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.
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.
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: