Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

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    Looking for a comprehensive Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review? We’ve got you covered! Enter into the dark Psychological world of Hellblade where not everything is what it seems. Here is our Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review.

    Enter into the Nordic world of Hellblade where not everything is as it seems. Senua a Pictish Warrior, embarks on a quest to journey to Helheim and free the person she loves from the clutches of Hela, on the way she encounters foes greater than anything, but vows not to let anything stand in her way, nor God, Beast or Man will stop her. Developed by Ninja Theory and published in 2017 this Supernatural and even Psychological Hack and Slash Adventure sees the Titular Senua, traverse environments, memories, and hardships to confront the Goddess. All culminating in her overcoming the Darkness inside and learning to let go and move on, so that she can heal and come to terms with the world she lives in.


    The game begins with a rather impressive sequence where the titular Senua is taking a boat down a river, while voices tell the player about what is going on. This is accompanied by staff jobs and names in an interesting blend with the world of Hellblade. As the journey goes on corpses scatter the world, after a little while of this impressive opening the game opens up as Senua makes landfall. Here is where things really start to feel different as it’s the first instance where Senua reacts and even interacts with the player camera, making the game a more personal experience which pulls the player from an almost overseer observer of a story into a chronicler and character in the story.

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    As the game goes on, minutes after exiting the boat, the feel of the game takes a drastic and dark turn where the very world itself seems like it is against Senua. This turn symbolizes a good few things but it’s not until later that the implications of these actions are yet to be fully comprehended.

    While you carry on through the game, events unfold to teach you that Senua can see things that are really there, and using that ability, she can gain access to Helheim. This is only added to by dropping you into combat and although basic, it is very impressive. Switching from an explorative state into a combat scenario, Senua utilizes her training with a sword to be a deadly adversary for both god and Northman.

    While it seems short there is a good amount of Naritive crammed into the game, the main objective of which is to journey into Helheim and save the man she loved. Personally, this felt like a take on Dante’s Divine Comedy where the titular Dante descends into Hell to save his betrothed, while fighting off his own demons through the 9 rings of Hell. Both are very similar for many reasons and although the setting for the game differs, Dante being a Christian from Richard the Lionheart’s Crusades and Senua a Pict from presumably Scotland in the age of the Nords being the main difference. Other things that differ is the depiction of their demons, Dante fights through the 9 rings of hell which are the sins committed in life, whereas Senuas battles have to do with a supposed curse that destroys everything around her, and in the game is depicted by darkness and even her breaking the Fourth Wall (Talking and interacting directly with the player). The constant over both is that they are doing a task for something greater than themselves and no matter the price that either must pay to achieve their goal they will gladly, if the outcome is achieved. While Dante, on some technicality achieves the desired outcome at the end of Book 1, Inferno, by leaving the Inferno and entering into Purgatorio, Senua’s Story is a little more complicated to understand. This is because while she does in fact survive the events and result in an outcome, it might be seen as not the desired outcome for her.

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    Mechanics, Graphics, & Technical things

    On the more technical side and even graphically, I don’t think that I have played a game so “Down the Rabbit Hole”, it is really that interesting. While the controls are simple, basic and dare I say the most limiting to the player, they are also the most fluid, and easiest to use out of the games I can bring to mind. The way the controls are designed you don’t need to think and your hands naturally gravitate to what you need, there are a few more commands for combat than exploration but the same applies.

    Graphically it’s important to pay dues to the fantastic team at Ninja Theory for the game they have built, and the impressive story. Along with Ninja Theory’s fantastic concept, rapidly expanding technologies, known as Photogrammetry were used to make Senua more human. Photogrammetry, since Hellblade has seen lots of uses in Gaming, two of the most prominent games that employ this are The Astronauts’s The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter and EA Dice’s Star Wars Battlefront. To give an understanding of what Photogrammetry is we first need to split it into a little more detail, which is Photoscanning and Laser scanning. Laser scanning utilizes a scanner to project a laser line which, for lack of a better word, scans an object, whereas Photo scanning is the art of taking photographs all around an object. These are specialist skills and take a lot of trial and error and practice, the result of both is to recreate an object within a 3D Environment. However, these “scans” are way too densely packed to be usable within a real-time simulation, in most cases, so that would be a modeler’s job to make it into something that a game would utilize smoothly. The way that Hellblade uses this technology is to recreate Senua from the real world person. To do this a specialist company called 3Lataral was used, this is not too dissimilar to what Rockstar Games did back in 2010 with L.A. Noir.

