2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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VideoGameCritic
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2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby VideoGameCritic » November 30th, 2021, 5:43 pm

This is one a reader recommended, and I can see why some people like it. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the gameplay enough to stick it out to the end. Your mileage may vary.

Comments encouraged!

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Crummylion
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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby Crummylion » November 30th, 2021, 6:56 pm

Yeah, I had a feeling you wouldn't like this, but it's nice to see you took the time to look into it. I honestly saw this game as more of an experience than a game because the game deliberately lies to you throughout the playthrough and is suppose to give you the meta perspective of someone with psychosis. Considering you gave MGS 1 and Eternal Darkness both an A, both of which emphasized gameplay as well as story/lore, it's safe to say it boils down to preference. May be telling of me though if I say that Hellblade is the type of game that I'd only play once, gush about it, and never play again.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby Buttermancan » December 1st, 2021, 4:11 am

Engagingly written review. I've heard much about this game and how it's story is impactful and somewhat unique for our entertainment medium. Is it fun though? Can games be not that fun to play but enjoyed overall due to an impactful story? I'm not sure. I seriously enjoyed Tell Tales 'The Walking Dead' and that wasn't much of a traditional game, it was more like those adventure books we used to play as kids. Perhaps how they differ from 'Senua's Sacrifice' is the sense of agency they give you.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby BlasteroidAli » December 1st, 2021, 4:23 am

it was on games pass so I played an hour of it. then I was like amazing graphics, tedious game play. I deleted it from my hard drive and never played it again. I think I liked it even less than the critic.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 1st, 2021, 10:37 pm

My dad suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

This is enough of an accurate simulation that I've never touched it.

The puzzles work on the same logic as the condition. You're hunting for patterns and symbols in the world around you to answer a nightmare's questions. And the voices being both insulting and sympathetically pretentious?

That's pretty accurate too.

Just like the [spoiler warning]






Completely fictional threat to erase your save data, if too much of your body is poisoned.

Everything that's done in this game is in service to the state of mind it wants you to experience and understand...at least a little.

But yeah, it sounds like they're really stretching to make the best use of a very limited budget here.

Maybe this should have been a walking simulator with a few combat minigames, instead? I know the developer loves making action games, but when you're making the protagonist this realistic looking, everything's going to be way more expensive.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby Retro STrife » December 2nd, 2021, 9:50 am

Interesting take. Anyone played this one to the end and (without spoilers) have a different take?

I haven't played this one yet, but I did buy it when I saw it was cheap and I looked forward to it trying it. I was on the fence, because in terms of gameplay it seemed to be a step-down from some of the triple AAA action games like God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn. But I finally got pulled in by the many claims that it has one of the best storylines of this generation.. I think it's one of those games where, if you do go into it, you have to be willing to commit to see it through to the end. Supposedly, that's when it comes full circle and elevates the game to something much better than those early hours. But as much as I like a good story in games, I'm not ready to make that long of a commitment yet and that's why I've always put this one on the backburner.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby VideoGameCritic » December 2nd, 2021, 4:51 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:My dad suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

This is enough of an accurate simulation that I've never touched it.


I never even considered the mental illness angle until after I wrote the review and read a few things about the game. I just assumed the voices were ghosts or something.

I wonder if some people are just reading too much into it.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby DrLitch » December 3rd, 2021, 7:42 pm

Best way of describing this is to cite Lost Highway, a 1997 David Lynch film. It is a trivial film in summary, the character's wife has affair with another man, in a fit of rage and jealousy, he kills her and is incarcerated, and faces the choir invisible. The end. Yet somehow this was an engaging visual and cerebral journey into alter ego and neuroses, a parallel universe woven into an exposition of the present, an expression of experience as it should have been. This of course was a David Lynch film, surrealistic as expected from his work, the beauteous entwined in chaos and madness, but ultimately conveying an extremely simple plot and premise.

This is Hellblade's purpose. Not to act as a great action game like DMC, nor to act as a puzzler that challenges high IQ gamers. Rather it is an expression of art that weaves psychosis into it's narrative. If you want a great puzzler, play Witness or the Talos Principle. If you want hack n slash action, there exist a plethora of titles that far exceed this game's output. Like another great release in 2017, Nier Automata, the greatness is not in the sum of it's parts. Like Nier Automata, if you are going to examine this game through "videogaming sensibilities", you are going to find a deeply flawed product since it does not attempt to act like a great video game. It's greatness stems beyond the restrictions of it's medium.

Hellblade is about "letting go" - despite all the wickedness and wrongfulness in society, despite the quirky or different among us being treated abysmally by peers, in order to move forward you have to let go and not dwell on that which hurts you. In this game, a central focus of the protagonist was a person she saw as her companion, her lover, and her attempts to release his soul from the clutches of a demonic goddess. She journeys to Helheim carrying his severed head facing various trials laid out by what she sees as "gods".

The character was a Pict, one who inherited her mother's psychosis (hearing voices in head, seeing things that are not there), and was treated cruelly by her tribe and father who was a chief. Superstition being rife during this time. There was one person in the tribe, apart from her mother, who showed empathy and kindness towards her - and he is central to the theme of the game (you are carrying his head). Her village was pillaged and burnt to the ground by a Viking raid, her lover slain with his chest ripped open to resemble an eagle. Then begins the game where this narrative is only learnt by listening to runes and the endless chatter in her inner sanctum. I could write a long essay on this game but do not wish to be boring or self serving.

All I can say one could and perhaps should rightfully question reality after playing this game.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » December 4th, 2021, 5:22 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:
ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:My dad suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

This is enough of an accurate simulation that I've never touched it.


I never even considered the mental illness angle until after I wrote the review and read a few things about the game. I just assumed the voices were ghosts or something.

I wonder if some people are just reading too much into it.


Hardly.

To properly represent psychosis, developers worked closely with neuroscientists, mental health specialists, and people living with the condition.


They were more than happy to talk about it before release. Even Game Informer hyped this thing based on the realistic mental illness simulation, not the combat engine.

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Re: 2021/11/30: Playstation 4: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Postby Retro STrife » December 5th, 2021, 2:54 am

VideoGameCritic wrote:
ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:My dad suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.

This is enough of an accurate simulation that I've never touched it.


I never even considered the mental illness angle until after I wrote the review and read a few things about the game. I just assumed the voices were ghosts or something.

I wonder if some people are just reading too much into it.


From everything I had heard, it is the main point of the story. It probably reveals that theme more as you get deeper into the game.


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