Hades Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hades RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network How to Beat Theseus and the Minotaur in Hades https://www.gameskinny.com/fppcw/how-to-beat-theseus-and-the-minotaur-in-hades https://www.gameskinny.com/fppcw/how-to-beat-theseus-and-the-minotaur-in-hades Thu, 19 Aug 2021 09:12:14 -0400 John Schutt

Hades' third boss encounter is actually a duo fight against King Theseus and the Minotaur Asterius, the bull of Minos. Unlike the Fury sisters or the Hydra, the Champions of Elysium can be a significant roadblock to reaching the fourth and final level of Hades.

Like all the bosses in Hades, knowing how to beat Theseus and the Minotaur optimally makes the fight almost free, even with Extreme Measures active.

Zagreus facing Theseus and the Minotaur in the boss arena.

If you meet Asterius on the way to Theseus (he appears as a possible challenge arena behind a skull door), use that time to practice fighting him in isolation and as a barometer for your damage output. If you happen to fight him early, he’ll have less health and won’t have a Damage Control marker during the boss encounter.

Once you make it to the boss room to face Theseus and the Minotaur, your first goal should be to defeat Asterius. Focus on the bull because both he and Theseus have a second phase once they reach half health. The minotaur becomes a little more aggressive but doesn’t change too much. It’s Theseus you need to watch out for.

When Theseus hits half health, he’ll call upon the Olympians for aid, usually blocking off the entire arena with damaging effects that can stack up quickly. Dodge the king’s spear throws by sticking to the outer edges of the arena and using the pillars for cover.

Listen for Theseus to call out to his companion. If Asterius runs back to the king and Theseus calls “Delta Strike,” be prepared to dodge the expanding circle the bosses create. It hits for 20 damage and the hitbox is deceptively large. The bull will then throw Theseus at you for additional damage, but you can avoid the attack by dodging perpendicular to the bosses’ position.

How to Beat the Minotaur

Asterius the Minotaur holding an axe over their shoulder, talking to Zagreus.

Attacks:

  • One or two-swing: Asterius swings his ax in a wide arc in front of him, adjusting to your position if there’s a second swing. There’s a small area directly behind him the attack doesn’t reach, so if you can’t get away from it, get behind him.

  • Two-swing into slam: Asterius swings his ax in a wide arc in front of him, then jumps at you, dealing damage both on the way to and on impact. The ax swing will track if you time your dodge behind him poorly. When Asterius lands after jumping, he releases four projectiles in front of him and to the side. In Extreme Measures 3, the slam attack creates a large shockwave on impact, and Asterius does it up to three times.

  • Charge: Asterius charges at you with strong tracking. If he hits a wall or a pillar, he stops and is stunned for a moment. Stick to the pillars and the arena’s edge, dodging at an angle to ensure the bull can’t hit you.

  • Spin-to-win (Extreme Measures 3 only): After a brief windup, the Minotaur begins spinning his ax in incredibly wide circles while tracking you around the arena. These do around 30 damage per hit without protections. Dodge away from the minotaur when this attack comes out, as the hitbox tends to linger and if you’re inside the attack smear, you will take damage

Dodge his wide swings and go underneath his jumping attack. Keep your eyes on the targeting reticle; when it glows bright pink, Theseus will throw his spear that hits for 20 damage.

Kite the minotaur for as long as it takes to beat him, being mindful of any area of effect attacks that might also be whittling Theseus down. Both bosses have enough health to keep a few errant attacks from doing much harm, but you don’t want to test fate and have both the minotaur and the Olympians attacking you at the same time.

How to Beat Theseus

Attacks:

  • Spear Throw: His main attack in the first phase, Theseus will target you for about five seconds before throwing his spear. It covers about half the arena in distance before returning to him. The targeting reticle will glow bright pink just before a throw, so use that as your guide to dodge.

  • 360-swing: After a brief windup, Theseus spins a full 360 degrees and moves forward in your direction. This attack’s hitbox also tends to linger, so dodge behind the king and to the side to avoid it.

  • Olympian effects (2nd phase only): Theseus is also blessed by Olympus, and at half health or without his chariot, calls on the gods for aid. A good portion of the floor becomes a damage zone that either covers the arena or follows you. 

  • Bombing Run (Extreme Measures 3 only): With Extreme Measures active, Theseus runs around the arena in a golden chariot. There are two bombing runs types: around the edges and through the middle. As the king travels, he will send large bombs into the air that detonate shortly after. The red circle denotes how far the damage extends. One hit from a bomb is 50 damage. In most cases, Theseus will travel around the arena twice, then make his way through the middle, sending bombs as he goes.

  • Gatling Gun (Extreme Measures 3 only): Theseus rides through the middle of the arena shooting his twin Gatling guns as he goes. Dodge to either side to avoid this attack.

  • Overrun (Extreme measures 3 only): Standing in front of Theseus’ chariot will deal around 20 damage each time he runs you over. This will happen whether you dodge in front of him or were already in his way; stick behind him even as you spam away at his backside.

In his first phase, get in close to turn him around. You can also use area of effect Boons like Blade Rift to damage him despite his shield. He’ll alternate between throwing his spear and a spin attack. If you’re too close to him after either, he’ll turn around and walk a short distance away. Damage him as much as possible during these moments.

First phase Extreme Measures Theseus has bombs that detonate long after he’s left their damage radius, meaning you can stay behind him and wail on his backside without much fear of reprisal. The main threat is if he suddenly changes direction and you aren’t ready for it.

The real challenge of first-phase Theseus is positioning. If you’re ever in front of him, he will deal about 20 damage again and again until you’re out of his chariot's hitbox. If you’re a dodging freak temper your mobility, as it’s liable to get you killed.

There are points where Theseus will stop and taunt you for totally free damage in the first phase. Take full advantage of these moments.

To reach second-phase Extreme Measures 3, you need to deal a full 3/4 of Theseus’s health, at which point his chariot explodes. Second-phase then becomes the same as the unmodified fight.

These tips should give you a leg up and help you beat Theseus and the Minotaur. Check out our Hades guides hub for more tips and tricks.

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How to Unlock Hades' Locked Doors https://www.gameskinny.com/8xdf7/how-to-unlock-hades-locked-doors https://www.gameskinny.com/8xdf7/how-to-unlock-hades-locked-doors Wed, 18 Aug 2021 12:07:06 -0400 John Schutt

On the western side of the House of Hades are two doors, both initially locked. At the north end of the hallway is Hades’ bedroom, the personal chamber of the lord of the Underworld. At the south end, a smaller door that he forbids you to enter. This latter leads to the administration chamber.

Both doors play an integral role in the story of Hades, and you’ll need to open both to complete the campaign completely.

This guide will tell you how to unlock both the door to Hades’ bedroom and the administrative chamber and give a brief overview of what you can do in each chamber.

How to Unlock the Administrative Chamber in Hades

There are two steps to unlocking the Administrative chamber. The first is progressing the story until you can actually rest in Zagreus’ bed. You’ll see a glowing objective point near the bed at this time, and rather than rejecting rest, Zagreus will actually go to sleep. This will trigger a flashback sequence.

You’ll learn a lot of narrative goodies in this first flashback, including what the chamber looks like and its general function. Once you’ve learned all you can, Zagreus can return to his bed and wake up.

Initially, the door will remain locked, but after a run or two, you’ll unlock the Administrative Privilege contract at the House Contractor. The price is steep for early-game: two Diamonds, rewards you only get from the second world boss, or the Wretched Broker for various other endgame currencies.

What’s Inside the Administrative Chamber

The chamber holds innumerable scrolls and two large shelving units.

The green shelves are Zagreus’ Permanent Record, which catalogs the weapons, Boons, upgrades, and other equipment he’s used in all his escape attempts. You’ll see both a bar graph and a numerical value for each item, letting you know what builds you favor and which give you trouble.

The red shelves are the Security Log. The Log details every escape attempt’s result (death or escape) and what loadout you finished with — your weapon, Boons, and all of that. You’ll also see whatever modifiers you attached with the Pact of Punishment and the total time each run took.

The Administrative Chamber’s most important function is narrative-related. You need access to complete almost all of the House of Hades NPC questlines. Without the door unlocked, you won’t unlock NPC House Contractor contracts and thus complete their individual stories.

How to Unlock Hades' Bedroom and What’s In It

Unlocking the big doors to Hades’ bedroom will take you much longer than the Administrative chamber. For starters, you’ll need to beat the final boss eight times, then speak to Achilles. Zagreus will convince him to give up the key to get in.

You won’t have full access to the bedroom until you complete ten runs total, at which point the room is free to enter whenever you’d like. There’s even a resource sink waiting for you for endgame grinding, though using it serves no purpose beyond throwing your hard-earned Darkness away.

That’s it for the locked doors in Hades. Check out our guides hub for more!

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Does Hades God Mode Disable Achievements, Trophies? https://www.gameskinny.com/6lr1s/does-hades-god-mode-disable-achievements-trophies https://www.gameskinny.com/6lr1s/does-hades-god-mode-disable-achievements-trophies Mon, 16 Aug 2021 17:52:28 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Hades can be a very punishing roguelike. Though there are plenty of Boons and Talents that make escaping the Underworld more manageable, some of the bosses are no joke, and escaping can be tough. That's where God Mode comes in, and you may be wondering if it disables achievements or trophies, or if it carries a penalty. 

The short answer is no: Hades' God Mode does not disable achievements or trophies, nor does it carry any sort of penalty. Instead, it makes the game easier in some respects, adding an increasing buff that lasts across playthroughs.

Since there are technically no difficulty settings in Hades, God Mode acts as a sort of difficulty modifier. It confers a 20% defense buff on your first run, the very first time you select it. For each subsequent run, that buff increases by 2%, making you more resistant to enemy attacks after every return to the House of Hades.

It maxes out at 80% damage reduction, and it persists on your save file whether you have the mode active or not. Essentially, you'll never lose the percentage you've accrued.

God Mode can be toggled on and off in the "Settings" menu. To access it, pause the game, and choose "Settings." Scroll down to "Subtitles," then scroll right to highlight the GM check box under in the middle.

When you exit the menu for the first time, Zagreus will get a 20% damage reduction buff, denoted by text that appears above his head. When you turn GM off, you'll see in-game text saying the percentage buff has been removed, including a minus sign and the number for whatever percentage you've acquired so far.

Again, this doesn't mean you've lost the percentage you've accrued; it just means that GM is turned off. 

That's essentially what you need to know about God Mode in Hades, how to use it, and whether it disables achievements or trophies (it doesn't!). For more on Hades, consider checking out our other help articles, which cover things like best weapons, the Pact of Punishment, and door symbols. 

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How to Reset the Mirror of Night in Hades https://www.gameskinny.com/ayaln/how-to-reset-the-mirror-of-night-in-hades https://www.gameskinny.com/ayaln/how-to-reset-the-mirror-of-night-in-hades Mon, 16 Aug 2021 17:50:05 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Depending on how much Darkness you've farmed from your Hades runs, you may want to reset the Mirror of Darkness to spend gems on different Talents. Perhaps you'd like to have another level of Death Defiance or more supply for your Cast. Either way, you may need to start over and reallocate to get the upper hand. 

To reset the Mirror of Night in Hades, go to the mirror in Zagreus' bed-chamber, and interact with it. Scroll down to the very bottom on the right side. You'll see a white looped-arrow icon next to a Chthontic Key symbol and the number 1. 

Click this icon/button to spend 1 Chthontic Key to "reclaim any Darkness spent on Talents," as the game says. Once you do so, you're free to reallocate Darkness as you see fit.

Outside of losing a single Key, there's no other penalty for resetting your Talents and effectively performing a character respec. A Mirror of Night reset might just be what you need to get past a particularly pesky section or boss, such as Theseus in Elysium. For more on Hades, such as how to get Ambrosia, how to heal, or how to activate Dark Thirst, consider heading over to our other guides on Supergiant's roguelike

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Hades Dark Thirst Guide: How to Get 20% More Darkness on Every Run https://www.gameskinny.com/v5qhx/hades-dark-thirst-guide-how-to-get-20-more-darkness-on-every-run https://www.gameskinny.com/v5qhx/hades-dark-thirst-guide-how-to-get-20-more-darkness-on-every-run Mon, 16 Aug 2021 17:46:52 -0400 Jonathan Moore

To make the most of your Hades runs, you'll need to level up the Mirror of Night upgrades. To do that, you'll need lots of Darkness, which you can get in a number of ways, from entering doors with Darkness symbols and unlocking Infernal Troves to completing Pact of Punishment bounties and speaking with NPCs like Sisyphus. One passive way is by using weapons with Dark Thirst. 

But how do you know which Hades' weapons has Dark Thirst? When you enter the training area beyond Zagreus' bed-chamber, you'll see weapons in the back left corner of the area. At first, you only have access to several of these, but your armory will expand the longer you play. 

One random weapon will be surrounded by purple energy. This is the weapon imbued with Dark Thirst for that specific run. Which weapon has Dark Thirst is left up to RNG, so it is likely to be a different one for every run (it has been for me, anyway).

