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Hades 2 Early Access – Review & First Impressions

Hades 2 Early Access Review and Impressions – We’ll be taking a look at Hades 2, which just went into Early Access yesterday on Steam. I want to go over my impressions of the game, what I like and don’t like about the game, comparisons with the first game. I’ll also talk about whether it’s worth buying in Early Access or keep waiting until it’s finished.

Story and Setting

First, let’s talk a little bit about the story and setting. I’m not going to go into too many spoilers because this is a big part of the game, but I just want to mention that you are playing as Melino?. She is the sister of Zagreus, the protagonist of the first game. You are on a quest for revenge for something horrible that happened to your family. The goddess, Hecate, is helping you accomplish that from an area called The Crossroads, which is going to be your hub.

Gameplay

The game remains very similar, and you’re playing through the game in a similar manner. As you progress, you unlock more things to utilize and more story elements. If you played the first Hades, it unfolds very much the same way, which is absolutely fantastic. They have not changed a lot here in terms of their storytelling and game design. If you really liked Hades, which in my opinion is a phenomenal game, then you’ll be right at home here knowing that not a lot has changed mechanically.

Mana

There are some additions, like using mana to cast spells and charged-up special abilities instead of Blood Stones. You will have to manage your mana as you explore, although there are many ways to replenish it. There are perks and armor that will give that to you, or you can pick up orbs on the landscape. There are little nodes that you can loot, which will give you mana. Mana just doesn’t replenish naturally on its own, you have to go out of your way to manage this, which makes it more strategic as you can’t just keep throwing spells and abilities around.

Gods and Goddesses

In terms of gods and goddesses from the first game, it seems like the vast majority of them have returned. I don’t know if all of them are going to be in the game, as it is still currently in Early Access. They have mentioned in their roadmap that there are going to be more characters and powers added to the game. It is likely that most of them, if not all of them, will be in the game.

Power-ups

As you traverse through the areas and gain power-ups, you’re going to get to choose from three options, just like the first game. It seems like the power-ups so far in this game aren’t as interesting as the first game, in my opinion. It could be that I haven’t seen them all yet, and they mentioned they’re going to add more. I feel like the first game had better powers in terms of putting builds together, but I have a lot more hours in that game than I have in this game. Hades 1 was a full version of the game, so with Hades 2, it’s likely that some of this will change and powers will get tweaked over time. They’ll be more interesting and be tuned better when it’s close to launching.

Weapons

There are a handful of weapons to choose from, and these weapons are different than the ones Zagreus used in the first game. You will have to master all of them again, which is great, and it doesn’t take very long to unlock them. You just need to acquire a certain amount of materials for each one. Each weapon will require different materials or more materials from latter areas of the game. You’ll be unlocking these continuously as you play through the game. They did mention that they will be adding another weapon later on in their roadmap, so there’s at least one more weapon coming. I don’t know if there’s more coming, but you should be anticipating at least one.

All of these weapons have different upgrades to change the way their regular attacks and special abilities when you pick up the Daedalus Hammer, so you can look forward to that as well. Trying to put together your builds and figuring out how to best utilize each weapon was a big part of Hades, and that remains the same in this game as well.

Graphics

Graphically, it feels like the game is even prettier than the first game. I don’t know if it’s just me because frankly, the art of the first game was fantastic. Visually, it feels like there’s even higher resolution. Maybe I’m just making that up, I don’t know, but it just feels that way to me. It feels like when you’re looking at it, it has the same art style from the first game, which is absolutely phenomenal. It’s what made Hades, Hades. It just feels like they’ve improved on the quality of it, and I really love the look of Hades 2.

Music and Voice Acting

Music plays a huge part in Hades, as well as voice acting. Both of those so far have been extremely topnotch. The music is kind of a slight variant on the theme from the first game in places, which I really like. The voice acting for the gods, goddesses, and characters of the game are absolutely excellent.

One thing that I want to mention is that Amelia Tyler plays Hecate, and she’s one of the main characters of this story. She’s the narrator in Baldur’s Gate 3, and she’s absolutely fantastic in this game so far. If you loved her voice as the narrator in Baldur’s Gate 3, you’re going to be right at home in this game.

Sense of Familiarity

There are so many different callbacks to the first game that I really love. They didn’t change much of the formulas I mentioned earlier. They have Artemis out there helping you on the landscape, attacking enemies. It’s a new addition, but it isn’t much different from the first game. You have the version of Skelly from Hades as a training master. They’ll have a similar voice actor, if not the same voice actor, as it sounds very familiar. There are things in The Crossroads that you can upgrade, purchase things from the vendor. There’s a lot of callbacks from the first game, which is something I really like.

Hades 2 Roadmap and Early Access

As I mentioned earlier, they have a roadmap of the game outlining that the Early Access is going to last at least through 2024, so that’s 8 months. It could be longer than that, as I don’t think it’s going to launch immediately in January. They’re going to have a major update for the game later this year, so it’s not going to go into full release later this year. They will add content later this year, although they didn’t give an exact time frame for that. The first game was in Early Access for a very long time, and I’m not expecting Hades 2 to be in Early Access for that long. They know what people like from the first game, so they’re probably trying to stick close to that.

They have new mechanics, weapons, and different powers, so they’re probably going to be tweaking this as they get feedback from players in Early Access. It’s probably not going to need nearly as much tweaking as the original game, so even though it’s in Early Access, there’s a good chance that it releases some time in 2025, probably Q1 or Q2. I don’t think it’s going to be at the end of 2025, but we’re probably looking at a year in Early Access.

Worth Playing Now?

All of these factors led me to this question: Is Hades 2 worth playing now, or should I wait for the full version of the game?

Even though I’ve been really enjoying the game because of the way Hades is designed and failure is built into Hades and its storytelling, it makes me wonder if I’m getting the most out of it even though some of the story is going to be added later, or other details are being added.

It doesn’t really change the whole story, and you know there’s a weapon missing, powers missing, and even whole areas of the game. Do you want to replay that, or should you stop playing then pick it up at release? This is something I’ve been asking myself, and it’s really hard to come up with a good answer. As far as Early Access is, Hades 2 is in a really good shape right now and it’s definitely fun to play. I didn’t run into any issues while playing. it’s a very enjoyable experience so it’s hard to recommend not playing it.

Supergiant said that they’re trying their best to make sure that Early Access saves will be compatible with Patch 1.0, but they didn’t guarantee that. If you play a bit, then decide to wait for the full release, you might have to start another playthrough. Hades is a great game, and I don’t think a lot of people are going to care to go through the story again or at least part of the story. If you don’t mind doing the story a second time, I definitely recommend playing now. If you’re someone who wants one complete full experience, having all the features and story on launch, it’s going to be up to you.

Final Thoughts

As for myself, I will probably be playing a little bit to familiarize myself with it. I’ll be waiting for the full game to come out to really dive into it, get the fully polished experience because that’s going to be amazing. Supergiant Games did absolutely fantastic with Hades, so I can’t wait to see what they do with Hades 2. The quality of the game is there, its value, and the game plays so well it doesn’t make sense it’s in Early Access.

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