Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Game Review

4.2 (84%) 5 votes

abHellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an action-adventure hack and slashes video game developed and published by Ninja Theory for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation. Before discussing the Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice lets talk a little bit about Ninja Theory.

Ninja Theory is an independent video game developer based in Cambridge, England. Founded as Just Add Monsters in March 2000, the company was purchased by former Argonaut Games CEO Jez San in November 2004. Its Headquarters is located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It’s Founded in  November 2004, Cambridge, United Kingdom. At Gamescom 2014, the company announced Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game was released worldwide on Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, on 8 August 2017.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

There are stunning visuals and aesthetics coupled with some remarkable motion capture. Melina Juergens’ performance as Senua. Strong and responsive combat. Interesting puzzles with a few neat twists and excellent audio production.
There is only one disadvantage of this game is Combat can be very simple and occasionally repetitive (lack of manual targeting can be weird at times). Some perspective puzzles can be frustrating. Exploration is very on-rails and doesn’t venture far off the beaten path.

The Gameplay

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a remarkable beast. It’s an experience through the mind of a young woman tormented by events that would render most people helpless (which is also something she’s trying to deal with). It’s a journey through a horrifying wasteland of the mind and the underworld, the demons of both mixing together and creating an all too real picture of mental and spiritual torment. However, what makes Hellblade so remarkable is its razor-sharp focus on story-telling and the unrelenting depiction of Senua’s torments, memories, and desires.

Talking about the voices, which perfectly depicts the audio brilliance of this game. Senua has a number of voices in her head and they’re all different. There’s the tired elderly voice that’s narrating events while offering her own advice in her own way. Some voices are curious about whether Senua even has a chance. There are a lot of voices around her. One of the voice always tries to motivate her and believes that she could actually win, while there are some that mock at her. There is another noticeable voice of Druth, whom Sauna met at the initial stage who took her through the initial trials. Last but not the last there is also a “shadow” that keeps on following Senua around, taunting her and always trying bringing her down.

The Story

The player begins the game as one of Senua’s voices, though we don’t speak very much at all, joining her en route to Helheim as she attempts to resurrect her fallen lover. “Resurrect” is probably the wrong word – Senua’s village had been slaughtered and the “shadow,” told her to take her lover’s head to Helheim to bring his soul back. The entire experience is gorgeously captured, from the rippling water and blinding light as Senua travels up the river to every minute expression on her face as she wrestles with the voices while attempting to stay alive in combat.

And yes, the voices do speak out to you in combat. They become afraid, warn Senua of danger, and will often tell her when to dodge or strike. She is warned by them when she is very near to death. This could also be taken as a sign when the player has lost lot of heath and could die in the game in he or she does not hangs back. Little nuances include calling out when an opponent will avoid your attacks and counter you.

Whether that’s good for you or not in the long term is debatable but it makes for a unique, unparalleled story-telling experience. Much of the credit must be given to Melina Juergens for her depiction of Senua, showcasing everything from the sheer, wrenching frustration and anger she feels to those brief moments of joy upon remembering her love, Dillion. Similarly, her moments of fright when stumbling around in the dark or wading through the murky swamp are simply uncanny.

Other Interesting Elements

The basic gameplay elements of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice are pretty straightforward. Senua navigates the world, encounters gates and memorizes runes before envisioning them in the environment and progressing forward. These are essentially perspective puzzles and could require orienting yourself at a certain spot or head to higher ground and looking around. Don’t worry – Senua’s POV starts lighting up with dozens of flashes of the rule in question that only get stronger as you get closer to the solution. The player can use the focus in the surrounding around him or her to find and discover hidden items scattered all over the game’s environment.

And while it may seem easy enough, in the beginning, the game finds other ways to throw its perspective puzzles at you. Puzzles are interesting, fit the overall nature of the game and have plenty of clever wrinkles the deeper you go. However, it is not so complicated as well as it sounds as you need to stick to a single path even when you are exploring the environment.

Enemies are fairly typical, relying on swords and maces with the odd few using maces and shields. The games also turn a bit challenging when you face a lot of enemies at the same time attacking you with various dangerous weapons. Senua’s ability to dodge is very forgiving, getting her out of most sticky situations, but I couldn’t help wishing for a manual targeting system.

Aside from Senua’s focus also being able to expose shadowy enemies immune to damage and slowing down time to execute a myriad of slashes on a foe, that’s all there really is to the action. The sheer visceral nature of the combat is also highlighted when Senua is knocked down and struggling to get up each time. Fights feel cinematic but they’re also tight and well executed despite being constrained to small areas (for the most part). The boss battles are also exceptionally well done, making use of the focus mechanics, dodging and pattern memorization without overwhelming you with all the details.

The Verdict

It’s a great story and game because these two things go hand in hand. Hellblade is an excellent game for those who love to play open world game which includes a lot of exploration. The graphics are pretty impressive and is definitely worth your time. Just make sure to play only an hour at a time lest the voices haunt you in your sleep.

Scott
 

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