Hades 2 has a mean surprise tucked away in one of its boss battles—a sucker punch that shows Supergiant isn't afraid to go all Psycho Mantis on you

Image for Hades 2 has a mean surprise tucked away in one of its boss battles—a sucker punch that shows Supergiant isn't afraid to go all Psycho Mantis on you
(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

I rarely do this, but I'm just going to open up by saying that this article contains major spoilers for Hades 2's early access. We're talking (current) end-game stuff. It's also genuinely the funniest thing I've seen out of a Supergiant game period.

As previously mentioned in the game's FAQ, Hades 2 has about as much content as the first game does already—including a final boss fight with the titan of time himself, Chronos. See, he went ahead and punted the entire royal family of the underworld out of their house and home, hence why protagonist Melinoë has it out for him.

You, the player, might also develop a vendetta against him—not just because he's hard (he is, I've already died to the blighter a couple of times)—but because of one very mean, very funny mechanic Supergiant has surreptitiously slipped into the fight:

You can't pause while fighting Chronos.

Okay, well—you can pause, but it doesn't last for long. The titan of time gets to have a sassy little remark before un-pausing the game for you, bluntly informing you that no, you cannot control the flow of time in his presence. Family emergency? House on fire? Need to pee? None of these are good enough excuses to cease your bout. Hold it in or start over.

This, as one might imagine, has sparked some debate already. On the game's subreddit, a thread's already discussing the sucker punch, its author mourning a lost run where they got Chronos to 10% health before being ruined by the skill issue of having an important phone call. "I'll get there again, eventually, after finding the right boons but this left a real sour taste in my mouth."

Feedback over in Supergiant's Discord is similar, with one player writing: "I know there's an incantation to stop it, but I would prefer not having it or having another 'free' way to pause". That incantation they're referring to is the "Dissolution of Time", which seems like a neat way to let players have the (very good) experience of getting Psycho Mantis'd like in the olden days of Metal Gear Solid, while also preserving accessibility.

Only it, uh, requires Z-Sand. Which you get from killing Chronos. You can see the issue, here.

I'm of two minds about the whole thing myself. On the one hand, this entire mechanic rules—it makes Chronos scary, it's a neat fourth wall break, and he even gets some fun dialogue when you finally stop his shenanigans. On the other hand, Hades 2 is well hard, and I'm not sure players ought to be punished for needing to attend to real-life emergencies.

There are a couple of middle-ground suggestions from the Discord's feedback channel that I like, though. One argues that Chronos should instead stop you from unpausing and rant at you for five minutes. Another suggests that the first time you try to pause, a standard dialogue screen should open—with the full psycho mantis experience happening every pause thereafter. At least then you know to clear your schedule.

Personally, I just think the incantation to stop it just shouldn't require Z-Sand. Make it hard to get by all means, but the solution to the mechanic a player might be having problems with (through no fault of their own) probably shouldn't be gated behind the fight in which the mechanic shows up. Until then, I hear alt-tabbing works just as well—and it certainly shouldn't stop you from playing the early access version in its current state.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.