In August of 2017 indie-game developer Ninja Theory released on PlayStation 4 and PC, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game was so popular on PS4 and PC it earned high praises from both critics and players alike as well as winning nine awards! With this success, Ninja Theory expanded the game’s potential and will release it on Xbox One on April 11th, 2018!
I’ve been granted the honor by Ninja Theory to review it before it hit’s selves. All I can say now is you need to get this game!
The game is heavily influenced by ancient Celtic culture along with Norse mythology, that’s enough right there to make you throw your wallets at the screen right now. The game revolves not just on the culture and mythology but on our heroine Senua’s mental health, Ninja Theory worked closely with mental health experts to make this part of the experience as real as possible, this is where the game is unique.
Senua is clearly mentally ill suffering from auditory hallucinations. It’s suggested players play the game with headphones, be warned that if you do, you will now understand why mental illness is no laughing matter; I actually caught myself saying “I wish the voices can stop.”, this alone was both thought-provoking and terrifying.
Thankfully, because of how in depth and real the experience is, Ninja Theory has THIS on their website, I strongly suggest you share THIS LINK with people you or anyone you know have any worries or concerns about themselves or others.
Now onto the game itself! Players take control of a young woman named Senua who has traveled to the Norse underworld, Helheim, to save Dillion her Lover, whose severed head or skull she carries with her in a sack on her belt; at this point of me playing the game it’s not revealed if it is or not but you know it is. Senua’s mission is to confront Hela the goddess of the underworld to save Dillion. While exploring the world of the dead, Senua will find stones with runes on them that if you make her focus on it you hear the voice of Bruth, a man Senua once knew who told her stories that he learned from the “Northmen” when he was alive but even in death his spirit still tells the stories.
Senua has to solve puzzles and traverse dangerous paths, all the while hearing the voices in her head that doubt what she’s doing or asking questions about what’s going on. Along with these voices is that of a narrator that gives the feeling that this is a story unfolding right before our eyes as she tells it.
There is combat in the game, I suggest you learn the controls fast because you get only one freebie in the beginning because after your first fight, Senua will be vulnerable to “Rot” whenever she loses a fight her skin will appear to be cracking and changing color but once this reaches her head, game over, literally, all progress lost, permadeath.
My final thoughts: The art is amazing; the sound effects are amazing, the music is awesome, the voice acting is marvelous, and the animation of Senua who is both voiced and played by Melina Juergens who gave a spectacular performance thanks to motion capture technology! As mentioned before, you have got to get this game. On my scale of 1 to 5 stars, it’s a strong 5 for the unique storyline, atmosphere, attention to detail, and how easily hooked I got while playing it!