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Top 10 Tips For Hades

Hades Video game

Hades is a truly outstanding video game. I fully agree with the 95 out of 100 that was awarded with its review here at Zatu. It was by far the best game of 2020, and it is one of my all-time favourite games. I love this game. I love the setting, I love the characters, I love the writing and the story, I love the art direction and I love the gameplay. But I am not here to toot Hades’ horn, I am here to help you in tooting yours.

With it being a rogue-like game, it comes with many tests and tribulations. Never fear however, I am here to help you over some of these hurdles. This won’t be a list of basics for your first forays into the depths of hell, but more of a list of tips for those who have had at least a couple of skirmishes.

There will be no story spoilers here, but I will assume you have at least reached the final boss at least once.

1. Concentrate On Unlocking Stuff

You will likely not get through everything that hell has to offer you at first. If you do, then, well, well done. But the first thing you should do is concentrate on unlocking all your options. The more options you have, then the easier of a time you will you have.

The mirror of Night is gifted to you from Nyx, the mother of night. You will need to collect darkness from your runs to upgrade your available gifts. You will need to collect keys from your runs in order to unlock a larger selection of gifts. After collecting a certain amount of darkness and talking with Nyx, you will also unlock a ‘B side’ of the mirror. This gives you even more options that are different versions of what you have unlocked. All of these will give you consistent advantages throughout your runs such as extra lives, more casts, better boon chances etc.

Whilst you are going about collecting darkness and keys, you will also steadily unlock the other weapons. Giving all interactable characters some nectar, along with each of the Olympian gods, will all grant you a keepsake that will give you advantages too. Be sure to visit the house contractor often. Concentrate on work orders to give you further little permanent boosts and boons.

All of this will continually help you survive for longer periods of time out in the pits of hell.

2. Fated List Of Minor Prophecies

This is one thing that can be unlocked if you follow the tips laid out in the previous entry. It can be unlocked fairly early on in the game and will serve as a background checklist of your deeds. After completing a category of checklists, then you will be often rewarded with massive gains. Handfuls of diamonds, hundreds of gems, ambrosia, nectar, darkness, keys etc will all be rewarded upon simply playing the game. These can then be syphoned back into further contractor unlocks, gaining favour of the gods, unlocking more abilities at the mirror etc.

The best part about the list of prophecies is that you don’t need to actively be trying to hit the objectives. You will simply hit these in your own time as you play out the game, defeating bosses, interacting with characters, and trying the many different boons of the gods.

3. The Daddy Of All Hades Upgrades

As much as the appeal that the gods bring with them, there is one option which grants even bigger appeal. The gods are all brackish, boisterous, and vying for your attention, but there is one man who aids your endeavours without the need of credit. The gods will get jealous of you choosing their brethren, they will accept gifts of nectar and revel in your compliments. But there is one man who doesn’t even make himself known, one who helps you from the shadows, who never asks for compensation for his efforts. This man is Daedalus.

You know him from the myths. The father of Icarus. The creator of the wings that Icarus used to fly too close to the sun. He was also the guy who created the labyrinth that imprisoned the fabled minotaur (yup, the one that is also in the game). He is a master craftsman. And so, his offerings will always be to upgrade the weapons you wield themselves.

All of his upgrades grant massive boons to your weapons, and they all work in tandem with the boons of the gods. Some of these upgrades can split your spear to attack multiple locations, making dash strikes deal 900% extra damage to armoured enemies, giving your attacks blast waves etc. If you see the Daedalus hammer being offered, you should always choose this option, no matter what the other options are. There are usually only 2 opportunities for these in a run. If any.

4. Know Your Boons

Talking about options, it is always good to know what kind of boons you can expect from each god. Depending on the first few boons you pick up will decide what kind of boons you will want to choose further down the line. You don’t want your build to be too widespread, you will want to concentrate on a couple of gods in order to specialise your build. Experimenting with different combinations is definitely part of the fun to this game so take your time to learn which ones work well together. Here is a brief oversight of each god’s general boon characteristics:

Zeus – His boons will consist mainly of lighting that will strike opponents and chain lightning buffs to weapons. His boons often strike opponents before they hit you or strike them as revenge when they do hit you. His status curse is ‘jolted’ which causes lightning damage to opponents when they attack you.

Aphrodite – Her boons will consist mainly of increasing your survivability. She grants the best overall base damage boosts to your attacks and can improve the effects that increase your max health pool. Her status curse is ‘weak’ which decreases the strength of opponent’s attacks.

