Last week, Supergiant Games released the second major content update for its dungeon crawling rogue-like, Hades. The update is known as The Good Times Update, adding several new features and improvements to the game. Being huge fans of Hades here at Buff Nerf Repeat, we have spent a decent amount of time playing the latest version of the game, and we’re here to give you our detailed thoughts and opinions on all of the “good” stuff that the update has to offer. Let the good times roll!
Quote of the patch
‘When the crude grapes which Dionysus gave to men — a joy and a sorrow both — begin to colour, in that season they fought and loud rose the clamour.’ ~ Shield of Heracles
Dionysus: the god of wine offers his intoxicating blessings! Seek his aid and encouragement during your escape attempts.
The god of wine brings with him a powerful new ability. Similar in some ways to the delayed damage of Ares, Blight Wine adds a damage over time (DOT) effect to enemies that can stack up to 5 times, and can of course be upgraded to tick for more points of damage with poms. This new ability adds yet another unique way of playing Hades; by applying ‘DOT’, players can take a more passive approach to clearing chambers, letting the Blight Wine do its damage from a safer distance or by letting the ‘DOT’ finish off weaker foes. In one of my early runs I was able to update my Blight Wine Dash boon so much that i could take out most enemies with movement alone. Being passive won’t suit everyone’s play style, but from my early experiences of it Blight Wine appears to be an extremely powerful boon to take for any weapon or ability. Festive Fog is another new ability from Dionysus, which creates fumes to impair the movement of foes; the fog acts as an AOE, which can deal damage and provide damage resistance with certain boons.
Exagryph, the Adamant Rail: this legendary forebear of firearms presents an all-new playstyle! Own all four other weapons to reveal it.
The new weapon is without doubt the most exciting feature to be added to Hades this patch, and for good reason. Exagryph is an extremely powerful firearm that can deal huge amounts of enemy melting damage, especially in combination with certain boons (try it out with Zeus’s chain lighting, Ares attack, or the new Blight Wine dot). The rate of fire on Exagryph is extremely high in comparison to the other ranged attacks in Hades, meaning damage from the boons mentioned above feels almost overpowered. In fact, a few days after the release of the update, Supergiant made balance changes to both the Rail and boons that worked well in combination with it. Weapon upgrades are also pretty powerful, with the negative of needing to reload the gun often improved with increased ammo or by removing the need to reload with a slower fire rate compromise. The Rail is a fun weapon to use in combination with certain boons, but it can feel a little on the weaker side without them. I also found the mortar-like special ability to be a little underwhelming, but I’ve yet to play around with every boon combination of it.
Fated Authority: new Mirror upgrade lets you alter the rewards you’ll earn in each chamber (to whatever the Fates decide…)
Similar to gates and chests, Fated Authority adds even more risk for reward to Hades. It’s an interesting new upgrade and one that i’ve enjoyed using so far, especially given how, in the past, certain rewards would fail to fit into a particular playstyle of a run. I’ve also found myself in a position where I lack a certain resource on a run and have benefited greatly from a switch. For example, I might be low on coin and would benefit more from a coin reward than from an increase in HP. Of course, for every positive situation there’s a negative version where you get something far worse, but it is, after all, your choice.
Infernal Gates: seasoned players may earn greater rewards within (provided they use the Pact of Punishment, and can clear the challenges inside)
Thank goodness that the no-hit challenges have now been moved to Infernal Gates. These chambers were particularly difficult for newer players and at times rather off-putting. Adding further difficulty for seasoned players is a great way of keeping die-hards engaged, and while the rewards don’t always match the effort required to unlock them, Infernal Gates are still a step in the right direction when figuring out how to increase the games difficulty. These gates can only be opened to players using the Pact of Punishment, with your current heat score determining which gates can and cannot be opened. So far, I’ve seen gates with as low a requirement as 2 heat to as high as 40 odd. Rewards vary, and I’m assuming that the higher the Heat cost to unlock, the greater the reward.
New Story Events: expect new narrative plus new contextual gameplay quips, with hundreds of newly recorded voice lines
If you’ve played Hades from day one, chances are that you will have heard all there is to hear from the games numerous characters, but thankfully that’s no longer the case, with hundreds of new voice lines being added with the update. These voice lines add new development for the story, as well as continuing with the cheeky banter between Zag and the inhabitants of the House of Hades and the Underworld. Needless to say, the voice acting here continues to be of the very highest quality – we would expect nothing less from Supergiant.
