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First Look at “Hades 2”: What Can We Expect?

Will the sequel to the popular mythological roguelike “Hades” live up to the hype? A first look at gameplay gives fans some insight.

Credit: Supergiant Games

“Hades“, a roguelike video game by Supergiant Games, took the world by storm upon its release in 2019. The game based on Greek mythology tells an action-packed yet heartwarming story shown through brilliant graphics. In 2022, a sequel, “Hades 2”, was announced. Supergiant Games has never created a sequel before, and this trailer excited its massive fanbase.

In late April 2024, the technical test for Hades 2 was released. This means that people can sign up on Steam to be selected to play the early draft of the game and report back to the developers. This is intended to help find big technical issues before the game releases for early access, which should happen within fall 2024 after adjustments are made.

The developers also did a livestream running the same technical test, which shows the first level of the game, and brought it back into public attention. What can fans – or newcomers – expect from Hades 2, and how does it connect to the original game?

The poster for the 2019 video game, Hades.
Hades poster Credit: Supergiant Games

Greek mythology, popular among Gen Z thanks to the Percy Jackson series, drew many fans to “Hades” upon its release. The plot follows the charming protagonist, Zagreus, Hades’ son, as he fights his way through the layers of the Underworld and up to the surface. There, he finds his mother, Persephone, and must repeatedly return to the surface to learn more about his origins and her story.

“Hades” uses the style of roguelike games to its advantage. In this genre, players must complete the entire randomized dungeon crawl in one run without dying. If they fail, they start all over again. “Hades” incorporates this repetition into the plot through a death-themed, godly protagonist, which blends writing and mechanics in a way games don’t often do this smoothly.

A stilt of Asphodel from Hades.
Asphodel, one layer of the Underworld Credit: Supergiant Games

The game’s brilliant visuals, energizing rock soundtrack, and talented voice acting gained it many fans immediately. “Hades” not only spins a new perspective on Greek mythology, but also makes an eye-catching game that never feels old.

By allowing players to shape their “build”, choosing from randomly generated power-ups, each run of the game feels totally different. Different enemies, rooms, and characters may or may not appear every single time. This allows fans to play over and over, without the game feeling repetitive.

Who and what reappears in “Hades 2”?

The protagonist of the video game, Hades 2.
Melinoe, the protagonist of Hades 2 Credit: Supergiant Games

Many of the same mechanics return in “Hades 2”, according to the technical test. Rather than fighting up through the layers of the Underworld, Melinoe, Zagreus’ younger sister, now fights down. Melinoe tries to reach the Underworld and rescue the previous main characters, seeking vengeance against Cronos, the Titan of time.

The same attack system – Attack, Special, Cast, and Dash – is present, and the mechanics of the game are similar, following the roguelike genre. This gives “Hades 2” a familiar feel while still having very different locations and visuals.

Demeter Hades
Demeter in “Hades” and “Hades 2” Credit: Supergiant Games

Many beloved characters also make a return. The Olympians from the first game – Zagreus and Melinoe’s powerful godly relatives – are present, now with new character designs as they battle Cronos from Mount Olympus. It is exciting to see the gods in their full war armor, after seeing them in more peaceful clothes in the first game.

While Hades, Persephone, and Zagreus are not physically shown in the first level, it can be assumed that they will appear towards the final level of the game as Melinoe fights Cronos.

What’s new for gameplay?

The developers of Hades 2 have discussed an emphasis on witchcraft in “Hades 2”. Witchcraft was a crucial, yet somewhat lesser-known, aspect of Ancient Greek culture that they want to experiment with. Melinoe and her mentor, the goddess Hecate, are witches, and there is a new magic system of gameplay. A whole new move set is available, which draws on “magick” a separate gauge from health.

A stilt from the gameplay of Hades 2.
Gameplay of Hades 2 Credit: Supergiant Games

There are also new crafting systems in “Hades 2”. Weapons are not simply unlocked with one material, but a combination of many, as are upgrades. These materials are found in rooms and as loot for clearing enemies.

What’s new for the story?

A stilt of the goddess, Nemesis, who appears in the video game, Hades 2.
Nemesis, a minor goddess in Hades 2 Credit: Supergiant Games

While the system of fighting down through the layers of the Underworld reappears, it does not seem like the same locations will be back. As Melinoe must take a hidden path to her family’s home, it is unlikely she will cross paths with any previous friends or foes of Zagreus.

“Hades” revolved around the River Styx, a river of blood that was more thematic to Zagreus and his connection to blood. Meanwhile Melinoe’s story revolves around a different one of the five Underworld rivers, the Acheron. This river is more thematic to the minor goddess’s mythology, according to the developers.

New characters from Greek mythology also make appearances. Olympians that were missing from the first game, such as Apollo, Hestia, and Hephaestus, now enter to aid Melinoe. Other familiar names such as Arachne, Odysseus, and Nemesis are also present.

To keep things interesting, even returning characters receive new Boons and powers to gift Melinoe. Previous Boons also receive a power-up. While Melinoe’s foe is far larger and more urgent than Zagreus’ in “Hades”, she is better equipped.

A stilt from the video game, Hades 2, of the character, Apollo.
Apollo, a new character in Hades 2 Credit: Supergiant Games

It has not yet been announced when “Hades 2” will be released. According to the game’s developers, technical testing just ended at the end of April, and early access should release a month or so later. It is unknown if that will only be on Steam, or how soon after that the full polished game will be released.

Hades” is available on Steam, Nintendo Switch, XBox, Playstation, and now on iOS through Netflix. “Hades 2” is listed on Steam and is predicted to be available on the same gaming platforms once it is fully released.

Written By

Jinx is a current undergraduate student at the University of Iowa. He is a creative writer in multiple genres, particularly poetry and nonfiction. They enjoy a healthy amount of media analysis and discovering niche video games.

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