Make no mistake about it, in terms of presenting Greek myth in a videogame - Hades ranks as one of the best, if not the best adaptation to date. It nails the tone, the playful, vindictive, erratic behaviours of the Gods - most of which are bored and more than happy to meddle in the affairs of others. It’s also funny in a way these stories should be. Hades is also modern, and dripping in its own distinct personality - a far cry from the sword and sandals and snake-hair approach one might associate with these characters.
Broken down to its core though - the escape as the driver is brilliant. Zagreus’s “death” leads to him emerging from a pool of blood at the House of Hades after each failure, only to dust off some ethereal dust and try again. There he can speak with various characters, from lost souls to demons, some of whom may in-fact work against his progress, and learn more about the underworld, its history, and what might have caused the paternal rift that kicks off the action. The story here is classical to a fault, but in slowly unravelling new beats and surprises as it unfolds, there’s depth on par with both the greatest action-RPGs and the works of Homer. Wonderful writing and an art style that is truly gorgeous bring it all together.
The miracle or genius isn’t that Hades tells a wonderfully realised story that unfolds over several hours, it’s that it does so alongside the depth and breadth of its mechanics, combat, and fluid movement. Where, to borrow a classic phrase, often the twain shall meet.