Roadmap: press the Next Major Update button on the Main Menu to learn more about what else we’re working on.
Roadmaps are fairly common with popular early access releases, so it came as a surprise that Hades never had one. Thankfully, that’s all changed now, with a roadmap being available to view from the games title screen. Current high priority features to look forward to include Additional Acts, Weapons, and boss fights. We knew these were coming, but it’s still great to see a timeline for such improvements
‘Perfect Clear’ encounters no longer occur in random Chambers; now occur when you enter the new Infernal Gates
Centaur Hearts no longer a reward option in the first chamber
Codex unlock requirements reduced in most cases
Improvements to auto-aim selection in various contexts
Added Superior-quality Chamber Reward variants (for Infernal Gates)
Wretched Broker deals offer better value (sometimes…)
Infernal Troves retain their full value longer before decay-over-time
All of the general gameplay changes are improvements, with nothing here that I’d disagree with. As mentioned previously, it’s great that Perfect Clear encounters have been moved to Infernal Gates; this was a much needed change, one that benefits the game greatly. I’m also happy to see that Centaur Hearts are no longer reward options when you first jump from the window. I often felt a little cheated when starting a run with additional health and not a more useful boon. The last change worth noting is to the Wretched Broker – this may not seem like a big deal, but when considering how many keys are required to unlock the new mirror upgrade, this becomes very helpful.
Balance – Weapons & Powers
Adamant Rail: added to the game, with its own Daedalus Upgrades
Stygian Blade: Thrust recovery time slightly reduced; Special recovery can be reduced by attacking
Heart-Seeking Bow: Special recovery time slightly reduced
Eternal Spear: Special damage and range slightly increased; returns slightly faster; improved input buffering
Shield of Chaos: Attack recovery slightly faster; improved input buffering; now can block petrifying projectiles
Cast: improved input buffering when linking shots
Most of the focus here seems to be recovery time (the time between one attack ending and being able to move or attack again). In a game like Hades where multiple enemies fill the screen at once, these changes are very helpful. The special attack on the Stygian Blade was the most in need of improving, and thankfully the reduced time makes a real difference, and I enjoyed using the Swords special attack a lot more than previously because of it. The biggest buff award, however, goes to the Shield of Chaos, which can now block those annoying petrifying projectiles. In the past, running or deflecting was your only viable option when facing them, but now the Shield can do its job, giving players an additional way to combat one of the most annoying enemies in the game.
Balance – Boons & Upgrades
Thunder Dash (Zeus): reduced max. damage
Ocean’s Bounty (Poseidon): no longer affects shop items
Titan Toppler (Athena): no longer interrupted by Spike Traps
Hungry Blades (Ares): reduced duration scaling; scales with rarity
Deadly Strike (Artemis): reworked; adds bonus damage and a fixed +15% chance of a Critical hit
Deadly Flourish (Artemis): reworked; adds bonus damage and a fixed +20% chance of a Critical hit
Hunter Dash (Artemis): reduced power level; various fixes
Burst Shot (Artemis): now scales with rarity
Fully Loaded (Artemis): now scales with rarity
Dying Lament (Aphrodite): increased power level
Wave of Despair (Aphrodite): increased power level
Unhealthy Fixation (Aphrodite): increased effect chance
Empty Inside (Aphrodite): now scales with rarity
Remedy (Chaos): cut from game; Soul (Life Gain) still offered;
Grasp (Chaos): now scales with rarity
Atrophic (Chaos): increased negative effect
Pom of Power: upgrades can now have improved rarity
Quite a number of changes here, with the stand out improvements for me being to Artemis and Aphrodite. Prior to the Chaos Update, both of these Gods and their boons were top tier. That changed with several nerfs, most notably to Hunters Dash, but also to the damage output from Aphrodite. Hunters Dash has taken yet another hit, but with the fixed crit chance and damage bonus on Deadly Strike and Flourish I’ve had some successful runs using Artemis again. The Thunder Dash Zeus nerf was also needed, and it came as no great shock to see Lightning Strike follow suit a couple of days later. Upgrades improving the rarity of boons with a Pom of Power is also a nice change.
