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Hades Finally Descends Onto Consoles In A Fiery Glory

Hades Splash Image
Courtesy of Supergiant Games


Developer: Supergiant Games
Release Date: August 13, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

Hades Is A Long Time Coming For Sony And Microsoft Fans

Released in September 2020 on PC and the Switch, Hades had its beginnings as an Epic Games Store exclusive in 2018. In 2019, the game was released on early access until the game had a proper full release on both Steam and the Switch digitally in September 2020. The game would go on to receive substantial amounts of praise, from its art direction to its easy pick up hard to perfect gameplay, and the story with its humor accompanying it. Almost immediately, the game was poised to win several Game Of The Year awards, become the unexpected breakout hit for Supergiant Games in 2020.

Hades was such a critical and commercial success that it was impressive to consider that the game was only ever released on PC and Switch until the Summer of this year. In August 2021, Hades was finally released on consoles for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, allowing console players who may not have the chance to play it on the PC or Switch last year, the opportunity to play the one game that many talks about to this day.

hades gameplay
Hades - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Hades Plays As Well On Controller If Not Better

The specifications between the PS5 and the PC versions are nearly identical, with loading times being almost non-existent for the former. The amount of time it took for me to get to the main menu, much less chopping demons up with Zagreus, was comparatively on par with how long it would take for a regular game to load. That was to say that by the time I entered Hades’s gameplay, most games would be in their opening cinematic much less far worse. The goal of Hades is for Zagreus to escape the underworld with all of its demons, Furies, and other obstacles Hell-bent on impeding his progress.

Zagreus isn’t alone in his journey to the surface as he is aided by the help of the Olympian gods, or rather the boons they pass down to him. Occasionally, Zagreus would obtain additional power and abilities based on the gods, including Zeus’s lightning, Posideion’s water, and the brutality of Ares. Zagreus may also come across hearts to increase his health capacity, pomegranates to increase the proficiency of his skills, and other collectibles including coins. The latter can be spent towards Charon who makes an occasional appearance, exchanging coins for wares to help Zagreus along in his story.

megaera gameplay 2
Hades - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

A High Stakes Ascension To The Surface

Eventually, as Zagreus approaches the end of Tartarus, he is stopped by one of the Furies, Megaera, who serves as the game’s first boss. At this point, the player may either defeat her on the first go or perish by her whip. Whatever the case that may happen from their run-in with Megaera, the player will eventually die. However, death doesn’t equate to a “game over” in Hades, but rather something that is “only the beginning” as cliche as it sounds.

Since the underworld is a location in which the dead can’t truly “die,” each death serves as a chance for Zagreus to become stronger. Certain details from his previous runs are kept including the number of purple gemstones he’s collected, keys, ambrosia, and other key items. A lot of these can be used to build relationships with the characters in the House of Hades as well as upgrade Zagreus and the fortification of the home itself. 

hades gameplay 3
Hades - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Being A Hoarder Will Often Lead To Death

The keys are used to unlock various weapons that Zagreus can take with him including a bow and a shield. The choice of weaponry and upgrades means that no two playthroughs are ever going to be the same. Some players may favor a melee approach while others may want to keep out of harm's way and attack from a safe distance. Some boons complement different playstyles over others, which it is up to the player to find out what works the best for them in terms of each situation that arises.

Having used to playing Hades on a controller on the PC, the console controls are similar to the PC controller’s support, meaning that players that are used to using a controller will feel right at home. The transition from keyboard and mouse to the controller is easy enough as the right analog stick handles most of the game’s aiming as if it were a mouse. While the PS5 version supports haptic feedback, I wasn’t able to immediately detect any usage of the trigger vibrations.

gameplay cutscene
Hades - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Hades Continues Its Legacy One Year Later

The gameplay is stunning to look at in 4K as it is in 1080p, so much in fact that I’m able to see various details that weren’t possible during my playthrough on the PC release. This was largely due to the PC version running on 1080p, but, certain details like the smooth animations and the physics of the character’s clothes are more profound than they were before.

Overall, those who were afraid, for whatever reason, that the console release of Hades would cut corners from its PC release can rest easy knowing that they are receiving the same impressive piece of art as they would on the PC. In some instances, the convenience of console gameplay means that Hades plays better on a console as opposed to its PC origins. Players who do not have a PC or prefer console over PC gaming now have the chance to play one of the best games of 2020. A year later, Hades still holds up to its weight much like other titles in the Supergiant Games catalog over the years.

Hades is available on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Switch.

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