When I first picked up a controller to play Hades in April 2020, I knew that I was about to experience something special. I had first discovered this indie masterpiece in late 2019. What immediately attracted to Hades was its art style and vibrance the game displayed. The gameplay looked like it would be a blast to experience and the voice work was top notch. Yet it’s one thing to expect that something would be spectacular versus actually confirming that it is. Hades is indeed spectacular and demonstrated its supremacy over all others in 2020. And for me, every other game was in Hades’ rearview mirror.
In a previous post, I listed Hades among other candidates that I was considering for my personal Game of the Year. Don’t misunderstand me, there were some strong contenders with the likes of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Persona 5 Royal, and Marvel’s Spider-Man. All three of those games are fantastic experiences. I included Spider-Man because I received it as my Christmas gift in 2019 and played the bulk of the main campaign in 2020. Indeed there were some fumbled launches in 2020, but the year also featured some nice titles. But still, nothing came close to Hades in the end.
What was it that made Hades so special? For me, the indie marvel represented a game that was high quality in every regard. Visually, it was absolutely stunning. The voices, music, and sound effects were a delight to my ears. Although I was skeptical at first about the game being an action roguelite, the way the “roguelite” element was implemented was well done. Dying is not the end but the way the story advances and how more characters are introduced. It fits perfectly with the game’s approach. The action features different weapons and powers to help you on your quest to escape the underworld. Controls are very responsive and fluid to make the player feel empowered. No doubt about it, Hades is my 2020 Game of the Year.
I’m thrilled that the indie organization Supergiant Games has received so much positive attention alongside larger development and publishing companies. Hades won many awards but I was disappointed that it didn’t take home the top award at The Game Awards. Yet there were others that, like me, believed that Hades was deserving of the crown. IGN named Hades as its Game of the Year in a move I wholeheartedly applaud. For a smaller organization such as Supergiant Games to develop and publish a game that stood against and, in some ways, outclassed titles that had significantly more resources to work with is an amazing accomplishment. Eurogamer also named gave Hades its Game of the Year honors. Similar sentiments were shared by Polygon and Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge.
It’s great to see a company that creates a game the right way be rewarded. Supergiant Games launched Hades in Early Access status in 2018 and kept enhancing the game all the way up to its 1.0 release in September 2020. The developer/publisher kept consistent communication with the community and created a nice harmony between seller and consumer. I have not experienced any significant bugs since I purchased the game, even when it was in Early Access. Phenomenal work by Supergiant Games.
What will 2021 bring us? Better yet, what is the next game that Supergiant Games is working on. All four of their games so far have been stellar. They’ve set the bar very high for themselves and I hope that they will continue to produce games of the highest caliber for years to come.