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Screenshot of Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice Portrait

What is Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice?

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is a unique video game developed by Ninja Theory and published by the same company. A psychological cinematic horror action adventure title, it can be played on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows powered computers. It tells the unique story in a truly memorable way, with great visuals and an innovative gameplay.

Key facts about Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

  • Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is a story driven video game with unique game mechanics.
  • The outstanding sound theme and visually pleasing cinematics create the perfect gaming atmosphere.
  • Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice has an engaging story portraying mental illness in an original way.
  • The game is full of puzzles which can get repetitive after some time.
  • Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice has a twisted narrative and structure that sometimes lacks coherence.

Gameplay of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

The Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice gameplay seems more complex and difficult than it actually is. That’s because in the absence of an HUD, players are frequently left guessing about what’s happening to them. Developers did it on purpose to create the kind of atmosphere that would portray the torment of someone struggling with mental illness. Players need to pay attention to the voices screaming at them and try to make sense of what they’re saying. Sometimes they help you avoid danger, otherwise they mislead you.

The game doesn’t have a tutorial, which means that the combat is largely a trial and error process. Players are frequently forced to go back and double check a segment they have recently completed to make sure they left nothing behind. Since there are also side quests to complete in addition to the main narrative, these problems are compounded. Things are rarely what they seem and a few seconds of carelessness can cause the untimely demise of the character.

During the first couple of missions players learn enough about the Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice gameplay and core game mechanics. The learning curve continues to be steep and the opponents are increasingly difficult to defeat. What makes the game really special is its uncanny ability of creating a feeling of impending doom. Players genuinely worry for the safety of Senua and struggle to keep the character safe. This is precisely what the developers intended and it greatly enhances the replayability of the videogame.

Screenshot of Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice Skull

Plot of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

The story of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is centered on a mythical Pict struggling with the torment of mental illness. She embarks on a quest that could lead her to the pits of despair or could save her soul. While on this personal journey she encounters all the monsters and demons tormenting her dreams. Players have a hard time distinguishing between real world and the realm of imagination, where the deep psychotic manifestations of her mind roam freely.

The introduction is so compelling that players develop an immediate connection with the traumatized Celtic warrior. Accepting the terrible reality of her family being killed is a hard thing to do for Senua and her torments spawns a plethora of inner demons. While she tries to cope with severe psychosis, she comes under the constant assault of hallucinations. A very thin line separates reality from the nightmarish land of her dreams and there’s never a shortage of adversaries.

The plot of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is truly special because it feels like an inward journey into the depths of the soul. There are plenty of cinematic moments that further amplify this overwhelming feeling and make it difficult for players to distinguish between reality and fiction. Memories and actions that unfold in real-time are braided into a long and twisted thread leading into the abyss. It is never clear where the quest will end and players have the privilege of discovering the changes one of the time.

Most of the Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice plot is revolving around the psychological evolution of the Pict worrier. Players resort to combat only to deal with the hordes of Northmen attacking her on her journey. Senua proves to be an adept warrior and does short work of these assaulting berserkers.

Screenshot of Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice Battle

Development of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice development was unique just like the game. Ninja Theory decided to develop and publish the game independently so it meets their exact expectations. The game highlights all the progress made by the team over more than a decade but is centered more on the story than the gameplay. Development took slightly longer than expected and the game was released with slight delays. That’s because the team wanted to make sure that it was an experience focused title with great replayability.

The team worked closely with world leading neuroscientists in their quest to create the perfect atmosphere. Since the main character is clearly struggling with severe psychosis, the input of these specialists came in handy. The result is a game that brilliantly succeeds at capturing the effects of mental illnesses and projects those findings into a video game. A lot of attention was also paid to combat, even though there are fewer scenes involving physical confrontation.

Where can I download Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice?

Ninja Theory is both the developer and publisher of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice. As a result it comes as no surprise that the game can be downloaded from their website. There won’t be any sequels and this videogame is not a part of a franchise either, so don’t expect other bundles. However, the software developer has produced other titles worth considering such as DmC Devil May Cry or Disney Infinity.

Players who fell in love with the action-adventure genre should consider games produced by other software developers. Perhaps one of the best choices is the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, one of the best games of 2017. Assassin's Creed Unity, Grand Theft Auto V and Resident Evil 6 are also on the list, even though there quite different from Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice.

Screenshot of Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice Hell on the Horizon

What are others saying about Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice?

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice reviews hold the game in high regard for being truly original. In this world of copy cats, people were surprised to see how much attention was paid to the psychological aspect of the game. The fact that so many people from the scientific world were involved in its development explains the positive reviews. Visually the game was just as impressive and that’s despite the fact that Ninja Theory decided not to launch the game in 4K resolution.

Players were also pleasantly surprised by the fact that the game runs so smoothly on Unreal Engine 4. The fact that the gameplay is less focused on physical confrontation and more on the psychological dimension is also noted in reviews. Those who were less impressed with the game complained that the narrative is twisted and at times convoluted.

My Rating of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is precisely the kind of game I would recommend to my friends. Nowadays it is so difficult to vouch for a video game that is truly original that I often hold back and try to focus equally on the pros and cons. While this is definitely not a flawless game and has plenty of shortcomings in the realm of gameplay, it is something else. The manner in which developers chose to tackle the sensitive subject and portray mental illness in a videogame impressed me.

To be perfectly fair, this is not a game for the fainthearted or those who seek immediate gratification. There are occasions when nothing seems to make sense and I guess some people might be tempted to abandon the quest. I would advise players to persevere and try to look at the big picture instead of focusing too much on the details. This is a profound game and it has the potential of producing long-lasting memories despite some occasional shortcomings. Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice is a game that I don’t mind waiting rating 9/10.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall
9
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