Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, As Told By Steam Reviews

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Featuring a heavy dose of psychosis and a little bit of Bloodborne-style combat, Ninja Theory's latest adventure has been received rather nicely.

Starring a Celtic warrior who journeys into the hell of Vikings to retrieve the soul of her dead lover, Hellblade has caught the attention of gamers thanks to an eye-catching look, a heavy dose of narrative and a main character that struggles with mental illness.

Put simply, it's an unusual game. Nathan described Hellblade as a game that left him reeling. "As I set my controller down, the game informed me that Senua’s agonizing death had only been a vision of the future, and that if I faltered enough times in combat, it would come true," he wrote.

Hellblade Is Great Because It's Frustrating

I went into Hellblade expecting another fast, fun action romp from the folks at Ninja Theory, who previously made Enslaved and DmC. Devil May Cry. After playing for about 20 minutes, I had to put the controller down. I was so stressed out that I couldn't take it any more.

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The permadeath element hasn't been completely confirmed, with some writers saying the mechanic was a bluff and other users noting that you could lose your game permanently, provided you died across multiple checkpoints. Regardless, the lack of clarity over how it works and the fact that it exists at all has been the major criticism levelled at the game - nobody likes to have their progress reset to zero because they weren't good enough.

But beyond that, the reception for Hellblade has been warm. With a 88% user rating with just over 2000 reviews, the game has won plaudits for its stark look, animations, narration, and the way psychosis is depicted and used throughout the game.

The combat and puzzle elements are the most disliked elements across user reviews, with gamers deriding their repetitiveness. Others also noted a lack of enemy variety, and the positioning of the camera was also criticised. Some users also pointed out instability in the game's performance, including hard crashes to desktop, micro stuttering and noticeable frame rate drops.

Here's what users are saying about Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice:


    i love how the haters place their expectation on the game to be something its not.
    this game was always about telling a story. that was the focus.
    but hey, entitlers, gonna be entitled while they hate.
    the thing i really dont like about the steam reviews is that because a game was misunderstood and not enjoyed because its not your type of game, it gets a scathing review, even if the game does what it was designed to do, well.
    not enough objectivity.

      Yeap. They are just not getting the point of the game. I just started mine yesterday and I can tell how mythology heavy it was and trying to listen to all the lodestone before as I get them before moving just to immerse myself.

      Their comments seemed reasonable to me. If you are going to include combat and puzzles in your game then make them feel as good as the story telling and atmosphere otherwise take them out. A game about telling a story should be a good storytelling experience without needing to shoe-horn in more common gameplay just to (seemingly) appeal to the mainstream crowd.

        Actually the puzzles fit what happens with some people who are delusional, by finding meaning in patterns, etc

        I actually went "YES... THAT'S WHAT IT'S LIKE!" when I first saw them, but it can be annoying, even I will admit that, even if its accurate.

    personally i dont know why you would take random reviews from random 'gamers' off the internet with any type of seriousness, ofc there are going to be people who completely miss the point.

    p.s the camera is close to bring on a feeling of claustrophobia

    I've finished it and frankly and pardon the language it fucked up my head for a few hours. Things kept happening in it and I literally yelled out loud "YES.. THAT'S IT! THAT'S WHAT ITS LIKE!"

    If you ever wanted to get a true glimpse into what psychosis is really like for me its the best representation of it that I have seen. They nailed the voices perfectly and the puzzles.. well some people tend to make association with things when they are psychotic and again they nailed that aspect as well.

    Easily the very best game of the year and the very worst experience of the year at the same time. The developers have done a remarkable job of telling a story through the eyes of someone suffering from psychosis.

    Just finished it now and I can honestly say its one of the most incredible journey's I've been on this year and I have no intention of ever going on it again. Everyone needs to experience this game. I've loved Ninja Theory since Enslaved but they have outdone themselves with this!

      I know the feeling.. Incredible but very intense

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