So. Hades by Supergiant Games. What a great game. It’s addictive with that ‘just one more run’ feel to it. It looks great, feels great, and sounds great. And I’m thinking of quitting. Why? I touched about it in my last post about the game and would like to expand on it here.
Side note: It’s going to sound familiar because I had the same issues with Children of Morta by Dead Mage, another great game that I quit cold turkey for similar reasons.
Look. I know balancing a game is hard especially if you’re making a game that is based on difficulty to a certain extent.
(Do NOT mention FromSoft and Souls games. Damn.)
But, my pet peeve in any game is throwing tons of mobs at the player in the name of difficulty. I hate, hate, hate it because I think it’s lazy, boring, and because as someone with terrible reflexes, it’s very stressful. And not in the fun way. I think many of the criticisms for Dark Souls II were overblown, but the one I agree with was that they threw way too many mobs at the player as a way of artificially inflating the difficulty.
What’s more, it’s usually the same enemies over and over again, which makes it boring on top of frustrating. I do not mind the same enemies for the same floor, but this game really overloads the type of enemies for each floor and many of them are ones in which twitch reactions are important. I don’t do twitch reactions, so it’s really frustrating to me.
I mentioned my frustration with the adds in the boss fights as well (throwing in minions as well as the boss). For the second floor boss, I understand why there are adds because it’s thematically appropriate. I still don’t like it as it’s simply too much for me to track. However, it’s the first floor boss that really annoys me when it comes to adds. Spoilers for the first floor boss.
The first floor boss is Megaera, one of the Furies. This is amusing to me because the trilogy I’m currently writing has a fury as the protagonist and the three original Furies show up as well. After you beat her a few times, I want to say five, you get Tisiphone, Fury number two. Then comes Alecto and once you’ve faced them all (and maybe beaten them all? I’m not sure), you get one of three each time you reach the boss room. I don’t know if there is a way to figure out which one you get, but for me, it’s been predominately Megaera with Alecto being the second most frequent and Tisiphone a distant third.
First of all, let’s talk about my frustration with the boss in general. Each of them has several rapid attacks that come one after the other. Each Fury has slightly different attacks even though the patterns are similar. So, not only do you have to remember the patterns in general, you have to remember each specific one. In addition, all have slightly different boss rooms. I hate…I want to say it’s Alecto’s room the most because it has so many traps. So. Many. Traps. Then, they spawn adds, and it’s just so fucking hectic.
How do I deal with it? Because, despite all my gripes, I beat the first floor boss more often than not. Like way more often than not. There are several ways I make this happen, and I’m pretty sure it’s not the way I’m supposed to make it happen. One, there are ways to defy death in the game. I load up on those as much as possible. At one point, I had three of them. And I had to use them all in one boss fight. With the aforementioned Tisiphone. Two, I’ve beefed up my health and have found buffs that replenish some health as I exit chambers. Not much, but every little bit.
Next, I simply tank damage. I cannot possibly avoid all the attacks, so I get all the buffs that help with that. Buffs that decrease damage. Buffs that dish out damage after taking damage. Buffs that have enemies drop health from time to time. Speaking of, health is very hard to get in this game. Or at least, during the chambers. There are ways to get it and I always get it when I can, but I always feel like I can’t get enough. I’m a health gal. I like to be topped off, and I would prefer a fat health bar to being stronger. At the same time, in this game, it seems like a better bet to strengthen your attack than buff up health.
*Unspoilered, I guess*
So, yeah, my basic strategy is to outlast the bosses. In other words, I brute-force it like it’s a Souls game. It doesn’t feel great, but it’s the only way I can make it through the game. There is little skill to what I’m doing in general, and I don’t really have the inclination to be more skillful even if I were able.
Back to what I mentioned before. Children of Morta. The flaws in both the games are the same. Long floors with repeated mobs of enemies to slay over and over again only to face a boss that is underwhelming.
I hate that I feel as if I’m reaching the end of this game because it’s so good. I want to sink my teeth into it, but I end up feeling depleted at the end of each session. I love the mythology and the slow unfolding of the Olympians I’ve met–and assorted other characters. Even with the Olympians, though, there is a marked difference in how helpful their boons are. By the way, I am very suspicious as to why they are helping me. They say they want to meet me and have so much fun in Olympus. Uh-huh. I’ve read my mythology! None of the gods and goddesses do anything for anyone without something in it for them.
Anyway, Zeus has the best of the boons. Lightning up in this shit. Chained lightning. Ares also has some pretty strong boons, my favorite being the blade rifts. I like some of Athena’s boons because they are defensive, but I’ve found the calls to be useless so far. Not useless, but you can only use them once a floor or so it seems and most of them last for a hot second or two. Ed. note: I was using them wrong, but it’s not my fault since it was never explained. One of the problems of the game–not the greatest tutorial. Also, still not enamored with some of them.
Oh! My point about the mobs. I’ve mentioned this before but I think it’s a downside of roguelikes. Yes, you can have a zillion different rooms, but then you skimp on the enemy types or just throw in the same ones over and over again. I’d rather have less rooms and more varied enemies.
Also, let’s talk weapons. There are six different types. A sword, a spear, a bow and arrow, twin fists, a shield, and a railgun. They all have different properties, of course, and they can all be upgraded. They all provide a vastly different run, and so far, I prefer the bow and arrow, and the spear. I’ve tried the others more than once each, but that’s just the way it is. I’m a ranged gal which means the bow and arrow is my jam. However, surprisingly, the spear is fantastic because I can use it for melee AND range. I can chuck it and retrieve it, and it makes the second floor boss laughably easy.
A shoutout to my favorite character, Nyx. She is the best, and I can’t wait to find out more about her. Oh, by the way, there is a story that you delve into bit by bit, which is interesting. That’s part of the reason I really want to get into the game, but I fear that I’ll give it up sooner rather than later. That doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it–I heartily do. It’s a damn good game.