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    The resulting character is a more real-looking, and even realistically deforming character when animated. There are other parts of the character which are equally impressive like the fur Senua has draped over her shoulders, her war paint, the initial sword hilt, or even the part of Senua which you don’t see. It needs to be addressed as it is something that was in the dev logs where the artists put custom fingerprints onto Senua, this alone is an impressive task and to have gone to such lengths to create a personalized identity for a digital character really rather showed how far technology has come. While we have thus far focused on the character of Senua, there is an incredible environment to look at as well, which is constantly changing.

    Where someone might get confused, turned around or even distorted within an environment that alters as it does in Hellblade, it shows how far the developers were willing to go to make their dream of the game come to fruition. In addition to this, the different environments actually add to the immersion of the game and give a better understanding of, at times, the backstory, not just of Senua but the world in which she lives.

    On a more Mechanical point, there was one Mechanic within the game that caught my attention and made my playstyle drastically different. This was The Dark Rot. This simple mechanic was probably the most terrifying part of starting to play this game, only because of its description, which is;

    “The Dark Rot will grow each time you fail if the Dark Rot reaches Senua’s head, her quest is over and all progress will be lost”

    Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – 2017 Video Game – Ninja Theory

    As you can see from the simple and elegant way it’s disguised, it sounds and presumably acts as a Permadeath mode. While the game tells you this it is worth noting that the game has such impactful meanings, Lost, Failure, and Illness, among some of them. Although this was something I didn’t really want to put to the test as Permadeath modes are generally terrifying for gamers, I got the feeling that it was a decoy meant to distract and push the player into a mindset which would let them die. This was only a feeling that was present as after taking out Surta the Rot of Senua’s arm grew. Now, by my reasoning that would have been a successful objective meaning I didn’t fail, however, the Rot grew from just playing the game and achieving the objective. This to me says there was a hell of a lot more to do with this mysteriously worded “Permadeath”. In addition to this, shortly after the introduction of this piece of information, you learn something rather interesting which didn’t sink in for me for a few hours and after sleep, which is;

    “The hardest battles are fought in the mind”

    Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – 2017 Video Game – Ninja Theory

    This to me says that not everything was as it appeared and progressing into the game that’s all too apparent if you haven’t worked it out yet. The thing that made this really stand out was the connection that Senua has with the skull of Dillion, which she carries with her and uses as a sort of grounding force when she is “Not herself”, an example being when her sword is shattered on the bridge.


    Overall the game was an incredible story taking place over almost 7 hours, making it a short and sweet Platinum for anyone wanting to play it, and with the Upcoming Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 now is the perfect time to sink into this adventure. Sadly Ninja Theory has yet to release any Formal information pertaining to a PlayStation launch of the Sequal, Senua’s Sage, for now, however, we PS gamers will have to wait and see what happens and hope we get to enjoy the sequel someday.

    That all being said the game is probably one of the best adventures I have played in the past few months, and I’m ashamed to say it’s taken me so long to try it. Having bought it on day one and left it gathering, a now, thick layer of digital dust this was one of the best adventures I have sat through and only wish it were longer. Come release day for Senua’s Sage, I will be looking forward to trying out what the sequel will hold, utilising the Microsoft GamePass on the computer, while it might seem a step down from the PlayStation this is the best I can hope for.

    The one part of the game that felt off from the very start was the fact that there are multiple voices which are telling you information, some useful and others not so. While it was sort of distracting during combat and when trying to find my way this was and is an important narrative element for the game, where it can’t be ignored completely, it was something that I wish that I had prior knowledge of before starting.

    Looking for more reviews to read? Be sure to visit this page and discover a wide range of informative and insightful reviews. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to gain valuable insights and make informed decisions.


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    Enter into the dark Fantastical and psychological tale of Senua's Quest. A story that will lead her into the heart of Helheim to clam what was taken.

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    Enter into the dark Fantastical and psychological tale of Senua's Quest. A story that will lead her into the heart of Helheim to clam what was taken. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review