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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice review
by Emi Montemayor

Hellblade was a very interesting experience reminiscent of Dante's Inferno, in which Senua travels to Hell and back (literally) to save her husband's condemned soul.

Let's talk about the story. I loved the sense of mystery, dread, and uncertainty we had through the entire game. Hellblade presents a well made story about dealing with loss, showing us Senua go through the five stages of grief in a very subtle manner, while also dealing, and eventually overcoming, mental illness. The Norse mythology has a very accurate representation as well, showing us one of the closest representations of the ancient gods we've ever seen on media.

Now regarding gameplay, honestly I consider this more of a 'experience' or 'movie' more than it is a game. The game is obviously heavy narrative based and has very little playability outside of movement and combat, and now that we are talking about combat... The combat itself feels very clunky and sometimes unfair, It could have been done way better but I don't blame them, the highlight of Hellblade is its story and narrative, it's not very focused on combat mechanics and it shows.

Overall, excellent game, one truly amazing experience.
«That ending!»

Other reviews14

fucking beautiful, all through out
i've yet to see a piece of media (any media) that so tastefully and properly captures psychosis as well as this game does
and despite its narrative pretensions, the combat isn't bad either
very basic, but not bad at all

don't look up things about it, just give it a whirl
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
An incredible game with amazing visuals, simple but intuitive combat system, and a captative story that full of Nordic mythology. Despite all this, Hellblade has some off-putting weak points, like very little evolution and diversity in terms of enemies throughout the game and puzzles that end up being repeated too many times, some bad acting on the live action put discreetly into it. This game also ruins your experience a lot with a stale ending and a HORRIBLE and super misplaced song for the credits.
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Some Triple-A Developer/Publishers can cut themselves off a Disc! I don't know a Game that deals with the Issue Of Psychosis as intensively as this one. It offers a very interesting Insight into the Emotional World of a Figure with such a "Disease." The Voices in the Head that accompany you throughout the game are just one of these Phenomena. The Story itself is located around Norse Mythology, which I don't normally care about at all, but here it is well built in and does not exaggerate with unnecessary Information or Stories. It is about 8 Hours long, which for some is a short time for €30000. However, one has to bear in mind that on the one hand it is produced at Triple-A level and still is not offered at the Full Price and on the other hand this Length is completely sufficient. It would be worse if the Story got worse just because you absolutely want to do it longer. In brevity lies the Seasoning;) The Story of Senua Itself could confuse for one or the other towards the End, as it reveals the Information relatively subtly (as Opposed to some other Games). So you should be full of things and think something (:D) to fully understand the Story at the first Attempt, because it really has it in it and for me is certainly one of the Best of this Year. A small Point of Criticism is certainly the lack Of Localization into other Languages, but I cannot assess that because everyone considers it to be of different importance. I don't really care, so I rate that neutrally. At least this leads everyone to see the excellent acting performance of the Senua actress (who, Incidentally, comes from Germany ^ ^). The Gameplay is simple, so Ninja Theory can make it possible to do without HUD, which contributes a lot to the Atmosphere. In Principle, it consists of three Parts: The "Walking Simulator," i.e. the exploration of the Level or the Progression to the next, the Puzzles and the Fights. The Puzzles still fade well into the Game world at the beginning, but at the End seem like a compulsively built-in Game Element, to have some Gameplay with you and to stretch the Game a bit. The Fights or the Fighting Techniques are easy to learn and, in my Opinion, go well with a Mouse and Keyboard. Technically, the Game runs at the same Level as the Content: It looks damn good and runs fluidly to a large Extent. You only notice that the Game is designed for Consoles because there are hardly any Setting Options. (For Example, you can't adjust Mouse sensitivity). In Summary, I can only say: Respect to Ninja Theory for venturing into taboo topics like this and despite their small Budget (after all, they've published it themselves and only worked with a relatively small Team on it) a game at AAA Level Have developed. By the Way, the game's integrated Documentary about the Game and Ninja Theory'S Dev Diaries on YouTube, which show how, despite the highly limited resources, you can still let creativity run wild and Conjure up a very nice Game from it Can. :)
The only thing is good is the atmosphere. This gams should not be the game - it should be a movie. 
Absolutely crazy hitboxes. Total unfair fights. And yeah - I have passed all the three souls. And the other part of the game is extremely boring walking simulator. 
«Oh God i managed it»
Wow. Just, wow. A complete different story for a game. I played with headphones like recommended and I felt like I totally have that all voices in my head and my soul from the beginning till the end of the game. Don't want to spoil things for new beginners but, this game is something else then you've played any game before. 

