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Hades: Infernal Arms Ranked

Spoiled for choice with the Hades infernal arms? Here's an examination of Zagreus's arsenal attempting to rank the overall effectiveness of his weapons. The rankings will evaluate the weapons as a whole, not individual aspects or any particular boon-based builds.

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Hades is a game in which the player will become extremely familiar with Zagreus’s arsenal. Given the game’s repetitive cycle of fighting your way out of the Underworld, you will likely use them all. While it’s fun to swap weapons regularly, players desperate to escape need to settle on a winner. This is a surprisingly difficult decision to make, as the Hades infernal arms are all extremely useful. It’s also made more complicated by the randomness of boons and upgrades. The overall effectiveness of every single weapon is likely a contributing aspect of the game’s popularity.

This article will express my view on the superior weapons, based solely on their ease of access. I won’t be ranking the weapon aspects individually, nor will I be evaluating specific builds. This will merely be an evaluation of the weapon’s average usefulness based on my experience with the game. Here are the six Hades infernal arms ranked.

Hades - Official Animated Trailer

6. Adamant Rail

Again, just to reemphasise, none of the infernal arms are bad. The Adamant Rail in particular can be truly devastating when landing grenade shots and long-distance heavy fire. It allows Zagreus to remain mostly out of harm’s way while gradually chipping away at the enemy’s health. It’s also not got a lot of animation to it, making it very easy to suddenly cancel out of attacks

The issue with the Adamant Rail is that of all the Hades infernal arms, it’s perhaps the most complicated. While at first, it seems like you simply hold the attack button to fire, there are other features to consider. Reloading is one cause of frustration, as it can leave you vulnerable or interrupt your flow. Another issue is the bomb attacks, which despite being devastating, can be awkward to land. While the game provides a marker to show where the attack should land, it doesn’t account for the travel path. Often you will aim a grenade shot which will suddenly bounce off a nearby pillar and miss the target entirely. The special shot is also too slow for my liking, often giving the enemies just enough time to dodge.

I have managed to create some devastating builds with the Adamant Rail, but I never feel comfortable with the weapon. While it has potential, it seems the least likely to get a lucky build based on the random boons.

A unique yet challenging choice of weapon.

A unique yet challenging choice of weapon.

5. Stygian Blade

For a while, I contemplated putting the sword weapon in the middle of the rankings due to its overall averageness. However, it’s for that reason that I lowered it, as while it has fewer drawbacks, it’s painfully mediocre. The Stygian Blade is the first weapon you play with, and it’s easy to see why. It’s very easy to use, making the game feel accessible but without making Zagreus seem overpowered early on.

The issue is that the blade does very little to distinguish itself or provide many outstanding advantages. The damage it deals is unremarkable, the speed at which it hits is middling, and it has few ranged capabilities. It has a decent knockback attack that requires a brief animation, but otherwise, it’s unremarkable. This obviously changes with certain aspects, especially the Aspect of Arthur. However, the average run with the weapon is nothing to marvel at.

The real problem is that the sword requires mostly close-ranged combat without the benefit of speed to avoid being overwhelmed. Its speed deficiency also means it’s unable to dish out the benefits of buffs and debuffs at quite the same rate. As far as Hades infernal arms go, it’s easy to understand, but difficult to make effective. Perhaps a little more flare could be added to improvements in a sequel.

Some interesting aspect benefits bogged down by mediocre attacks.

Some interesting aspect benefits bogged down by mediocre attacks.

4. Heart-Seeking Bow

If your experience is anything like mine you might at first find the bow to be deceptively underwhelming. The prospect of keeping your enemies at a distance is an inviting one when you first unlock it. However, it quickly becomes apparent that distance is a rare and fleeting luxury. This is when the bow can become troublesome, as its main benefit is its charged power shots. Given that most enemies don’t give you enough time to aim, it can be difficult to master.

However, the Heart-Seeking Bow suddenly becomes exceedingly devastating once the player becomes familiar with the power shot. The issue at first is taking down enemies with multiple shots as they close the distance. The power shot, which simply requires the player to release their shot at the right time, negates this disadvantage. It takes a few tries, but once you learn the power shot timing, most enemies will fall in one hit. This means you can dodge to a safe distance and clear multiple enemies with one clean hit.

