Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods are on Game Pass and you really should be playing them... unless you're not interested in great games, that is.
Ok, let's jump right in the deep end without much of an intro: Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods –both of these games are roguelites. What does that mean? If you die, it's back to square one. That's what that means. This alone puts a lot of people off, and they never try the genre, which is a shame, because a good roguelite feels far from repetitive. A good roguelite, marvels in the fact that you are doing the same task over and over and brings something fresh with every run. In fact, few games can give you the feeling of accomplishment that a good roguelite can. That feeling of breezing past something that seemed impossible just hours before... it is that exact feeling, that exact accomplishment that makes roguelites like Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods such amazing gaming experiences.
In life, we struggle with things on the daily and there are a number of things we can't conquer, you know, those metaphorical mountains we can't climb. That's why adventure movies and books have become such a staple of our society: We love seeing protagonists accomplish things and overcome. This is even more evident in TV shows, where we get strung along for the journey for a meaningful amount of time: Watching your favorite character in Game of Thrones grow, feels amazing (well, except that everybody's dying in that show and I really should've picked a better example...). It's also why we love anime: Seeing Goku or Naruto grow from boy to man, from weakling to the world's strongest... it just feels good.
- Hades was the Game of the Year for a reason: Game of the Year 2020 Joins Xbox Game Pass
That – all of the above – is what roguelites are all about, except that you are the protagonist that's growing, overcoming, getting stronger and achieving. There are no difficulty adjustments to hold your hand, no, you just learn, adapt and become better and by the time you finished the game, you are different. Sounds dramatic, but that's the gist of the loop that these games represent. What makes Hades and Curse of the Dead Gods stand out is that this loop is presented in a manner that never gets stale due to either great story, presentation or combat and that the gameplay or the games' mechanics are never in the way of your growth – only you are.
Hades vs Curse of the Dead Gods
If you only got time for one of the two, let me quickly dive into the differences of Hades vs Curse of the Dead Gods:
Hades prides itself more on its narrative, which is beautifully structured around the pattern of dying and coming back. The whole world reacts to it, adapts to it, and you almost want to keep dying rather than completing the game, because you want to keep coming back to see what new narrative strings have opened up for you. It's marvelous storytelling, set to the gorgeous backdrop of Greek mythology and breathtaking animated graphics, a stunning color palette, top-tier cut scenes and character models. Last but not least, there is the dialogue: Witty, original, unique and on a level with some of animations' best movies. Hades is a masterclass of what it means to package a visual product and that's the reason it got so many Game of the Year Awards. Simply put: Hades is fun and addictive.
Curse of the Dead Gods
Curse of the Dead Gods is, for starters, a lot darker than Hades. If that's not your thing, then, Hades is an easy pick. Befitting its darker tone, Curse of the Dead Gods is also harder and more punishing than Hades. Don't get it twisted, Hades is tough and will have you dying over and over, but Curse of the Dead Gods simply has more punishing gameplay. If you ever played Dark Souls, you will have an idea of what that means. In terms of story, that means, Curse of the Dead Gods has a lot less meat on it and brings a lot less your way in terms of entertainment and storytelling. The game knows it's all about the gameplay, without the dressing, because that's where it shines: In comparison, Hades can feel like a (incredibly fun) button mashing with awareness, while Curse of the Dead Gods is much more methodical: Combat is a matter of mastery – a process that can feel quite daunting. Going back to the feeling of accomplishment though, Curse of the Dead Gods will have you feeling even more accomplished, since it doesn't reward you with power-ups quite in the same manner as Hades does.
Since both games are on Game Pass, money won't be an issue, meaning you only have time to lose – of which you can sink plenty into either game. There's no wrong choice here, the only wrong choice is not playing either of these two roguelite masterpieces. Plus, if you played one and dipped your toe into the pool of gratification that is a good roguelite... trust me, you'll be playing both anyway.
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