Hades 2 is absolutely worth playing in early access right now

Hades 2 character Nemesis with dark background
(Image credit: Tyler C / Supergiant Games)

After a short testing period a couple weeks ago, Hades 2 has officially entered early access on Steam and the Epic Games Store. It's been almost four years since Supergiant released what is one of the best action RPGs out there, and now we get to watch it develop a worthy sequel.

Hades 2 is absolutely worth playing right now in this unfinished state, but know that it's going to be a while before it gets its final coat of paint. Supergiant expects to be working on it "at least through the end of 2024," according to a note as you boot up the game, but hasn't figured out when it'll be finished yet. But I've put in close to 12 hours and it already feels fantastic to play.

If you played the first Hades in early access, you'll know the major updates—which often introduce new characters, weapons, and regions—take time to make. Supergiant says Hades 2's first major update will take "some months" of work before it's ready. But the good news is that the game has plenty of things for you to do in the meantime, which I'll detail in as spoiler-free a way as possible below.

At the very least, Hades 2 is worth keeping an eye on as it grows over the next several months. Few action games are as satisfying to play as their cast of characters are to listen to: Hades 2 is as much about a wounded family seeking revenge as it is about carving through layers of the underworld with a godly arsenal of weapons and magic. It's also Supergiant's first sequel, which will hopefully expand on everything that made the first Hades an exceptional roguelike.

Yes, Hades 2 is worth playing in early access right now 

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Supergiant Games)

Unless you don't have the time or fear spoiling the final experience early, Hades 2's early access release has more than enough to justify playing it right now. It's still a roguelike action RPG with a beautiful art style, irresistible cast of Greek gods, and a slick approach to combat where you mix and match powerful abilities to craft a build with each new run.

I'd actually think of Hades 2's current state as like playing part 1 of the full game; all the characters are fully voiced, the combat is already well-balanced, and several features are up and running. A few of the character portraits and environmental art look a little work-in-progress, but otherwise Hades 2 plays like a polished demo.

Here's a spoiler-free list of what's in there right now:

  • Multiple regions and boss fights (with reasons to revisit them)
  • Five weapons
  • Four gathering tools
  • All sorts of new enemy types
  • Loads of fully-voiced dialogue and narration
  • Hours of new music
  • Several new and returning gods and their boon upgrades
  • Plenty of new and returning items to use outside of each run
  • A handful of new and returning progression systems (e.g. an item shop) 

Yes, your Hades 2 save should carry over to the full release 

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Supergiant Games)

Supergiant says it will do "everything possible" to make sure your save data will work throughout the entire early access period and for the full 1.0 release. It can't promise it will work given the unknowns that come with game development, but everyone who played Hades 1 in early access was able to carry their saves forward without trouble. That said, it's no guarantee, so just be aware of what you're getting into. 

You don't need to play Hades 1 first, but you should 

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Supergiant Games)

You can easily jump straight into Hades 2 without knowing what happened in the first game or how it played. But I'd argue that anyone who missed the first Hades should stop right now and go play that instead. It's not that you can't appreciate Hades 2 as a newcomer, it's that the two games are similar enough that you might as well enjoy the completed one first.

Hades 2 is set some time after the first game and stars Melinoë instead of Zagreus—although the two are brother and sister and share the same basic combat abilities. The family of gods at the heart of Hades 1 are gone and Hades 2 is a story about what they left behind. If Hades 1 was an angsty, red-hot fury, Hades 2 is an angry simmer.

You may be overwhelmed with how fast Hades 2 gets going. In its current state, it sort of assumes you know the room-to-room structure of the game already and that with every failed run, you'll come back more powerful and knowledgeable about the world and its characters. Hades 2, like the first game, is about the struggle of doing the impossible and the mistakes that hone your skills. You can even flip on 'God Mode' in the options to gain damage resistance after every death if it's too punishing for you.

Hades 2's first major update promises a heap of new stuff to play with 

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Supergiant Games)

Supergiant says Hades 2's first major update—which, remember, is several months away—will likely include a new region, a new weapon, and a new feature for the main hub area, The Crossroads. The developer points out that the roadmap could change, but it has those three features currently planned, along with the story, music, and art that comes along with them.

As with all early access games, there will be bugs and other unfinished stuff that will hopefully be fixed up on the way to its full release. Supergiant has done this all before, though, and it says it has a plan for what's left to add to the game, so I wouldn't be too worried about it all falling apart.

Hades 2 is available on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.