If you're farming Darkness, you'll want to choose whichever weapon is imbued to make the most of your efforts. As we mention elsewhere, if you've not cleared one of Hades' four areas/bosses with a particular weapon you'll also get Titan Blood and other important items for your efforts, as well.

Dark Thirst increases the amount of Darkness you pick up by 20%, so it's a useful little buff for farming the purple gems. 

That's basically all you need to know about Dark Thirst in Hades. It's really that simple. For more tips on Supergiant's roguelike, consider clicking the links throughout the article above or head over to our dedicated guides hub where we talk about the game's best weapons, Ambrosia, and more.

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Hades Door Symbol Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/5tlb9/hades-door-symbol-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/5tlb9/hades-door-symbol-guide Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:37:54 -0400 John Schutt

Whenever you clear a room in Hades, you see one or two doors with symbols above them. This symbol dictates the reward you’ll fight for in the arena beyond the door. There are two categories: Artifacts and Boons.

Boons come from the various Greek gods assisting Zagreus during his escape attempts. Artifacts are either currencies, weapon upgrades, or ability improvements. Which you choose will depend on the strategy and build you’re going for in our current run.

Artifacts in Hades

There are eleven artifacts in Hades, but you’ll only be seeing nine of them frequently. Diamonds, Ambrosia, and Titan’s Blood are exclusively boss/endgame rewards during an Underworld run. There are ways to get them in larger quantities, as we go over in our Titan’s Blood and Ambrosia guides, but you won’t be finding them in large amounts otherwise.

We’ve detailed the remaining eight artifacts below, in the same order as they're shown above:

  • Darkness: The base currency for the Mirror of Night, you’ll want as much Darkness as you can get your hands on early in the game. It’s usable for House Contractor and NPC mission progression as well.

  • Centaur Hearts: These items increase your total health by 25 points and heal you by that much, for a net healing amount of 0.

  • Chthonic Keys: You’ll use these items initially to unlock new abilities at the Mirror of Night. You’ll also spend them at the House Contractor and the Merchant in the House. Late game, they’re used to reroll Boons during a run.

  • Daedalus Hammer: These hammers offer a choice of three upgrades to your current weapon. Almost all of them are upgrades to the weapon’s capabilities but may not immediately jive with the build or playstyle you’re going for.

  • Gemstones: These jewels are used exclusively for upgrading the House of Hades at the House Contractor.

  • Nectar: This delicious beverage’s primary purpose is to improve your relationship with NPCs. An upgrade also causes picking a bottle up to increase one random Boon you currently have equipped.

  • Charon’s Obol: Coins usable only at Wells of Charon (the purple basin’s randomly spawning in rooms) and at Charon’s Shop rooms.

  • Pom of Power: These zesty fruits upgrade the effectiveness of one of three of your equipped Boons.

Boons in Hades

Whenever you come across a door with one of the Olympian god symbols, you’ll be able to get your hands on a Boon; powerful abilities keyed to that god’s portfolio.

Each god and their keyed ability types are below, in the same order as shown above:

  • Zeus: A damage-dealing set of powers themed around electricity.

  • Poseidon: Primarily damage-focused abilities based around the pushing of enemies around a map.

  • Athena: Defensive abilities themed around reflecting damage at enemies or straight-up reducing it.

  • Aphrodite: A mix of damage and debuff powers that increase your abilities and lower enemy defenses.

  • Artemis: Abilities focused on critical and burst damage.

  • Ares: Pure damage potential through saw blades or delayed burst.

  • Dionysus: Damage-over-time and confusion abilities that rely on stacks to function to their full potential.

  • Hermes: Upgrades that improve Zagreus’s speed and movement or the rate at which you accumulate money.

  • Demeter: Damage-over-time and slowing powers keyed to Ice and frost stacks.

  • Chaos: Straight upgrades to core character abilities like Attack/Special damage, Cast count, and other improvements. You must survive a set number of rooms with a random debuff to get the upgrade.

That's it for what you need to know about doors in Hades. Check out our other Hades guides here on GameSkinny.

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Hades: How to Heal Guide https://www.gameskinny.com/yjwlj/hades-how-to-heal-guide https://www.gameskinny.com/yjwlj/hades-how-to-heal-guide Mon, 16 Aug 2021 12:24:47 -0400 John Schutt

Hades can be incredibly unforgiving, especially early on. The game offers no equippable healing items. You start with a weapon and your skills, but you’ll need to find heals throughout your run in the Underworld.

Thankfully, there are many ways to get your health back if you know what to look for, which upgrades to take, and how to strategize your way through a run. If Hades feels generous — a rare thing — you’ll be gifted one or more free heals. Don’t count on them because the next run isn’t likely to be so friendly.

How to Heal in Hades

Even though you don’t start a run with any way to heal, there are more than a dozen ways to get your health back while making your way through the Underworld. You won’t have easy access to all of them early on, so expect your first few runs to end violently.

Healing Shop Items

Most rooms in the Underworld can spawn a shop fountain filled with the purple water of the Styx. There are several different types of healing offered at these small shops, the most common being: flat amounts of health back, the ability to spawn healing items on kill, and increased healing on entering a new room.

Healing...Tacos?

Charon, Boatman of the Styx, sometimes sells healing tacos and with a side of fries. Don’t ask. Buying it for 50 Obol provides a percentage of your health back once purchased. There are buyable upgrades that make breakable pots also have a chance to drop the healing tacos, though these will only regenerate ten health per meal.

Centaur Hearts

Centaur Hearts will permanently increase your health by 25 points and heal you by the same amount. You can find these as room rewards or purchase them from Charon.

Sisyphus

Every time you visit the dead king Sisyphus, you have the option of receiving healing items once your conversation ends.

Healing Fountains

Initially, the only healing fountain you’ll find sitting in the room just after a boss fight. These heal you for 50% of your maximum. By visiting the House Contractor, you’ll eventually be able to add healing well rooms to each level of the Underworld, though these are expensive and not guaranteed to spawn.

Dark Regeneration or Chthonic Vitality (requires upgrade)

The Mirror of Night offers two healing abilities. You’ll only have access to one of them, Dark Regeneration, at the beginning of the game. This initial power grants you up to 3 health whenever you enter a new room, regardless of the dangers in the room or lack thereof.

Once you spend 300 Darkness at the Mirror, you’ll unlock a special conversation with Nyx in the House of Hades, and she’ll unlock a second set of upgrades.

Chthonic Vitality is the alternate to Dark Regeneration and gives you the ability to heal every time you pick up crystals of Darkness. You can upgrade the power to give back up to 60% of the Darkness’s value in health. Put another way, pick up a 10 Darkness crystal, get six health back, and so on.

HydraLite Gold

In Elysium, you have a slight chance of coming across an NPC named Patroclus. One of the items he offers is Hydralite Gold, which restores 30% of your health every time you enter a new chamber, up through five total chambers visited.

God-Granted Boons

Many of the gods’ boons give you ways of regaining health or increasing the effectiveness of your Death Defiance.

Infernal Troves

On the same platform you find Charon Wells, you might run across a large treasure chest. Using these Infernal Troves activates a time trial. You'll need to kill all the enemies that spawn, and the faster you do it, the higher the Trove's reward. One reward can be up to 150 health, though your likely to get around 100 or so at best.

Death Defiance

This MIrror of Night ability instantly revives you with base 50% health when your HP reaches zero, up to three times when fully upgraded. There are ways to restore uses of Death Defiance throughout a run, either at shops, Patroclus, or through god boons.

That's it for all the ways to heal in Hades, as you can see there are plenty of methods.. provided you know what they are. If you found this guide helpful, take a look at some of our other Hades guides here on GameSkinny.

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Epic Games Store Spring Sale Discounts Cyberpunk 2077, Hades, More https://www.gameskinny.com/vhq9i/epic-games-store-spring-sale-discounts-cyberpunk-2077-hades-more https://www.gameskinny.com/vhq9i/epic-games-store-spring-sale-discounts-cyberpunk-2077-hades-more Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:16:58 -0500 Josh Broadwell

The Epic Games Store Spring Showcase event kicks off with a big new sale on the Epic Games Store itself from now until February 25. It's rife with discounts on major titles, such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and indie hits alike, including Hades and My Time at Portia.

Here's a small sampling of what the EGS Spring Showcase sale has going on.

Epic Games Store Spring Showcase Sale

Game Sales Price Original Price
  EA Star Wars Triple Bundle
(Jedi Fallen Order, Squadrons, Battlefront 2)
 $44.99  $89.99
  Alien Isolation  $9.99  $39.99
  Cities: Skylines  $7.49  $29.99
  Cyberpunk 2077 $53.99  $59.99
  Immortals Fenyx Rising $40.19  $59.99
  Assassin's Creed Valhalla  $49.79  $59.99
  Carrion  $14.99  $19.99
  Pumpkin Jack  $20.99  $29.99
  Control Ultimate Edition  $23.99  $39.99
  Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered  $29.99  $39.99
  Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-reckoning  $19.99  $39.99
  Mortal Shell  $23.99  $29.99
  Death Stranding  $35.99  $59.99
  Disco Elysium  $21.99  $39.99
  The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GOTY Edition  $9.99  $49.96
  Hades  $19.99  $24.99
  Shemnue 3 $16.99  $49.99
  The Outer Worlds  $29.99  $59.99
  My Time at Portia  $11.99  $29.99
  Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun  $5.99  $39.99

 

The full list is over on the Epic Games Store. Aside from the sale, Epic announced today that the entire Kingdom Hearts series would be coming to PC, exclusive to EGS

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Essential Nintendo Switch Games for the 2020 Holiday Season https://www.gameskinny.com/c9ayx/essential-nintendo-switch-games-for-the-2020-holiday-season https://www.gameskinny.com/c9ayx/essential-nintendo-switch-games-for-the-2020-holiday-season Wed, 02 Dec 2020 12:55:55 -0500 Ashley Shankle

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Sonic Mania Plus

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ESRB: E
Price: $19.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

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A return to Sonic and friends' '90s form, Sonic Mania Plus goes above and beyond to recapture the wonder of the series' classic 2D roots. Sonic Mania, and by extension its further enhanced Plus version, is the best Sonic title to come out in decades and should be on any "best of" list. 

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The game features both new stages and remixed stages from the classics, with the Plus version offering brand new characters and a further remixed Encore mode. Read more about it in our review, in which it got a perfect store. 

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GameSkinny is a part of the Amazon Affiliate program and may make some commissions from qualifying purchases.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/a/t/katamari-damacy-reroll-0834f.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/a/t/katamari-damacy-reroll-0834f.png","type":"slide","id":"216569","description":"

Katamari Damacy REROLL

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ESRB Rating: E
Price: $19.99 - $29.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

This one, and the next slide, are bonuses that really should be in any library because they're that good. (We didn't include well-regarded staples in these bonus slides like Breath of the Wild because, well, we all know they're fantastic.)

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Released in 2018, Katamari Damacy REROLL is a remaster of one of gaming's strangest legacies. It's notoriously bizarre and relaxing in equal measure, and it just so happens to make good use of the Switch's Joy-Cons. It's hard to even think of anything bad to say about this game.

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Roll your way to victory, and into the King of All Cosmos' palm, to some seriously infectious music. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/s/fuser-switch-99de9.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/f/u/s/fuser-switch-99de9.png","type":"slide","id":"216622","description":"

FUSER

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ESRB: T
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Nintendo eShop

\n

If neither Melody of Memory nor NSR suit your fancy, perhaps a more "traditional" rhythm party game will. Enter FUSER from music-game legends Harmonix. 

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Play as a DJ either playing popular songs or remixing them into your own special brew. The catalog includes 100 songs at launch from artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, Panic! At The Disco, Childish Gambino, and many more. 

\n

Check out our review of FUSER to find out more, and why we said it's a "necessary" game in 2020 because of its unique multiplayer, co op play. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/r/straight-roads-9f0d2.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/t/r/straight-roads-9f0d2.png","type":"slide","id":"216585","description":"

No Straight Roads

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ESRB Rating: E
Price: $39.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

An action game with music in its veins, No Straight Roads sets you on a journey to topple EDM from the top of the charts and bring rock roaring back. Though that's not such an easy task with the denizens of Vinyl City after you.

\n

Our review notes that No Straight Roads is endearing and rhythmically satisfying, with the game's stages built to fit its soundtrack. If Melody of Memory isn't quite your cup of tea, No Straight Roads is well worth checking out. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-melody-memory-bd6cd.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/i/n/kingdom-hearts-melody-memory-bd6cd.png","type":"slide","id":"216583","description":"

Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

\n

ESRB Rating: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

The Kingdom Hearts series has plenty of fantastic music, so why not make make a rhythm game out of it?

\n

With that question in mind, that's exactly what Square Enix did with Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, an absolute treat for fans of the Disney-Final Fantasy hybrid. Featuring 143 songs, "almost every entry in the franchise" is covered here. 

\n

We gave Melody of Memory a solid 8 for its "celebration of the wider series, solid rhythm mechanics, and excellent soundtrack." All said, Melody of Memory is well worth the price of admission, especially for fans of both the series and the genre.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/p/captain-tsubasa-rise-new-champions-d4af9.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/p/captain-tsubasa-rise-new-champions-d4af9.png","type":"slide","id":"216572","description":"

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions

\n

ESRB Rating: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

Soccer doesn't always have to be realistic, as proven in the Captain Tsubasa manga and games series. It just so happens that Rise of New Champions has two in-depth story modes and affords players the ability to create their own characters. It's more arcade-style than, say, FIFA 20, and a whole lot flashier.

