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Should you play Hades 2 in early access or wait for the full game?

Melinoe fighting under a full moon in Hades 2.
Supergiant games

After what felt like a much longer wait than it really was, Hades 2 is out now in early access. PC players can dive into the roguelike sequel right now and start their war against Chronos. Not everyone is rushing to buy their copy, though. Since its release, I’ve seen a common question across social media and my own personal circles: “Should I play it now or wait for 1.0?”

It’s a great question. Personally, I rarely ever play games in early access. I’d much rather prefer to wait for a game’s full release so I can play the feature-complete version all at once. I intended to do the same with Hades 2, especially since it’s more narrative driven than your average roguelike, but I made a rare exception here. Call me weak, but the good news is that I can now answer that burning question: Should you play Hades 2 now or later? You won’t be let down either way.

Should you play early access or not?

If you’re skeptical about early access, I don’t blame you. The term generally implies that a game is incomplete in key ways, which can lead to an unfulfilling experience. This year’s surprise hit Palworld is an extreme example of that. While it hooked players right out of the gate, the early access version was fairly bare bones. That led to a major player drop-off as developer Pocketpair, Inc. looked to staff up to keep up with demand. Roguelikes tend to be especially unsatisfying in early access too. Rogue Legacy 2 initially launched with a limited taste of a full run, including only four character classes. You were better off waiting for 1.0 unless you actively wanted to help shape the game.

If you’re worried that Hades 2 might be in the same state, there’s good news: It’s way further along than most early access releases I’ve played.

Melinoe blasting enemies with magic in Hades 2
Supergiant Games

If you play today, you won’t just get to fight through one biome and boss with two or three weapons. You can complete what feels like a full roguelike run that goes through several regions. I’ve gotten through four myself, vanquishing three new bosses along the way. That already puts Hades 2 on par with the original Hades, even in an early state.

There’s a lot of variety in how you can tackle that challenge too, because there appear to be six weapons available (that matches the number in Hades). I’ve only seen five so far, but there’s a spot for one more in the game’s hub area, the Crossroads. These weapons aren’t just clones of old favorites either. Tools like the Umbral Flames have their own playstyle that give players more long-range options. That makes the sequel feel very different overall.

What’s also impressive is how many gameplay systems currently exist around runs. I’ve done a wealth of things in the Crossroads already, from farming to crafting upgrades via a cauldron. I have a whole array of keepsakes I’ve earned from forming bonds with characters. I’ve unlocked tons of arcana cards, which are a new passive buff system, and even doubled how many I can hold. And through all of that, I’m still progressing the story at every turn, meeting new characters, and getting unique dialogue in each run.

Based on what I’ve played so far, I’m convinced that Supergiant could have released the current version as a 1.0 game and no one would have batted an eye. It feels like a complete experience already. If that were the only thing you were worried about, I’d say jump in now.

Of course, it isn’t fully complete yet. Supergiant says that it doesn’t expect to exit early access until the end of 2024 at the earliest. Its first update is coming in a few months and will seemingly add another region and weapon to the mix. Judging by the current timeline, it seems like at least one more update is coming too, which I’d expect to fill out the endgame a bit more. So if you don’t plan to return to Hades 2 once you put it down, waiting is still safe.

Melinoe near a silver rock in Hades 2.
Supergiant Games

The longer you wait, the stronger it’ll be. Though I’m loving it so far, I still have some nitpicks with Hades 2‘s lack of onboarding, some poorly explained systems, and a spellcasting system that could use some timing tweaks. These are all minor gripes, but I imagine some of those will be addressed before 1.0 to make it all a little smoother for new players. And if you do choose to wait, it’s not like there aren’t other games coming this month that are worth your attention. Both Animal Well and Lorelei and the Laser Eyes are shaping up to be must-play games. You can play those if you need something to keep your hands busy.

All that said, I’d recommend jumping into Hades 2 now if you’re debating it. I don’t think fans of the original will feel disappointed with the current version. Plus, the original Hades was a game that invited players to return to it time and time again. Hades 2 will likely be the same, so new updates will just offer the perfect excuse to dive back in every few months and unravel more of its mysteries. The choice is yours, but there’s no wrong answer here.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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