Author Topic: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice  (Read 829 times)

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
« on: February 25, 2019, 06:24:48 PM »
I'm a little late with this thread (by a scant eighteen months) but I just finished playing this and felt like talking about it.
It's a bit like Silent Hill meets God of War (2018), with a bit of The Stanley Parable. You play as the eponymous Senua, A Pict warrior, suffering from psychosis, on a surreal quest to save the soul of her slain love from the Viking underworld.

Described by its developer as a "Triple-A indie game", it lives up to that title with aplomb. The production values are absolutely top notch, easily matching, or even surpassing the best efforts of the mainstream industry. For my money, it's the best looking game around right now and the music and sound effects are equally gobsmacking. I've seen it mildly criticised in some reviews for being a bit short in comparison to other games, but it lasted me a good few days and the RRP of around 25 quid mean it's an absolute bargain anyway. It's a really exciting precedent for the industry as a whole; while developers Ninja Theory are an established company and not just some bunch of bedroom coders, the fact that all twenty (count 'em) members of their team were able to put out something this polished and succeed financially without help and hindrance of a publisher seems like a small miracle.

Gameplay is a mix of puzzling and combat, usually split into discrete sections, a bit like in the Batman Arkham games. Puzzles generally play up Senua's pareidolia, as you seek out vantage points from which to align symbols and objects within the world. Elsewhere you'll be navigating mazes by following sounds (headphones are pretty much essential) or switching between Zelda style light/dark worlds to open the way forward. Combat generally involves things coming to a halt, as you walk into an arena in which hulking, not quite human brutes spawn in. The sword fighting seems simplistic at first, but rewards experimentation. Fun might be the wrong word to describe it, but the fights have a very satisfying feel to them and later battles, which see you facing off against multiple opponents at once are worthy of the word epic.

So does it work as an exploration of psychosis? Well the graphics certainly conjure up a lot of memorable and troubling images. Certain sections are the most frightening I've played in years, particularly a bit in which I had to navigate though near total darkness while... something snarled away within the gloom. I'm not so sure the constant voices in Senua's head have quite the same effect. The fact that they address Senua directly meant that they never got under my skin in the way I think they were supposed to. Whenever they pipe up to say that the quest is hopeless or whatever, it's less disheartening than it is mildly distracting. As great as the lead actress is, a Gordon Freeman-esque silent protagonist might have been more effective at putting the player in Senua's shoes.

Re: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 07:31:06 AM »
One of my favourite games of last year - nothing to add you’ve summed it up nicely other than it’s been on sale a lot so I hope you didn’t have to pay the rrp

Jerzy Bondov

  • get sum!!
    • Wrongfully Adapted
Re: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2019, 09:24:07 AM »
It's on sale on PSN now for £13 (down from £25).

Re: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2019, 12:43:02 PM »
Bargain - go get it !

Re: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2019, 01:51:48 PM »
Yes, do. If you don't have enough hard disk space, get the Blu Ray copy. Either way, go get it.