PlayStation 48.00
Overall 8.00
So.... Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.  Before we begin let's go ahead and put this into the "good game/bad name" file for future writers of second rate video game websites when they need fodder for a top 20 list. Seriously, you'll be seeing this name brought up in topics like that for a while. Hellblade? The Senua's Sacrifice part makes sense, but not Hellblade. What the hell is a Hellblade? She doesn't use a Hellblade. She has a sword. It's not a hellblade. Fuck it, I thinking too much about this. See, this is why I don't do reviews.

Now that I'm focused, let's talk about the game. If someone referred to it as a walking simulator, they'd have a decent claim. Combat is sporadic for most of the game, right up until the last quarter of the game.  Shame too because what combat the game offers is quite good. It's simple. 3 different kinds of attacks, dodge, parry, and run. You use all of it for different attacks. Simple, but effective.  Good boss battles too. Really combat-wise, the only complaint I have besides the lack of it is how they throw you in with no instruction. It wasn't until after a boss battle that I realized there's an additional move (focusing) that completely changes how you fight. That would have been helpful earlier.  But yeah, good stuff there.

Getting back to the "walking sim" there's also puzzles. The puzzles pretty much involve walking around, looking at stuff, and then walking around some more to look at other things because you probably didn't find what you were supposed to look for at first. Once you find what you're looking for, you stare at it and then you can advance. If it sounds like I'm oversimplifying, I'm really not. Don't get me wrong though, these puzzles are tough. Kind of satisfying, but at the end of the day you really are just looking at stuff.

So there's a lot of walking and looking, and just a touch of fighting.  Doesn't sound like much of a game does it? Why would anyone want to play this?  Well, that would be because of the story and the character of Senua.

You see, Senua is a pretty broken young woman. This young Celtic warrior was apparently never the picture of good mental health, but after seeing all of her friends and family killed by a bunch of viking bastards she broke down even more. So now, guided by an old mentor who might be as crazy as she is, she's going to seek vengeance for her dead lover and try to save his soul.

Nice enough story, but nothing real special right?  What really makes the game special is Senua and her fragile mental health and how it affects her journey. Things she sees and hears are sometimes real and sometimes in her mind, but as you're playing through her eyes it's real to you. It's really amazing too. Sometimes things are subtle like a path of leaves that look normal one second and then ablaze the next. Other times everything just goes dark and you start getting worried about what happens next.  The sound is incredible too. Play this game with either headphones or a great sound system. Voices she hears, the darkness that speaks directly to her. It gets very intense. Side note: while the game has some tense moments it also has one of the most frightening scenes of any game I've played where you almost exclusively rely on sound so seriously use headphones!

Anyway seeing and hearing the world from her perspective really changes the game from being just another walking simulator. Couple that with Senua being a very complex, well-written and frankly tragic hero in a Nordic wilderness, and you've got yourself a damn fine way to kill 8 or so hours. Play it I say!
Posted by robio Thu, 31 Aug 2017 04:06:03
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 11:17:18
Great review. I love it.
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:54:59
Would rent if I could.
Fri, 01 Sep 2017 10:18:07
It pisses me off you can't get this physical. Gonna have to DL it soon.
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