Games of the Year

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Screenshot 1
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From the makers of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and DmC: Devil May Cry, comes a warrior’s brutal journey into myth and madness. Set in the Viking age, a broken Celtic warrior embarks on a haunting vision quest into Viking Hell to fight for the soul of her dead lover. Created in collaboration with neuroscientists and people who experience psychosis, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will pull you deep into Senua’s mind.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

This isn't a video game. It's an interactive panic attack.
Play alone in the dark with headphones, and don't feel ashamed if you have to step away and take a break.

Review from Steam

One of the most outstanding and captivating video game experiences I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Story, environment, sound, puzzles and mechanics are all a pure joy. It's rare games like this that make video gaming an interactive form of art that takes you on a journey as someone else and you come out the other side feeling you've experienced and learned something yourself

Review from Steam

The voices I heard in my head were sometimes from the game as well. 11/10

Review from Steam

If you're interested in decoding the game, or if you're not put off by the whispers that run through it, or if you're comfortable with the religious elements and the oppressive atmosphere, or if you want to see the world through the eyes of a mentally ill protagonist, this is a great game to watch. The author's thoughts on life, religion and death are reflected in senua's growth, which is also conveyed to the players through this novel and resonates with them. Meanwhile, the ending is thought-provoking.
But if you think of the game as an action game, or if you don't have the psychological ability, this game may not be for you. Five minutes of fighting, two hours of deciphering. At the same time, the whole process of the game feel heavy depression, may cause discomfort in a part of the crowd.

Review from Steam

Great story line. Be sure to use headphones to get the full effect of the creepy voices in Senua's head.

Review from Steam

This is one of my favorite games ever and I've played through it several times. Senua is one of the most expressive characters in gaming and the audio/visual in Hellblade is incredible. It's a short game, so I'm not gonna go into too much detail, but it's an experience like no other and really shows what gaming as a medium is capable of. The game got a graphical update in 2021 and looks even better now with support for Ray Tracing and high levels of detail. I'm very happy there's a sequel on the way.

Review from Steam

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is easily one of my favorite games I've ever played. I cannot recommend it enough, though please read my disclaimer at bottom as well before taking me up on my recommendation.
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is an amazing mix of interesting and unique puzzles, satisfying melee combat, and psychological exploration, all packaged in a stunning world with graphics that really only a AAA game studio can provide. The game follows you, a schizophrenic woman named Senua, who must travel to Hel to fight for the soul of her dead lover. The entire game, from story, atmosphere, combat, narration (voices in your head?), and even the mechanics of the puzzles, all tie in to this theme of the dark thoughts of a schizophrenic woman, desperate to save her lover. This level of thought, care, and love that clearly has been poured into the game creates both a world and main character that feel as real and immersive as anything I have experienced.
- Puzzles are unique, satisfying to figure out, and mind-bending. While occasionally you can miss a mechanic, leaving you walking around for a while, this is rare, and solving those puzzles are still very satisfying.
- Combat is also satisfying but not so unique. Combat consists of swords / melee encounters, with rolling and parrying akin to dark souls. Combat never gets terribly difficult, but is always an enjoyable encounter.
- Story is once again satisfying, unique, and deep. Expect the story to play heavily into what you are experiencing in the moment, but don't expect it to play out like a movie or walking sim. Instead, expect more Norse lore and obstacles towards your goal.
My only main complaint is that I have seen some nearly game-breaking, very immersion breaking bugs occur in the PC version of this game. Unfortunately when this happens, there don't seem to be any easily available fixes, and you simply have to get past that part, with potentially impaired vision, movement, etc.. This doesn't happen to everyone, but does certainly affect your experience if it does happen to you.
Disclaimer: Schizophrenia plays a central theme in Hellblade, and the game truly makes you feel that theme as though you or a close friend were to suffer from the condition. The creators worked closely with psychologists to get this feeling correct, and while I personally don't have firsthand experience with Schizophrenia, Hellblade certainly makes you feel it. The game is quite dark, and you will feel this as you play it. I do not recommend playing this game if you are not in the right state of mind to handle that.

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