Hades 2: Key differences from Hades 1 to know before starting

Zagreus and Melinoe from the Hades games

Hades 2 just launched in early access and there are many differences that set it apart from the original Hades. Players just starting their journey with Melinoe would be well-served learning them beforehand.

Supergiant Games announced Hades 2 during The Game Awards 2022 to much excitement from fans online and those in attendance. The trailer teased a new protagonist, Melinoe, the sister of the first game’s protagonist, Zagreus. After a year and a half, Supergiant launched Hades 2 for early access in May 2024.

Hades 2 differs from the original in ways both subtle and not-so-subtle. Despite these changes, it still feels like Hades through and through, at least in tone and aesthetic. Regardless, knowing these changes may help fans get acclimated to the changes that Hades 2 brings to the table.

Hades 2 rewards caution, not aggression

Hades 2 encourages a more tactical style of play compared to Hades 1.

One of the primary “complaints” many fans of the first game have made towards Hades 2 is that Melinoe feels weaker. Given the game’s recent release, many of these gamers likely forgot just how weak Zagreus was in the early versions of Hades. Not to mention, Zagreus is an altogether different beast from his more cautious sister.

frinos the frog hades 2

Melinoe’s kit requires all her abilities for optimal combat, not just focusing on one button and strengthening that one button. If a player carelessly spams dash attacks as they did in the original, they will quickly find themselves back at the camp, confiding with the adorable Familiar frog Frinos. Utilizing every weapon and spell in Melinoe’s toolkit quickly puts her on par with her big brother in terms of damage potential. 

Hades 2 is more grindy, at least in early access

Melinoe progresses in Hades 2 more gradually than Zagreus did in Hades 1.

Zagreus got most of his major Darkness upgrades early on, and the rest of the game focused on how quickly Zagreus can shred through areas. Meanwhile, Melinoe needs to farm for a lot more resources. Each resource requires a different tool, and Melinoe can typically only bring one tool at a time, such as the Crescent Pick for minerals, the Silver Spade for seeds, etc. The variety of boons also encourages more combos instead of hyper-focusing one kit, which means looking for more boons. 

Additionally, Melinoe’s version of the “Mirror of Darkness” takes a different approach to progression. Instead of spending resources to reset Zagreus when the player wants a different build in Hades 1, the Meditation system utilizes Grasp. The limited bar means the player can respec at any time and tune their style to their liking. 

Overall, Hades 2 brings a lot of changes to the core formula, but once the player gets better, they can shred through areas just as quickly as Zagreus did in the original. 

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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.

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