in

Hades 2 early access review: Longer, and maybe better

Hades 2 Early Access poster

Supergiant Games hasn’t missed since its debut release of Braid in 2011. Fittingly, Hades 2 is like Braid in that it plays with the concept of time. Hades 2 launched in early access in May 2024, and our review shows that it’s a surprisingly dense experience already.

After 35 hours more than 50 runs, Hades 2 still has many challenges to offer, character interactions to see, and builds to look forward to. If Hades 2 in early access packs this much already, then the sequel has a fantastic full release ahead of it.

The Good:

  • Combat is just as fun as in the original Hades, while offering new and different challenges.
  • The new characters and story are plenty intriguing.

The Bad:

  • While there’s plenty of game to play here, early access means not everything is yet available.

Review Details:

  • Platforms available: PC
  • Reviewed on: PC
  • Early access release date: May 6, 2024

Hades 2 sets new standard for early access

The early access version of Hades 2 follows Melinoe, the lost daughter of Hades and Persephone, as she fights her way to the Underworld to confront Chronos, the Titan of Time. The sequel immediately differs from Hades 1, even at this early stage. For starters, Melinoe does not play like Zagreus at all. The player starts with the Witch’s Staff, a magical contrast to Zagreus’ hefty Stygian Blade. When they press cast, it does not throw out blood crystals, but rather summons strange glyphs.

hades 2 screenshot trailer melinoe

Players will also notice a new blue bar above Melinoe’s health. Magick plays a key role in the Hades 2 gameplay loop and adds a new form of complexity not present in the first game. Hades veterans may also be horrified at this next revelation: Melinoe’s dash is different from Zagreus’

Instead of the first game’s aggressive dash meta, Hades 2 rewards players who play cautiously, and Melinoe’s kit compliments that. Her casts keep foes in place, her staff’s melee attacks have impressive range, and her special fires off projectiles at a rapid rate only beaten by the Adamant Rail in Hades. As the player unlocks more of Melinoe’s weapons in Hades 2, her options do expand.

Even the progression is different. In contrast to Zagreus, who fights his way to the surface, Melinoe must fight her way down to the Underworld. The boss fight also mirrors the first game, with Melinoe fighting a parental figure in Hecate, though this time for more wholesome reasons than the angst and anger of before.

frinos the frog hades 2

Inevitably, the player will die, but instead of “dying” like Zagreus, Melinoe uses a spell that teleports her home to the Crossroads. As they head to the training grounds, they see a blocked-off stairway, seemingly headed up to the surface. Later on, our review of Hades 2 showed that it doesn’t just have one route, but two. It’s then Hades 2 shows its hand as a much longer game than Hades 1, and it’s all the better for it. 

A dark tragedy that’s fun to play

Hades 2’s story has significant stakes, not just for the protagonist but for the world the game takes place in. Melinoe is no rebellious noble lashing out against his father but rather a child soldier willing to do whatever it takes to defeat Chronos once and for all. She’s more serious and cold than Zagreus, often trading sharp barbs with those she dislikes, such as the goddess Nemesis. 

However, that doesn’t mean she lacks a soft side. Her open affection for Hecate, her adoptive mother, is a refreshing change of pace from the rift between Hades and Zagreus. She also shows that side often to the people in her life that she respects, such as Odysseus and a returning Schelemaeus, whom she amusingly sees as a master military mind. 

Still, the consequences of Chronos’ actions have far more sinister effects on the world than Hades just being a bad father. As far as atrocities go, Chronos has the gods beat with his full-scale invasion of the mortal realm. 

About to fight Polyphemus in Hades 2

Hades 2 has another route that leads to Olympus, though for early access review, the player only gets as far as the second boss there. Still, the amount of memorable characters and interactions on the surface, with Heracles, Polyphemus, and Eris, makes the trip worthwhile already.

gameland.gg’s bottom line: Hades 2 is a worthy, and potentially superior, sequel to the original game.

Score: 9/10

Author image

Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

call of duty advanced warfare title art

Here’s when CoD: Advanced Warfare, Ghosts may come back

Polyphemus in Hades 2

How to beat Polyphemus in Hades 2 and the best boons for the job