GameZuke Review: Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice
HellBlade Senua's Sacrifice
By: John Jaskot
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre: Action - Adventure / Hack and Slash
Reviewed for: Playstation 4 Pro
Published by: Ninja Theory
Developed by: Ninja Theory
The story starts off with you controlling a female protagonist named Senua. She is slowly rowing a log into the land of mist and fog. Upon landing on shore she begins her journey which you are lead to believe is to find her love Dillian. As you are working your way threw the game you are guided, accompanied and haunted by whispering voices that sound like they are circling your head. It is not until about halfway threw the game that you come to realize that between the changing of the world from dark to light, to the voices whispering to you continually and finding out that the head of your love has been tied up in a burlap sac on your hip the whole time that Senua is actually living a psychotic break down. She is fighting against the darkness to save her love. To which you find out in the end of the game the whole journey is all in her head.
Hellblade is a third person action adventure / hack and slash game that is purely story driven. The world is very direct in that fact that you do not have very much room to roam around and there are many walls in place to make sure you are taking the path necessary to tell the story properly. The obstacles in your way are puzzles and demons. The puzzles are broken into shape finding, sensory based, illusions, and time trials. Each puzzle is designed to be completed in order to open doors so you can further venture into Hellhiem to confront the darkness. The demons are very simular to each other minus a few unique bosses. They all have the same fight mechanics and only differ basically in the weapons they use against you. All designed to be corpses of ancient vikings.
The mechanics in this game are very shallow. While wondering the world your character litterally can only do one of three things at a time. Jog (L1) that is right I said jog, and not a well paced jog at that. It is very slow and does not feel like it is useful at all during use. Focus (R2) which will zoom your characters vision in on a certain point of interest. Which is only used for starting and solving puzzles. Then there is interact (X) which does absolutly nothing in the game aside from the few times you are prompted visually or physically. Then there is the fighting.... Parry or dodge and then quick attack, heavy attack or kick. As long as you do one defensive move and then an attack the game is on rinse and repeat. Oh don't let me forget that if you are struggling you have a mirror on your hip, don't ask me why, that will have up to three lit swirls. Once at least one swirl is lit you can hit the focus button and slow everyone down and reap hell on them so the fight is basically a win win win.
The target output resolution with my PS4 pro bring this game in at 2560 X 1440. That being said its pretty. The developer spared no details in making sure that not only the cut scenes but the live action game play is equal in graphics. Their is also a feature to turn on 60Hz mode in the options letting the game play a 60FPS if your machine can handle it.
Overall I give Hellblade Senua's Sacrafice a 6 out of 10. The graphics and story line are what this game is all about and Ninja Theory does a great job with telling a pretty story. I was also impressed and confused with the concepts of the puzzles built around the idea of being inside a psychotic persons mind. Some of the puzzles were very cool and fun while others were daunting and to be honest quite boring. The fighting feels good and your character responds well but overall its so repetitive that i found myself wishing some of the late fights could be skipped becasue they felt like a time waste. The price point for this game being $29.99 is a big reason i give it the higher score rating that i did. For this game being only approximately 6-7 hours long with the ups and downs of game play the story and price point make this game one I would cautiously recommend to a friend. I feel if you do not complete this game within a few sit downs it will find its way back on the shelf... and lets be honest its very easy to lose track of what exactly is happening in a story driven game after its been set down for a time. Hell, Im honestly still wondering what happens and I completed it in two sit downs.
If this review doesnt quite cut if for you watch the trailer for yourself .... and you decide :)