\n

Learn more about Rise of New Champions in our review, where we said it "is legitimately the best arcade sports title to come out since Rocket League."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/g/e/age-calamity-combat-01c21.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/g/e/age-calamity-combat-01c21.jpg","type":"slide","id":"216621","description":"

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

\n

ESRB: T
Price: $59.99
Buy it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

Sometimes a little hack n' slack musou action goes a long way, and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity has plenty of it. A prequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this game explores Hyrule 100 years before that game. 

\n

Featuring 18 playable characters and plenty of main and side-mission content, Age of Calamity makes the most of its world, setting, and combat systems. 

\n

We praised the game in our review, saying it is an "expansive take on Breath of the Wild's Hyrule and its people," and that is has "engaging combat [with] lots of character and playstyle variety." It's worth checking out. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/a/k/sakuna-rice-ruin-c1edf.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/a/k/sakuna-rice-ruin-c1edf.png","type":"slide","id":"216570","description":"

Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

\n

ESRB Rating: T
Price: $39.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

An action-platformer, farming hybrid, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is surprisingly robust for something that appears so simple. Despite that, Sakuna is a deceptively deep game with realistic farming mechanics, so much so that a guide to growing real rice on the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery website is applicable to the game!

\n

You can read more about Sakuna and its intricacies in our review, in which it netted a perfect 10 for a "solid plot, with touching character stories, unexpected twists, and a fun riff on mythology," as well as an "incredibly detailed and rewarding farm system."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/p/paper-mario-origami-king-9a514.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/p/paper-mario-origami-king-9a514.jpg","type":"slide","id":"216623","description":"

Paper Mario: The Origami King

\n

ESRB: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

Paper Mario: The Origami King is the latest entry in the popular Paper Mario series, and it may be one of the best. Featuring a fantastic world and fun mechanics, this is a game that Switch owners can't afford to miss out on, even if it's a bit light on more traditional RPG systems. 

\n

In our review, we said that "despite a combat system that gets old quickly, Paper Mario: The Origami King's writing, puzzles, and worldbuilding make it the best entry since The Thousand-Year Door.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/super-mario-all-stars-8533a.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/super-mario-all-stars-8533a.png","type":"slide","id":"216562","description":"

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

\n

ESRB Rating: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

Three of Mario's most iconic 3D adventures are bundled in this one release. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64), Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube), and Super Mario Galaxy (Wii). With their powers combined, they are one of the best buys on the Nintendo Switch.

\n

But it's only available until March 31, 2021! Nintendo will be pulling the limited-time release from shelves and storefronts then.

\n

None of these games have changed much from their original versions in this release; some of the more persnickety issues exist, but they also come alongside the same charm that's made these games timeless. Read more about them in our review

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/a/d/hades-c8011.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/a/d/hades-c8011.png","type":"slide","id":"216561","description":"

Hades

\n

ESRB Rating: T
Price: $24.99
Get it on: Nintendo eShop

\n

One of the biggest action roguelikes to hit PC in years, Hades offers fans of the genre an endlessly perilous journey, as well as a wealth of modifiers and game modes for dedicated players to tinker and struggle with. Now, it's on the Nintendo Switch.

\n

If you or someone you know enjoys the roguelike genre, Hades is essentially a must-play. It didn't win Indie Game of the Year at this year's Golden Joystick Awards for nothing. 

\n

Read more about this visually stunning and engrossing roguelite in our review, which granted Hades a perfect 10 for "top-quality story, gameplay, music, and art direction; hours and hours of excitement and adrenaline; and plenty of humor and snark to keep you laughing."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/i/origin-25892.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/r/i/origin-25892.png","type":"slide","id":"216554","description":"

Ys Origin

\n

ESRB Rating: T
Price: $19.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

A story-driven action RPG, Ys Origin offers a narrative split between three characters and a whole lot of adventure. Fighting your way through the Darm Tower, and solving puzzles along the way, makes for one of the best experiences on the Nintendo Switch to date, even if it is a re-release of a 2006 title that's found its way to the PC, PS4, Vita, and Xbox One over the years.

\n

You can read more about this fluid action RPG in our review.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disgaea-complete-05c09.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/i/s/disgaea-complete-05c09.png","type":"slide","id":"216549","description":"

Disgaea 4 Complete+

\n

ESRB: T
Price: $49.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

One of the most robust entries in the long-running strategy game series yet, Disgaea 4 Complete+ adds additional scenarios, higher-level spells, new features taken from Disgaea 5, and even a map editor to Disgaea 4. Of course, this all comes on top of hundreds of hours of gameplay if you get into the sweet grinding groove.

\n

You can read more about this strategy gaming feast in our review, where we said "Disgaea 4 Complete+ is the definitive version of the game, with upgrades galore, tons of content to get lost in, and one of the strongest casts in the series."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/k/pikmin-deluxe-23975.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/i/k/pikmin-deluxe-23975.png","type":"slide","id":"216546","description":"

Pikmin 3 Deluxe

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ESRB Rating: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

As part of one of the cutest real-time strategy series around, Pikmin 3 Deluxe has players grow, assemble, and order hordes of cute little Pikmin across a strange world, all in an effort to get back to your ship and make your way home. It takes some creative thinking to push your little Pikmin to victory, but it's immensely rewarding when you do so.

\n

Pikmin 3 Deluxe offers both single-player and multiplayer co-op for its campaign and other modes, making it the perfect addition to your library if you're looking for something cute, fun, quirky, and playable with friends. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/n/i/animal-crossing-new-horizons-b4fdb.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/n/i/animal-crossing-new-horizons-b4fdb.jpg","type":"slide","id":"216617","description":"

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

\n

ESRB: E
Price: $59.99
Get it on: Amazon (physical), eShop (digital)

\n

No list of essential Nintendo Switch games would be complete without one of 2020's most-defining and culturally-important games. Of course, we're talking about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. When friends and family couldn't meet in person because of a global pandemic, AC:NH was there to bring us all together.

\n

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has an addicting, seemingly endless to-do list that keeps players coming back day after day, month after month. Exploration, crafting, decorating your little island house — there's so much to do. The game has even steadily added unique content and events since its release in March. 

\n

Read our review for more on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, where we said "New Horizons is bursting with personality and charm, with opportunities to create something new and completely you."

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/2020-nintendo-switch-games-54631.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/2/2020-nintendo-switch-games-54631.png","type":"slide","id":"216590","description":"

The Nintendo Switch library just keeps growing and giving, with each year bringing more stellar games to the handheld-console hybrid. Years past have given fans the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Super Mario Maker 2Pokemon Sword and Shield, and other fantastic third-party titles such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

\n

2020 has kept up that trend. 

\n

Some of the best games on the console yet have released this year, from platformers and action titles to JRPGs and roguelites. In this list, we've included some of the most essential games and best buys in the 2020 Nintendo switch library, all in the spirit of keeping you warm and toasty this holiday season. 

"}]]]>
GameSkinny's Best Games of 2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/is88r/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2020 https://www.gameskinny.com/is88r/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2020 Thu, 31 Dec 2020 09:00:02 -0500 GS_Staff

To look back on the year that was in video games, we've collected our highest-reviewed games of 2020 into a "best of" list. We're a small staff at GameSkinny, so going the traditional "staff voting route" doesn't really make a whole lot of sense for us. The most democratic way to make a list like this is to include any game with a score of "8" or higher. So that's what we've done. 

This list will not include DLCs (such as The Foundation or AWE for Control), expansions (such as Destiny 2 Beyond Light), or hardware reviews. It will contain ports and remakes of games. 

Here are our best games of 2020, starting with a real good one and getting better from there. 

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim

Publisher: Atlus
Developer: Vanillaware
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 10/10

What we said: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim mixes smart design with superb storytelling, then slathers the whole package in gorgeous style. 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim spins a web of mystery around you, then chuckles smugly as you think you've found your way out only to realize you're in the middle of a maze.

Read the review

A Fold Apart

Publisher: Lightning Rod Games
Developer: Lightning Rod Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, iOS
Rating: 9/10

What we said: A Fold Apart is about hope and how love can get us through even the toughest of times. In that way, it's timeless. 

The game is so incredibly charming and so accurately depicts the rigors and pleasures of being in love that I can't help but adore it. The first title from Lightning Rod Games isn't perfect by definition, but even with a few tiny blemishes, it's only a fold apart. 

Read the review

Amnesia: Rebirth

Publisher: Frictional Games
Developer: Frictional Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though its scares don't reach the heights of the original, Amnesia: Rebirth remains a must-play horror game for delivering a story more akin to a brilliant novel.

Read the review

Among Us

Publisher: Innersloth
Developer: Innersloth
Platforms: PC, Switch, Mobile
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Flaws aside, Among Us is a clever game that deserves its time in the spotlight. It works a surprisingly complex concept into a simple and accessible package where matches are quick, fun, usually hilarious, and sometimes even intense.

Read the review

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: The latest Animal Crossing is also the best, full of life, charm, and near-endless ways to make your very own island paradise.

New Horizons is bursting with personality and charm, with opportunities to create something new and completely you. It's compelling and also one of the most chilled out games you'll ever play. In short, there's nothing quite like Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Read the review

Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Assassin's Creed Valhalla builds its world around a familiar formula, but with a compelling story and plenty of things to do, it's a game series fans will find inviting.

Read the review

Astro's Playroom

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Team ASOBII
Platforms: PS5
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Astro's Playroom proves that the DualSense's haptics and adaptive triggers are for real — and that Astro Bot could have a very bright future on PlayStation 5. Though it's short and may lack enemy variety, Astro's Playroom makes up for it in character and heart. 

Read the review

Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk DX

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Atelier Ayesha DX is a solid entry starting off the Dusk trilogy, with compelling crafting and gameplay loops, as well as plenty of loveable characters. Overall, Atelier Ayesha DX is a great entry in the series whether you're new to it or just finding it now. 

Read the review

Atelier Escha and Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky DX

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Atelier Escha & Logy DX refines the formula Ayesha laid out and other new features that make it not just the best in the Dusk trilogy, but one of the best Atelier games in general. All in all, Atelier Escha & Logy DX is easily the best entry in the Dusk trilogy  With refined mechanics, better combat, and seriously compelling crafting systems, it even stands among the top entries in the Atelier series on the whole.

Read the review

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Gust Co. Ltd
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though Atelier Shallie falls short in some ways, it's still a solid package with compelling crafting and combat systems. Atelier Shallie is the weakest part of the Dusk trilogy. It's ambitious in doing away with the time system and trying for a more flexible approach. But there's just not enough worthwhile content to make the freedom and flexibility a satisfying trade-off for the systems it does away with, and it doesn't make good use of its own strengths.

Read the review

AO Tennis 2

Publisher: Big Ant Studios
Developer: Big Ant Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: AO Tennis 2 feels like a sports sim built first and foremost to correct its predecessor's mistakes, and that's a directive that pays off for tennis fans. Not without issues, AO Tennis 2 is my pick for the best tennis game on the market today. There's obvious room to grow, but this has quickly become Big Ant's best series in their ever-expanding catalog of sports titles.

Read the review.

Before We Leave

Publisher: Balancing Monkey Games
Developer: Balancing Monkey Games
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Before We Leave is a relaxing take on the post-apocalypse and city building, with enough benefits to overcome its hiccups.

Read the review

Bloodroots

Publisher: Paper Cult
Developer: Paper Cult
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Bloodroots is a high-speed slash-and-bash extravaganza that always makes you want to beat "just one more level." A good game can be really fun when things are going well and you feel skilled and empowered. A great game remains fun when you feel like a useless idiot who can't do anything right. Bloodroots is a great game. 

Read the review.

Blood Rage

Publisher: Asmodee
Developer: Exozet Games
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Blood Rage: Digital Edition is a strong port of the popular tabletop game that's challenging for both newcomers and veterans alike. Blood Rage: Digital Edition is a really strong port of a popular tabletop game. 

Read the review

Battletoads

Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: Rare
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Battletoads returns after 26 years, and it's a love letter to gaming past and present. The urgency at which it propels you through its runtime is both a blessing and a curse, as it’s hard to put down but ultimately a short affair. 

Read the review

BPM: Bullets Per Minute

Publisher: Awe Interactive
Developer: Awe Interactive
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: BPM: Bullets Per Minute is a challenging rhythm shooter that’s difficult to master but highly satisfying. It's not a forgiving experience, and though it's difficult to master, BPM proves surprisingly easy to pick up and play. 

Read the review.

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends

Publisher: ININ Games
Developer: Taito
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Bubble Bobble 4 Friends is, for the most part, exactly what fans would have hoped for. It’s a modern classic that keeps all the charm we loved about the original 80s game. There’s a significant graphics improvement of course, but the gameplay itself is largely identical.

