This page covers the basic Gameplay Mechanics of Hades. It also functions as a glossary of terms.
Zagreus has 5 different abilities that he can use in his escapes from the Underworld. They can all be enhanced with Boons, Keepsakes, or items. The Daedalus Hammer tweaks a weapon's Attack, Dash Attack, or Special, often drastically changing the ability and substantially increasing its damage.
A weapon's primary attack; usually a fast hit with a short cooldown. Some weapons have a separate attack used by holding the Attack button.
A weapon's special attack; usually a slower-hitting ability with utility, like ranged damage or damage within an Area of Effect (AoE).
A long-range spell that launches ammo at foes, dealing 50 base damage on impact. When hits an enemy, it stays inside the foe until they are killed or 15 seconds elapse (unless shortened by Quick Reload or Aspect of Hera), and then it can be collected to fire it again. If Zagreus equips Stygian Soul, won't fall out of enemies and can't be collected, but instead regenerates over time. Chaos Boons can grant extra ammo.
A movement ability which can evade attacks or get into position. While Dashing, Zagreus is immune to all damage. Dashes can cross gaps and barriers, such as the pools of magma in Asphodel or the hedges in Elysium. Attacking during or immediately after dashing performs a quick Dash Attack. It is possible to use cast, special, or attack while dashing with most weapons, but doing so disables Zagreus' immunity for the rest of the dash.
A powerful ability only usable if Zagreus has an “Aid” Boon or the Sigil of the Dead. With either, a God Gauge will build when Zagreus deals and takes damage. One charge of the gauge can be used for a powerful effect, or charges can be saved up for a Greater Call, which costs the full bar but is more powerful. (When usable, the God Gauge displays below Zagreus' health bar.)
Damage can be inflicted by Zagreus, enemies, and a variety of environmental and bonus effects.
Damage increase percentages in Hades are "additive", which means any % increase is based on an ability's initial damage (a.k.a "base damage") and are added separately — they do not scale off each other.
Example: if an attack does 10 damage, a 50% increase would make the attack deal 10 + (10 × 0.5) = 10 + 5 = 15 damage. If that same attack gains another 30% increase, it would produce 10 + (10 × 0.5) + (10 × 0.3) = 10 + 5 + 3 = 18 damage.
(Early versions of Hades multiplied bonuses together, which got out of hand with multiple buffs — an 80% attack Boon, 60% Chaos boon, 50% backstab bonus damage, and the Skull Earring’s 40% would combine to increase damage by 6.05×.)
Bonus damage applies to foes attacked from behind, known as a Backstab. Backstab damage can be enhanced through Mirror of Night upgrades, Chaos boons, Daedalus enchantments, the Black Shawl keepsake, or the Exposed Status Curse. Some abilities cannot backstab: Cast (by default) and most Area of Effect abilities, including Exagryph's basic special.
Bonus damage can be applied to enemies suffering from at least 2 Status Curses, through the Mirror of Night’s Privileged Status upgrade.
Critical (Crit for short) is a modifier that makes foes take more damage than usual (multiplicative increase). A critical attack will deal at least 300% damage to an enemy, but can be further increased by other effects.
If an enemy is knocked into a wall by an attack, they take Wall Slam damage, calculated from momentum, the distance to the wall, and the current biome (later biomes deal more damage). Poseidon has multiple Boons that enhance Wall Slams. Wall slamming an enemy with unblockable will still deal wall slam damage.
Body Slams are similar to wall slams, but when you hit an enemy against another enemy. This deals less damage than wall slams.
Cornered is similar to wall slams, but when you hit an enemy against two walls, dealing extra damage.
Traps are various hazards found in the Underworld, such as the Spike Pits in Tartarus, to Phoenix Eggs in Elysium. Traps can damage Zagreus and enemies, but hurt enemies considerably more than Zagreus.
These are other gameplay mechanics in Hades without a general category.
Armor is found on Elite enemies. Armored enemies are outlined in yellow, gain an extra yellow health bar, and are immune to stuns and Knockback until that extra health bar is depleted. (Poseidon’s Boons are the only source of knockback that works on armored enemies.)
Destroying armor by depleting its health bar usually briefly stuns the affected enemy. If Zagreus deals more damage than the entire armor health bar in a single hit, the remaining damage is ignored — it doesn’t “overflow”.
Some Daedalus Hammer upgrades and Boons increase damage to armor.
Enemies with a partially depleted armor bar are not considered "undamaged" for the sake of effects such as the "Fiery Presence" Mirror of Night upgrade.
Defending is exclusive to the Shield of Chaos. Hold Attack with the shield to block damage (and charge a Bull Rush attack) in the direction you face.
Elite Foes are a variant of enemies marked with a skull symbol next to their health bar. These enemies are stronger than their normal counterparts, possessing Armor and additional abilities.
Piercing projectiles continue their trajectory through targets, but not walls. The Heart-Seeking Bow, Stygian Blade, or Adamant Rail can get pierce effects from Daedalus Hammers, and the Heart-Seeking Bow pierces by default for its primary attack.
Reloading is exclusive to the Adamant Rail. Reloading refills the ammunition to capacity. Reload can be activated any time the ammunition is below capacity (at least 1 bullet is missing). When the weapon runs out of bullets, it must be reloaded before it can be fired again. (The Rail's current Ammo is displayed to the right of your health bar.)
Zagreus automatically reloads when out of ammo once the player releases the attack button, and can manually reload at any time by pressing the Reload button. The Rail cannot be fired while reloading, but you can still move, dash, and use the Rail’s Special.
Shared Suffering is a status effect of the Special of the Heart-Seeking Bow’s Aspect of Rama. Foes marked by Shared Suffering take a percentage of the damage dealt by Attacks to other foes. It works on the enemy it's marked on, so the Shared Suffering damage stacks with the regular damage.
Status Curses are debuffs applied by Boons. See the full list of Status Curses.
When Sturdy, you take 30% less damage and your actions aren’t interrupted from suffered damage.
Some foes (like the Greatshield) block attacks from the direction they face, nullifying the damage. Unblockable attacks bypass such shields. The Shield of Chaos, Heart-Seeking Bow, and Adamant Rail have upgrades with this effect.
- (October 30, 2020) "Which abilities can't backstab?" via reddit r/HadesTheGame Retrieved January 7, 2021