Playing Hades 2 in Early Access is the best way to experience Supergiant's evolving roguelike

Hades 2
(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

As with all Early Access games, Hades 2 comes with a dilemma: do you play now, knowing it's not entirely finished, or do you wait for the 1.0 release, whenever that may be? Luckily, the decision for Hades 2 is easier to make a case for than most. You should absolutely be playing it now, and not just because of FOMO or impatience. Instead, you should experience how the Early Access journey is woven into its story.

You might have heard already that Hades 2 is absolutely packed full of stuff. There's already more than Hades 1 managed to fit in there, even when it was fully released. And yes, there's plenty to make it worthwhile to play in its current state. Nearly 30 hours in, I'm still surprised by new discoveries, still have recipes I'm saving up for, and have a number of relationships to improve.

Myth in the making  

Hades 2 characters Titan of Time Chronos

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

But there's more to it than that. You should play Hades 2 in Early Access for the same reason as Hades 1: because, thematically, it makes sense. The game's repeated tagline, Time Cannot Be Stopped, is currently true. I won't spoil anything here, but I don't need to - all you need to know is that the game isn't yet finished. You can't kick Chronos out of the House of Hades and save the day. You have to experience the same purgatory as Melinoe, cursed to try over and over again and never succeed.

Godly DNA

Hades 2 announcement trailer

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Hades 2 review: "The roguelike DNA at the heart of this sequel remains as tight and cutthroat as its predecessor"

Whenever the game eventually gets its full release it will theoretically be possible to knock Chronos out in the very first run. It's not exactly very likely, given how Melinoe unlocks new abilities and gets stronger through her repeated delves into the underworld, but it should be possible.

Right now, though, it isn't. And Melinoe getting up every night and trying anyway is a part of the story that won't always be around. For Zagreus in the first game, this added to his personal tenacity. He had a Sisyphean task (ironic, given that character's appearance in the game), but everything about him was grit and ambition. Even when he couldn't escape from hell, he made hell better for the people around him.

Hades 2 Melinoe sprinting from attack

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Things are subtly different for Melinoe. She's clearly tenacious, but she's not without her doubts. She's been learning her whole life how to defeat Chronos, but the reality is very different and she still struggles. But on the other hand, her journey is already more communal. She's surrounded by people who want to see her succeed, but who don't rush her. In particular, her mentor Hecate cautions patience whenever Melinoe has doubts. It's a sweet moment made more meaningful by the fact that it has, at the moment, a very literal basis. Melinoe does have to be patient, just like we do.

And although Hades 2 feels more concrete than its predecessor did early on thanks to just how much of it there is, the myth of Melinoe that Supergiant is weaving isn't yet set in stone. This is another lovely resonance with the source material they're working with, which is fragmented and often contradictory, stories lying on top of stories. As this version of Melinoe changes, it will get to build its own mythology in a similar way – one that is pretty much uniquely available through Early Access video games.

In most cases, I'm one of those people who like to wait for a game's full release before checking it out. But when friends tell me that they're doing this with Hades 2, I have to disagree. In this case, Early Access isn't just a way of testing the game. It's a part of what makes Hades 2 work, and it's the best way to experience it: layered as myth and full of failure.

Here's the Hades 2 roadmap which breaks down what to expect in the future.


Jay Castello is a freelance writer with more than five years experience specialising in online culture and video game communities. Their work - which covers everything from fanfiction to Twitch streaming - has appeared at sites including The Verge, Polygon, and Fanbyte. They also co-host Turnabout Breakdown, a podcast dedicated to dissecting the entire Ace Attorney series.