Read the review

Cake Bash

Publisher: High Tea Frog
Developer: Coatsink
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: There’s a lot to love about Cake Bash, and High Tea Frog has made an excellent party game for their debut title. With a variety of entertaining games, some lively stages, and good replayability, it’s a fun experience, especially with friends. We only wish there was more of it on offer. Though some minigames feel a little finicky, it’s otherwise a sweet treat all around.

Read the review

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch, Raven Software
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is full of content that series fans will enjoy and offers a few unexpected surprises along the way. The vast amount of content at launch is enough to draw players in, while the promise of more will keep players around. 

Read the review.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Beenox
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered is a mostly commanding return of the game's classic single-player, though not without a few hiccups. It is a functionally updated retelling of a story millions know and played in their formative years. The characters and politics are somehow as relevant today as they were back when the game first released, and it still sounds, plays, and looks better than most shooters on the market.

Read the review

Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Tamsoft
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions is legitimately the best arcade sports title to come out since Rocket League. The simple, easy truth here is that if you're craving an arcade soccer game, you really should buy Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions. 

Read the review

Carrion

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Carrion is a beautifully orchestrated symphony of blood, guts, and dismembered limbs. While Carrion won't win any awards, it plays out much like a late Friday night feature, full of gruesome horror and satisfying effects. More importantly, it doesn't outstay its welcome.

Read the review

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Ultimately, Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time had a lot riding on it. Being the sequel to a 22-year-old game likely presented Toys for Bob with some developmental challenges, but the development team nailed nearly everything about this sequel. The Crash series has seen its fair share of mediocre (or even bad) entries, but Crash 4 is a big step in the right direction, and the future of the series couldn't be more exciting. 

Read the review

Crusader Kings 3

Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Crusader Kings 3 is the best looking and most accessible the series has ever been. If you've always been intrigued by the idea of Crusader Kings but bounced off of it, Crusader Kings 3 is the best way to get started. 

Read the review

Deliver Us the Moon

Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: KeokeN Interactive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: A narrative journey through space so intriguing and full of compelling puzzles that it easily papers over some minor cracks in execution and major leaps it asks the player to make.

Just as the interesting minutiae of the plot are enough to overcome some of the issues I had with the macro-level concept, the overall experience was more than enough to make up for having one or two bouts of irritation.

Read the review

Demon's Souls

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Bluepoint Games
Platforms: PS5
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Demon's Souls is an instant classic, one of those rare retellings that stands triumphantly alongside the original as an essential experience. This remaster stands as a shining example of how transformative reimaginings can be, and how, with loving dedication, a remaster can be just as revolutionary and memorable as its source material.

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Desperados 3

Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Mimimi Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Desperados 3 is a much-belated sequel that strikes the right balance between classic gameplay mechanics and modern sensibilities. It's a welcome return for the series. Mimimi Games has proven once again that they know the genre, as both Desperados 3 and Shadow Tactics demonstrate.

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Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X|S
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition makes a great game even better with a new character, new modes, and overhauled visuals for next-gen consoles. Devil May Cry 5 may not have a whole lot that's truly new to offer, but what it does add and change manages to elevate an already excellent action game into the upper echelon of the entire genre.

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Dirt 5

Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dirt 5 continues Codemaster's tradition of creating some of the finest racing games around that have neither the words "Gran," "Forza," or "Speed" in the title.

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Disgaea 4 Complete+

Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Disgaea 4 Complete+ is the definitive version of the game, with upgrades galore, tons of content to get lost in, and one of the strongest casts in the series. Disgaea 4 Complete+ is one of the stronger entries in the series, with its outlandish cast and relevant, if loose, story.

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Doom Eternal

Publisher: Bethesda 
Developer: id Software
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Doom Eternal absolutely delivers on all-fronts by blasting us with one of the most intense and satisfying single-player shooter campaigns in years. From the moment you kill your first enemy with the starting shotgun to when you revel in the explosion of blood from your final enemy, Doom Eternal is a nearly non-stop thrill ride that exceeds almost every expectation.

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Dragon's Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Dragon Quest XI Definitive Edition makes one of the most joyous and downright wonderful gaming experiences of all time even better. The Definitive Edition of Dragon Quest XI is the perfect salve. It's a game unashamed to be a video game, and it's one that embraces its roots in a charming, beautiful way. It's unashamedly jolly and light, but most importantly, it's comforting.

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Dreams

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Media Molecule
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 9/10

What we said: On one hand, Dreams is a bottomless bag filled with toys, vignettes, and indie games. On the other, Dreams is a must-own for anyone who's ever been curious about game design. Dreams is the best platform for anybody who loves playing tons of indie games, or who would like to make one themselves, or even just those who'd like to network into a game development community.

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Fall Guys

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Mediatonic
Platforms: PC, PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Despite unbalanced team-match dynamics and pesky server issues (which the developers are ironing out) sometimes interfering with the fun, the simple approach of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout makes these negatives seem meaningless in the long run. This is not only the game we want in 2020 — but it's the game we need. Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout is a comfort blanket that provides some warm, friendly fun with friends.

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Final Fantasy 7 Remake 

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Final Fantasy 7 Remake faithfully updates Midgar and the original’s enigmatic cast of antiheroes for a new generation, masterfully weaving its own grand tale in the process. In fact, it could be the best Final Fantasy game I've ever played — period.

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Fort Triumph

Publisher: All In! Games
Developer: CookieByte Entertainment
Platforms: PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Fort Triumph expertly blends genres into a strategy experience that's infinitely fun and endlessly charming. Fort Triumph is just a lot of fun, and the charm oozes from every arrow wound, spell singe, and sword strike, making it a very easy recommendation indeed. 

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Fuser

Publisher: NCSOFT
Developer: Harmonix
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: FUSER would be an incredibly special game if it came out last year. But now, in late 2020, it almost seems necessary. This game is already something very, very special, and it's only going to get better as the community grows. After all, it's always better to make music with friends.

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Gears Tactics

Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: The Coalition
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Gears Tactics takes the intense third-person action of the console game into the realm of PC-centric turn-based tactical strategy. Thanks to intuitive controls, Gears Tactics is easy to get into even for players who have never played a turn-based tactical squad game before. It’s just a shame there’s not more here.

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Get Packed

Publisher: Coatsink
Developer: Moonshine Studios
Platforms: Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Get Packed is strangely not the only indie co-op arcade game about moving furniture to launch recently, but it ends up standing out with its own kind of hilarious chaos. Get Packed is playable for up to four players in local or online play and across several modes, including a campaign, versus, and destruction. Whichever you choose, the colorful and bubbly characters and levels you've come to expect from games like this are back once more.

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Ghost of Tsushima

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Sucker Punch
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Ghost of Tsushima offers an amazing open-world experience and satisfying combat, only mildly held back by its writing and characters. Ghost of Tsushima does a lot of things right. Its got fun combat, a wonderfully designed world, and top-notch sound design. Neither the story nor the characters moved me in any real way, even though I could tell both were trying.

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Ghostrunner

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: One More Level
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: In Ghostrunner, a single slash divides life and death. It's fast, frenetic, and, even in the face of its weaker moments, endlessly satisfying. Ghostrunner offers satisfying combat in a well-constructed, beautiful cyberpunk world. You will feel more and more powerful as the game moves on, and moving through the world is always a wonderful experience.

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Hades

Publisher: Supergiant Games
Developer: Supergiant Games
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Hades is everything great about the roguelite genre all but perfected. Few games aim as high, and fewer still reach their goals. Hades does, exceeding even the loftiest expectations.

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Half-Life: Alyx

Publisher: Valve
Developer: Valve
Platforms: PC
Rating: 10/10

What we said: While the "VR-only" part may alienate many current PC gamers, it's a triumph that a VR title as excellent as Alyx exists at all.

The release of a VR game like Half-Life: Alyx is a momentous occasion. Not only is this one of the very first AAA VR games to break the bubble, but it's also a revival of one of the most beloved game franchises on the planet, following up on a nearly 13-year hiatus that left us all on a very inconvenient cliffhanger.

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Huntdown

Publisher: Coffee Stain Studios
Developer: Easy Trigger Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Huntdown is a throwback run and gun shooter that cares about style and rewards precision. Huntdown understands the genre and its influences, and it carves its own path. It's short enough that you can play through it in a single sitting, taking four to six hours, depending on the difficulty you choose. 

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Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Omega Force
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a heck of a Warriors game and a fantastic love letter to Breath of the Wild and Zelda in general. Maybe Age of Calamity is a stop-gap to tide fans over until Breath of the Wild 2, but no effort was spared in making it a quality game.

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Iron Harvest

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: King Art Games
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Iron Harvest leverages its unique setting and strong design into an impressive and memorable RTS. If you're looking for a strong, single-player RTS with a unique world to explore, Iron Harvest is a perfect option. 

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Immortals Fenyx Rising

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer:  Ubisoft Quebec
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch, Stadia, Amazon Luna
Rating: 8/10

What we said: It may look like a Breath of the Wild clone, but Immortals Fenyx Rising has a lot of unique charm that makes it a must-play for fans of the genre. Immortals Fenyx Rising has undeniable charm. Your mileage may vary, but don't sleep on this one. It's worth the adventure.

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Journey to the Savage Planet

Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Typhoon Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Journey to the Savage Planet is a satirical and colorful Metroidvania that survives its corny jokes thanks to fun traversal and worthwhile exploration. With an intriguing world and creature design, the right amount of retro principles, and a surprisingly long post-credits tail worth chasing, Journey to the Savage Planet is a light-hearted, charming debut from a promising new studio.

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Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Melody of Memory is a nostalgic, rhythmic celebration of Kingdom Hearts that fans of the series and the genre will adore. Drawing upon a rich soundtrack that ranges from original songs to Disney hits, there’s a lot to love in this new spin-off, but don’t expect any major story developments.

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning

Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Kaiko
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning changes little from its original release because it doesn't need to. This is immediately one of the best RPGs you can play this entire generation.

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Kunai

Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Developer: TurtleBlaze
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Classic components come together to form a stellar slashing platformer, with the titular kunai providing a particularly high note.

Metroidvania games remain a popular niche in the gaming community with good reason, and KUNAI is a worthwhile addition to the genre. It's easy to pick up and get going, but it provides enough escalation as you progress to keep you interested as you move from sector to sector, picking up new toys and perks along the way.

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Maneater

Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Developer: Tripwire Interactive
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Maneater's deep combat and deeper oceans provide just the type of blissful escapism we need right now. Even if it wasn’t on your radar at all, Maneater is a title that will gobble you up for a few hours of blissful escapism. 

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Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer:  Insomniac Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Insomniac wanted to please Miles Morales fans with their latest Spider-Man adventure. The result is a damn near perfect action-adventure game. It’s also close to being perfect when it comes to representation. Black and brown people fill out most of the roles and do so with gusto. Their performances, at times, eclipsing what came before. I’m thoroughly pleased with what Insomniac has accomplished.

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Magic: ManaStrike

Publisher: Netmarble
Developer: Netmarble
Platforms: Android
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Magic: ManaStrike is a very familiar strategy game that includes some classic characters to make for an all-around fun time. There is a constant stream of rewards for those who don't want to spend money, too, so you never feel hamstrung for not wanting to buy in-game items. It's fun and has enough depth to make for some interesting strategies, the more you play. 

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Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom 
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is an excellent little package that is sure to please fans both old and new.

Overall, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection. All of the games are enjoyable, the new features make them far easier to consume for modern players, and the love to the series spills out of every frame. It's just a very good collection of very good games, even if the title is utterly absurd. 

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Metro Redux 

Publisher: Koch Media
Developer:  4A Games
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Metro Redux arrives on the Nintendo Switch with a bombastic statement: absolutely nobody's safe from Switch-ification. 

Metro Redux on Switch feels like one of those rare Switch games that shouldn't exist. I mean that in a very, very good way. I also mean it in the sense that, thematically and technically, it doesn't seem like it would be a great natural fit for Nintendo's portable gaming console.

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MLB The Show 20

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE San Diego
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: MLB The Show 20 doesn't rewrite the script, but its numerous tweaks to gameplay, modes, and options makes it the best baseball game around. MLB The Show 20 still feels like the most complete baseball title available — comfortably so, in fact. But it doesn't feel like a significant evolution over last year's entry in the series. 

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Mortal Shell

Publisher: Playstack
Developer: Cold Symmetry 
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Far from being a pretender, Mortal Shell is a sometimes exceptional entry to the genre. Its stumbles are noticeable only because there is so much to enjoy.

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Moving Out

Publisher: Team17
Developer:  SMG Studio
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Moving Out's familiar brand of local-multiplayer party-game fun lets everyone join in on the fun, laughter, and cursing. Whatever your preference is, Moving Out certainly provides the same flavor of co-operative tension and burst-out-loud laughter as Overcooked. 

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Murder by Numbers

Publisher: The Irregular Corporation
Developer: Mediatonic
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Murder by Numbers is an exquisite detective puzzler with wonderful writing, gorgeous graphics, and masterful music. The comparisons to the Phoenix Wright series are instantly evident. Not only do the visuals share the same motif of hand-drawn 2D sprites, speech boxes, and thick lines, but the gameplay is very similar, too. 

The soundtrack is lively, bouncy, and upbeat. It's inspirational and uplifting when the moment is happy, it's imposing and harsh when the pressure is on, and it's cold and gloomy when the protagonist doubts themselves. 