Dionysus – His boons are good all-rounders. He will grant boons to refill life under certain circumstance, damage reductions, stunning enemies, increasing critical hit chance etc. Most of his synergy comes from you needing to inflict enemies with his status curse. His signature curse is ‘hangover’ and will grant you a myriad of bonuses based on the boons he offers.

Hermes – His boons will consist mainly of increasing the speed of things. His boons are all purely support and compliment other god’s boons. He can increase attack speed, special speed, cast speed, give you a faster base run speed, more consecutive dashes etc. He has no status curse.

Poseidon – His boons will grant your attacks knockback and grant you bonuses from knocking enemies into walls and traps. He can also offer straight up showers of gems, darkness, coins etc. He is also one of the top gods to offer straight up damage increases. His status curse is ‘ruptured’ which deals damage to enemies as they move around.

Ares – His boons will consist of damage boosts and damaging enemies over time. He turns your cast into blade rifts which linger on the battlefield that causes damage to all those in the area. His status curse is ‘doom’ which lingers over enemies for a brief moment of time, before dropping a large damage bomb on them.

Athena – Her boons will consist mainly of defensive buffs. A lot of what she has to offer will let you deflect enemy attacks back at them, reduce incoming damage, and refresh your death defiance (see the mirror of night to see what this is). Her status curse is ‘exposed’ which makes enemies take more damage if they are attacked from behind.

Artemis – Her boons are all about increasing the chances of critical hits, and increasing the damage dealt by them. She is a great utility option, much like Hermes, as her boons synergise really well with the boons from other gods. Her status curse is ‘marked’ which increases the chances of a critical hit being struck against them.

Demeter – Her boons are a good balance between damage output and survivability. She will offer boons that increase base damage, making healing effects stronger, and boosting the boons from other gods. Her status curse is ‘chill’ which slows enemies down, and possibly making them shatter.

5. Who Is On Speed Dial

You will unlock calls randomly after you have attempted to escape a handful of times. They are your ‘super move’ so to speak. Each god will offer a different call based on their characteristics. You can trigger it for a short burst of this power, or you can fill the bar up for a ‘super-duper move.’ I find a lot of these wanting though. Trying each one will be advantageous to you for your own musings, and to check off those minor prophecy’s checklist. However, there are some that stand out above all the others for me personally.

Triggering the short burst of each of these powers never seem as useful than the standard boons and weapon damage at your disposal. And so, I find it much more beneficial to build the bar to its completion to trigger the greater call – the full potential of the call.

Zeus – His greater call strikes lighting around you for a period of time, but it is unpredictable and most will go to waste. Best used when fighting groups of enemies to take full advantage.

Poseidon – His greater call will turn you into a tidal wave to crash down on enemies. You are also impervious for the brief duration. It’s useful in any situation but its damage output is left wanting.

Ares – His greater call will turn you into a controllable blade rift that causes damage over time (more damage at higher rarity). Very similar to Poseidon, you will be impervious during the duration. Can be useful in any situation but its meagre damage output leaves this behind many other greater calls.

Athena – Her greater call will turn you impervious for 9 seconds (slightly longer at higher boon rarity) and will also deflect all damage. This can be a great option for any situation but has no inherent damage output itself. Can be used effectively to tank bosses.

Aphrodite – Her greater call will send a seeking heart shaped projectile towards a single target. It is wasteful in standard mobs but can be an incredible aid in slamming a massive portion of a boss’ health bar. Her standard call will charm enemies for short durations but doesn’t tend to come in that helpful most of the time.

Artemis – Her greater call fires 10 seeking arrows, each with a 35% of being a critical hit. Each arrow causes a base 100 damage (increases with higher rarity boon) so will automatically be a MINIMUM 1000 damage per greater call usage. It is likely that a couple of these will be critical hits, so just like Aphrodite, her greater call is great at slamming a massive chunk out of bosses. But wasteful in standard mobs.

Dionysus – His greater call simply inflicts hangover status curse to enemies around you for a duration of time. Honestly, this is just plainly the weakest of greater calls. All of his boons inflict hangover, so having a greater call that does the same thing is just a waste.

Demeter – Her greater call creates a wintery vortex that chills enemies. Again, this greater call feels sub-par compared to most of the other calls available. The damage it inflicts is negligible and the effects of chill on its own is underwhelming.

