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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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I ran into this last week at 50% on Steam, not sure what prompted the ad, maybe the VR release?


What a work of art. I'm crap at the combat (should probably plug in the xbox controller) but the audio and the environments and effects are stunning. The one thing that vexed me was getting too close to an opened gate early on and the Interact key not working. Took me ages to work out I just had to be a step further back.

 

Do they do something clever to throw processing power at her facial model when they do the non-controllable cut scene stuff because that is way better than anything I've seen before.

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No I only have PSVR (which has started to drift so I'm in a bad mood with that) - no Rift or anything on the PC.

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What an odd game. Just started playing this and it gives me no combat tutorial yet does have a message saying that if I 'die die' it's game over and all progress will be lost? 'the hell?!

 

It doesn't help that half the time I have no idea if my 'death' (from approaching the arena of the fire god just now for instance) counted towards an ultimate game over or not. Is there a way to track your health? Will you really have to start over from scratch if you die too many times? Tempted to stick combat on easy if that's the case lol.

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6 minutes ago, VN1X said:

What an odd game. Just started playing this and it gives me no combat tutorial yet does have a message saying that if I die-die it's game over and all progress will be lost? 'the hell?!

 

It doesn't help that half the time I have no idea if my 'death' (from approaching the arena of the fire god just now for instance) count towards an ultimate game over or not. Is there anywhere to track your health? Will you really have to start over from scratch if you die too many times? Tempted to stick combat on Easy if that's the case lol. 

 

Its lying to you - probably...

 

(the game is all about psychosis - its messing with your head just as the lead characters voices are messing with her)

 

And no there isn't - its done visually

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28 minutes ago, SeanR said:

I can't remember if this is a VR game or not.

 

Only on the PC, as far as I'm aware.

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And finished! Thankfully this ended up being a riveting experience and one that managed to surprise and intrigue me every step of the way! Ninja Theory have seemingly managed to fuse Norse mythology with aspects of mental illness without it ending up as contrived or erroneous. And for a game that's, for the most part, about walking forward I also found it impressive to see how they moved the narrative from one scene to the next. Even 'cheap' audio exposition dumps in the form of rune stones felt like they had purpose and fleshed out the world and its characters without breaking immersion. The writing and voice acting were all great but the animation of Senua herself really stole the show and was simply exceptional. It could've been so clunky and off-putting otherwise but they've done an amazing job in that regard.

 

That said, because we (mostly) only see Senua's darker side it basically becomes a 6 hour trip down into utter despair. I think it could've benefited from a few moments where we would've seen Dillion and Senua together, before. It would've allowed both the main character and player to breathe. Some of the combat and other gameplay mechanics got a bit stale by the end and I wouldn't have minded if Senua's running speed was a bit faster but that's getting into nitpicking territory. So all in all a terrific game and considering the budget they had to work with it's quite the achievement. I'm excited to see what they can do with Microsoft money. :D

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I finished this over the weekend, but only after bouncing off it hard from the first hour or so. I almost gave up on it but figured I have to finish it to know what its about.

 

If the stuff I had problems with in the game are the same that Edge refers to (I havent read their review) then I can understand why they gave it a 4/10.

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Started this a couple of days ago and really have mixed feelings so far. I have fought the first boss and gone a bit further into the game but it seems lacking. The graphics and voice overs are fantastic and the combat seems decent. It's just the rest of the game seems to be very lacking in the respect that you must stick to the games path. Certain elements in the environment look like you should be able to climb on or over them but it suffers from the invisible wall a lot. Also the puzzling sections are extremely poor and im already fed up of them. Normally I would give up when feeling this way about a game but I believe it's short and I want to see how it pans out. I will give it a bit more of a chance. 

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It's more about the experience than the gameplay, which to some extent you have to be prepared to suffer through. Well worth it though IMO.

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I get that its more about the experience, and there may be economical reasons for why it isnt more fleshed out with all of the usual skill trees and upgrades and collectables etc you expect with this kind of third person action game.

 

But I still have a couple of basic issues with the game and one of them is how they go about displaying Senua's mental issues: I dont know who this game was meant to speak to in those terms but I found the voices and supposed mental state to be basic stuff like not daring to go into dark places and overcoming the fear of going into battle. I got tired pretty quickly of the voices either mocking you or cheering you on, and also Senua tend to scream a lot while rolling around in pain which was more aggravating to listen to than anything else so I just played a lot of the game without any sound. The game says on one of the splash screens that the game was produced in collaboration with some professional psychologists but I dont see where this work has gone at all. Its utterly mundane stuff.

 

The other thing is how you cant even pull your blade outside of the combat sections. So there are Combat Sections, and then Puzzle Sections. And I get that its an experience and not God of War or DMC, but I didnt fancy the puzzles very much and I missed having some furniture to break with my supposed blade from hell while I was figuring stuff out. Its a very sparsely populated world, and nothing to interact with while you are running down the next corridor. And I really wanted a map during the section with the labyrinth where you had to stay away from the fire demon or what it was while opening a door which you then had to run back to, to escape. I managed this only by trying and failing many times until I memorized the right path through the building.

