You probably don’t need me to tell you that Hades rules, but here I go again
Hades is too great of a game to be tied down to select platforms, so it’s wonderful to finally see it playable on more machines. The PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S versions are out today, and pre-release, I was able to try Hades on PS4 and PS5. This story-focused action roguelike game is, in a word, fantastic. Did you expect any different?
I imagine many of us have already dipped in, and there isn’t a big exciting reason to download (or pick up; there are physical versions too) any of these new ports if you’ve already got Hades elsewhere. Supergiant has called them “essentially identical.”
I appreciated the DualSense feedback on PS5, but it’s less of a groundbreaking “ooh and ahh” generator like it was in Astro’s Playroom, and more of a subdued nice-to-have.
During my testing, which involved one weekend with the PS4 version (that was over before I knew it), and then another with the PS5 copy, I didn’t come across any noticeable issues. My only real gripe is that the PlayStation versions, in particular, are treated as separate games — meaning progress won’t carry over and the trophy lists are separate.
To be clear, you only have to pay once to get the PS4 and PS5 versions, and Xbox is all-encompassing with Smart Delivery, as usual. They all cost $25.
On a similar note, unlike the Nintendo Switch and PC copies of Hades, which have cross-saves, there’s no such support here due to “a variety of technical constraints.” If you were hoping to leverage an existing PC save file so you could hop right into a high-heat escape run on PlayStation or Xbox, no luck. We’re all starting from scratch this go-around.
As someone who is probably too obsessed with the Heart-Seeking Bow and its Aspect of Chrion (that’s the one that sends your Special volley of arrows toward the last foe you hit with a normal single-arrow Attack), it was an adjustment to work my way back up the ranks, one failed run at a time. But if you know the drill — if you know which godly Boons pair well with others — then it won’t take too long to teach your Old Man a lesson.
Even if Hades doesn’t hit quite as hard when you know where the story is headed (reminder: there is an actual ending), it’s still a joy to see the denizens of Mount Olympus and the Underworld interact with our boy Zag. I mean sure, you could ignore those countless character moments to solely focus on the almost perfectly “deep but not overly complicated” hack-and-slash gameplay, and you’d still have a wonderful time — I think the combat is that well-tuned. You’d be missing out, though. You’d be missing the soul of Hades, the very thing that has elevated this game to god-tier status for so many of us.
Sometimes, you fall head over heels for a game, play it obsessively, and ultimately move on once you’ve exhausted every morsel. When you pop back in to recapture some of that initial adoration months or years later, it’s still pretty good, but the magic isn’t quite there.
Not with Hades. Between the best-in-class roguelike storytelling that isn’t strictly dependent on “winning,” all the great character and environmental art, the memorable voiced lines that don’t repeat, the satisfying long-term/permanent upgrade progression, and the one-more-run appeal of the combat that always seems to keep me weighing my options even when I’ve “seen it all,” there is so much to cling onto. Hades still slaps.
Again, getting this game on more platforms, even if it’s just replicating the same experience with no major new features, is enough for me. It’s justified.
I also feel compelled to talk about — and once again praise — God Mode, which is present here too. If you’re struggling to make meaningful progress in Hades (which can really vary from person to person depending on your goals), or you simply want an easier experience, flip on God Mode in the settings whenever you want. With it enabled (it’s easily reversible), every time Zagreus is dragged back to hell, he’ll get a damage reduction bonus. This starts at a meaty 20 percent and slowly climbs two percent higher every time you die on a run. It’s one of the smartest parts of an already super-smart roguelike game.
You likely won’t feel the urge to double (or triple?) dip with Hades on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, or Xbox Series X/S (unless maybe you’re going physical), and that’s okay.
But if you’re a new player, and this is your platform of choice, absolutely. Go for it.
[These impressions are based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.]