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Hades review: a sexy, scintillating sojourn in the Greek underworld

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October 01, 2020 at 01:00PM

IK Multimedia's T-RackS 5

PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch; Supergiant Games
This gripping adventure set in a hellish realm filled with gorgeous gods and monsters is well worth the years it took to make

Powered by chugging guitars, frenetic fighting and luscious, flamboyant depictions of figures from Greek mythology, this excellent action game from the arthouse studio Supergiant has been many years in the making. We play as Zagreus, wayward son of the underworld, trying to escape his father’s gloomy domain and see the world above. As an immortal, he cannot die – but each time he is defeated by the denizens of the underworld, whether by the fallen warriors of Elysium or the flaming skulls and witches in Tartarus, he is returned to his bedroom like a shamed teenager, ready to start again.

In most games of this nature, where each attempt strips you of progress and hard-won powers, being sent back to the start makes me want to quit. But when Zagreus re-emerges into the chambers of Hades, there are gossiping shades and surly servants; the lord of the underworld grumbles over stacks of paperwork, barely glancing upwards to reprimand his son for his latest escape attempt. I am quickly distracted from my failure by some words of sympathy from Nyx, or Megaera mooching in the corner. And before long I am back at it, trying to escape from fiery Asphodel, running into a zombie Charon mumbling over some treasures for sale or descending into a pit to meet Chaos.

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