Everything we learned from the Hades 2 Technical Test livestream

Supergiant Games showed some new gameplay for the upcoming Hades 2. Here's everything we noticed.

Supergiant Games

Supergiant Games grabbed the gaming world's attention this week after it announced that Hades 2 was about to become playable, albeit briefly. The Hades 2 Technical Test is starting up soon, which is especially exciting for those with fond memories of the original game. To show off what players could expect, Supergiant Games' Studio Director Amir Rao and Creative Director Greg Kasavin jumped on YouTube to offer a first look at gameplay. There's a lot here for Hades players to chew on. For those who missed it or want a quick recap, Shacknews took some notes.

New characters

As implied by the original reveal trailer, Hades 2 does not put players in the role of Zagreus. Instead, players will take the role of newcomer Melinoe, Princess of the Underworld and a powerful witch adept at sorcery. She'll help feed into a central theme for the story: witchcraft, which played heavily into many elements of Greek mythology. Her mission is one of revenge against Chronos, the Titan of Time, who, it is implied, has done terrible things to the House of Hades.

Like Zagreus before her, Melinoe has her share of supporting cast members in the new hub world of the Crossroads. This is a part of the underworld lorded over by Hecate, Witch of the Crossroads. She acts as Melinoe's teacher and guides her in her journey against Chronos.

Other friendlies in the Crossroads include Dora (Listless Shade), who is a mischievous ghost that shares a room with Melinoe. Nemesis (Retribution Incarnate) is a fallen warrior and one of the daughters of Nyx, who played a big role in the original Hades. Odysseus (Veteran Tactician) hangs around to give occasional advice.

Of course, not everyone in the underworld is new to the series. Hypnos (Sleep Incarnate) makes his return... sort of. Since the events of the first game, Hypnos has fallen into a deep slumber, one that he can't seem to awaken from. Plus, your old tackling buddy from the first game, Schelemeus (the former Skelly), is back, having graduated into a full-blown Training Master.

Character encounters were a big part of the first Hades and they'll make their return in the sequel. Occasionally, players can enter a chamber that features a unique meeting with a supporting character. For Erebus, players can enter the webbed chamber of Arachne. On top of some fun banter, Arachne will give Melinoe an outfit that offers armor with special buffs. Just be careful, because taking too much damage will break the armor and remove the associated buff.

New regions

Hades 2 will take players across new corners of the underworld. Only one playable area is ready for consumption at the moment. Named for the personification of darkness, Erebus is the pathway to the underworld where fallen souls await entry.

New gods and boons

First look at Apollo in Hades 2

Source: Supergiant Games

In the first Hades, Zagreus frequently conversed with the Greek pantheon and received attack sets, boosts, and rewards based on their specific domain. Hades 2 will introduce more of the gods. Wednesday's Technical Test demo first saw Rao and Kasavin bump into Apollo, God of Light. He explains that the gods are unable to reach Chronos to deal out their wrath, but they can give Melinoe the tools she needs to do so on their behalf. Apollo offers up boons like Nova Strike (increased attack power), Blinding Sprint (increased sprint speed), Lucid Gain (magick restoration over time), Solar Ring (Omega Cast damage increase), Extra Dose (double strike chance increase), and Light Smite (ups revenge damage output). He'll also specialize in the Daze Curse. When enemies are afflicted with Daze, they have a chance to miss with their attacks. Like in the previous game, players are presented with multiple choices and can select only one that will last for the remainder of their run.

Another new face is Hestia, Goddess of Flame. She specializes in burning everything to the ground, so her boons offer Melinoe the Curse of Scorch. Enemies afflicted with Scorch will take additional damage every second. Boons like Flame Strike and Soot Sprint will amplify damage received from Scorch. As shown during the stream, Hestia's boons play surprisingly well with certain water-based boons from Poseidon.

The third new goddess is Selene, Goddess of the Moon. The power of the moon grants access to a powerful Hex, which can be triggered after using enough magick near foes. Hex can take on various forms, whether it's as a target-seeking projectile, a powerful area-of-effect beam, or a wide affliction.

Several Olympians also make their return, noticeably changed from the previous game. Demeter, Goddess of Seasons, is back with more ice-based attacks, many of which inflict Freeze on foes. As noted, Poseidon returns with water-based attacks, but some of his boons are slightly different, like Fluid Gain (which can generate a magick-restoring Spirit Bubble) and Breaker Sprint (which creates a literal wave of offense). Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is back, now armed with a spear, with her attacks that inflict Weak. King of the gods, Zeus, has also returned with his Curse of Blitz, which strikes foes with lightning every few seconds.

