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Let's Talk HADES (spoilers OK)

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02 Dec 2020 14:48 #316806 by Jexik
To be brief, Hades is the culmination of the last ten years of an indie game company learning from themselves and making great games. It is addictive, clever, and atmospheric. If you've got a PC or a Switch, you should at least consider it if you haven't already. It's only $20-25. It's essentially a roguelike action RPG, where dying has you start all over, although in this case significant story elements and upgrades are unlocked over time, making subsequent runs easier through a combination of being more powerful and good old fashioned learning through trial and error.

As a general rule, the music and voice acting in Supergiant games have been consistently top notch for video games ever since they released Bastion in 2011. The visuals tend to be solid too. Not OMG photo-realism, but something with a bit of style.

As far as gameplay goes, you can definitely get a bit of Bastion in Hades' DNA when it comes to utilizing various weapon types and the introduction of personalized, scalable difficulty for increased rewards. Transistor, their second game coming out in 2014, had you acquiring various special powers and then applying them to either a) a passive ability, b) an active ability, or c) an augmentation to the abilities in b). This lead to some very satisfying gameplay when it came to tooling your character out. This is highly reminiscent of how the boons from the gods work in Hades. (Transistor also allowed you to pause the game and go into an OG X-COM turn based/action point economy mode for a bit to set up big combos or deal with certain threats). Unfortunately both of these games were on the short side of 6-10 hours. Pyre, their third game, coming out in 2017, was a combination of building relationships through in game actions and story unlocks, and a really funky sports game. It also has my personal favorite soundtrack among all four games.

Roguelikes have been pretty popular on Steam for the last decade, but Hades feels more like the perfect storm than simple bandwagoning. It has allowed a company who normally makes one and done kind of 10 hour games into something harrowingly addictive and entertaining, reminiscent of playing Diablo (II) back in the late 90s early 2000s. Through over 130 runs now, I'm not sure if I've seen a duplicated piece of dialogue (all voice-acted!) outside of the training dummy who has probably used the same rhyme on me at least twice by now.

There are very few specific pieces of information that would actively detract from most people's experience playing the game I think, so I've decided that spoilers and freedom to talk about builds or whatever should be all right in this thread, and I think it's really tricky to draw a line about what should and shouldn't be talked about if we think spoilers are an issue. I saw a 25 minute fresh file speed run with dev commentary before I even played the game myself. Granted I was pretty lost, but intrigued!

I'm curious to hear other people's takes on these things from this site, and will use later posts to get into the nitty gritty about my preferences and what has worked for me. Read at your own risk, as much of the fun is the self discovery.
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02 Dec 2020 14:56 #316808 by Disgustipater
This should be right up my alley but I just can’t get past the isometric view. Something about the movement in those games just doesn’t work for me.
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02 Dec 2020 15:00 #316809 by Gary Sax
I think it's interesting that one of the things that roguelikes were really missing is slavish and elaborate dedication to characters and characterization! It's very unintuitive!
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02 Dec 2020 17:05 #316810 by Ah_Pook
im definitely in for this whenever it comes out on the ps4.

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02 Dec 2020 18:09 - 02 Dec 2020 18:15 #316811 by Jexik

Disgustipater wrote: This should be right up my alley but I just can’t get past the isometric view. Something about the movement in those games just doesn’t work for me.


Interesting. Come to think of it, I think all four SG games have this type of view.

Gary Sax wrote: I think it's interesting that one of the things that roguelikes were really missing is slavish and elaborate dedication to characters and characterization! It's very unintuitive!


Yes and no. I think if I were still 15 or so the things that the game has to say on the nature of life, death, love and employment would strike me as pretty profound. I also think the backdrop of Greek mythology is something fairly accessible yet not totally overdone that makes the game more approachable than something like Pyre. Overall what I think all the characterization does is give you a little spice between runs and some excuses to keep going even when your overall quest "escape" is seeming pretty futile. It also gives you the sense that the designers and developers care about pretty much everything. There's also a list of fated events that you chunk through and give you resources to expand your house's capabilities, and the friendships you develop with the characters unlock things as well. It took me 51 tries to escape. Two close friends of mine did it in the mid-30s. So it can vary, and I'm probably pretty bad...

Although now, I've since gotten 9 wins in a row at one point, and have around 35 wins, or roughly 25% of my overall games as wins.

I've had the most success with the shield, recently clearing Heat 15. I've gotten to the point where I try to sculpt my runs to take advantage of a certain duo boon with Ares and Dionysus with the Chaos Aspect of the shield. It drops off a ton of debuffs and has a very nice rhythm to it, complete with a good amount of your time spent with the ability to block attacks. I can beat Hades without using a death defy (extra life) charge at all now with this build.
Last edit: 02 Dec 2020 18:15 by Jexik.

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02 Dec 2020 21:51 #316812 by san il defanso
I'm not nearly as far as you are (about 50 runs with like 7 clears) but I'm really into this one too. So far the Fists and the Sword are my favorites, with the Shield and Spear right behind, but really any of the weapons get really fun when you unlock the hidden aspects.

