I am a lover of everything indie. From music to film and now to video games. I have always regarded Indie artists as being more passionate than their more popular counterparts. I’m not quite sure what it is about them, maybe it’s their desperation to make it, or maybe it’s their uniqueness and individuality. Either way Indie artists of all kinds will always hold a special place in my heart. When it comes to video games I have always stayed on the “Name Brand” path (Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, Elder Scrolls, etc). Very rarely have I strayed from popular developers and their major titles, and when I have I am usually disappointed and out sixty dollars. That is until I found “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice”.
Imagine the most you have ever been immersed in a video game (VR doesn’t count for obvious reasons). When I think of this my mind automatically go to Skyrim, one of my favorite games of all time. I was, and still am, in love with that game. I spent hours creating and adventuring with the variety of different characters that I created. I was passionate about my characters, I was excited when a quest was completed, and genuinely upset when I failed. Although I love that game, it’s immersion level has nothing on Hellblade.
First off, Hellblade has no HUD. This means that you cannot see your character’s health, there is no mini-map, and there is no button direction. The creator’s, Ninja Theory, have already taken out the most distracting part of any video game so all you are left with is yourself in the character. Sounds pretty daunting, right? It doesn’t end there. Let’s dive into the story just a little bit.
You play as Senua, a Celtic warrior, and join her on her journey to the homeland of the Northmen as you navigate their version the mythological Norse version of hell, Helheim. You follow a beautiful narrative of revenge and love as you tread through the combined waters of mythology and historical fiction. I won’t ruin the narrative, as it is one to be experienced alone, but I will speak for it’s ingenuity. But wait, I haven’t even got to the best part of the game.
You might be questioning how you are supposed to navigate this intricate world without a HUD, and that is why Ninja Theory recommends that you use a headset. In Hellblade Senua is plagued by voices in her head. Those voices aren’t just a creepy effect, even though they work well as one, but they also argue and speak directly to Senua giving the player directions on what to do next. The voices combined with the distorted images and the pleasantly-confusing messages help create an immersion that may sometimes seem too real. During the seven hours that it took me to complete the game I had to get up and take a break because the immersion had taken a toll on me.
The effects, combined with the sound and Ninja Theory’s always beautiful visual effects, make this game an absolute buy. For the first time in my fifteen plus years of gaming I have been turned on to indie games, and I don’t believe it is a feeling that will go away anytime soon.
I give Hellblade a very creepy 4.5 voices out of 5.
You can pick up “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” for a cheap $29.99 on PS4 and Microsoft Windows.