October is here, and with it comes the urge to dip my toe into the spooky side of media. I’m a complete chicken when it comes to horror, but this is the month when I’m in the mood to let myself get a little scared. So while I’m trying out a few new things (and continuing my playthrough of games like ASSASSIN’S CREED ORIGINS and SPIRITFARER), I’m also trying out a classic horror game!
I have been waiting for the 1.0 (i.e. the complete edition) of this game to drop for MONTHS and it is finally here! In HADES you play as Zagreus, son of Hades, who has decided it’s finally time to leave the underworld. Only problem is, Hades doesn’t feel like letting him go, so Zagreus will have to fight his way out or die in the process.
And really, there’s going to be a lot more dying than escaping. HADES is a rogue-lite, meaning the point of the game is to get as far as you can through the dungeon, die, and then start the whole thing over again with all of your abilities reset to zero. Over time, you can unlock permanent upgrades, but the fun is the randomized perks (that arrive as gifts from excellently drawn and voiced Greek gods) and randomized dungeon levels every time you try a new run.
On top of that, HADES has a unique narrative element. Every time you die and return home, you get to learn more about the characters who live in the underworld, as well as about the REAL reason you’re trying to leave home. I have yet to complete a successful escape from Hades, but I’m having a lot of fun trying!
STAR WARS: SQUADRONS
One of my earliest video game memories is playing the original release of STAR WARS: TIE FIGHTER, complete with a flight joystick. So when EA announced they were releasing a new flight combat game for STAR WARS, I knew this was going to be an auto buy. SQUADRONS let’s you fly for either the New Republic or the Empire in multiplayer mode. I’ve just begun dipping my toe into multiplayer, as I’ve mostly been sticking with the single player campaign, but I’m having a lot of fun so far! The hardest part is that the controls are similar to the old TIE FIGHTER game, but juuuust different enough that my muscle memory keeps reaching for the old familiar commands.
My motivation for playing this one was two-fold. One, the newest DLC for favorite-game-of-the-year CONTROL contains an ALAN WAKE crossover, and I wanted to understand the connection better before I played. Two, it’s October, so why not play something spooky? This game was also very helpfully on Xbox Game Pass, so I knew I wasn’t going to lose any money if it turned out to be TOO creepy. So far, it’s just the right amount of horror. You play as Alan Wake, a writer who has come to a small town with his wife for a relaxing getaway, maybe charge the writing batteries and get some new ideas. Except then his wife goes missing, there are shadow creatures, and an ominous dark force that has its eyes set on Alan.
I’ll be honest, the beginning of this game was VERY cheesy, and involved a lot of near eyerolling on my part. A few hours in, however, and I was cursing under my breath and yelping as shadowy figures tried to take my head off with an axe. My primary weapon? A flashlight. The shadow creatures are invincible until you burn away that shadow with light, so there’s a lot of intense pointing and begging the shadow to hurry up and dissolve because I know another shadow monster is coming up behind me and I need to deal with it. I’m halfway through the game, playing it slowly but surely because the stress can be a little much! Still really enjoying the ride, and looking forward to seeing how the CONTROL DLC ties in.
And that’s what I’ve been playing recently! What are you up to?