So Hades has been playable in early access for over 24 hours now, I'm interested in hearing some other thoughts and opinions after getting a few hours in myself.
The Art is really nice, it is consistent with previous Supergiant games (Bastion, Transistor, Pyre) and it definitely lends itself well to the Greek mythology. I don't have much more to say about it other than that.
The dialogue is succinct and doesn't drag, which is nice in a roguelike game where I'd rather be playing through runs than reading a lot of text that interrupts gameplay. There's also a nice variety to the dialogue, in that so far I don't think I've come across repeated lines in my 5~ or so hours of play, and during the runs the Olympus Gods make reference to each other if you already have a powerup from another god ("Oh, I see Artemis has gotten to you already… however she doesn't teach you to kill. I do.") which isn't impactful but it's a nice little thing that adds to making the fictional world feel alive and aware of itself.
That said though, having to speak to people 20+ times (only once in-between runs at a time) to get more info in the codex is a little tedious feeling. I'm not sure of what importance having more info in your codex is or if it has later implications, but having a "speak to this character 18 more times to find out more!" makes me feel like I have to speak to them and fill that in, rather than have the info added naturally from me wanting to speak to them. I understand that's really nitpicky and I'm essentially saying I'd be fine with it if it didn't tell me I needed to speak to them so many times, but I am petty and it bothers me for some reason. Lastly, on the more world-building side things, the gifting system right now is rather uninspired. I'm hoping they have more plans for this, but right now it's similtar to a dumbed down version of Stardew Valley's gifting system except instead of experimenting with gifting items to find out what a character might like, you just collect Ambrosia, a flask of yellow liquid earned from clearing rooms in the dungeon, and gift it to whoever you want. The first (and only?) reward from each character are different interchangeable items called Keepsakes which give you a starting effect on your runs (such as +25 health, or gain more Darkness, etc). It definitely seems like a beginning concept/showing off a really basic idea of what their future intentions are for a more advanced system, so I'm hoping they don't just add random gifts at different tiers and keep the same gifting item for everyone because it could be quite neat to have some sort of complex relationship system in a roguelike.
The combat has a lot of potential, the base attack combos, special attack, and dashing is a tried and true formula that can be fun and engaging, and definitely works in this isometric context. The different weapons add a lot of variety, and all feel unique so far which is nice, I'm excited for more to be added, on top of the weapon and stat upgrades that can be found, each run can have a different playstyle to it while still using the same weapon. The part which doesn't quite work, or I don't understand well I guess, is the bloodstones. I'm assuming they're going to add different bloodstones at a later date or something, however right now it's a very forgettable part of your kit, even with upgrades.
My biggest complaint right off the bat though, the delay to movement immediately after dashing just feels bad. I don't like being punished for dashing to avoid one enemy, only to get locked and hurt by another. I don't believe it is a good idea to balance how strong dashing might be at avoiding damage by restricting the player–the enemies should be balanced or changed around it instead (games such as Dark Souls solve this by changing it from immediate teleport to a slower and deliberate movement with iframes so it's a more timing based interaction). The multiple dashes upgrade (max 3) doesn't help much either, because the delay is still there after the third for a monster to randomly decide that then is when it wants to attack if it happens to be nearby in a busy room. A delay to dashing immediately again is fine and I'm happy to have chaining dashes together locked behind a progression wall, but movement shouldn't be so delayed.
Another biggish complaint is armoured enemies. Uninterruptable, if there are multiple armoured enemies on the screen, your only option is to kite them and slowly chip away at their armour with ranged weapons. The shield can still push them away, but with other weapons and for some mobs it's not a great option because of poorly telegraphed attacks. I understand where they're going with armoured enemies, upgraded versions of base enemies which add a new level of difficulty beyond just more health, but as it currently exists it doesn't work too well.
Lastly I would like to be able to skip some dialogue and transitional screens a bit faster too. I feel that's important in a roguelike game, as you're repeating the motions a lot and having to wait 5 seconds to start walking after ending a run can add up in frustration, or looking at the map transitioning from the first area to the second, or when entering the first boss fight, etc. It's a small detail that shouldn't be overlooked since the essence of the game is to jump in and complete multiple runs over and over.
As for things I'd like to see in the future, a map of your paths would be nice–You can't backtrack so it's not really important, but I'd like to see some kind of branching-path map which shows what collectibles I've chosen and which I've skipped out on. Speaking of which, more paths when they add more rewards would be nice too.
Different playable characters would be interesting. Different health, damage, special attacks with weapons, dashes, etc. I haven't played enough yet to see if there are any unlockable playable characters, and from what I've read the intention to 'add more characters' is a bit vague as to whether they meant playable or interactable.
tl;dr combat has potential, one core issue for me being a delay to movement after dashing, but besides that I'm excited for the future of Hades.
Also is there a sub or forum for this game yet? Can't seem to find one
What are your thoughts?
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