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My Hero One's Justice 2

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Byking 
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: My Hero One's Justice 2 is a lot like the original, with a few minor adjustments that might entice you to enter the arena once again. Make no mistake, My Hero One's Justice 2 is a good, fun arena brawler on its own merits. Taken on its own, the game really does provide an amazing adaptation of the My Hero Academia franchise.

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NHL 21

Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Vancouver
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: NHL 21 provides more of the same, and with the uncertainty of the real world season, even less of what few changes fans come to expect of yearly releases.

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Nioh 2

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Team Ninja
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Nioh 2 takes everything great about the first game and dials it up. Despite a few returning gremlins, this is an instant hit for fans of the series. Nioh 2 is essentially more Nioh, but better. Fans of the series will find plenty to enjoy here, and newcomers won't feel like they had to play the first game to appreciate what it has to offer.

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Not for Broadcast

Publisher: TinyBuild Games
Developer: NotGames
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Who knew that overseeing a bunch of media personalities who say so little by saying so much could be so fun? Not For Broadcast is excellently paced. As soon as you pull up behind the switchboard, you're presented with a smorgasbord of screens, buttons, and switches. While it would be easy to overwhelm new players with options, the game takes it slow.

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One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is not only one of the best One Piece games but possibly one of the best Musou games around. When you throw in the ability to grind out your skill trees and chase ever more impressive kill counts, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is a game with an incredible level of replayability.

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One Step From Eden

Publisher: Humble Bundle
Developer: Thomas Moon Kang
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: One Step From Eden is a fantastic rogue-like deck-building game that is a few small tweaks away from perfection. Like most roguelites, One Step From Eden is brimming with replay value but can easily be played in short stints, too; each run takes 30-60 minutes to complete — or, more often, 5-10 minutes to lose.

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Ori and the Will of the Wisps 

Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Developer: Moon Studios
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ori and the Will of the Wisps is another triumph return for the series — a beautiful game with only the smallest blemishes to its luster. If you want to play a beautiful, often difficult Metroidvania with some of the most satisfying combat and traversal mechanics the genre has to offer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will give you plenty to be excited about.

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Othercide

Publisher: 
Developer: 
Initial Release Date: 
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Othercide is a modern gothic take on turn-based tactics. It's stylish, difficult, and a solid addition to the genre. If you want a tough take on turn-based tactics, Othercide is a great pick-up. If you've tried the genre before and bounced off because of the gameplay, it isn't going to change your mind.

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Orcs Must Die 3

Publisher: Google
Developer: Robot Entertainment
Platforms: Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Though its name offers no way around it, the creative ways you dispatch foes makes Orcs Must Die 3 perhaps the most addictive Stadia exclusive to date.

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Orwell's Animal Farm

Publisher: The Dairymen
Developer: Nerial 
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Orwell's Animal Farm faithfully recreates and even reinvents the classic allegory at a time when it's never been more relevant for some players. There's absolutely an audience for this game, and if you find yourself in it, Orwell's Animal Farm is a timely, effective reimagining of one of the last century's most notable allegories.

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Paper Mario: The Origami King

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Despite a combat system that gets old quickly, Paper Mario: The Origami King's writing, puzzles, and worldbuilding make it the best entry since The Thousand-Year Door.

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Persona 5 Royal

Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer:  P-Studio
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Persona 5 Royal improves on the original in almost countless ways, big and small, to deliver a top-notch RPG for new and old fans alike. If you haven't played Persona 5 countless times, you're in for a real treat. Persona 5 Royal is easily the best Persona game yet and one of the best RPGs available right now.

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Pikmin 3

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Eighting 
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the best the series has to offer, a showcase of creative design and smart strategy. It's one of the most enjoyable experiences on the Switch.

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Pumpkin Jack

Publisher: Headup
Developer: Nicolas Meyssonnier
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: With levels reminiscent of beloved 3D platformers and an irresistible audiovisual experience, playing Pumpkin Jack this Halloween is exciting and youthful like trick-or-treaters finding the house giving out full-size candy bars.

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Rune Factory 4 Special

Publisher: XSEED
Developer: Neverland
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Rune Factory 4 is an abundant RPG, full of fun characters, things to do, and a compelling network of interlocking systems. While Rune Factory 4 might not reach the epic heights of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Dragon Quest 11 S, and as a simulator, it might get overlooked for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. However, Rune Factory 4 manages to be something else entirely and manages it very well.

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Resident Evil 3 Remake

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Resident Evil 3 is a decent horror-action game that falls short of the Resident Evil 2 standard. To be fair, though, RE3 is trying some new things. It's much more of a straightforward action game than RE2, keeping a lot of the trappings of survival horror while emphasizing RE4-style shoot-'em-up gameplay. 

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Robotics;Notes ELITE & DaSH

Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Developer: Mages Inc.
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Robotics;Notes ELITE & DaSH give fans lighthearted adventures with the Robot Research Club in the Science Adventure universe. Fans of the Science Adventure series, and visual novels in general, will enjoy Robotics;Notes ELITE. While it doesn’t quite reach the incredibly soaring highs of Steins;Gate, it is more enjoyable than the underwhelming Chaos;Head.

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Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Sumo Digital
Platforms: PS4, PS5
Rating: 9/10

What we said: After a six-year absence, PlayStation’s knitted icon returns in stunning form in one of the year's best platformers. With an A-list cast, superb visuals, and some strong co-op gameplay, Sackboy: A Big Adventure successfully proves that Sackboy can thrive without LittleBigPlanet’s creation mechanics, all while still paying homage to his roots.

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Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

Publisher: XSEED
Developer: Edelweiss
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a bold genre fusion that pays off with superb farming and combat systems plus a cast of characters you'll remember for a long time to come. It might ask you to take it on its own terms from time to time, but that's a small price to pay when the experience is this rewarding and unique.

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Sakura Wars

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA 
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Sakura Wars' unique LIPS system, thoroughly charming cast of characters, and great writing more than make up for its less than stellar combatIt's a strong reboot, and one I truly hope heralds an encore for the series. There's nothing else quite like Sakura Wars, and that's a compliment.

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Samurai Shodown

Publisher: SNK
Developer: SNK
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: 2019's Samurai Shodown is finally available for the Switch, bringing one of the foundational Japanese fighting games to a brand-new audience. Samurai Shodown has managed to make the trip to the Switch without sacrificing more than a little bit of graphical fidelity. 

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Sayonara Wild Hearts

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: Simogo 
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 10/10

What we said: In its one-hour runtime, Sayonara Wild Hearts transcends video games and becomes not just a playable pop album, but a hypnotic self-help soundtrack. It's an endorphin factory. Sayonara Wild Hearts is more than a game for me. It's a catharsis vessel. It's a story of self-love. It's a reminder that some things break but that doesn't make us broken. It was once a dream and now forever a memory. It's transcendent and undying, but, of course, it is. Wild Hearts Never Die. 

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Serious Sam 4

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Croteam 
Platforms: PC, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Serious Sam 4 is a delightfully old-school first-person shooter that doesn't bring a ton of new stuff to the table but still hits all the right notes. Serious Sam 4 is a strong, polished, old-school shooter. The massive, open-air firefights are a fairly unique element to first-person shooters, and panicked kiting of hundreds of enemies is the name of the game.

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Shantae and the Seven Sirens

Publisher: WayForward
Developer: WayForward
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Shantae and the Seven Sirens is a welcome return of a now-classic platforming series. Shantae has been weaving her magic for nearly 20 years and still feels distinctive amidst the sea of other platformers. Her latest romp might not feel quite as fresh as Half-Genie Hero, but it’s still a worthwhile, highly entertaining adventure.

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Spiritfarer

Publisher: Thunder Lotus Games
Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Stadia
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Spiritfarer is a finely crafted piece of artistic commentary on what it means to let go, and it's far and away one of the best games to come out of 2020.

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Star Wars Squadrons

Publisher: Motive Studios
Developer: EA
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Star Wars Squadrons is an instant classic and an ode to the space combat sims that came before it. Squadrons does a lot of things right. And it's the closest thing to a new X-Wing or Tie Fighter we're going to get. Though it's a stand-alone game, it's also a fantastic complement to Battlefront 2's starfighter assault mode, giving aces new and old two very good options to choose from. 

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Stories Untold

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: No Code
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Stories Untold is a boundlessly smart and stylish adventure game that both celebrates the past while changing the future. Stories Untold is a unique adventure game smothered in atmosphere. Switch players will have to contend with the port's less-than-ideal UI, but provided they can get over that relatively small hump, the rest of the game is an unsettling, intelligent, fourth-wall-breaking success.

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Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

Publisher: Natsume
Developer: Marvelous Interactive
Platforms: PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town might not re-invent the wheel, but it's an excellent reminder why the formula the original helped create is so beloved and long-lasting.

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Streets of Rage 4

Publisher: Dotemu
Developer: Dotemu
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Streets of Rage 4 is a surprisingly decent return to form for a franchise that's been collecting dust for over 25 years. It plays a bit of a trick on you if you’re a fan of this sort of game, where you fall into your old patterns almost immediately, but the game is built to smack you down if you do. Instead, it’s got a simple combat system with some real depth to it, and which only gets more fun as you add players in co-op.

Read the review

Surgeon Simulator 2

Publisher: Bossa Studios
Developer: Bossa Studios
Platforms: PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: While some sequels fail to build upon the entries that came before them, turning into bloated, convoluted messes, Surgeon Simulator 2 reshapes the original idea into something entirely new. 

Read the review

Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Little effort was put into modernizing Super Mario 3D All-Stars, and somehow, that's still more than enough. Super Mario 3D All-Stars is a satisfying gift for the series' 35th anniversary.

Read the review

Super Mega Baseball 3

Publisher: Metalhead Software
Developer: Metalhead Software
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Super Mega Baseball has never been given the accolades it's deserved, but this is the year baseball fans will finally notice this all-star. Don't let a lack of MLB licensing turn you away. This is a serious baseball sim in every way except for the silly naming conventions of its athletes.

Read the review

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 4

Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Trails of Cold Steel 4 brings the Cold Steel series to a spectacular conclusion with some of the best storytelling in the genre and improvements to every gameplay system.

Read the review

The Last of Us 2

Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog 
Platforms: PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Last of Us 2 is an emotional rollercoaster that doesn't always hit the mark with what it tries to pull off. It does, however, provide enough amazing highs to outweigh its unfortunate lows.

Read the review

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners

Publisher: Skydance Interactive
Developer: Skydance Interactive 
Platforms: PC, PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners would be a great game even if it wasn't in VR. Suffice it to say Saints & Sinners definitely suffers from some modern-day VR problems, but it's still a great sign of the immersive and exciting things to come.

Read the review

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 makes good on its promise of revitalizing a legendary franchise, but it's modern twists aren't all clean landed.

Read the review

Vitamin Connection

Publisher: WayForward
Developer: WayForward
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Vitamin Connection is one of the best games on Switch. It's extremely fun, creative, and great with a friend. An easy pill to swallow. To bring this love-letter in disguise to a close: Vitamin Connection is a game that everybody should play. 

Read the review

Void Terrarium

Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Platforms: PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: There's a lot to love about Void Terrarium, with its touching story and unique approach to the mystery dungeon genre, even if does occasionally frustrate. Void Terrarium is special for how it balances challenge and accessibility to create its own unique identity, a balancing act many other games struggle with. If you're new to the genre, it's a great place to start.

Read the review

Wasteland 3

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: InXile Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Wasteland 3 invokes feelings of classic RPGs such as Fallout and manages to nail the feel and tone perfectly in a modernized setting. While the game often falls into some of the genre's more vexing traps, such as percentage damage idiosyncrasies and lackluster character models, it’s hard to deny its engaging power. 

Read the review

Watch Dogs: Legion

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Stadia
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Watch Dogs: Legion throws out a decade of Ubisoft's cluttered-map open worlds in favor of exciting systems that deliver unique emergent moments consistently. Watch Dogs: Legion drastically revises the Ubisoft open-world blueprint it has leaned on for over a decade. 

Read the Review.

Wintermoor Tactics Club

Publisher: Versus Evil
Developer: EVC
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The indie strategy game Wintermoor Tactics Club is one of the better children's books I've ever played. Kids will love it, but adults may find it too simple. Really, the highest recommendation I can make for Wintermoor Tactics Club is that it’s a funny, weirdly true-feeling interactive children’s book, with just enough tactical action to keep you interested throughout.

Read the review

Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Monolith Soft 
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition makes one of the best RPGs even better, despite not spreading its improvements evenly over the whole package.

Read the review

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Ryo Ga Gotoku Studio
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S 
Rating: 10/10

What we said: Yakuza: Like A Dragon isn't just a great Yakuza title — it's legitimately one of the best modern role-playing games there is. Yakuza: Like A Dragon is an uplifting and hopeful story told with heart, supported by satisfying RPG gameplay and a host of entertaining side-missions and minigames. 

Read the review

Ys Origin

Publisher: Dotemu
Developer: Dotemu 
Platforms: Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ys Origin on Switch is one of the most focused, fluid, and exhilarating action RPGs around. Read our review to see why it absolutely should be on your radar.

