First of all Hellbdlade Senua’s Sacrifice is no ordinary game. It has been developed with close working with schizophrenia patients, paranoia patienses and professionals of this matter. You can clearly see this influense at very beginning when the main character Senua is hearing all sorts of voices and some of them are nice some of them are giggling like a child and some of them are demanding and frightening as hell.
In very beginning it is unclear what is causing these schitsophrenic voices to be heard at the first place? In very beginning it is almost like YOU (player) are the source of the voices. How Senua is watching you sometimes and over you like she sees something we don’t is very well acted and make the insane —level goes a up a notch.
Senua is bossessed these demonig voices that they tells her what to do or if she is failing but more so they are telling vital points of the gameplay. When there is plenty of enemies surrounding you they will yell “Behind you!” and then you know to dodge/counter they attacks.
At the very beginning no—one is telling you what you should do attackwise. It is left completely to your own discovery and that can be good and bad thing. Specially when in the beginning there is saying “If you die too many times the darkness will reach Senuas head and it is all over. So your whole game progress is LOST!!!!”
I was like oh noes!! How this game can be so cruel!! (Well vikings were cruel so suck it up buttercup!)
After while reading online everyone have come to conlcuson that this is just a bluff. It ment to build you anxiouty level so that you could possibly die completely whenever.
Let talk about my personal experience with this game. In the beginning it was very promissing and when the first enemies attacked I was little bit baffeld what to do. I quickly learned the basics since they are so simple. The timing is EVERYTHING! Not making a much damage as possible in the first strike but more so countering and dodging.
As a native Scandinavian I found out how accurate the folklore was. All the little details of warriors and their believes and gameworld designs. It also told much deeper story that I was not totally aware about. I was very surprised this kind of story was told right about of my neighbour and which such an accurate.
The story also tells these weird voices Senua is hearing and sometimes it is kind of frightening if that could happen to you.
It is also very creepy how Senua is watching to the nothingness (basically at you like the player “you” were the origin of her voices) and it raises up the psycho—meter of this game.
Sometimes it feels like everything this is only between Senuas ears and not like she is really hearing voices, like she would be badly traumatized from a battle or just simply a scitzo.
The story tells of Senua how she wants to bring her dead lover back from the underworld back to life no matter of the cost. She needs to fight couple differrent “gods” that hold the key to the underworld lord Hela’s lair where all dead lives.
Along these tasks there is differrent kind of tests she needs to overcome and sometimes these tests can be annoying since you can’t find way around them but thanks to internet you can find any anwser there.
There is many different enemies and sometimes there is 3 differrent type on enemies coming at me and I need to keep my head cool and try to take them out one by one. It makes easier when the enemies are yelling just before they’re making their blow so you can time it correctly and counter it! (And also the voices warning you!! Let’s not forget about that little thingy.)
But when the enemies gets best of you it is surely over if you manage to get up of the ground befote the final blow.
Enemies AI is OK and they are no as stupid as you might think. The tricky part is trying to befeat every enemy in its own way. I played with (auto—difficulty, what ever that means, but towards the end I needed to lower it to easy. It was impossible for me to try to beat the game in other level.
At very first this auto difficulty was decent but in the end it started to feel a bit too much. I’m not sure what it holds this auto but I could image it will automatically adjust the difficultiness level as you play?
Controls are very simplified but it doesnt meen this game is easy whatsoever. The game is actually kind of difficult as it progress. The enemies are more powerful and there might be 4 enemies at once on to you. With simplified action buttons this game is otherwise easier than lots of other games of this kind.
You can dodge and if you do it correctly it will let to counterattack, but if you dodge too soon it will leave you unable to move for a little bit of time. There is kicking which is useful for enemies that have shield, and there is lower power melee attack and high power. Sometimes these attacks can’t be stopped since they took lot of movement so you need to be carefull what attack to use. Of course there is a dodge which is vital for most of the enemies.
Only negative thing I have to say is how slowly Senua moves during the fight. It seems too slow but if the game is built around it then it seems totally fine.
Graphics are very nice and you can choose lower resolution 60fps and with 30fps higher resolution. I did the latter since graphics are more important to me than 60fps.
The game run smoothly and I didn’t need to change this setting at all. I tried, of course, to see what is the big fuzz, but it only was the fpd that stricked the most.
The effects throughout the game are very nice. There is grain effects and some other dissortion and light effects on the screen and I loved them all. It gives the game more character and the feel of paranoia which Senua seems to suffer.
This game is very unique in many ways. The storytelling—wise, graphic—wise and gamemechanic—wise… I haven’t ever played this kind of game EVER! But I’m not still saying it is the most best game out there but it is one of the top ones.
The game itself is kinda short if you don’t count how many times you die. Towards the end I died plenty of times, lets say at least 30.
The difficulty level
At very beginning the game is decent. It also didn’t tell the player how to do things, how to fight but it soon became apparent but still I would’ve liked some kind of practicing.
Enemies are not that hard to beat at first and after you master how to play the game but when differrent types of enemies comes at you at once it comes little tricky. One trick I learned was NOT to push any direction. Senua will automatcally adjust herself positioned to the next enemy, and if other enemy attacks it changes, all you have to do is to press dodge or hit or whatever the button is. This way the fighting is much bearable.
As the game progress the enemies come more vicious and at the very last battle you have to do is insane. More like “Throw the controller to the wall” —kinda thing.
Price of 29.99€ is not much but thinking how short this game is it is kinda too much. There have been much expensive games and much more lame and this is surely all worth of your money in the end!
If you like old folklores, Vikings, supernatural things and puzzles by all means this is for you!
With this all said above I think you should get this game NOW! It’s not getting any younger and the amount of effort they have put in this piece is fenomenon. The folklore, music, sound effects, little bit of insaneness, skitso—feeling is great and how the story progress is great. Only minus are the puzzles where you have to find some shapes hidden in the statistics and that can run your gameplay time up by 30 minutes easily. (I needed to use walkthroughs online to find some of them.)