Senua is a such a poor soul with a broken heart and looking for answers, a hope. To put myself in her shoes while playing is like nothing else. Just mind blowing. But, the question is, do I really like this experience as a "game"? There was so many moments made me disturbed. I'm a 30 yo man, still felt horror against some scenes. I don't recommend this game if you have a mental problem, scary things or any, mmm how can I say, hellish ambients and etc.
«Blew my mind»
Hat's off to Ninja Theory. One of those rare games that takes time for you to realise what a masterpiece it is. Really immersive, lot's of puzzles and combat, the sound structure is impecable. I've never seen such a great depiction of mental illness like on Hellblade. Truly unique experience and one of best gaming experiences I've ever had in all of my gaming years.
«Blew my mind»
«That ending!»
It's hard to say why people removes one A from the AAA when describe this game. It feels like a typical Playstation exclusive, trying to look like a movie. From the very beginning, we are told that this is a serious story, aimed for many awards and make you write long reviews after you finish it (Oops). Usualy when focus goes to story, gameplay always suffers. So, what I get this time? Female God of War, Death Stranding with swords or Grim Lollipop Chainsaw?

True, here is "no fun allowed" club, but you must be know about that and be in right mood before you start playing. The topic is important. Main focus of the game are mental disorders that built twisted reality of main character — Senua. This is not just buzz words, and the consultants writen in the credits really helped to convey realistic hallucinations and posible source of this problem.
At second layer same old story of fathers and children, but being told within fictional dark ages feels fresh and adds a lots of nuances.
While playing, we are constantly told by the myths and legends of the Vikings, which in some ways resemble the fate of Senua herself. There are many, but most likely you already know them. But as a little distraction, during constant walking just fine.
Well, what kind of movie can be without lovestory? The strongest motivation that drives the hero forward through monstrous trials is salvation of the soul of the beloved, whose head hangs on her waist. And it realy works! I belived that this is very important goal and worth all this suffering.

I played in headphones, as recommended and it's really impressive: the sound here deffinetly works on a new quality level, which no one has yet approached! The whispers of inner voices comes from different sides and actors' play make you believe in Senua's teared personality. Voices speak contradictory phrases, forcing player to doubt his actions and wait for a threat that didn't exist. I've been caught once, when they make me to believe that the torch can go out — bravo! Also, voices are clever used as pointers, suggesting where to go and what to do.
Visual style is also beautiful, but we've already seen this. All these cold rocks, moss, wild plants and shackled together wood logs have appeared many times in many games. Even Viking castles not surprise anyone. But still visuals are impressive: I stopped many times, just to look at the sunlight reflected in the puddles. Btw, Ninja theory continue to use live action footage. This time actors placed right in scene and camera matches with their position so they didn't looks flat (like in Myst). Very clever.

As new thing, developers have made original puzzles, playing with enviroment. Finding symbols in the environment is fresh idea (if you didn't play The Witness before), and perfectly illustrates real mental problems when a person searches for unnecessary patterns around before doing something. Unfortunately, to get this working and to be sure that player didn't stuck somewhere, puzzles have to make very simplistic. The necessary objects always in sight, and when you stand next to the right place screen start to flow with lights. It is difficult to imagine how to do it different, so I assume that developers did alright.

I heard many complained about combat system, but I was quite satisfied with the fighting. It allows you to maneuver between enemies, constuct effective series of attacks and at the same time become hard when you get damage by adding long pauses between attacks. The set of movement will even increase slightly during the game. However, you still get bored from constant repetition of the same enemies.
It's less a game and more of a story than you might think, but without interactivity, it would never be so immersive. I was scared, angered, amazed and confused for real so this is definitly worth playing. 
«Can’t stop playing»
«Sit back and relax»
Hellblade has one of the best voice acting, motion capture and writing I've seen in games. You are highly advise to use headphones, you'll feel yourself really in the head of Senua. The gameplay is solid, fighting is good, puzzles are fun. In conclusion, Ninja Theory made an epic game, too bad it's not that long.
If you are looking for a fighting hack-and-slash game, go somewhere else, but if you like a deep story based on Norse mythology and value the atmosphere and clever puzzles, Hellblade will make you happy. Graphics are good and the game is very well optimized – it runs smoothly. The story is linear but nevertheless great. Headphones are a must to play.
This game delivers a truly unique experience. It is rich with Norse Mythology, it has a compelling story, amazing visuals, and some of the best sound design in gaming. The combat is quite simple, yet works very effective, there is a variety of moves from different strikes, to blocks and dodging. Every encounter you'll mix them and you can come up with your own fighting style. The system requirements are modest enough, and it looks incredible. On the whole, Ninja Theory made a beautiful game and I can't wait for a sequel of some sort.