Read the review

Zombie Army 4: Dead War

Publisher: Rebellion 
Developer: Rebellion
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ever wanted to dodge zombie sharks while on a quest to destroy the undead animated by evil wizard-Hitler? Well, it doesn't get much better than Zombie Army 4. The game's shooting mechanics, its level design, and its ranking system come together in a much more satisfying way [than the core Sniper Elite series]. 

Read the review.

That's it for our list of the best games of 2020. What were your favorite games? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Hades Pact of Punishment: Conditions, Bounties, & Heat Explained https://www.gameskinny.com/6h5k4/hades-pact-of-punishment-conditions-bounties-heat-explained https://www.gameskinny.com/6h5k4/hades-pact-of-punishment-conditions-bounties-heat-explained Wed, 30 Sep 2020 10:33:41 -0400 John Schutt

Finishing your first run in Hades is only the beginning. Just as the narrative keeps building, so too does the difficulty and rewards you receive. It's all possible through the Pact of Punishment.

We mentioned the Pact of Punishment in our Ambrosia and Titan Blood guides, but here, we're going to examine it in depth. 

Simply put, the Pact of Punishment makes it possible to reap additional rewards for conquering the game's boss encounters, but you'll need to work harder to do so. 

Once you return to the House of Hades after your first clear, you'll find a glowing orange door in the Courtyard that has a scroll above it. This is the Pact of Punishment, a set of difficulty modifiers called "Conditions," that you can use to reset Hades' rewards, called "Bounties," for a run. 

Applying any modifier adds 1 point of "Heat" to your Heat Gauge. Exceeding the Heat Gauge does nothing except add more modifiers, so having 5 Heat when your maximum is 1 Heat doesn't give you anything extra.

It doesn't reset your progress, either, so if you want to jump into something more challenging early, you can. Bounties are weapon-specific, so your 10 Heat Shield run doesn't affect the rewards for your 1 heat sword, etc.

Each Condition has multiple grades. For instance, the "Lasting Consequences" Condition reduces the amount of health you recover from healing items in increments of 20%.

At its maximum, Lasting Consequences causes a 100% reduction in healing from items in the world. This means all healing items: food, fountains, anything. Ability regen and health increasing items like Centaur Hearts still apply, but there is no way to regain health through outside means when you max out Lasting Consequences.

The various Condition grades have different Heat values, as well. Extreme Measures revamps Hades' boss fights with new mechanics or complications, beginning with the Furies in Tartarus. Each additional grade adds a Heat point, so if you max out this Condition to its fullest, Extreme Conditions alone grants 10 points of Heat.

You have to purchase the fourth and final grade from the House Contractor, and Hades himself will comment on your audacity.

Max out everything in the Pact of Punishment, and you'll get more than 60 Heat for your troubles, plus a lot of pain. If you're spendthrift with your endgame materials, you'll need the Pact to replenish your stock.

Best Pact of Punishment Conditions

Full heat Pact of Punishment.

Ultimately, the Conditions you apply through the Pact of Punishment come down to what you're most comfortable with. The first time you try a run with Heat attached, you won't have any reason to use almost half of the Conditions on offer, as some have a base Heat value of two or more. 

Early Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions

For that 1 Heat run, I recommend either Convenience Fee, Lasting Consequences, or if you're feeling bold, Damage Control.

Here's why:

Convenience Fee

Convenience Fee increases the price of all of Charon's items by 40%. Boons now cost 210 gold, Poms of Power 140, and so on. You'll feel the increase here.

But if you've depended on Charon's shop for a lot of your power, adding this Condition will wean you off of it. If you do decide to visit the Boatman, it will force you to make more measured choices than just buying everything in stock.

Lasting Consequences

Lasting Consequences lowers the amount of health you receive from healing items across the game in increments of 20%. One rank is noticeable, but it won't completely stall any run.

You'll need to be more conservative with your play, or at least kill everything much quicker than you had previously. In either case, you'll become a better player without causing too much trouble.

Jury Summons

Jury Summons is a flat 20% increase to enemies, to a maximum of 60%. You should have a good handle on what builds and weapons work best for you by this point in your Hades career, so it's just a matter of learning how to move through enemies efficiently.

Defense is just as valuable as offense, and Jury Summons will teach you both.

Middle Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions

Exceeding heat Pact of Punishment.

Once you've got a few runs with Heat under your belt and upgraded your relationships, gear, and skills, you can add the following Conditions to your repertoire.

Benefits Package

Benefits Package adds a Perk to armored encounters behind Skull doors. Perks are dangerous traits that make each encounter more difficult. The rewards for such encounters don't get any better, but this can shake up what were previously easy fights into something more interesting.

Extreme Measures

Extreme Measures complicates boss fights with additional mechanics or hazards. You can safely apply two ranks of this Condition without adding much difficulty.

You'll only really feel the Heat at grades three and four, as the final sets of bosses receive a more significant buff to their attack patterns and health bars. The bosses of Tartarus and Asphodel, while more difficult, are far more manageable.

Late Endgame Pact of Punishment Conditions

Approval Process

Approval Process forces you to give up a single Boon before entering a new region of the Underworld. You're given a choice of three random Boons, so you have some control over what you give up.

You're stacked with more than 20 different boons by the end of any run by this point, so listing three isn't the end of the world.

Tight Deadline

Tight Deadline puts an actual timer on your runs, to a minimum of five minutes per floor. Run out, and you'll take damage every second until you die.

Thankfully, leftover time carries over, so if you complete a floor with time to spare, it's added to your time limit. It's still dangerous, and you need to be at the top of your game to finish, but it's essentially a time-attack modifier. 

Zagreus picking up a green Artemis Boon in a dungeon.

The best weapon and build for your Pact of Punishment runs will ultimately come down to preference. If you don't mind losing a few to bad RNG or carelessness, going all out with something like the Fists of Malphon or the Stygius Sword is a good way to get runs done quickly and with tons of excitement. 

If you're looking for more assured victory, something like a spear or bow run could be more up your alley. The Rail of Adamant machine gun also makes for some interesting, and slightly safer, playstyles, as you can keep away from your foes.

The Shield is probably the safest option, as if you aim it right, you can block almost any attack in the game, including big boss attacks. The only things you won't avoid are traps and Olympian effects, though both are simple enough to keep out of.

The abilities you choose are again up to your preferred style. For defense, Athena and Aphrodite could make your life easier. For quicker fights, Dionysis, Ares, and Zeus are good options, as well. For critical damage, add a little of Artemis.

Remember, there are thousands of viable builds in Hades, and played correctly, melting bosses is possible with even the strangest builds. Hades is cool like that.

With all that information in tow, you should be able to make the most of your Pact of Punishment runs in Hades. If this guide helped you become an unstoppable force, consider checking out our other Hades guides for more tips, including which keepsakes are the best

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Hades Ambrosia: Where to Get It & How to Use It https://www.gameskinny.com/t726o/hades-ambrosia-where-to-get-it-how-to-use-it https://www.gameskinny.com/t726o/hades-ambrosia-where-to-get-it-how-to-use-it Tue, 29 Sep 2020 13:47:37 -0400 John Schutt

You can spend hundreds of hours uncovering the backstories of your favorite Hades characters, but to dig into who they are and what makes the game's story really tick, you'll need a rare consumable called Ambrosia. You'll use the drink of the gods to form close bonds with your most treasured friends and discover their deepest secrets.

Ambrosia has more practical uses, as well. It's tradeable at the Wretched Broker. If you have an excess of Ambrosia, you can always trade it for Titan Blood or some other rare material if it's on the daily special.

No matter what you use it for, this guide will tell you where to get Ambrosia and where to use it. 

Defeat the Bosses of Elysium

Zagreus standing in front of an ornate dungeon door leading to Elysium.

Early on, the only reliable way to acquire Ambrosia is by defeating the bosses of Elysium. You'll have access to six bottles by the time you complete the main campaign, provided you get through Elysium with all six weapons before beating the final boss

Visit the Wretched Broker

The Wretched Broker shop menu.

As mentioned, you can also purchase Ambrosia through the Wretched Broker by trading them two Diamonds. You could, in turn, trade 10 bottles of Nectar for a Diamond, then trade an additional 50 keys for another 10 bottles, and then gemstones, and around and around.

Not economical or efficient, but if you have a surplus of materials, the Wretched Broker will provide the means to get Ambrosia. 

Fulfill Prophecies

Divine Pairings list.

Like with Titan Blood, completing the objectives in the Fated List of Minor Prophecies can reward you with Ambrosia.

As of writing, I've come across seven, though there are likely double that number. They come in a few varieties, the last of which will get their section below.

Reach the Surface with Hidden Aspects

Each of the Infernal Arms has a hidden Aspect you'll unlock as you play. There is a prophecy for each of them, worth two bottles of Ambrosia. The nice thing is, you don't have to complete a run to fulfill it: just make it to the final boss arena.

Doing so is more difficult than it sounds, as each hidden Aspect changes how the weapon works in some key way, and you'll need to relearn how to use the weapon if you want to make it all the way.

Complete Hidden Story Objectives

Throughout the game, you'll meet many NPCs to whom you can give bottles of Nectar. After a while, you won't be able to provide any more, and your progress with that NPC will be locked behind a hidden objective. 

Accomplishing these greater deeds will take you multiple runs and several special actions. Short of going over each of them in detail, be sure to talk to anyone and everyone who could or does interact with the NPCs and give those characters Nectar. You'll also see new work orders at the House Contractor that might seem out of place. 

Go out of your way to buy these and interact with whatever it asks you to buy. The "Gift of Song" prophecy, for instance, has you learning to play the lyre, and you'll need to make Zagreus practice in his room. Once he gets good at it, you'll be rewarded with a single bottle of Ambrosia.

Other Objectives

Fated List objectives presented as a scroll.

Several additional objectives don't require significant effort beyond a hefty time investment. The two I've found so far are "Close at Heart" and "Divine Pairings."

Close at Heart

"Close at Heart" asks you to equip each of the Keepsakes from your allies. All you need to do is have them equipped for a single floor of the Underworld, then switch to another Keepsake. Do that enough times, as there are more than 20 Keepsakes, and you'll receive two Ambrosia bottles.

Divine Pairings

"Divine Pairings" has you finding and equipping every single Duo Boon the Olympian gods can offer. You'll receive 15 bottles of Ambrosia for doing so.

Duos are a special type of Boon that combines the powers of two gods. Ares/Demeter, for instance, adds the Chill effect to your Blade Rift Cast.

Achieving a Duo Boon requires you to have specific standard Boons already equipped. You can technically do a lot of runs and have this happen naturally, but you can also somewhat curate your selection. 

Open the Codex and head to the section on Olympian gods. There is a prompt in the lower right-hand corner of the screen that will take you to a page listing all of the available Boons for any of the gods.

Their Legendary and Duo options, as well as the requirements for each, are at the bottom. Combine this knowledge with one of the god's Keepsakes, and you increase your chances at efficient Duo farming.

How to Use Ambrosia

Zagreus giving Skelly Ambrosia as a gift.

Beyond trading Ambrosia for other materials, its primary use is deepening Zagreus' bond with his allies. You'll also use it to get items called Companions. 

Deepen Character Bonds

Once you completely exhaust an NPC's desire for Nectar, and after you complete a hidden objective to advance their relationship, you can continue growing your relationship through Ambrosia

Each hidden objective requires time and significant effort. Unlocking Ambrosia use for Megaera, for instance, has you using the Pact of Punishment modifier called Extreme Measures at Level 1. Then you'll need to talk with Meg herself at the House of Hades, and you should be able to give them Ambrosia. 

Get Companion Items

You'll also receive an item from certain allies called a Companion. These are the locked doors at the bottom of your Keepsakes screen. With a Companion, you can summon that NPC to help you in a fight, and each has a powerful effect that can and will get you out of a bind.  

That's about everything you need to know about Ambrosia in Hades, from how to get it to how to use it. For more on this very good roguelike for PC and Nintendo Switch, check out our other tips guides!

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Hades Titan Blood and How to Upgrade Weapons https://www.gameskinny.com/u93b5/hades-titan-blood-and-how-to-upgrade-weapons https://www.gameskinny.com/u93b5/hades-titan-blood-and-how-to-upgrade-weapons Mon, 28 Sep 2020 11:22:18 -0400 John Schutt

You won’t find any bad weapons or Aspects in Hades, though some can be more effective than others. You can, however, make every one of the Infernal Arms even better through the application of Titan Blood.

You’ll need a lot of Titan Blood if you want to upgrade all your weapons to their maximum. Some farming methods are better than others.

There are five primary sources of Titan Blood in Hades. Three are always available. The main difference is cost, but here's how to get more:

  1. Area bosses: The first and final boss of each run rewards Titan Blood, as long as you haven’t beaten the boss with your current weapon.
  2. The Wretched Broker in the House of Hades Lounge sells Titan Blood for Ambrosia, which you’ll acquire for defeating the bosses of Elysium, the third area.
  3. The Fated Scroll of Minor Prophecies awards multiple Titan Bloods for completing various objectives.
  4. The final area of the game has a Charon shop that sometimes sells Titan Blood for 1,200 gold. 

