Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a mentally challenging trudge through Hel, the underworld of Norse Vikings. It is a miserable place of malcontent. Senua is on a brutal trek into the belly of the beast, with a slew of voices in her head. The story is well executed with a very earnest story that is not for the weak of mind or those who have mental issues. Even if the end is truly well urn. The scenery is stunningly beautiful, with some of the moodiest and most imaginative scenery yet to see. As someone from a Viking land up north, I have a more than passing familiarity with Norse mythology.
Hellblade does a simply wonderful job at imagining nordic inspired locations. Though I truly miss a decent fjord. Meanwhile, the story has a superb narrative and narration, where the world is littered with Norse mythology snippets. That being said Hellblade is a self-contained story where everything you can do is there from the start.
Combat is surprisingly simple and very efficient. However, the combat does fall into meat wall territory, unless set to easy. Heavy attacks are combined with light ones, timed blocking, lenient dodging, and a focus mechanic that slows everything down for a short period of time. Meanwhile, the other part of the game is puzzles and harrowing situations, followed by long stretches of simple puzzle-solving. Essentially a door is blocked by runes, which the shape has to be found, seen, and focused on. Such as a distinct shadow on the wall after lighting a torch, or lining up some specific scenery.
There is also a fair share of illusions and perspective tricks in place as well. Which is a very interesting and fun way to do puzzle-solving. Instead of scrounging for keys and banging things together until it magically works. A feature I truly enjoy is the fantastically unobtrusive hud. The music is also fantastic, moody and something I need to look up later. That being said I ran across several crashes and some minor bugs. Such as walking backward when crawling through the engulfing darkness. All in all a great game that took me eight hours to complete. Where it is impossible to miss the achievements. That being said, the saved file will not be affected by dying a lot. Then again I died a grand total of five times. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is not a game for children and the feeble-minded or those easily bored by long stretches of fumbling about.
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