Personally, I find most of the greater calls to be lacking in oomph! The greater calls that I always hope for are that of Aphrodite or Artemis. This is due to their undeniable damage output that can come in clutch against bosses.

6. Know Your Allies In Hades

Shambling skeletons, floating heads and ‘special beam cannon’ shooting gems aren’t the only sentient beings you will come across in your hell diving journeys. There are also an NPC you can come across in each of the primary areas of hell. Each of them will give you an option of 3 select items. They are always the same 3, so knowing what each NPC offers comes in beneficial if you see the option appear in the door choices.

Sisyphus (and Bouldy) is the NPC in Tartarus and will offer you a health top up, some darkness, or some coins. I usually have the feat from the mirror of night that grants me health from darkness pickups, so I usually opt for darkness for a double gift.

Euridice is the NPC in Asphodel and will offer you some tasty food that boosts your boons. One will upgrade 2 random boons to the next rarity, one will bump 4 random boons to the next level and one will make the next 3 boons you find an upgraded rarity. Any of these gifts come in very handy.

Patroclus is the NPC in Elysium and offers gifts to boost your survivability. One will boost your health by 30% as you enter a chamber for 5 encounters and one will boost your attack by 60% for 10 encounters. The final selection will change depending on whether you have Death Defiance or Stubborn Defiance equipped (mirror of night options). One will make your Stubborn Defiance restore 50% more health for 15 encounters, the other will restore all your lost Death Defiances.

NPC encounters are not guaranteed in a run, and each can only be encountered once in each. It is always worth visiting them, and not necessarily for their gifts. You can develop their stories by visiting them and gifting them nectar.

7. Everything Stems From Chaos

When Chaos first appears, he can be an unsettling encounter. The entry into his domain cost a blood payment to get into, the sounds that are associated with entrance, the sound of their voices, and the void in which they reside all make for an intimidating presence. Coupling all this with the fact that each of their boons will come with a curse attached to them would be enough to put most off from visiting them.

Chaos is my favourite person to visit however, as they are the most interesting from a lore perspective. They will always offer you beneficial boons that come in very handy on your runs. They can give you extra casts, increases the percentage of maximum health upgrades, increase percentages of certain attacks etc. The curses that come attached to these upgrades will only last for a certain number of encounters. If Chaos appears earlier on in your runs, then it is always beneficial to visit them, so that the curses have expired by your late game run.

8. Hades General Tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind whilst playing. All of them are valid tips, but not necessarily big enough to warrant their own sections.

  • Always interact with characters. They all have long individual story progressions that require many interactions, and lots of nectar/ambrosia.
  • Remember that all characters have these story progressions, from the Chthonic gods in the house of Hades, the friendly NPCs and the Olympic gods.
  • Interacting with Poseidon and purchasing the fishing rod comes in handy. Fish can be given to the chef for gems, keys, diamonds etc depending on the fish caught.
  • There is a ding sound at the end of encounters that signifies a fishing spot is available in the area.
  • Swap out your keepsakes. They steadily improve after batches of encounters.
  • The more you choose the same god for boons, the more likely they are to offer you legendary boons.
  • Experimenting with different gods’ boons will sometimes give you the options for duo boons which are vastly superior to others.

9. Don’t Sweat It

Even if you take in everything about this game, know what to expect and plan the perfect run with your preferred weapon; it could all still go wrong. Just recently I managed to reach the final area of the game with full lives and full health but was absolutely decimated in The Temple of Styx. The build I had built was just not up to scratch for that area. I entered the last boss and was killed in one swipe. It happens.

The gods that offer their boons are random, the weapon that wants to be used the most is random, the boons that the gods offer are random, the mini boss encounters are random, everything in a run is random. There is only so much you can do to prepare for a run. The main thing to take from a run is, everything you do advances your progress in some way. The darkness, gems, and keys you pick up are permanent. The nectar you gift the gods and allies are cumulative. Each run you dive into will make you more adept at battling the denizens of the deep. As long as you are enjoying yourself, it doesn’t matter how far you get in your escape attempt. Just enjoy it!

10. Wrap Up

And there you go. This ‘top tips’ list turned into a little bit of a general guide at times, but everything here aims to help you in some way or another. The main take from this whole list is mainly to just enjoy yourself. There are so many distinct aspects of the game working in the background to make each of your runs in hell interesting, it is best to just lean into it and allow yourself to be lost in the gameplay and the background plot development.

Hades is an amazing game. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I also hope at least one person caught my Dragon Ball Z reference. Anyone? No? Damn.