Balance – Daedalus Hammer
Cruel Thrust (Sword): added to the game
Sudden Sunder (Sword): faster recovery time
Piercing Shot (Bow): replaced with Piercing Barrage
Point-Blank Shot (Bow): replaced with Twin Shot
Triple Shot (Bow): widened attack arc
Rapid Shot (Bow): removed damage penalty
Dread Flight (Shield): hits more targets before returning
Voracious Flight (Shield): replaced with Mirage Flight
Assault Flight (Shield): reworked; now faster and fully automatic
Minotaur Rush (Shield): reduced charge-time penalty
Trick Toss (Spear): replaced with Flurry Jab
Impact Blast (Spear): replaced with Exploding Launcher
Cruel Skewer (Spear): replaced with Vicious Skewer
Multi Skewer (Spear): bounces between more targets, including foes
Quick Spin (Spear): now charges much faster
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many changes and replacements for Daedalus Hammer abilities. These abilities affect your weapons attack, so the importance of balance is an obvious one. Quick Spin—which makes the spear charge much faster—is a big buff; this ability coupled with a dash is one of the most powerful aoe attacks in the game. I never bothered with Quick Spin prior to this update as I felt the improvement just wasn’t worth it. Rapid Shot losing it’s damage penalty is another example of an ability that’s gone from useless to playable, the DPS of this ability has now been greatly improved. The Bow feels a lot stronger now in general (although it was already strong before), I’ve had success with new ability Twin Shot, and Triple Shot was one of the better abilities before the attack arc got buffed. The Sword and Shield also feel stronger, with improvements to ranged abilities and recovery time.
Balance – Foes & Encounters
Pest: now flings mines; mines eventually expire; reduced Elite armor
Thug: no longer turns during attack; reduced Elite armor
Numbskull: no longer spawn one-by-one in some encounters
Skullomat: reduced Elite armor; reduced spawn cap
Megaera : reinforcement spawns no longer yield unlimited money
Slam-Dancer: no longer immune to knockback while leaping
Gorgon: attack expires slightly sooner
Skull-Crusher: reduced health, size, and spawn cap; Elite rises faster
Megagorgon: now immune to stun and knockback;
Hydra: no longer slows you with its slam attack; improved feedback on some of its attacks; other minor changes
Asphodel Lava Puddles take longer to damage you (like other lava)
Brimstones can now appear in the Asphodel ‘river crossing’ encounter
Area attacks (such as the Skull-Crusher’s) now briefly stun other foes
Various other minor fixes and improvements
The change that’s the most noticeable here is to Pest, who now throws mines instead of placing them on the floor. I wouldn’t say it increases the difficulty level of these foes, but it certainly increases the annoyance level. Most of the changes here make certain enemies easier by reducing elite armour and health. Asphodel ‘river crossing’ encounter now feels a little more challenging – the inclusion of Brimstones makes a noticeable difference. I’ve found myself dying here during high Heat runs a lot more often than in the past.
Balance – Mirror of Night
Fated Authority: added to the game
Death Defiance: healing now scales with Life Total
Death Defiance feels so much stronger now, especially in high heat runs. Having a high HP now has a benefit outside of the obvious; is it enough of one to skip a boon for health though?
Balance – Keepsakes & Items
Overflowing Cup (Dionysus): added to the game
Chthonic Coin Purse (Hypnos): reworked; gives a fixed money amount
Light of Ixion (Well): no longer loses charges in ineligible chambers
Trove Tracker (Well): no longer loses charges in ineligible chambers
Olympian Keepsake effects won’t expire before you take their boon
Balance – Pact of Punishment
Whipped Frenzy (NEW!): raises foe movement speed and attack speed
Convenience Fee (NEW!): raises item costs
Pain Tolerance: reduced effect at max rank
Increased Darkness bonus when using the Pact
Adjusted Skeleton Key costs for some unlocks
The Keepsake and Items changes are self explanatory. What I want to mention here is how much I like the new Pact of Punishment modifiers. Whipped Frenzy really changes how you approach tackling certain enemies on high heat runs, and Convenience Fee makes the decision on whether to heal or not during high heat runs a far tougher one.
The rest of the changes don’t affect the gameplay of Hades, so I won’t list them here. If you are interested, however, the full patch notes (including the added extras I’ve skipped) can be found here.
Just like with the Chaos Update before it, I was slightly disappointed that The Good Times Update did not include a new Act or major boss encounter. The inclusion of the road map, however, has reassured me that both of those wishes are right around the corner. What we did get is a fantastic new weapon, a new god with equally-as-impressive new abilities, and a whole host of changes and improvements that are sure to keep Hades feeling fresh for the next month. I already can’t wait for the next update.