The special move, rapidly firing multiple arrows at close range, is also deceivingly useful. At first, it just seemed like a weak desperate attack when surrounded. However, it’s actually significantly more lethal if you stand face to face with a single target. Unleashing a rapid volley at point-blank deals huge damage, and each hit also benefits from your boons. Among the Hades infernal arms, it’s perhaps the most simplistic, with the biggest reward for mastery.

Nothing is more satisfying than eliminating a line of enemies with one arrow.

Nothing is more satisfying than eliminating a line of enemies with one arrow.

3. Eternal Spear

Before beginning this list, I assumed the Eternal Spear would fall somewhere close to the sword. Both seemed somewhat similar in regards to their easy attack patterns and average damage. The spear’s thrust feels a little faster than the sword; however, its charge attack causes lengthy pauses in Zagreus’s combos.

Where the spear is able to distinguish itself from the sword is in its reach. The spear’s basic attacks already possess greater length, and upgrades often add to this even further. In addition to this, the spear has a throwing attack for even greater ranged offensive capabilities. The spear hits hard and allows enough diversity in strategies to be adaptable for most situations.

I found the spear was a particularly safe choice, even if its damage wasn’t always the best. Its reach kept me out of harm’s way more often than not. It also allowed me to exploit the environment to attack enemies over gaps. Should I find myself surrounded, the charge attack could sweep through every enemy at once. It’s also common to gain access to an upgrade that turns the thrust into three, adding width to the attack. Its only major drawback is it doesn’t typically allow for quick speedruns through the Underworld. Its damage and speed simply aren’t enough to clear rooms as quickly as some of the other Hades infernal arms. However, it’s the first weapon on the list that truly opens up multiple ways to play with a single weapon.

If only Zagreus was as good as Hades is with the spear.

If only Zagreus was as good as Hades is with the spear.

2. Shield Of Chaos

The shield, at first, feels like it might suffer a similar issue as the spear, being too slow for most runs. Yet the shield compensates for its relatively slow attacks by being significantly more devastating. It’s a weapon that allows for a variety of playstyles, having close-combat, ranged, and defensive capabilities. Its basic attack has a slight knockback effect, compensating for its slow speed by giving Zagreus time for subsequent combos. The shield can also be thrown, and it’s very useful in claustrophobic spaces as the shield bounces between enemies.

The unique advantage of the Shield of Chaos, as should be expected, is its defensive abilities. It’s the only weapon to provide a dedicated blocking mechanic. As such, it allows players to catch their breath and plan their next move. This is a pleasant break from the usual endless dashing that all the other weapons require. The direction of the block can also be changed without leaving yourself open. Better yet, the block also serves as a charge for a bull rush attack, allowing for immediate counterattacks.

Its main drawback is the slow rate at which it applies the effects of boons. While throwing the shield can inflict multiple targets with doom or poison, it’s harder to create stacks. However, when using the shield, it’s rare that I failed a run. At your most desperate, it’s the only Hades infernal arm that allows the player to take their time.

When a boss’s attack bounces right off Zagreus, you feel untouchable.

When a boss’s attack bounces right off Zagreus, you feel untouchable.

1. Twin Fists of Malphon

I never would have imagined when I first unlocked Malphon that it would become my favourite weapon in the game. I couldn’t understand how punching the enemy was going to benefit me more than a blade, shield, or arrow. It’s easy to underestimate the fists due to it seemingly offering only a single trick. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Malphon hits hard, fast, and has surprising ranged capabilities.

When wearing Malphon, Zagreus essentially destroys his enemies by dancing around them. Rapidly pummelling your foes whilst dashing circles around them rarely leaves Zagreus open, despite the vulnerability of close range. At the same time, Zagreus lands multiple hits in quick succession, dealing massive damage and applying stacks of boon effects. It can even use a powerful uppercut that sacrifices speed for more damage.

Going back to basics is surprisingly effective.

Going back to basics is surprisingly effective.

Despite initially starting with no ranged attacks, many upgrades add a slight increase to your reach. Additionally, some aspects such as the Talos upgrade turn the special into a long-distance pulling move. With the weapon’s high emphasis on dashing circles around foes, any boon affecting Zagreus’s dash also benefits from its playstyle. Of all the Hades infernal arms, it’s the most unrelenting, clearing a room in seconds.

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