Interestingly, Melinoe meets with another familiar face in the form of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt. However, she appears in a different way than the other gods. Sometimes, Melinoe will enter a chamber and be greeted with the call of "The Hunt is On!" This is Artemis testing Melinoe's strength with a horde of foes. After surviving the chamber, Artemis will greet Melinoe in person and offer a boon.

New systems

The Incantation system in Hades 2

Source: Supergiant Games

Over the course of Hades 2, Melinoe can collect items found over the course of her runs, which can then go into her inventory. Some of those items include Ashes that can then be taken to the Crossroads. This leads into one of the game's more intriguing new ideas: The Altar.

The Altar allows Melinoe to deposit Ashes (or other resources, like Psyche) to flip over different arcana cards. These cards will grant permanent upgrades to be used for future runs. Unlocking cards will reveal adjacent cards that can then be unlocked. Only nine cards will be available for the Technical Test, but that number will grow over the course of Hades 2's early access period.

Elsewhere in the Crossroads, players can find the Silver Pool, which is where they can unlock new weapons. This is where they'll find the aforementioned Schelemeus for some practice.

After a few runs, Hecate will direct Melinoe into the Cauldron. This is where Melinoe can appeal to the Three Fates for intervention via the new crafting system. Players can donate various items from their inventory in order to invoke an incantation that can change the world in various ways. This can include adding new weapons to the Silver Pool or bringing some additional characters, like the Wretched Broker, into the Crossroads.

New enemies and combat mechanics

The Root-Stalker in Hades 2

Source: Supergiant Games

Players will encounter a variety of new foes in Hades 2. A few examples include Wailers, which use sonic screams to deal damage. These are some strong minor enemies, but they get tougher once Melinoe encounters elite versions of these baddies. Meanwhile, Waystrels are bulky foes, who can deliver heavy physical damage and are not to be trifled with directly.

Mini-bosses can be found, just as in the last game. The Root-Stalker sits static in the center of the chamber, but fires off blasts at a high speed that are difficult to avoid. This is where players must take advantage of the Dash button, which can be held down for a faster Sprint.

There's one boss in the game at the moment, waiting at the end of Erebus. Surprisingly, it's Headmistress Hecate herself, who wishes to test Melinoe's mettle to see if she's strong enough to continue further. Given that Hecate attacks with powerful magic blasts that attack in a wide arc and across a vast area-of-effect, players may find themselves unprepared.

Encounters with new enemies allowed Rao and Kasavin to show off some of Hades 2's subtle differences in combat. Casting, in particular, looks to have undergone some changes. Melinoe can summon down casting circles, playing into her background as a witch. This allows her to aim her casting abilities and better control the overall pace of combat.

Players can use both main attacks and chargeable Omega attacks that consume magick. Different weapons and abilities allow for various tactics and some magick spells can hit harder when they're charged by holding down the corresponding attack button. Omega attacks, in particular, are great for controlling crowds and simultaneously wiping the armor off on a bunch of elite enemies in one fell swoop.

Other facts

Melinoe returns to her room in Hades 2

Source: Supergiant Games

We picked up a few other items of note during this livestream, including:

  • In its current state, Hades 2 already has as much new music from original composer Darren Korb as the entire running time of the original game.
  • It's now possible to revisit previous dialogue with the Recent Remarks tab in the pause menu, in case you missed anything in any of your chats with the gods.
  • Various resources can be found across different rooms, but sometimes, they'll be inaccessible until Melinoe can find a certain tool to pick them up.
  • User interface looks to be improved with Curses appearing to be a point of focus. More visible indicators now show when enemies have been afflicted by Curses like Weak, Freeze, and Scorch.
  • Only two weapons will be available for the Technical Test. The Sister Blades are an interesting set, allowing players to both rope in foes and blast them from up close, similar to a shotgun.
  • Many chamber types will look familiar, but Supergiant is trying out a few new ideas. One new chamber type will house a series of silk cocoons. Players can roll the dice and break them to either receive a reward or free a powerful and armored enemy.
  • As with the previous game, playing through a certain number of runs will trigger some narrative events. In this case, players will flash back to Melinoe's childhood to learn more about her time in the House of Hades.
  • The narrator returns from the first game and, in a flashback, his identity is revealed! While we've gone into detail about a lot of what we've seen, we'd actually rather not reveal this surprise.
  • You can't pet Cerberus this time, but Melinoe does have a pet frog named Frinos and you can pet that anytime!

There's no current date for the Hades 2 Technical Test, nor is there an exact date for its arrival onto Steam Early Access. However, as one of the most anticipated games to come along in some time, we'll continue following its development. Follow the Hades 2 topic page for the latest updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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