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Hades is out now, holy heck

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Counterpoint: I have described Bastion as "the only good Mana game" before.

This is a little unfair, because my experience before then was one part Sword of Mana (which is bad), one part Children of Mana (which is okay), and one part Secret of Mana (which I played long after it originally came out, and therefore had much better things to play).
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
I really should have started giving further nectar to Olympians sooner. Not only do I have to get their relationships up, but they're giving me extra prophecy quests to complete now, not to mention posters and stuff! I'm already at 100 hours! How long do they expect me to play this??
 

Daikaiju

Rated Ages 6+
(He, Him)
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I finally made it to the big man for the first time last night. He was down to just a sliver of health, but he got me before I was able to get him. Feeling pretty good about being able to escape soon, though. Also realized that I haven't yet maxxed out my death defiances, so I should probably save Darkness for that, huh?
 

Destil

Red Mage
(he/him)
Staff member
I went ahead and respecced into the third one instead of some of the later bonuses when I was getting close to my first escape and then escaped about 6 times in a row.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I went ahead and respecced into the third one instead of some of the later bonuses when I was getting close to my first escape and then escaped about 6 times in a row.

Feels about right. I've got plenty of Darkness saved, so I'm not going to waste a key to re-spec, but I suspect I'll be there soon.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Believe me, it's hard to waste a key. Once you have the weapons and mirror spots unlocked they're probably the least useful currency.
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
Two clears now, yay.

First run I’ve had that felt overpowered. Spear with the triple attack and rapid fire upgrades and Athena boons across the board, except for Demeter’s call. Chewed through everything and deflected anything that came near me. Fun times.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
I started this and got...three rooms? four rooms? into it before dying, just after meeting Athena for the first time and getting her power-up. I feel like I was supposed to get significantly farther before biting it.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Yeah for your first time out that's about right. Maybe you get to a miniboss, but you're weak little fledgling at the start.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
OK. There are a lot of indie games I feel that I'm either not a good enough player (this, Celeste) or not a good enough person (NitW, Outer Wilds) to play, so hopefully that isn't the case here.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Yeah, there are definitely spots in this that can feel like a wall, but you really are supposed to die early and die often.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
Also, there's a God Mode in the settings. It just gives you 20% damage reduction - a big help, but it doesn't break the game open or anything. It's more of a "slightly easier difficulty setting" than a "god mode." It can be useful for learning the game if you're having a hard time, then you can pick a time later to "take the training wheels off" if you want. Or keep it on because very difficult games aren't fun or accessible for everyone. Who cares? It's your game! This is a PSA for everybody: go ahead, turn on god mode, it's fine! "But—" Nope! No buts! It's fine!

(And if you don't want to, that's fine too! It's fine! Everything is fine!)

I'm finishing off relationship-building with all the Olympians but it seems I'm waiting for some arbitrary(?) unlocks for a few of them, still. So close to the epilogue. I have all the companions. I still think I like Dusa's the best because of the duration, but it's hard to get a feel for just how much damage she puts out at the end of the day.

I currently have one prophecy left on my list: master the harp. I've gotten to the point where Zagreus is playing actual songs, I guess I just need Orpheus to talk to me about it? Or maybe there's another stage...? Dagnabbit.

I got the "three-way attack" hammer for the bow's Rama aspect last night (extra useful because of the attack width and the spreading effect) but I wasn't able to get a good tack on whether it stacks the attack damage shared across the debuffed enemies. I have a feeling it does, but couldn't confirm. But oooh, that was nice for room-clearing. (I wonder, if you get the chain-attack one, does that trigger the shared Also a very good one to get the "Easier power shots" hammer on (which I also got). I think the 4th aspect might be starting to get a little bit of an edge past Chiron's in my heart...but it's still close. Those 2 and the Zeus shield are my top 3 weapons, hands-down, as far as how good I am with them.

Lucifer's rail aspect is very nice, but almost requires the "shoot 3 specials quickly" hammer upgrade. (Which I'm not sure I've ever gotten on a normal rail. Though I've gotten the spread one...which you probably can't get on Lucifer.) It's great both for blanketing an area with pulsing damage, or stacking up for huge explosive damage. I'm sure it'd be nice for Eris's aspect too if it's available.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
That's exactly what people said about Celeste too, but I knew I wasn't playing it the "right" way and that I'd never finish it as intended, let alone get every strawberry like people were bragging about.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
That's your call! But I don't think it's an apt analogy - Celeste's difficulty toggles alter a lot of fundamental mechanics, like the speed of the game, invincibility, whatnot. The God-mode toggle in Hades is just a percentage nudge to your damage resistance, and you can turn it on or off at any point during a run as you like. The devs put on the description, "for if you want to experience the story, or lower the difficulty, or any reason at all."

And since it's a roguelike, progress isn't about getting X far, and knowing it's about learning to fight the enemies, learning the patterns, and slowly unlocking permanent upgrades and new options. Getting a little further in each run than one would without isn't going to break that curve at all.

Also, if that was a wrong way to play, it wouldn't be in the game. It is in the game, so using it is decidedly, incontrovertibly still the right way to play.

Also what turtle said.


