Released (on Steam): 7 Aug, 2017
Genres: Action, Adventure, Indie
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Ninja Theory
Steam Price: £24.99
From the makers of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry, comes a warrior’s brutal journey into myth and madness.
Set in the Viking age, a broken Celtic warrior embarks on a haunting vision quest into Viking Hell to fight for the soul of her dead lover.
Created in collaboration with neuroscientists and people who experience psychosis, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will pull you deep into Senua’s mind.
Completion: Completed campaign and watched the feature
Playtime at Review: 11.6 hours
Total Playtime: 11.6 hours
Achievements at Review: 13/14 (93%)
My rating: 9.8/10
The whole story and how it's portrayed is exceptional!
The sound effects and voices with headphones on are haunting and mesmerising.
The Hellblade Feature/Extras give an even greater appreciation and more respect for the game and all involved in it's creation (watch after playing the game).
It's beautifully dark and gloomy!
From the very start, I was completely captivated!
Fights are fun and increasingly challenging.
There's one achievement you can miss, and if your don't get it on your first playthrough, you'll have to play it all over again.
I had left Hellblade sitting in my library for almost a year, neglected and alone, and quite frankly I should be locked up for such a crime! Hellblade is an absolutely incredible game! Dark, gloomy, haunting, and completely mesmerising from the very start! Ever since release I had only heard good things about Hellblade, but I still didn’t expect to be so captivated by it. I was though! I started and finished it in a single sitting/day. The game is simply wow! Quite honestly the most powerful experience and intense feelings I’ve ever had while playing a game!
I’m not going to go into too much detail, and I’ve not got any videos from my playthrough. I managed to avoid spoilers until I played it, and I’m so thankful for it, so I’m not going to risk ruining such an impressive experience for anybody else.
First of all, the developers recommend playing the game with headphones for the 3D sound effects, and I completely agree! While I didn’t try without the headphones, I don’t imagine the experience would have been as amazing as it was without them. The sounds play a huge part in the game, and they’re what really make the whole experience so haunting! The story, the way it’s told and unfolds throughout the game is totally different to any other game, and it's pretty horrifying and incredible at the same time. There are some awesome quotes that will leave you thinking about different aspects of your life and how you see the world too.
I see the game mainly as a story driven walking simulator, with many puzzle elements and some fighting thrown in. There was no tutorial stage, so you’re just thrown into the game, but the general gameplay and fights aren’t really anything new, so it wasn’t a big issue. I also think it added to the experience with you being on your own adventure, having to figure things out on your own (the voices help too). The puzzle aspects play a nice part in how psychosis can affect people, something that the extra feature will help to understand some more. Most of them are pretty straight forward, while others can take a little longer to figure out. Others say they can be quite tedious, and while I agree with a couple of them, it will vary for everyone. I also think that's the whole part of the experience too. It shouldn't be a mad rush all the time, and having something like that to slow the pace a little helps vary my mood and enhance the other experiences. The fights are fun and challenging at times too, especially as you advance through the game (you can change the difficulty). The variety of enemies for the length of the game is decent too, and require different approaches to defeat them.
Personally, I would say the feature is a must watch, but I would definitely wait until after playing through the game to avoid spoilers and to not impact on your own understanding or interpretations of the game. It shows some of the people and processes involved with the creation of the game, from mental health and psychosis professionals to first hand insights from those who actually live with psychosis. This kind of research and input really shows in the game, and leaves one hell of an impression!
While the gameplay isn’t anything special, it doesn’t need to be for this game. You play for the experience, and more complex gameplay would likely detract from that experience. As I mentioned before, this is the most powerful and impressive experience I’ve ever had and felt in a game. Ninja Theory, and everyone involved in the development, have done an outstanding job of bringing Senua’s story to life and raising awareness of psychosis. I can’t recommend this game enough! If you’ve left this sitting in your library, or you’ve been sat contemplating buying it, just do it! You won’t regret it!
Posted on 22-06-2020