Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
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.
Steam User 98
Hi, friends. This is gonna be a long one.
I don't often review games nor do I often feel the need to review games. But with Senua's Sacrifice I felt like I just had no choice. I was tempted to just leave a joke review, something like, "average day with ADHD", but Senua's deserves more than that.
I first bought this game three years ago on my Xbox One. Funnily enough my therapist, who's big into story games, is the one who recommended this to me. I'm a person who's dealt with schizophrenia for around 7 years at this point-- I'm 19 now, so if you can imagine a 12 year old trying to deal with that then you can try and sympathize. I wish there was more to say about it other than that I just woke up with it one day and it hasn't gone away since. It felt catastrophic at first. I felt like I could never know what was real-- like I never knew if I was still dreaming or not. That's probably the best way to put it. I was balancing my middle school and high school years with trying to cope with what felt like an undeserved punishment from God. Or that, there couldn't possibly be a God who would thrust this upon a child. But it got better. I got medicated, and with a lot of trial and error (and even more self-acceptance), I've gotten to a point in my life where I feel like it doesn't affect me. It comes in waves and now, thankfully, most of the time I'm all good. I haven't had a harmful episode in about two years, and with continued support from my psychiatrist and therapist, I know I will be able to live the rest of my (hopefully) many years on this planet. I'm at peace with myself, or at least I think.
I bought Senua's Sacrifice three years ago, like I said. This was immediately following a pretty bad episode that led to a lot of discord in my family. A few of my ties with family members were really strained and they still haven't really healed yet. I had gotten on new medication and it helped tremendously. I didn't know much about Senua's when I bought it-- all I knew was that it was meant to represent what having schizophrenia was like, or something like that. My therapist thought that it might help me deal with what I was feeling at the time, knowing that games can be a good escape from reality. So, I opened the game and sat through the opening scene, where Senua is in the boat. Or at least, I tried to. After most of the way through, I had tears welling up in my eyes and I felt my heart beating out of my chest. I threw my headphones off and cried in my bed for half an hour. I couldn't stop thinking about the voices in the game: "Go back!", and "What is she doing?" kept ringing in my head. Those two lines really hit close to home. After I pulled myself back together, I shut the game off and forgot about it to play some more Overwatch. I tried my very hardest to completely forget about Senua's Sacrifice.
Fast forward a year later and I'm scrolling through my Xbox library and find Senua's eyes staring at me from the menu. I was hit with the memories of her voices talking to you through the screen and felt like crying again. But it had been a year, and I thought I was ready. So, I started the game back up and managed to get through the opening scene without freaking out. But that was where it stopped-- the tears came back in full effect once she got off the log raft. But that didn't stop me from playing. I kept through the tutorial area with tears in my eyes, but fully invested in the game. I knew the voices weren't mine, as much as they sounded like it. I knew they were Senua's, and I wanted to be here to experience them for her. Honestly, I played through the game with tears in my eyes for most of it. I had never in my life felt so connected to a game before. Every voice, every doubt, every encouragement-- I felt it deep in my soul. While obviously I can't speak for every schizophrenic person, and while the game certainly stylizes some things for the sake of gameplay: this game is a heart-rending masterpiece, a melancholic and beautiful representation of something I've lived with for so long. And I hope other people who live with schizophrenia will play this game, if they can get past the very triggering aspects that it certainly does have. Thank you, Ninja Theory, for creating something that so masterfully represents a thing that almost no one can explain.
And for any schizophrenic person who's reading this, whoever you are, do not forget about your support system. I know it is easy to forget them when you're having an episode, so write it down somewhere you'll see every day. There are people who love you and will treat you as a person no matter how you might sound to them. And they will be there for you, whether or not you know you need it.
In summary, please buy this game. I bought it on Steam just so I could experience it again with the new graphical update. Senua's Sacrifice is an experience everyone needs to have-- even, and perhaps especially, those who don't experience psychosis. This game does such a beautiful job of respectfully and wholly representing a community of people who are often disregarded.
Steam User 76
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.
Steam User 45
The Northmen say it's not really a game, it's an experience.
Steam User 44
☐ You forget what reality is
☐ Don‘t look too long at it
☑ Very good
☐ It‘s just gameplay
☐ Watch paint dry instead
☐ Just don't
☐ Very good
☐ Not too bad
☐ I'm now deaf
☐ Check if you can run paint
☐ Rich boi
☐ Ask NASA if they have a spare computer
☐ Press LEFT ALT to Meow
☑ Significant brain usage
☐ Easy to learn / Hard to master
☐ Dark Souls
☑ Nothing to grind
☐ Only if u care about leaderboards/ranks
☐ Isn't necessary to progress
☐ Average grind level
☐ Too much grind
☐ You‘ll need a second live for grinding
☐ No Story
☐ Some lore
☑ It‘ll replace your life
☐ Long enough for a cup of coffee
☐ To infinity and beyond
☐ It’s free!
☑ Worth the price
☐ If u have some spare money left
☐ Not recommended (Wait for sale)
☐ You could also just burn your money
☑ Never heard of
☐ Minor bugs
☐ Can get annoying
☐ ARK: Survival Evolved
☐ The game itself is a big terrarium for bugs
I've always liked linear games, not only because the devs focus more on the story that anything else but also you don't have any filler. It's always nice to play a linear game after the tons and tons of open worlds, and this one delivers the story as an experience, you will accompany and help Senua on her quest, will hear the northmen's stories along the way and challenge yourself to solve the not so complicated puzzles.
Highly recommended, I believe anyone could get into this game and manage to battle their way through Hellheim without trouble. I don't know much about psychology but I think the way Senua's psychosis was represented here was really good, use headphones please, there's no other way to get the best of Hellblade.
Steam User 38
8th century women will literally fight an army of viking demons instead of going to therapy...smh
Steam User 35
I can't speak for others with a similar condition, but as someone who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, I had to close the game and uninstall because it felt like I was having a crisis. For those who want to know what its like to suffer from different disturbing psychosis symptoms, this is it.
Steam User 41
"The hardest battles are fought in the mind, not with the sword."