Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Publisher Ninja Theory / Developer Ninja Theory Cracking hack’n’slash viking adventure
It’s not very often that a game like this comes along. Ninja Theory’s actionadventure game combined fluid hack and slash combat with a touching representation of mental illness. The voices in Senua’s head, as she quests through Hell to save her lover Dillion, doubt her; they push her onwards, they laugh when she thinks she’s making progress and only occasionally help.
Hellblade does its best to make you feel like you’re alone in the world. All the voices in your head make it painfully obvious how little human support surrounds you, their hoarse screaming when you’re fighting being the closest the game gets to a tutorial. But it works.
Simple controls and only a basic light and heavy attack give you the building blocks for creative and brutal combos, while a steep level of difficulty means no room for error, and eventually combat becomes a fluid, instinctive flurry of patterns that’s second nature. With story-drenched puzzles to break up the intense hack-and-slashing, it all combines to make Hellblade:Senua’s
Sacrifice a beautifully-paced exploration of mental illness and inner strength. As OXM’s reviewer noted, “if you don’t join Senua in Hell you’re missing out on one of the most thoughtful games available on the Xbox One”.