Hell­blade: Senua’s Sac­ri­fice

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS -

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”.

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