Platfrom Reviewed on: PC
Also available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4
This game is one of the most unique, bizarre and astonishing gaming experiences in my entire gaming ”career”. The player steps in the shoes of Senua, a young female Celtic warrior who embarks on a journey to Helheim, in order to save the soul of her beloved one. However, there is a catch; Senua suffers from psychosis, a mental disease that provokes delusions, nightmares and several voices in her head. And why is this so great?? Because all these symptoms are experienced by the player while advancing through the game. Never before has a video game portrayed so amazingly well the toll that such an illness can potentially have on the human soul.
I never thought i would ever put a 10 rating on a video game as far as graphics are concerned. It is a work of art. Senua herself looks almost life like, due to her fluid movement as well as the cutting edge technology used in facial animation. There is so much attention to detail that if you look closely to her braids, you can see hair coming out of them. Environments are expertly designed and varied; you are given the opportunity to visit from lush forests to otherworldly dungeons.
Lightning effects are brilliant; check the embers that come from the torches and the way they reflect on your character and the walls. The reality around you is so distorted due to the main protagonist’s condition, that you will not know what is real or not. The enemies’ design is also fantastic and they are truly an imposing sight.
Be warned; i played the game on a laptop with an i5 7300 HQ CPU and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU on almost the highest of settings and the laptop’s fans felt like a helicopter about to take off. The graphic load is very high and it requires a capable system to run it adequately.
Wow. First of all, prior to staring the game, you should put on a decent headset. The developers have used a new sound technology known as binaural audio so as to accurately simulate the way psychotic people really feel. Voices will be constatntly talking to you all the time in a 3D fashion from every angle and distance. Aside from adding to immersion, these inner voices warn you of nearby enemies that want to flank you or give you important information about the puzzles that you have to solve. The soundtrack is top notch as well, with fitting tunes depending on the situation you are in. Espesialy when fighting voices, the music themes are so epic that you will have goosebumps all over your body! Eventually, voice acting is of supreme quality; the actors perform like starring on a AAA blockbuster movie and the end result is remarkable. This is hands down the best game i have ever played in terms of overall sound design.
Senua controls exceptionally well. She can walk, run, climb walls and fight with ease. I used the Xbox One controller and i did not encounter any problem at all. The battle system, while simplistic since you only wield a sword, is very satifying; you can evade attacks or parry them and launch crushing counter blows in order to demolish your enemies. I really liked using a mirror that Senua has in her inventory that reveals hidden enemies and slows down time. I ran towards enemies countless times performing a superman style kind of thrust followed by punches, kicks and a flurry of sword strikes. Boss fights are epic and while initially tough, when you manage to learn their patterns, you will eventually overcome them.
While combat itself is brutally satisfying, the same cannot be said about exploration. You will dedicate a large portion of your time trying to solve puzzles that heavily rely on observation; there are some doors that to be unlocked, you have to find patterns in the environment that resemble runes engraved on them. This mechanic is interesting at first but eventually you will get bored. Also, Senua runs very slow and due to this lack of speed, you will not be able to advance through areas as fast as you would like.
In addition, there is nice permadeath mechanic here; every time you die, Senua’s condition worsens and this is illustrated by her body gradually filling with black veins. When these veins reach her head, it is game over. This game over means that your progress is erased completely and you have to start all over again from scratch. Ouch!!
Value for money:…..8
Currently, you can buy the game for 30 Euros on Steam. While it falls on the short side, since it is only 6 to 8 hours long and you do not have much else to do after its completion, it is one of the greatest experiences that a mature gamer can have these days. Be sure to check Hellblade feature, a documentary regarding the creation of the game that also presents the technologies incorporated here, as well as more information that shed light on the game’s plot. Masterpiece.
”For accurately depicting the negative effects that a mental disease can have on the human soul and for its top notch sound and graphics quality.”