Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
A Unique Perspective
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is built around Senua’s experiences with mental disability in a time before modern medicines, and how she manages her condition throughout the journey, among the many voices in her head are the Furies constantly putting doubt in Senua’s mind and telling her things such as ‘you’re going the wrong way’ or ‘you will fail’.
While the ever encroaching darkness seems to always be just a step behind, and many of these voices seek your doom, the memories of your friend Druth offer encouragement and insight, guiding Senua through her struggles. The voice of the Narrator also seems to be aware of the player throughout the game.
The game is certainly not for the faint of heart, but offers amazing insight into the condition of Psychosis and how it may have been interpreted 1000 years ago, relying on the guidance of experts and people with the condition to bring an accurate representation of the condition into the game.
A Haunting Journey
Senua’s journey begins after a year-long self-exile. Having left her village after a plague killed many of the people and putting the blame on herself and her ‘curse’. Upon returning to the village she finds it in ruin, the invading Norsemen had killed everyone and ransacked the town. Worst of all she finds her lover Dillion sacrificed to the gods and takes it upon herself to save his soul from Hela.
The most terrifying part for me was having to flee the darkness, running from one small patch of light to another before the darkness can consume you. While other parts of the game were exhilarating, such as battling Hela herself, or completing the challenges at the tree and receiving a godly reward.
The game offers a diverse amount of gameplay, with puzzles locking most areas, as well as wrathful norsemen ready to cut you down at every turn. The gameplay never feels repetitive and there is no point at which you need to grind for experience or find an upgrade for your gear.
An Emotional Story
As long as you believe in yourself, listen to the voices that guide you forward and keep your wits about you, you should find it manageable to lead Senua to her goal and make it through in one piece.
And so, gods and men against her throughout, Senua must persevere against the odds in her quest to save Dillion. You will hone her skills with a sword, help her see past the trickery of the gods, uncover Senua’s past through her memories and take her quest to the very gates of Hel.
I can only hope Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga is able to give me chills and goosebumps throughout the entire game as its predecessor was. If the new trailer speaks to the overall theme of the game, it seems Senua’s Saga will be even darker and more twisted than the first (and their band choice of Heilung for the music was absolutely perfect).