered and by which charismatic and muscled Olympian is somewhat down to luck.

While every single one has their use in certain situations, you soon learn which fit your playstyle best, and you find yourself praying for particular drops whenever you see an Olympian's symbol as you enter a chamber.

The combat is buttery smooth and fast paced, with you having to always be on the move to stay alive, and that's the same no matter what build you've developed or what weapon you've chosen.

As an example, I use the special move (Y/Triangle) almost exclusively, staying at range and using the dash to reposition.

Therefore, boons that increase special damage or add status effects like lightning damage, or ones that add damage to my dash are always the ones I'm attracted to first.

Perfect Balance

By layering status effects with damage percentage bonuses, it's possible to become really powerful pretty quickly.

There are so many options to play with too. Adding chain lightning to a special that already does lightning damage sees you do damage to multiple foes at once, and then adding a boon that increases your damage after a kill ups your power even further.

Then, there are various other upgrades to unlock and play with, as well as various dramatically different weapons to choose between.

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Hades is very much a game of choice, where picking what is best for you and in each situation is vital. It takes a while to develop an understanding of everything, which can make the game pretty tough at first, but it soon becomes clear and perfectly balanced.

The loop of developing a build, battling through the underworld, and unlocking more bonuses for another attempt is the basis of everything you do and an incredible amount of fun.

The Fun Doesn't Stop

Hades doesn't end after one successful run either. If anything, it really opens up. More abilities to play with, modifiers that change the challenge of each run, and new ways to earn rewards are introduced.

Do you want to stick with what you're comfortable with to progress the story, or do you want to switch up your set up to challenge yourself and get more rewards?

That choice means there's still a lot of progression to chase after finishing a run.

It's also when Hades' story really comes into its own, too. The gods and Olympians are interesting from the start, but Zagreus' tale and his relationships become far more detailed as you complete more and more runs, to the point that you want to jump into a new run to hear more about the world as much as you do to get involved in the fight once more.

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The storytelling is also key part of how each Hades run introduces something new to alleviate the intrinsic repetition of roguelikes.

Yes, you're battling through the same biomes every time, but you'll face chambers in different orders, face off against different enemies, utilise a different build, earn different rewards, and unlock new bonuses in each and every run.

The Proof Is in the Beta

How perfectly every single aspect of the game works also proves the success of the extended beta period.

As we said, there's so much to get your head around in each run, but nothing feels out of place. There are tens of different ways to upgrade Zagreus' abilities and earn rewards, and each one feels vital.

I don't think it would have been possible to reach such a perfect balance without the beta. The result is a game that feels incredible to play, without almost any frustrations.

Supergiant have also perfected the length of a Hades run. At about 30-45 minutes, it's just the right length to make you want to jump in for another right after finishing the last.

Maybe next time you'll be able to escape. Or maybe next time you'll be able to get the darkness you need to unlock the next upgrade. Hades is nigh on impossible to put down once you get into the groove.

While none of what we've said should come as a surprise to anyone who's played on PC or Switch, it's worth us saying how great Hades looks and plays on PS5.

The gameplay arguably feels better on controller, especially with the DualSense 5, and what was already an impeccably designed world stands out so much more than it did on Switch.

This won't be news to anyone who played Hades on PC before, but take your time to look at the detail as you play on console.

The action is so fast paced that you'll likely overlook the scenery and majestic design, but try not to, as it's stunning in every single chamber.

Verdict

If you've already played Hades, the visual upgrade on the Switch is the only real benefit of playing the PS5 version. Content wise, it's the same game.

If you're new to Supergiant's latest masterpiece, however, you really shouldn't overlook what is a perfectly balanced, outrageously fun, and impossible to put down action roguelike.

RealSport Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

We played Hades on PlayStation 5 and our code was provided by Supergiant Games.

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