Lastly, once you’ve completed a run, you’ll have the ability to replay the game with various modifiers that reset level rewards. We’ll talk more about this final method in our Pact of Punishment guide.

Titan’s Blood Source 1: Level Bosses

Zagreus standing in Charon's shop by two purple statues looking at a dungeon door.

Defeat Furies

The first level, Tartarus, ends with a fight against one of the Furies. You’ll face one of three possible Furies at the top of Tartarus: Megaera, Alecto, or Tisiphone. Each has their own attack patterns and usable strategies, but regardless of which you defeat, Titan Blood is your reward. 

Defeat the final boss

The final boss also rewards Blood, but to say the fight is challenging would be an understatement. Once you complete your first run, you’ll unlock the Pact of Punishment, which allows you to reset runs, opening you up to fight the final boss again for additional Blood rewards.

Titan’s Blood Source 2: The Wretched Broker

Wretched Broker shop screen, showing Titan Blood, Ambrosia, Nectar, and more.

Just to the south of the entrance to Zagreus’ room lies the Lounge of the House of Hades. A rotund, green shade known as the Wretched Broker runs a shop filled with useful wares. One of them is Titan Blood, but the price is steep: a single bottle of Ambrosia.

How to get Ambrosia

The drink of the gods is almost harder to come by than the blood of their parents, as its primary source is the bosses of Elysium, the third level of Hades.

You can also purchase Ambrosia with two Diamonds, which you can buy for 10 bottles of Nectar, which are themselves purchasable one at a time for five Keys. 

Buying Ambrosia for Titan Blood is not the most efficient way of getting the resource until late into the endgame when you’re swimming in materials. You could still make the trade if you needed the extra blood. 

Titan Blood Source 3: Prophecies

House Contractor screen, showing various projects and how many gems they cost.

Next to Hades (the god) sits the House Contractor and their table of wonders and renovation jobs. Early on, they’ll have an item called the Fated List of Minor Prophecies, which you can access from Zagreus’ room. 

The Fated List lists a growing number of challenges for you to complete as you play. As of writing, I know of four that reward Titan Blood. 

The Master of Arms Challenge

The “easier” of the four is called “Master of Arms.” To complete this challenge, you need to beat the final boss with every weapon in the game. Which Aspect you use doesn’t matter.

There are six weapon types in Hades, each with its strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll need to evolve your playstyle to get the most out of them. No matter how you do it, "Master of Arms" rewards 10 Titan’s Blood.

The Dark Reflections Challenge

Another prophecy I’ve come across is “Dark Reflections,” which asks you to complete a run using every Talent available from the Mirror of Nyx.

Unlocking this takes a long time because you'll need to: 

  • Get 60 Keys to open up every Talent
  • Unlock them with Darkness
  • Complete a run using each of them equipped

When you finally complete everything, you’ll get 8 Titan Blood

The Harsh Conditions Challenge

The third prophecy is "Harsh Conditions," which forces you to use every Pact of Punishment modifiers at some point. There are no clear strategies for this one. You'll just need time and experience.

Once complete, you receive 15 Titan Blood.

The Wanton Ransacking Challenge

The fourth prophecy is called "Wanton Ransacking," and though it's the easiest overall, it's also the most laborious.

All you need to do is defeat all of the various minibosses in the Underworld. There's a chance of any one of them appearing when you see a chamber marked with a Skull, and these Wardens exist on every level, including the one just before the final boss.

Completing this prophecy rewards 3 Titan Blood.

Titan’s Blood Source 4: Charon’s Shop

Charon has a huge shop located in the final dungeon before the final boss. Five of the six items are upgrades of some kind, and the sixth is either a Diamond or a glob of Titan Blood. Just be sure you’re saving gold throughout your run because you’ll need 1,200 coins to buy the stuff. 

The Pact of Punishment

Pact of Punishment bounties screen.

Once you beat the final boss once, you'll unlock the ability to modify runs for Bounties, which reset the rewards for each boss until you defeat them again.

These modifiers increase what’s called “Heat,” and each level resets the rewards again, so you can get a full set of rewards at 1 Heat, 2 Heat, and so on. Bounties and Heat requirements are weapon-specific, so a Heat 1 Stygian Blade gives the same rewards as a Heat 5 Adamant Rail.

That's about everything you need to know about Titan Blood in Hades. If you're looking for more tips on the popular roguelike, we've got more Hades guides here, including best keepsakes and best weapons

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Hades Game Guide: Best Weapons Tier List https://www.gameskinny.com/vt3ka/hades-game-guide-best-weapons-tier-list https://www.gameskinny.com/vt3ka/hades-game-guide-best-weapons-tier-list Fri, 25 Sep 2020 13:44:41 -0400 Sergey_3847

Hades has six basic weapon types called Infernal Arms. Each arm has four aspects, which together makes up for a rather impressive amount of weapons. This tier guide will help you choose the best weapons in Hades for your personal build.

The overall power of each weapon is very dependent on the upgrades that you choose during your playthrough, so do keep them in mind when choosing the best aspect for your character.

S-Tier Weapons

Aspect of Arthur

  • Infernal Arm: Stygian Blade
  • Titan Blood: 15
  • Aura Damage Reduction: +40%

This weapon is also called the Holy Excalibur, a unique type of sword that has its own alternate moveset. Additionally, you also get a bonus 50 HP to your life total, which is significant.

The sword's aura effect significantly slows down enemy projectiles and automatically disables floor and wall traps that are affected by the aura.

It's most destructive attack is Hallowed Ground, which deals 70 points of damage at once. The two best upgrades for Aspect of Arthur are Super Nova, which increases your damage by 20%, and Greater Consecration, which increases your aura by 45%.

Aspect of Hades

  • Infernal Arm: Eternal Spear
  • Titan Blood: 16
  • Punishing Bonus Damage: +150%

This spear has a massive spin attack radius and absolutely devastating damage bonus. The Punishing Sweep special attack may last up to 10 seconds, which deals up to 250 points of damage at maximum charge.

With the help of the Massive Spin upgrade the radius increases by another 30%, and the overall damage increases by 125%.

Spear of Hades can also deal with targets that are far away using the Extending Jab upgrade that increases the damage by 40% for all distant enemies.

A-Tier Weapons

Aspect of Chaos

  • Infernal Arm: Shield of Chaos
  • Titan Blood: 15
  • Bonus Shields Thrown: +5

Not long ago Aspect of Chaos was the top-tier weapon in Hades. However, the weapon got nerfed and the pattern for extra shields was changed. It now has a much more narrow area of effect than before.

Now players need to get much closer to the enemy to make sure that it hits right where you want it to connect. This, of course, makes things more dangerous.

But other than that, Aspect of Chaos is till an amazing weapon, and with the help of the Charged Shot upgrade your Bull Rush attacks will not only deal exactly 80 points of damage, but also become unblockable.

Aspect of Chiron

  • Infernal Arm: Heart-Seeking Bow
  • Titan Blood: 15
  • Max Shots per Special: 7

Although there are various aspects to the bow weapon, the Chiron Bow still remains the most powerful ranged weapon in Hades.

This aspect seeks enemies struck by the first hit automatically, which gives you the freedom to focus on other enemies while spamming the attack button and hitting your previous target at the same time.

The Sniper Shot upgrade is a must in this case, as it increases all your damage output by 200% to all distant targets. But the best one is probably Piercing Volley, which increases all damage to armor by 400% and makes your Special attack unblockable.

B-Tier Weapons

Aspect of Talos

  • Infernal Arm: Twin Fists
  • Titan Blood: 15
  • Magnetic Attack & Cast Bonus: +40%

Gloves aren't a terribly popular type of weapon in Hades. They can be really clunky and they fit only a very specific type of playstyle.

You need to be able to combo successfully each time in order to pull off some serious damage. If that's your thing, then consider Rolling Knuckle and Heavy Knuckle upgrades for your Talos Fists, which are currently the best in the game.

The first one performs Dash-Strike and allows you to switch from one combo to another without interruption. The second upgrade adds 30 points of damage to each strike, while your Magnetic Cutter deals an additional 20 at each pull.

Aspect of Lucifer

  • Infernal Arm: Adamant Rail
  • Titan Blood: 15
  • Hellfire Blast Damage: 100

Igneus Eden or Aspect of Lucifer is the newest railgun in Hades, which has its own unique moveset. The best one is called Hellfire, which serves as a Special attack that bombards enemies with a detonation damage of 50-100 on a radius of 400.

That is a rather powerful railgun, but it is extremely inflexible and can become a nuisance in close range combat.

The best upgrade for your railgun would be Infinity Chamber, which literally gives your weapon an infinite amount of ammo. That's basically god-mode without the cheats.

These are the best weapons in Hades, and if you were looking for the best keepsakes, then check out this guide. For more Hades guides, please visit our hub page.

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Hades Review: Hell Was Never So Much Fun https://www.gameskinny.com/q9311/hades-review-hell-was-never-so-much-fun https://www.gameskinny.com/q9311/hades-review-hell-was-never-so-much-fun Thu, 24 Sep 2020 12:23:31 -0400 John Schutt

Hades is, for almost too many reasons to count, some of Supergiant Games’ best work. It carries all the hallmarks that make their games great: a strong character-focused narrative, excellent gameplay, and outstanding visual and audio design.

Then there are the thousand and one little details that set it apart, from small animations, secrets places, humorous touches, and much more.

The years of Early Access and community feedback have done wonders Hades, as well. Some of its more mundane or annoying features are long gone, replaced with more ways to feel powerful and have an amazing time. Better yet, the value for the money is far beyond anything Supergiant has put out before. My first clear took about 15 hours, but I sense at least 60 or 70 hours more before I’ve seen everything the game has to offer. 

Hades is all substance, and there’s no other game in the roguelite genre that tops it.

Hades Review: Hell Was Never So Much Fun

You will grow to love the characters of Hades because they all play an integral part in the gameplay in some fashion.

Every inch of the game you play tells some part of the story. The weapons, the abilities, the environments, the enemies — everything paints a tapestry that is Hades’ vast, procedurally generated Underworld. 

You play as Zagreus, the son of the titular God of the Dead, Hades, and your quest is simple: get out. Zagreus wants to be rid of his abusive father and discover the world outside the walls of his house.

To that end, he enlists the help of the Olympian gods as he fights his way to their home on Olympus. He has the support of everyone in the House of Hades, save for its head, Hades himself, whose motives remain as mysterious as he is curmudgeonly. 

It’s a fine enough goal for a game: go to a place, kill some dudes, escape. The player’s impetus is Zagreus’ impetus, and in the first few runs, you quickly bond with Zagreus. His quest becomes yours if only to overcome the challenges the Underworld puts before you. You want to reach Olympus as much as he does, though your reasoning may differ. 

Then the game pulls back the curtain. Character motivations become more opaque, and the truth blurs. Your allies show they know far more than they’ve ever told. Your enemies aren’t so clear cut.

What Zagreus believes is slowly chipped into nothing until the real goal comes into view, and what was once a pretty action game with excellent voice acting and music becomes something of a personal quest, where what you want and what you need diverge entirely.

You will grow to love the characters of Hades because they all play an integral part in the gameplay in some fashion. Then, when you return to the hub area, the House of Hades, what you learned in the Underworld comes home to roost. Everything Zagreus, and therefore you, do ripples through the game. 

An Action Game Like Few Others

These ripples even apply to the weapons and abilities you use to make your way toward the surface. There are six weapon types, and each of them has a unique playstyle. They’re all incredibly fun on their own, but Supergiant went the extra mile and ensured that, as you gain powers each run, you’ll find it hard to make the same build twice.

A shield run, for instance, could focus almost entirely on defense, evasion, or all-out attack, and each of those paths is equally viable. Then, on your next outing, you might choose the actual assault rifle and find that everything you thought you knew about how to play Hades goes out the window. The same is true for the sword, bow, spear, and fists. 

Build variety comes from more than just weapon upgrades. Every room you enter in Hades has a chance to offer a Boon from one of the 10 Greek gods, and these offer fantastical powers. Like the levels themselves, which ability you receive is random, and each time you have three to choose from. Creating a build in Hades, like any good roguelite, happens on the fly, as you make trade-offs and concessions toward a particular goal. 

Even early on, especially once you have just a few upgrades under your belt, Zagreus gets powerful fast. You’ll tear through the initial mobs that once gave you trouble. Then, when you think you know what to expect, Hades throws a curveball. The boss or elite enemy you were expecting is nowhere to be seen, and the one you face challenges your perfect build in ways you could never expect.

Things become a game of cat and mouse as you try to outsmart the game through a clever combination of divine Boons and new strategies. What you think will dominate will fail. What seems useless saves you in a pinch. 

That says nothing of the joy of the moment to moment gameplay, which is fast, chaotic, and gets the adrenaline pumping in the best way. You start with just enough mobility to get by, and learning how to maximize survivability is almost more fun than using the game’s powers themselves.

The core systems here — dash, attack, special attack, and dash attacks — seem simple enough on paper. Mastering them will see you win run after run, regardless of build.

A Treat for the Eyes and Ears

As great as the art direction is, the music is equally fantastic.