In terms of pure design, this game does a great job at metering out really fun new things you can do. It's always giving you new toys to play with, and it does so at the perfect pace. You unlock new stuff just when you are ready to try something new.

Obviously the characters and the story are really well-executed too. It's a joy of a game.
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03 Dec 2020 13:22 #316823 by jason10mm
I'm like 40 runs in and only gotten past the double boss once or twice. I'm clearly missing some key build strategies (or just chasing prophecy selections over DPS boosts, more likely). I dislike having to manage so many currencies and not knowing which ones are really relevant.

The game doesn't do more than a modicum of hand holding so it really benefits from a primer read if you want to dig right in instead of spending 10 hours figuring it all out.
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03 Dec 2020 18:58 #316828 by Jexik

jason10mm wrote: I'm like 40 runs in and only gotten past the double boss once or twice. I'm clearly missing some key build strategies (or just chasing prophecy selections over DPS boosts, more likely). I dislike having to manage so many currencies and not knowing which ones are really relevant.


One piece of advice that my friend gave me on the Champions of Elysium fight is to focus on the Minotaur first. Theseus calls on aid from Olympus at 50%, which really amps up the damage and chaos in the fight if Asterius is still up. It's good to seek Patroclus out for his great buffs or Death Defy chances if you get a chance to see him before the fight.

In the 30s and 40s I was in a similar boat of picking up boons and other things to try to complete the prophecies rather than focus on the particular run I was on to the fullest.

As a general rule, Athena's Strike and/or Dash can make your life a lot easier. I use her keepsake a lot in Tartarus to get one or both in that first zone if I can, especially with the melee weapons like fists.

As far as the currencies/items go:

Gemstones/Diamonds: Basically just used at the House Contractor. With the exception of a couple additions to Zagreus' bedchambers, most of the things that actually advance the plot or your chances at success are going to be under Work Orders. You get a lot of these two resources from completing prophecies.

Nectar: Just used to improve relationships with characters. Give everyone you meet 1 ASAP to get their keepsake. Cerberus' and Skelly's keepsakes are nice for survivability before you have many mirror upgrades. With the exception of Hermes, all the Olympians' keepsakes give you a guaranteed boon from that god at the earliest convenience, which can help you go for specific builds.

Ambrosia: Once you've given most characters 5-6 Nectar, you have to start giving them the good stuff. This is how you unlock companions from the 6 characters that give them, and advance certain plot points. You get a bunch of these from prophecies eventually, so early on it's not a bad idea to turn them in for Darkness or Blood of the Titans.

Darkness: Used at the mirror. You get a lot of it from defeating bosses that you've already defeated with that weapon.

Keys: Used to unlock weapons and mirror upgrades. Largely useless later, but can be traded for things at the wretched broker.

Blood of the Titans: At first it seems ridiculously limited. Used only to power up your weapons and unlock new aspects once you unlock all 6 weapons. You'll first notice that you get it from the boss of Tartarus, but (spoiler) Hades drops one too. The fish you find on the surface can also be traded in for Blood or Ambrosia.

The game doesn't do more than a modicum of hand holding so it really benefits from a primer read if you want to dig right in instead of spending 10 hours figuring it all out.


Yeah. If you have any more specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.
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04 Dec 2020 12:09 #316853 by Jexik
I decided to talk a bit about my last few successful runs, and a couple unwritten rules that I learned by watching a streamer.

1. Outside of Chaos and Hermes, once you accept boons from 4 Olympian gods, you're locked in for that run - you'll only see those four gods from there on out. The only way to break from that pattern is to use the keepsakes at that point.

For this reason I often like to have Athena in my pool. She has two boons that restore a use of Death Defiance, which can be very handy in the end-game.

2. The total number of chambers per zone is always the same. Therefore if you're doing a speed run or have the time constraint on, it can be wise to go to every Shop and Chaos portal that you see, and fountains are great (but you have almost know way of knowing when they come up). You also pretty much always have to do one mid-boss encounter per zone.

A) Shield, Chaos aspect (heat 15)
I opened by putting Dionysus' keepsake on to get Drunken Flourish (essentially adds poison to the shield throw special attack). The shield throw does low damage on its own, so your typical % based special boosters are not good, but this disperses the debuff all over the place. Any poms or nectar boosts hopefully went to Drunken Flourish.

I forget who I ended up with on my dash, but Poseidon, Athena, or Aphrodite are all good here.

I put on Ares' keepsake for the second zone, so that I could get Curse of Pain on the attack. For most weapons, I hate this particular boon, because you typically mash the attack button with other weapons, but here it's used for the bull rush where you try to line up the shield's rush onto as many guys as you can and put this little delayed damage marker on them.

These two boons together mean that if I keep going for Ares or Dionysus from here on out I can potentially get their duo boon Curse of Nausea, which greatly increases the damage from Dionysus' Hangover effect. Against most enemies, I basically hold on the shield block for a bit, do the bull rush, dash away, fling the shield(s), and repeat. This works great against rooms full of enemies, but the block against the bosses is very useful as well.