 

The Fenris fight is cool, though. I like how you can spot where he is going to jump from the shadows from the controller vibration.

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As I understand it, the concept of Hellblade was to make a AAA-looking game on an indie budget, so many of the decisions would have been taken to narrow the focus of development and keep costs down. Confining all sword swinging to arena fights means they didn't have to worry about what happens when her sword hits a piece of level geometry, or a bit of barrel flies off and hits a wall. Personally I didn't feel to need to smash stuff between fights, so it was a sensible bit of corner cutting for me. I agree that neither the combat nor the puzzles are especially amazing, and the game may have been better as a walking sim, but the audio visual experience overwhelms everything else for me, so it doesn't really matter.

 

I can't really comment on how well it deals with psychosis and serious mental illness because I don't know anything about it, but the documentary that comes with the game shows that at the very least they took the subject seriously and tried to do right by it.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Trumpets said:

and the game may have been better as a walking sim.

 

Hell no. >:|

 

I thought the combat was fine, but the main problem is that the spacing's a little off. You'll fight nobody for ages, then get into a battle where they spawn seemingly forever. A more measured drip feed would have improved things a little, I think.

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Well I finished the game tonight and I can't really say I'd reccomend it. It is an absolute technical marvel and as an experience it's very well made but as a game its VERY lacking. I never really felt like I couldn't finish the game and it felt more like an interactive movie than a videogame. I totally appreciate the background to it and the whole ethos of the game makers but it really wasn't for me. 

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I've played 2 nights of this and have been absolutely blown away by it. One of those games that I knew nothing about before going in. I am absolutely terrible at any third person hack and slash game that requires dodging or blocking. I stuck the combat on auto, trusting that the game would see me through and thankfully it has. I know that the combat isn't really the meat of the game but it is positioned sensibly, and is brief enough to not intrude too much. The story itself is just so engrossing, from the first time that Senua spoke to 'me' I was completely there with her. I hope it finishes well but even if it doesn't I'll still have taken a lot from it.

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On 12/01/2019 at 23:39, ronin said:

I get that its more about the experience, and there may be economical reasons for why it isnt more fleshed out with all of the usual skill trees and upgrades and collectables etc you expect with this kind of third person action game.

 

But I still have a couple of basic issues with the game and one of them is how they go about displaying Senua's mental issues: I dont know who this game was meant to speak to in those terms but I found the voices and supposed mental state to be basic stuff like not daring to go into dark places and overcoming the fear of going into battle. I got tired pretty quickly of the voices either mocking you or cheering you on, and also Senua tend to scream a lot while rolling around in pain which was more aggravating to listen to than anything else so I just played a lot of the game without any sound. The game says on one of the splash screens that the game was produced in collaboration with some professional psychologists but I dont see where this work has gone at all. Its utterly mundane stuff.

 

The other thing is how you cant even pull your blade outside of the combat sections. So there are Combat Sections, and then Puzzle Sections. And I get that its an experience and not God of War or DMC, but I didnt fancy the puzzles very much and I missed having some furniture to break with my supposed blade from hell while I was figuring stuff out. Its a very sparsely populated world, and nothing to interact with while you are running down the next corridor. And I really wanted a map during the section with the labyrinth where you had to stay away from the fire demon or what it was while opening a door which you then had to run back to, to escape. I managed this only by trying and failing many times until I memorized the right path through the building.

 

The Fenris fight is cool, though. I like how you can spot where he is going to jump from the shadows from the controller vibration.

I might be reading too much in to it but I think the fear of dark places and battle are metaphorical, not literal. The story is about loss, mourning and depression. The metaphors speak of the difficulties that someone who loses someone close and falls in to depression, has to deal with. The anger that they did something wrong, that she did something wrong, the battle of facing a new day, a new challenge without them, the acceptance of a world without them. I thought it was really well done (what I've seen so far).

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I really enjoyed this on gamepass and finished it on Sunday. The combat really grew on me, saddened i had to turn auto down to easy for 1 bit later in the game that had me pulling my hair out. The Story was interesting and held together well.  The level design was excellent, especially the background detail  - always changing and disintegrating as the game went on. Plus the audio on headphones was stunning and a real highlight.  A perfect gamepass title.

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4 hours ago, fattakin said:

I really enjoyed this on gamepass and finished it on Sunday. The combat really grew on me, saddened i had to turn auto down to easy for 1 bit later in the game that had me pulling my hair out. The Story was interesting and held together well.  The level design was excellent, especially the background detail  - always changing and disintegrating as the game went on. Plus the audio on headphones was stunning and a real highlight.  A perfect gamepass title.

 

I had to drop the difficulty toward the end too and eventually (2 battles from the end) I just watched a youtube playthrough of the last couple of battles. I don't feel like I missed out on anything.

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I just finished this on Switch today, enjoyed every moment of it. 

 

My only complaints would be the ubiquity of invisible walls and the way you had to be standing just so to properly trigger certain interactions or puzzle solutions, but that’s about it. 

