Why wasn’t Hades game of the year?
Sometimes the most effective method of “getting the word out” is that itself—spreading the word of a particular product, not on the behalf of a developer, but on behalf of actual consumers. A common phrase in gaming is “So many games, so little time,” which couldn’t be closer to the truth. And when we’re bombarded with advertisements, overhanded marketing, fantastic games that demand our attention left and right, and promises that don’t always come to fruition, “spreading the word” is a more welcome tactic of discovery with games.
Hades was a game I had only heard of via broadcasters, but its isometric view was in-line with a lot of games out of Supergiant. I had seen footage of Bastion and enjoyed Transistor heavily, so I was certain the synthesized game out of the San Francisco-based studio was sure to be a treat. That, and everyone—I mean everyone—told me to purchase the game. And so, I did. Not even 20 hours in, I’m still wondering why Hades Game of the Year didn’t happen at The Game Awards.
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Hades Game of the Year Nominations
Don’t get me wrong—Hades received eight nominations, including a Game of the year nomination. An indie game up against the likes of AAA games such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Last of Us 2 was sort of the underdog in this category, and an entirely welcome entity among big-hitters at this year’s remote broadcasted Game Awards. But the consensus seemed to be strong among everyone I conversed with—it should have been game of the year. Here are some reasons why.
Why Hades Should Have Received Game of the Year
The first time you play Hades, there’s not a whole lot of exposition. You, as Zagreas, leave your room. You’re clearly at odds with your father Hades. There’s clear dysfunction among the family, but why or among who in the family is not really clear, and so you set out to leave the underworld, facing Tartarus, an underworld city of enemies, as your first major challenge.
If you die, you’re sent back to the very beginning. It wouldn’t be a roguelike if there wasn’t some aspect of player punishment within it.
However, what you soon recognize is that the “beginning” isn’t the beginning at all. You rise from your rebirth out of a pool of blood and return to Tartarus, only to see each chamber change. Or a new enemy is introduced. Or a new god that gives you a power you’ve never held before. Or something entirely unexpected and random. It’s this randomized mechanic that takes Hades from a great game to a stellar game. Each time you die, another character has something to add to the game, making the trek from the very beginning a little more interesting every time.
That in itself is enough to take the replay level of Hades to extremes. Once I thought I had seen enough in my trek through Tartarus, I saw something else revealed. The game keeps track of all of your currencies—either coin, or “darkness,” or fruit, or gems, or another currency I’ve yet to come across—and once it determines you’ve advanced enough, there’s more to unlock. More to discover. More keepsakes to gather. Newer enemies. New conversations with characters. I already know from broadcasters that the game does have an ending—but to 100% it would be no small feat. Someone mentioned they were already 80 hours into the game and hadn’t come close to tackling everything the game has to offer.
Hades Has The Best Voice Acting
There aren’t many games that I can say this about. I have a few friends that have found strong careers in voice acting—Destiny 2, Cyberpunk 2077 to name a few—but the voice acting in this game is incredibly sexy. I think I just wandered around the Hades house interacting with everyone I could just hear characters speak. Several have modulation on them so they sound “godlike,” but the people behind the characters of Zagreas, Hades, Megaera, Nyx, Aphrodite, Athena, Achilles—all characters—really nailed it.
Extremely Fun Hack-n-Slash
It’s been a while since I dived into a hack-n-slash game, but Hades brings the fun. Switch between one of several different unlockable weapons that swing, slice, hammer, bash, and decimate your foes. The boons you receive cal alter how the weapons function, but the core is still there. Button-mash your way out of the depths of the underworld. Each weapon has its own special attack. In addition, you can use the “cast” that Zagreas holds, which is an item-based attack that you’ll need to pick up once it strikes an enemy. Upon an enemy death (or enough damage in the case of a boss), the cast drops and you’ll need to retrieve it. It’s limited in that sense, but it adds to your arsenal options.