Please sign in or sign up!
  • Forget your password?
  • Want to sign up?
  •       ...blogs for gamers

    Find a GameLog
    ... by game ... by platform
    advanced search  advanced search ]
    GameLog Entries

    dkirschner's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC)

    [June 9, 2020 06:24:28 PM]
    Completed. I overhyped it. The highs are really high and the lows are pretty low. Preface to say that I generally understood what was happening in the story, but it became confusing at times. Afterward, I watched a "making of" featurette included with the game, which illuminated a lot and made me appreciate the narrative more deeply.


    1. Setting. My goodness, these Norse-inspired levels are incredible to behold. I felt like I was walking along the cold seaside, exploring mountain ruins, and was sucked into Hell itself. I've been playing some newer games lately with some great art design, but I enjoyed looking at Hellblade even more than Gears 5 or the Ori games.

    2. Sound design. My goodness, the voices whisper in your ears the entire game. Play this with headphones. If you don't, you're missing the point. You can hear the voices swirling around you. I've listened to many schizophrenia simulators and this captures the audio better than most, and has the voices ranging from friendly and helpful to berating and accusatory.

    3. Representation of mental illness. This was the big selling point for me since I heard about the game and it is on the mark. The devs consulted with mental health experts and people who experience delusions, voices, hallucinations, and so on to inform the game. It was incredible to see this stuff handled with such care. Senua's experiences mirror people's modern-day experiences with mental illness. There was a biological component, she struggled with voices as a child, there was a triggering traumatic event that made things exponentially worse, she was stigmatized for her difference, she learns to accept it, and so on. Really, really excellent and worth playing for that alone.


    1. Combat. Combat is simple. You can dodge, melee, light attack, and strong attack. And no, they don't even combine together in a variety of combos. After not too long, you'll be going through fights without a scratch, until, inexplicably, the very end when the combat difficulty ramps up because the game throws an infinite amount of enemies at you at the same time. Have fun trying not to get bored of the combat earlier on, and have fun not being frustrated to no end when you die over and over and over until you realize what's going on.

    2. Puzzles. There are some neat "perspective shifting" puzzles in the game, but by the end they become tedious and frustrating; I wound up keeping a walkthrough handy to save me from slowly creeping around the haunting environments spending a long time lining up trees and beams and light and whatever into rune shapes. Seriously, a lot of these suck and the kill the game's momentum.

    3. Door bugs. Thanks to the perspective shifting puzzles, I think, I THREE TIMES encountered bugs. The first time I was trying to make my way back from killing the second boss. Getting to it had required navigating a maze of perspective puzzles to make bridges appear and debris disappear. On the way back, I could not see where I was supposed to go. I wandered around for 30 minutes thinking I had to undo the puzzles and that I just wasn't seeing something. Finally I looked up a walkthrough and it basically said, "from the boss room, go through the door in the back." I went and...there was no door. I had been back in that room like three times. Rebooted the game. Bam, there's the door.

    The second door bug didn't stump me for quite as long. I was in one of Odin's trials where you use these masks to switch between past and present to get through a tower. Well, I was stuck for a while because a door that I opened in the past kept being shut again in the present. I didn't understand why because other doors I opened in the past were open in the present. Finally, as I was trying to open it, I got real close and clipped through it. Huh. I clipped back. Clipped through it. Dangit! The door appeared closed but it was actually open. Stupid bug.

    Okay so. The game is totally linear, and that's okay because there's a neat story there. But the combat and puzzling somewhat detract from the experience. They make sense in context (combat is slow and difficult because it's realistic and Senua gets hurt; the puzzling makes sense because Senua's psychosis makes her delusional, seeing things that aren't there), but fighting and solving perspective puzzles are not particularly fun or interesting to do in practice in Hellblade. It's definitely worth a play through despite its flaws because its strengths make it unique. I'll likely not forget this one.
    add a comment Add comment

    dkirschner's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 6 June, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 9 June, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Very moody and atmospheric, like playing a schizophrenia simulator. ---------------- Cool setting and story, great representation of mental illness, but combat and puzzling let it down some.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game

    This is the only GameLog for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice.


    games - logs - members - about - help - recent updates

    Copyright 2004-2014