While it's true Hades initially launched last year, it only came to PlayStation platforms a few months ago, and by the gods, it was worth the wait. It's no real surprise why the game scooped up so many awards 12 months ago; it's about as good as rogue-likes get, thanks to some slick gameplay and innovative storytelling.
With the try-die-repeat loop very much at the core of its design, this isn't just a regular rogue-like dungeon crawler. There are a couple of ways the game stands out from the crowd, but the real ace up the sleeve is how these two things play off each other. Firstly, the core gameplay, which is super-tight, is enhanced by numerous Boons bestowed upon the hero by his Olympian aunts and uncles. These, like many other elements, are randomised, meaning each run through the game can be very different from the last. Alongside permanent upgrades to Zagreus and a variety of weapons that are all fun to use, playing through the core game is great on its own.
However, Supergiant's real trump card is its narrative design. Back at the hub area, you can converse with multiple characters, give them gifts, and forge relationships over time. It's all built on the basis of the loop, with some NPCs commenting on how you last died, how often you've managed to escape, what your relationship is like with others, and more. There's an astonishing amount of dialogue, and despite revisiting the hub time and time again, you'll rarely, if ever, hear anything twice.
Even the gods you encounter during a run have this systemic dialogue system, making observations about Boons you've already equipped or discussing other characters you've seen in your travels. Your gameplay directly affects the characters, and it makes the whole experience feel that much more personal. It's all so cohesive, well-produced, and downright fun that it belongs in our Game of the Year countdown — even if it is a year late.
You can read our full Hades PS5 review here.
Push Square's Game of the Year list is primarily decided by an internal staff vote. Our community Game of the Year poll is also taken into account. Feel free to agree or disagree with our list in the comments section below!
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