If you have ever played a Rogue-Like, you have probably stared defeat in the face many times. Some video games in this genre might beat you down much harder than others, but the format is mostly the same. This experience can be exhausting and might even discourage some people from wanting to come back. However, I feel that Hades breaks free from the tropes of the genre and contains a lesson taught through its gameplay that we can apply to our own lives. This is not only a review of one of the best games of 2020, but a piece of encouragement for what might be considered the sequel to a crazy year.
You've probably heard the saying "one day at a time"—one I often heard in the recovery program I participated in for many years. The phrase refers to tackling a situation or problem that can't be solved or taken care of instantly. For me, that meant that I wasn't going to conquer my addictions overnight. I still had so much to learn and temptations to resist. So, how does this tie into a video game? Well, considering the genre that Hades belongs to, it's very likely that you'll get through every obstacle, enemy, and boss in a single run.
Hades' premise is that you play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, who wants to escape from the underworld. He is sick of the lifestyle there, has a broken relationship with his father, and wants to know more about his mother. Along the way, the gods of Olympus aid Zag and give him some of their power to escape. He also gets weapons known as Infernal arms from an unknown source to utilize in combat and returns to the underworld every time he dies. Lastly, as you as the player evolve, so does the world of Hades.
Aside from gaining gods' blessings and leveling those up during a run, you collect resources that grant more permanent upgrades. These mechanics aren't new to the genre, but far better than the early days when we started from scratch. The gameplay might not seem very impressive at first, but it ends up becoming addictive. As you advance further in each run, more characters make an appearance, and more dialogue opens up as well. Its charm is what makes Hades stand out and feels like a Rogue-like that anyone can complete.
Instead of punishing you, the game has a way of encouraging forward momentum as you grow stronger and build relationships. Even when you fail a run, some characters are pulling for you to succeed. The gameplay itself includes patterns that you can learn from and overcome during your next escape. Finding the right build of blessings and boons that fit your play style will also take some experimentation. My advice is: don't get discouraged, and keep trying. I believe we can apply this attitude to our daily lives too.
We all have bad days and make some bad decisions. If we continue to live each day without learning from our mistakes, that's pure insanity—nothing will get better. Like playing a session of Hades, analyzing where things went wrong and seeking advice from those close to us is the key to progress. Though I have beat my addictions, I still have things in my own life that I am currently working on changing. Though I may have a different faith and beliefs than someone who is reading this, this is a principle that anyone can apply to their own life.
Pieces of wisdom can be found throughout all video games, movies, and shows we consume. Many of them have moments that reveal the moral of the story they are trying to tell, while others might not be so obvious—Hades falls into the latter. I hope you check out this game if you haven't already; its action-packed combat and endearing characters will keep you coming back for more. The folks at Super Giant Games create some beautiful work and have done so yet again.
I give Hades a rating of 6 out of 6 Infinity Stones.
L.J. Lowry is a friend of the Infinity Bros and fellow nerd, and has a ton of experience writing reviews over at geeksundergrace.com! Check out some of his gaming reviews, and welcome him to the Defenders, our team of writers for The Daily Snap!