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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a Descend into Insanity

Hellblade main character, Senua

It seems like the British studio called Ninja Theory continues to amaze players from all over the world with the games they are releasing. After creating gems like Enslaved or Heavenly Sword, their latest creation, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, seems to continue that trend. First and foremost, this game is different. Not in the sense that its content or graphics are revolutionary, but in the sense that it deals with something many studios have been afraid to touch on: mental illness. However, this is not the entire story of this game. The beautifully-made graphics and the amazing and chilling soundtrack make up for an experience that player won’t forget soon.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

This game is a perfect display of how quickly a person can descend into madness. It’s courageous and intelligent. The only problem? It becomes an ordeal as soon as the player progresses through the story. Senua is the main character of the game and the one the player is controlling. This Celtic warrior is not only fearless, but the horrors she faced and those that are also waiting for her will transform her into a different person. Her journey begins when, returned from exile, she finds her husband dead. He has been offered by Vikings as an apparent sacrifice for the Gods. Upon seeing this, she swears to go to the underworld and ask the Gods to give the life of her husband back. This is the premise of the game, and the journey she embarks on will make her slowly go mad.

The voices inside Senua’s head are maddening and they play a very important role. They tell you a story. Her story. The moments when they shut up are very rare. However, when this finally happens, the player finds himself begging for them to start again, because the game is surrounded by a haunting silence.

A frightening experience

The only big problem with this game is that what Senua is actually doing is nothing special. The game has puzzles and action sequences, but they all feel secondary. It’s like the creators wanted the player to only pay attention to the amazing graphics and the disturbing story. It’s very interesting that the game tries very hard to not remind that it’s a game. The player won’t see a health bar and won’t receive any skill points or bonuses. Still, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an experience which players must try even if it’s not, by any means, perfect.

Image source: flickr


About Donna Griggs

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