Hades is a beautiful game. Each environment is lovingly crafted with no expense spared toward giving every area a unique identity. The levels are all defined by a primary color that permeates its design. Tartarus, the opening level, is keyed to a deep, almost neon, green. Other levels are reds, teals, and purples. 

The levels themselves are all procedurally generated, so no two arenas appear twice. This randomness has not stopped the artists from taking great care with each environment. Tartarus, again, is all gothic architecture, ruined hallways, and foreboding edifices. The green color always is present in some sense, either as a light source or as the color of the stones of the floor. 

As great as the art direction is, the music is equally fantastic. Darren Korb’s soundtrack is a mix of acoustic instrumentation, driving basslines, and electronic melodies. Paired with vocals provided by Ashley Barrett, you will never walk a moment in Hades without having some serious ear candy. 

The music, unlike the levels, is not procedural. Instead, it shifts between ambient and combat music and looping as the situation calls for. Important NPCs have their own themes, and there are a few poignant moments throughout the game that go into tear-jerker territory because of how the music swells and dips based on the emotions onscreen.

The only thing that could make it all better is if the environments themselves changed in some way based on the music, but that’s probably asking too much, even of Supergiant.

Quibbles

No game is perfect, and Hades is no exception. It is exceptional, of course, enough to earn such a high mark, but there are parts of the game that get in the way of enjoyment from time to time. 

The first and most notable issue is the procedural generation itself. Entire runs can go down the drain because the Boons on offer don’t synergize properly, or the rolls are poor. You might run into an arena that’s too small for the enemies’ attacks, leaving you with no way to so much as wriggle. 

There’s sometimes a bit of visual clutter as well. Every enemy and character stands out from the rest, but if there are a lot of them onscreen at once, it’s easy to lose Zagreus in the shuffle. His health will disappear shortly after that. Add in some light bullet hell elements, and the clash of primary colors goes from distracting to downright opaque. 

In something of an unintentional nod to games like Destiny, quite a bit of Hades’ story and worldbuilding occur in a large and wordy set of lore books. They aren’t the focus of the game, of course, as the main narrative is all present without the codex. However, if you want the full story, you’ll be doing some reading. 

Hades Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Top-quality story, gameplay, music, and art direction
  • Hours and hours of excitement and adrenaline
  • Plenty of humor and snark to keep you laughing
Cons
  • Procedural generation sometimes gets in the way
  • Some enemies can be more frustrating than fun to fight
  • The occasional bit of visual clutter

Hades is everything great about video games in a single package. It has a moving, personal narrative, exciting gameplay, deep systems, and amazing music and aesthetics. It was already a great game when it came out in Early Access, but it’s come so far since then and is easily one of the best games of 2020, if not in the last few years.

There are a few minor things that can be grating, but they do almost nothing to mar the experience in the grand scheme. 

Hades deserves your attention, your support, and more than a few hours of your time. If you like isometric action games, I guarantee you will have an absolute blast.

[Note: A PC copy of Hades was purchased on Steam by the reviewer.]

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Hades Keepsakes Guide: How to Get the Best Ones https://www.gameskinny.com/i236h/hades-keepsakes-guide-how-to-get-the-best-ones https://www.gameskinny.com/i236h/hades-keepsakes-guide-how-to-get-the-best-ones Wed, 23 Sep 2020 11:25:55 -0400 John Schutt

Hades has some of the deepest and most varied mechanics and systems in the entire roguelite genre, and there's almost no incorrect way to build your character for each run. You can make things easier on yourself early on, though, with the addition of Keepsakes, special items keyed to important NPCs throughout the game. 

Many Hades Keepsakes are usable regardless of how far into the game you are, but there are a few standouts you'll want to make sure you get your hands on. These are the best.

How to Get Keepsakes

Zagreus giving Nyx Nectar in the House of Hades.

Before you can get a Keepsake, you need Nectar. Nectar is a special, rare currency found in the Underworld. It is sometimes for sale at the Broker in the lounge in the House of Hades, but you'll mostly be picking it up in the world.

Nectar looks like a golden liquid in a spherical jar; you'll see this as the reward for some rooms as the room's door symbol. Once you have it, you can give Nectar to many of the named NPCs you meet. These NPCs are divided into two main groups:

  • NPCs in the House of Hades and the Underworld
  • Olympian Gods whose boons you require to make your way out

Who to Give Nectar to for Keepsakes

No matter which group an NPC falls into, you must give them the Nectar before speaking to them normally.

When you approach them, a secondary prompt will appear if the NPC in can receive the item, and once you give it to them, a single Nectar will be subtracted from your inventory.

A separate dialogue will play the first time you give them Nectar, and you'll receive a Keepsake in return. Further uses of Nectar progress character storylines, but have no additional reward.

Note: If a Keepsake is marked as part of a Special Encounter, you'll find their accompanying NPC in the Underworld behind a door with a gem-encrusted exclamation point above it.

Zagreus standing next to the skeleton Skelly in the training area.

These are the best Keepsakes in Hades, what they do, and who you need to give Nectar to in order to get them.

  • The Lucky Tooth
    • From Skelly in House of Hades

You'll eventually gain an ability called Death Defiance, which allows you to revive a limited number of times when killed. Skelly's Keepsake, the Lucky Tooth, gives you another chance for free, so long as it's equipped. It rewards up to 100 health when you die, once per escape attempt.

  • The Harpy Feather Duster
    • From Dusa

The Underworld is filled with Urns, and the Harpy Feather Duster Keepsake from Dusa gives you a small chance to find a healing item in any one of them. These tasty snacks immediately reward 10 Health, which will come in handy no matter how far you've made it through your journey.

  • The Broken Spearpoint
    • From Patroclus in Elysium
    • (Special Encounter)

With the Broken Spearpoint Keepsake, every time you take damage, you'll become invulnerable for a brief period. After that period, you must wait seven seconds to reactivate the ability. It's straight damage reduction. Can't get much better than that.

  • The Old Spike Collar
    • From Cerberus

Until you upgrade Nyx's mirror past a certain point, the only buff to your initial HP will come from the Old Spike Collar. It is a flat upgrade to your health, from a bonus of 25HP at Level 1 to an additional 50HP at Level 3.

  • Evergreen Acorn From
    • Eurydice in Asphodel
    • (Special Encounter)

As you continue learning Hades' bosses, the Evergreen Acorn gives you a small safety net. It saves you from damage for up to five hits each time you face a boss.

  • Pierced Butterfly
    • From Thanatos in the Underworld/House of Hades
    • (Special Encounter)

Thanatos is a very rare spawn in Elysium, and rarer still in the House of Hades. But his Keepsake is worth it. If you're good enough to clear entire rooms without taking a hit, your damage will increase by up to 2%. That's it: a straight buff. No muss, no fuss.

Zagreus picking up a purple Boon orb in Olympia.

All Olympian Keepsakes ensure the next boon you receive is from that particular god and will have upgraded Boon rarity. 

  • Aphrodite's Keepsake: The Eternal Rose 
    • Debuffs and Allegiance Change

Aphrodite makes your enemies do less damage and fight each other, and later upgrades allow you to stack additional damage on debuffed or charmed enemies. She pairs well with Demeter and Dionysus. 

  • Ares' Keepsake: The Blood-Filled Vial 
    • Sustained Damage

Ares increases your damage output, and he does it with style. There isn't much subtlety here: if you want to maximize your DPS, go with Ares. He pairs well with Zeus and Artemis.

  • Artemis' Keepsake: The Adamantine Arrowhead
    • Critical Damage at Distance

Artemis' Boons upgrade your damage and your Cast abilities, making your builds more well-rounded and powerful. She pairs well with Ares and Zeus.

  • Chaos' Keepsake: The Cosmic Egg 
    • How to be OP

Chaos' Boons make some part of your build more powerful, and it doesn't just have to be your abilities. Health, material acquisition, damage reduction, you name it, Chaos can improve it. They pair well with any other Boon. This item also lets you use Chaos gates without taking damage. Handy.

  • Demeter's Keepsake: The Frostbitten Horn 
    • Slow Down and Die

Demeter's abilities inflict the Chill condition, which slows enemies and can link with damage increasing abilities in her tree. They also help with healing and various debuffs. She pairs well with Athena and Poseidon.

  • Dionysis' Keepsake: The Overflowing Cup
    • Dot Damage and Confusion

Dionysis' primary ability is Hangover, which applies Damage Over Time to stack with itself and other skills. Festive Fog is his other primary point of interest, which confuses mobs and deals burst damage. He pairs well with Demeter and Zeus.

  • Hermes' Keepsake: The Lambent Plume
    • Gotta Go Fast

Hermes' abilities improve the speed and mobility of your attacks. All of them, though not all at once. Hermes is never a bad choice. He pairs well with any other god.

  • Poseidon's Keepsake: The Conch Shell 
    • Go Back, Get Paid

Poseidon's main ability grants knockback and damages enemies by throwing them against walls. He can also improve rewards. He pairs well with Zeus and Ares.

  • Zeus' Keepsake: The Thunder Signet 
    • Burst Damage Monster

Zeus is all about burst damage, and lots of it. His abilities are primarily offensive and good for melting bosses, stunlocking enemies, and emptying rooms quickly. He pairs well with Poseidon and Dionysus.

And those are the best Hades Keepsakes. Now you know who to give Nectar to, and you're prepared for any encounter and every boss. Check out our other Hades guides for more tips. 

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Hades Brings a Narrative Change to a Monotonous Genre https://www.gameskinny.com/a63ra/hades-brings-a-narrative-change-to-a-monotonous-genre https://www.gameskinny.com/a63ra/hades-brings-a-narrative-change-to-a-monotonous-genre Thu, 18 Apr 2019 16:00:14 -0400 diegoarguello

Ever since Supergiant Games announced Hades last year, I’ve been going back to it every now and then during its Early Access period through the Epic Games store. Combat is fun and engaging, the atmosphere already has a solid foundation, and both the art style and soundtrack matches the quality of past works from the studio.

But so far, the element I’ve been loving the most is witnessing how it acknowledges roguelites’ nature, and embraces it by following the studio’s signature style around narrative.

The genre is an intriguing choice, to say the least. Bastion and Transistor are action RPGs, although the latter also added real-time strategy elements. Pyre introduced itself as an ambitious mix between a visual novel and its own sports game within. All these games shared a same sentiment, focusing on delivering a powerful narrative with unique worlds and memorable characters.

Hades breaks with the tradition by diving into something new. The foundations aren’t new since they’re based on Greek Mythology, so it’s the first time we get to see Supergiant working on an already established base (although Mythology leaves a lot to interpretation, which makes it even richer to examine and worked upon).

Another plus is that they didn’t ditch the top-down perspective or introduced a completely different genre either, since Hades is pretty much focused on action than everything else.

The roguelite factor, on the other hand, it’s what changes things up. It’s easy to tell they knew how to add what made their games so interesting into the mix early on, especially how New Game+ works in their projects.

Playing as Zagreus, son of the god of the Underworld, you’ll have to fight your way through the different floors and stages of this realm. Every time you perish in battle, you end up rising again from a pool of blood right at home.

“There’s no escape,” Hades tends to repeat at you. But you continue either way.He doesn’t wake up in just a normal hub. At the end of the day, it’s still his home, even if he’s trying to escape from it.

In both Bastion and Transistor, New Game + was tied to each main story, and carried a deep meaning behind it. You could notice things going differently early on, or even hear references from the characters about what did or didn’t happen during your first walkthrough. It almost felt mandatory if you wanted the whole experience.

Retrying is part of a roguelite’s core, and in the hands of Supergiant Games it feels like almost an endless cycle where they can keep experimenting in the afterlife. Zagreus’s dialogues, and how he reacts to certain moments or reminiscences past defeats, play a big part on this.

First of all, this is the first main character from Supergiant Games that actually has a voice and doesn’t rely almost entirely on a narrator or multiple characters to back them up. You hear Zagreus from the very first moments, and while I’d never change this from previous games, it certainly helps for the character to stand out.

This leads to interactions with enemies and death itself that makes the character become much more connected with the player’s experience. During one of the first boss encounters I faced, which takes you into battle against two skeleton twins, I heard Zagreus calling them stupid as he was raising from his death after the first defeat.

I continued for a couple of more runs, and it took me a while to get to that fight once more. “You again?” said Zagreus, and he even let out a “That’s for last time,” when I finally achieved victory.

In a recent run, I had been juggling through multiple rooms with less than half of my health. Finally, I had entered a room that would give me a healing item as a reward. I just had to fight might way through it. I was doing just fine, but traps dealt the finishing blow as I was dodging from enemy projectiles. “No, no, no, wait!” said Zagreus, as he once more perished.

All these interactions create short, yet unique moments that ever last in my memory long gone after I stop playing. It’s still early to say, but Hades might be the first game in the genre that I’m interested in experiencing it fully. Others in the genre might have stories on their own, but I feel a sense of purpose here after each encounter or failed run. I almost feel guilty for being so bad at the game sometimes.

Hades acknowledges its nature, and it feels like an extension of something that Supergiant has been building with New Game+ over the years, giving replayability a narrative sense both in small chunks and onto a bigger picture. I can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold until the final version.

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