Counterargument: I looked up the mechanics and it is a little more powerful than I thought - it does start at 20% damage resistance (frankly not a lot, especially at early stages), but every time you die with God Mode active, it permanently increases the damage resistance by 2%, capping out at 80% (of course, that takes 30 dying runs to reach, but still.) I suppose one could pause and turn it off right before they die to artificially control how much it does or doesn't grow, which would be easy enough, but also kind of a finicky pain.

Another counterargument: What Turtle said again. And like I said above, it's also totally fine to play without it at all! I actually didn't start using it until after I was already clearing runs consistently, was near max power so my permanent upgrades didn't have much growth anymore, and the die-try again loop was a lot less satisfying or interesting anymore.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
I had what felt like a decent build going on with the sword last night and man, I gotta say...I really hate the sword. Even when I get good boons etc., I just can't make it work! Fuck outta here, sword.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Yeah, I've made it work a few times but that's probably my least favorite weapon overall. I do like the Arthur version though.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
I had what felt like a decent build going on with the sword last night and man, I gotta say...I really hate the sword. Even when I get good boons etc., I just can't make it work! Fuck outta here, sword.
Stygius is my least favorite weapon in the game by a longshot. I don't really know why; it doesn't FEEL bad to play, it just...isn't good? Things are harder. When I was first starting, I was having difficulty trouble too - I couldn't beat the first boss, sometimes couldn't even reach it. I switched to the spear and immediately beat the first and second bosses and made it to the third. (I also had the flurry stab Hammer upgrade on that run, which loses the spin attack for rapid stabbing while holding the button - even now I think that makes the weapon waaaay better than the spin ever could, but ymmv).


Advice for beginners:
-Focus on collecting Darkness (purple crystals) to upgrade your talents, Keys to unlock weapons and more talents, and nectar to get keepsakes (accessories). Gems too, but at a lower priority. Coins are only good for that specific run and disappear when you die. (They're just as important as the other run-only upgrades, definitely, but separate from the other currencies.)
-I still think the best first keepsake to get is the one from Cerberus.
-Hammers are uuuusually the best upgrades - always take a door showing the hammer if you see it.

Just a bit of general basic boon stuff and suggestions:
--Get Athena's boon on your dash, so your dash reflects projectiles. Hands-down the best dash upgrade. I still use it almost every run.
--I find Poseidon's cast very useful for keeping enemies away from me and keeping breathing room when I'm getting swarmed.
--Zeus and Dionysus work extremely well on things that hit fast/frequently, and very poorly on slow/infrequent hits. Usually this means good for main attacks and bad on specials (the bow being an inverse of that).
--Ares is the exact opposite - very bad on fast hits, good on less-frequent, multi-target attacks like specials (unless you're lucky enough to get the doom-stacking boon, but that's kinda rare and tends to come pretty late in my experience).
--Aphrodite is always a great go-to to get boons from - her debuff saves you damage and she has one of the highest damage boost modifiers.
--If you get multiple boons from the same god, you can often get pretty powerful upgrades to their effects stuff that may benefit you more than adding a new boon from a different god would. Example: To Poseidon's knockback, you can add a powerful DoT, extra damage when wall-slamming enemies, and/or a big aoe burst when wall-slamming.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
The third area boss fight is such an enormous jump in difficulty that I feel like maybe my game is busted. With good boons and a lot of practice, I can reliably take out the bosses of the first two zones without too much hassle. The third boss is so hard that it feels like I’m not supposed to be able to beat it yet.

I have finally opened up the weapon upgrade system, so I am hoping that this will give me the edge I need to beat Maze Bros.
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Are there any good strategies for winning other than get really good attack and defense boons? I got rid of the Minotaur one time and things got way more manageable, but I still died since I was near death at that point and Theseus got a lucky hit in.
 

jpfriction

You'll never take my hat away
I always focus on the Minotaur first and try to keep my distance from his bro while keeping a pillar between us to block that stupid spear.

Once you get Theseus to half health he gets quite a bit harder so best not to go after him first.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
Are there any good strategies for winning other than get really good attack and defense boons? I got rid of the Minotaur one time and things got way more manageable, but I still died since I was near death at that point and Theseus got a lucky hit in.
I kite Asterius to the outer circle of the arena, opposite from Theseus (as far as possible). This makes it a little easier to avoid his spears, since you can put a pillar between him and yourself when you see his reticle start to draw on you. As for Asterius himself, get his patterns down - if you choose elite-monster rooms in the latter half of Elysium, you should find a solo fight against him, which I found very useful for learning his patterns without having to worry about Theseus confusing things (after the first time I fought him solo, I beat the boss for the first time). Also, beating him in the solo fight lowers his HP in the boss fight by 20%, which is nice.

Also, killing Asterius first makes Theseus lose a move, while killing Theseus first enrages Asterius, so pretty much always take Asterius down first.

After you get Theseus to 50% and he transitions to calling a god to help him, he spends a long time standing still where he fell, so you have plenty of time to set up casts, calls, or specials that can damage him while you run around, or things that track you can fire one at a time between running around. Things like Ares casts or call, hangover pools, Artemis's homing casts, etc.
 
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