Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a dark fantasy action-adventure game developed and published by the British video game development studio Ninja Theory. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 in August 2017, Xbox One in April 2018, and Nintendo Switch in April 2019. Hellblade features support for virtual reality, which was added in a 2018 update.
Why It Rocks
- Excellent depiction of mental health. While many video games exploit it for plot purposes, that isn't the case with this game. In fact, they had several mental health advisors to help with developing the story and depict it realistically, showing how people with a mental illness are still people, and not psychopaths or whatnot.
- Amazing graphics that look almost real.
- Senua is a very likeable and relatable character, in addition to being a strong female character.
- Senua's husband, Dillion, (though only seen in flashbacks) is a very likeable character and loving husband.
- Combat is intense, making the player seem vulnerable against the monsters, and requires players to be smart and careful rather than bombastic.
- A permadeath mechanic, which leads to total game over after a certain number of deaths, adds to the tension.
- Amazing and foreboding atmosphere.
- Amazing voice acting, particularly from Melina Juergens as Senua.
- Wonderful story, it manages to perfectly blend many intense and scary moments with more quiet and thoughtful ones. Ultimately, it's a story about internal struggle rather than scares.
- Interesting puzzles that require the player to find a specific shape within the environment to unlock gates.
- Interesting boss fights that are even better than the regular fights.
- Senua's backstory is absolutely heartbreaking and well-developed.
- NO JUMP SCARES! Instead, the game relies on atmosphere for it's scares.
- Lorestones talk about Norse mythology in an interesting way and relate it to the story at hand.
- The voices in Senua's head make the game very surreal if played with headphones.
- Although the permadeath feature might be interesting, because the creators focused more on story, the game is pretty easy even on hard difficulty (doesn't make it any less intense, though).
- The gameplay can get repetitive after a while (both the combat and the puzzle solving).
- The game is a little short, at only about 6 hours or so. Though that might be a good thing as it often prevents the game from being too complicated or long, especially in lieu of the permadeath.
- Hela, despite being the main antagonist, only appears a couple times and doesn't get any development unlike the other characters.