Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is one of the few games that managed to make a huge impression recently because it focuses on a distinct and rather unique topic. At its core, this is a cinematic psychological horror adventure game. The idea here is to showcase the challenges and problems of a person that has schizophrenia and deep psychosis.
We follow Senua as she tries to find her lover Dillion. We get to see her enter the heart of the Norse Hel as she tries to get her lover back and this leads to some rather distinct, unique and fun character moments that will impress you a lot.
The developers did a very good job when it comes to telling a wonderful, unique and interesting story right off the bat. Since the main character has psychosis, you will end up hearing voices at times, and there are situations when Senua’s mental instability can lead to some really challenging moments.
That’s where the game shines, the fact that the entire experience is empathic and it allows you to explore this world through the eyes of a person that has nothing to lose. The combat is great here, and in many ways, it can be compared to Dark Souls. The gameplay as a whole is fun to begin with, and it only manages to get better more and more.
Graphically, the game shines, and the animations are very well done. The motion capture was phenomenal, and the game is outstanding because of that. They did manage to get a consistent 60FPS value on PC, which is very impressive. There are some environmental puzzles here and there, but the true benefit here is that the game comes with a distinct and exciting combat experience right off the bat. There’s also permadeath.
Adding permadeath in the game like this does make sense if you consider the story. But it’s safe to say that it’s not as easy as you can imagine right off the bat. The game does try to have a very slow pace, as you explore new locations and the entire story. That being said, the combat system can get a bit repetitive, and the overall pacing is not the best. Since the game is only singleplayer and it lasts for 7 hours or so, it’s not exactly the longest gaming experience that you will ever have. That being said, the game does shine, and it manages to get better and better as you play.
After playing and finishing the game, I can surely say that Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice does require a gamepad, as that’s where the control and combat shine.
As a whole, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is an incredible gaming experience and one that showcases just how deep a game can be, even if the overall topic may not be the easiest one to tackle. But overall I believe they did a very good job, and the story does bring a satisfying ending. Sure, it’s not the longest game out there, but the story is outstanding, the combat is great and overall this is a true masterpiece for cinematic game lovers!