 

I thought the mix of walking, puzzle-solving and combat was just about right. None of them was a particularly deep example of how to execute, but they were very competently done, and engaging enough given the overall length of the game. The puzzles which involved altering an element of reality were particularly well done, I thought. Combat was fluid and responsive for what amounted to a glorified rock-paper-scissor mechanic and I really liked how it rewarded aggressive, attacking play. Pulling off parries never failed to make me feel like a boss, even though the timing was quite generous. 

 

Can’t believe a Switch game can look as good as this!

 

Senua herself was a brilliant, three dimensional character, I really connected with her. Her quest to save her loved one was really given life through the vivid visions and voices she’s subjected to and by the end I felt like I’d been through a Norse epic. 

 

Im not really sure what I saw was real and what was psychosis. Based on the ending, I guess the places were (mostly) real, at least. 

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Always on the cutting edge of new releases, I played this over the weekend, and finished it off last night. I really enjoyed it, I played with headphones as recommended, and found it to be quite the experience. The combat was a bit iffy at first I thought, but towards the tail end of the game there were moments of brilliance. I was particularly fond of the running attack to start a combo, and once I'd figured out focus and parrying I was well away. On balance I actually preferred the more "Walking simulator" parts to be honest, especially the trials. One particular trial made me wonder what the team could do with Silent Hill (R.I.P). So yeah an interesting game, very dark and bleak, with an interesting theme. It's on gamepass for those who are signed up. Well worth a look.

 

 

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1 hour ago, jimmbob said:

Always on the cutting edge of new releases, I played this over the weekend, and finished it off last night. I really enjoyed it, I played with headphones as recommended, and found it to be quite the experience. The combat was a bit iffy at first I thought, but towards the tail end of the game there were moments of brilliance. I was particularly fond of the running attack to start a combo, and once I'd figured out focus and parrying I was well away. On balance I actually preferred the more "Walking simulator" parts to be honest, especially the trials. One particular trial made me wonder what the team could do with Silent Hill (R.I.P). So yeah an interesting game, very dark and bleak, with an interesting theme. It's on gamepass for those who are signed up. Well worth a look.

 

 

 

If it's the same section you're talking about, I'm pretty sure that single area alone was a better Resident Evil 7 than Resident Evil 7.

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Thanks to Xbox Game Pass, I'm finally getting around to trying this out.

 

It's pretty, but so far, it's sooooo tedious. The whispers, the line things up puzzles, the barely interactive environments. What on EARTH is the fuss about this game?

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3 hours ago, Colonel Panic said:

Thanks to Xbox Game Pass, I'm finally getting around to trying this out.

 

It's pretty, but so far, it's sooooo tedious. The whispers, the line things up puzzles, the barely interactive environments. What on EARTH is the fuss about this game?


An accurate depiction of various form of mental illness?

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Alright, but how does that present itself during the first part of the game really though?

 

All the voices and the hints at some trauma that skirt around what? Suicide? It's all euphemism so far.

 

I wish if they wanted to tell a story, that there was LESS gameplay and more walking simulator.

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Started this last night, got up to :

 

Spoiler

The Sutr fight


I find this absolutely terrifying, disorienting, stunning (I mean literally it paralysis me in confusion and terror). The puzzles had me proper stumped for a long time with the voices and visual assault prolonging that. 
I actually ended up stopping there as I couldn't take any more sensory bombardment, felt absolutely drained.
Magnificent so far, now I just have to work up to pressing on with it.

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Finished this tonight, it's right up there in my GOATs, I'd go as far to say this as close to a masterpiece I've ever played personally.
I'm absolutely exhausted and need to go look at some pictures of kittens.

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Finished this earlier in the week too.

 

Enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy 6 hours of multi-dimensional suffering). Narratively it was intense but I really liked it, the setting and unveiling of the norse sagas was great. How accurate a depiction it is of psychosis I could not comment on, but it seems mostly well received by people that do and - if so - I have a new empathy for anyone suffering with such a condition. It's terrifying. 

 

No doubt aesthetically it is absolutely top notch. Graphics and sound design/direction were right up there with the best I've see, and I think the blending of in-engine and video was really well done. I thought the character designs were fantastic too, everything felt very visceral and grubby. The northmen felt wild, guttural and dangerous. Brilliantly done.

 

Also the 3D sound worked an absolute treat with headphones, 100% that is how it needs to be played in my opinion.

 

Gameplay wise for me it was just okay, the combat was a bit one dimensional in the end for me, but was brutal enough that it kept my concentration. Arguably I think I would have enjoyed this game just as much if it had been purely narrative (like an Everybody's Gone to the Rapture or What Remains of Edith Finch) but suspect it wouldn't have done as well commercially without the action.

 

I wouldn't put it up there as a GOAT personally, but would recommend it and am looking forward to the sequel.

 

I too will go look at some kitten pictures!

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I'm utterly sick of looking at so many cloyingly cute kitten pictures recently.

I need something darker to take that saccharine edge off.

 

Sounds like this fits the bill nicely. I'll get my misery on and report back!

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