For Elysium, I really, really like to use Eurydice's keepsake which prevents the first 5 instances of damage from the boss of a zone. This allows me to maintain my death defy charges for the final zone/boss. I tend to keep it on for Hades or use Skelly's tooth, depending on my life total.

B) Bow- Aspect of Hera (heat 0... I've beaten heat 6 but realized I could go back for an easier run)
Again, I started off with Dionysus' keepsake, but this time to get his Cast. Normally called Trippy Shot, it's called Trippy flare with the Hera bow, which loads your bloodstones up into the bow for crazy payload shots. Loading up all 3 into the bow at the time is often overkill, and you'll have to wait for the bloodstones to come back, so you kinda load one up, fire into a group of enemies, and repeat, then pick up your bloodstones. On bosses, you load all three up and just blast away. I got Aphrodite's Heartbreak Strike along the way, which is a great %age based damage dealer for the not-often-striking bow. Athena's dash rounded out the first zone nicely.

I had my eye on Scintillating Feast, a duo boon for Zeus and Dionysus, so I put on Zeus' keepsake and went hunting for Thundering Flourish to unlock that.

C) Sword - Poseidon Aspect (heat 5)
I started out with Zeus' keepsake to try to get Lightning Shot, the cast boon. Turns it into chain lightning, which is great with the increased damage offered by this sword. I picked up a Chaos Boon that gave me a 4th Cast. I had my eye on a good percentage based special which you use to dislodge the bloodstones from enemies with this sword, and Athena's Divine Flourish did not disappoint. I also put Ares on my strike, hoping to eventually see the Athena/Ares duo boon Merciful End, but it never showed up.

For Asphodel I put on Artemis' keepsake, because I was looking for Exit Wounds. It deals a good chunk of damage to enemies when bloodstones are knocked out of them, so when up against tougher armored foes and bosses I could take out big chunks of damage by dislodging the stones with the special.

I think I eventually got her call and Athena's dash to round this build out.
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06 Dec 2020 21:18 #316884 by san il defanso
Yeah, there really comes a point when you start using the keepsakes to actually aim your run toward a "build" of some kind. My favorite so far is Artemis, who's Support Fire and Pressure Points are two of my favorite boons in the whole game.
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07 Dec 2020 16:01 #316906 by Jexik
Yeah Support Fire is great, especially if you have something that attacks quickly like the fists or gun. Zeus' Lightning Strike attack boon is good in those situations too.
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09 Dec 2020 00:54 #316944 by san il defanso
I actually got to the "end" last night and saw the credits roll. This is the sort of game where there is plenty more still to do, and I've barely been doing runs that are higher than just 1 or 2 heat. But I like that it's mostly wrapped up the story and that there's still so much to do.

Definitely the most I've been into a game since Breath of the Wild. Really loving it.
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09 Dec 2020 14:49 #316957 by ecargo

san il defanso wrote: I actually got to the "end" last night and saw the credits roll. This is the sort of game where there is plenty more still to do, and I've barely been doing runs that are higher than just 1 or 2 heat. But I like that it's mostly wrapped up the story and that there's still so much to do.

Definitely the most I've been into a game since Breath of the Wild. Really loving it.


It's been weeks since I got to the end and I'm still unlocking things. It's amazing how much more there is after "finishing".

My heat runs are around 10, give or take. Except with the bow, which I'm awful with and hate and am only at 5 heat.
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10 Dec 2020 06:03 #316976 by san il defanso
I'm progressively upping the heat on every weapon and trying to get clears at each one. The one that keeps giving me trouble is the hidden aspect for the spear. I have twice died against Hades himself with that stupid thing.

I'm currently doing a run with the bow. It was my least favorite for a long time but it's starting to grow on me.
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14 Dec 2020 10:16 - 14 Dec 2020 10:18 #317145 by Jexik
I've mostly been playing whatever the next heat level is on whatever weapon has Dark Thirst going... except for probably a few games where I was seeing how far I could go with the shield. Currently working on

Shield (17) > Fist (13) > Bow (9) > Blade (7) > Gun (5), Spear (3)

And for awhile if I had to answer, I'd say that the gun was my least favorite... I had a ton of Spear deaths on Hades, as I was trying out a wonky cast build with the Achilles aspect that just seemed to lack sustain for that fight. I started getting a bit more success with the gun when I just started stacking 300-400 health by the end of the run. I can see why you'd struggle with the hidden aspect of the spear for that reason. My favorite hidden aspect so far has been fists, although my last few high heat successes were with a level 5 Demeter fists for big special damage.

I've had 3 losses in my last few heat 17 runs with shield, the last one being particularly demoralizing as I died while blocking. (Those grippy green hands stunned me and then Hades jumped right forward to smack me for 60)... I lost 80-90 health in the blink of an eye when he must have been just one more dash and special from dying. My success with bow is usually due to certain hammer upgrades, like Twin Shot and Flurry Shot. My best time is with the fists (16 1/2 minutes or so), but I'm down to around 18 with the bow.
Last edit: 14 Dec 2020 10:18 by Jexik.
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