Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC/PS4)
I think I'll wait until I complete the game to write up a full on 'review' of it but I can safely say that I'm very positive on Hellblade after maybe 3 hours of play tonight.
If you pick it up, you absolutely have to play with headphones on and if you're on PS4 Pro, make sure to go into the options to turn on 60fps. The game still looks gorgeous in that mode.
bard91 last edited by
uuugghh why does this game have to look so interesting and be so cheap, I'm already making slow enough progress with Nier as it is to throw this into the mix.
Inustar last edited by
I was watching a quick gameplay video of this game, from Outside Xtra, and my BF sat down to watch it with me, and at one point in the opening credits he was like "wait, i think i read that wrong. I thought that just said mental health advisor?" I had to explain to him that he wasn't wrong, and he thought that was really cool. It made him way more interested in the game, though I was pretty sure it was an easy sell since he loves anything nordic.
tokeeffe9 last edited by tokeeffe9
@Inustar Oh ya, it's absolutely full of lore so he'll love that.
- Apologies for the weirdly formal review you're about to read. Something I had to do for other reasons so thought I might as well do it for Hellblade. Hopefully it's good anyway :)
Games as a medium have evolved significantly over the past few decades. Before the most important thing about a game was how it played. While before, there was a huge focus on gameplay and skill, games now cater for all types of experiences. In recent years, the term ‘walking simulator’ has been used to describe (sometimes in a derogatory way) games with a greater emphasis on story.
Hellbalde: Senua’s Sacrifice is an attempt by Ninja Theory to develop a small scale AAA story driven game based off Celtic and Norse mythology. We are taken on a journey made up of Senua’s psychotic manifestations through a hellish underworld. Ninja Theory handle the subject of psychosis with great care. One of the first screens you see is them providing information on the issue and there is a documentary included with the game on the effects of psychosis. It is what the whole game is built on and it delivers a chilling and unsettling experience throughout the story.
I feel it’s absolutely essential to wear headphones while playing to get the intended experience. Hellblade is a game about uncertainty and that is played up significantly well when you are surrounded by all the voices Senua has to deal with. Most games guide you to your next destination but in Hellblade, you are always made to doubt yourself as your inner demons are bickering over what you should do, taunting you, laughing at you, irritating you. Ninja Theory were bold in making the game as unpleasant an experience as possibly and undoubtedly achieve that.
As with the narrative, the gameplay also attempts to explore the themes of this issue. They player is informed near the beginning of the game that repeated failures will lead to losing all your progress, dictated by the rot coming from your arm and encapsulating your head. The player is left uncertain on how many deaths will cause this to occur. I like the idea however I don’t think the game is challenging enough to ever make you too concerned with the possibility of losing your progress.
The game is broken up into sections and one of those is combat. The combat is mostly focused more personal one on one fights that feel quite satisfying, in particular as you progress through the game and face off with multiple enemies. It a very grounded and simple combat system. The only additional flair is an ability that you need to build up from fighting which slows down time and makes Senua feel very powerful which is very satisfying but feels like it goes against the theme of the game. However it is used effectively in boss fights and certain heavy areas towards the end where momentum feels so crucial.
The other main focus is on puzzle solving. In Senua’s case, her mind is obsessed with symbols and runes. On several occasions you will need to explore the environment, finding patterns, revealing illusions and changing realities to progress through the area. Again, these were used primarily to show us Senua’s fragile state. The puzzles themselves are done in a way not to keep the player too bogged down. It’s clear that these obstacles are more so to deepen the theme of the game as they're never too challenging and you’re given enough of a helping hand on where you need to go.
Overall, I'm very comfortable in recommending Hellblade to anyone. It is one of the few games that deals with a sensitive issue that really tries to give that experience to the player. In going through Senua’s state of mind, there is a feeling of constant anxiety, dread and confusion. Have a few nights to spare, in a dark room with headphones on and soak up what is easily one of the most impressive audible and visuals games of the year.
Jacques last edited by
I'm gonna buy it anyway eventually, but are we gonna see an EZA review for this?
Axel last edited by
@Jacques I think Huber is reviewing it, saw him mention it on twitter, it's a bit late because of Easy Livin but we can probably expect it this week.
Jacques last edited by
Axel last edited by
@Jacques Oh wow that was timely, haha!
Huber's review is spot on to me. I am a little surprised by the repetitive puzzle talk. I feel like the vast majority are short enough that I never found them boring and the game needs that change of pace at times. On top of that, I thought they really helped to reinforce Senua's state of mind, getting the player to feel that and question what is actually happening.
I really like this video on Hellblade and Ninja Theory. There are spoilers but it's all timestamped and you're warned.
El Shmiablo Banned last edited by
So I started playing the game yesterday as an early birthday present to myself.
I find the game strangely powerful in it's representation of mental health. Hearing the constant voices and seeing strange but very subtle visual cues and artifacts really gave me a sense of unease and anxiousness that usually only games like Souls achieve, but for very different reasons.
Will be diving deeper into it today, but already very impressed.