Have you ever felt like taking a step back from the bullet storms and explosive visuals? Perhaps you’re getting tired of the same old Michael Bay-esque titles and just want something to sink your teeth into without the murderous mayhem. Well, if you didn’t happen to play the first chapter in the Hellblade saga, then you might’ve just found your next adventure. Thanks to Ninja Theory and their flawless approach to immersive gameplay and psychological elements, Hellblade delivers an experience unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. And, what’s more – it’s the first of several games to be released in the Viking franchise.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice focuses on the anxious warrior protagonist, Senua, who must step through the very depths of hell in order to rescue the soul of her dead lover. However, with otherworldly entities emerging from the shadows and a mind-shattering voice lapsing over her shoulder, Senua must battle both physically and mentally in order to survive the land of nightmares.
Hellblade does a fantastic job at keeping players on the edge of their seats. It acts as a reminder that some individuals do encounter such horrific battles within the mind and makes you empathize with their harsh burdens. And, when played with headphones – Hellblade physically renders you petrified for your own good. With the trickling waters and whistling whispers floating by over your shoulder, players are able to experience the fear of being watched at all times. Combine these feelings of concern with a gentle yet eerie ambience inspired by Norse mythology, and you’ve got yourself an outstanding gaming experience.
When it comes to the blockbuster franchises of the gaming world we’re often served the same type of cuisine. We’re served it because developers know the specific dish sells. And it sells well. However, what we lack in today’s market are creators willing to take a step out of the ordinary and embrace something untouched. With Hellblade, the threshold was crossed and the new borders were stretched. Ninja Theory took away a concept and brought back a thing of pure beauty. They embarked on a journey where the conclusion was questionable and somehow managed to finish remarkably. This is all the product of straying away from the norm and establishing new territories.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is something you’ll want to connect with when the world around you has faded. It’s not something you should treat as a background task when juggling other duties. It’s an experience best served with an isolated room and a pair of good headphones. Then, as you submerge into the tainted world of Helheim, you’ll quickly come to thirst for the intriguing plot and hunger for the lore behind the Viking underworld.
Senua portrays a victim that we emotionally attach ourselves to as we slave through her burden one step at a time. We feel the desperation in her plea and the anger burning in her chest. We want to succeed and bring home the one person she holds close. We want to keep playing and see the vigorous light at the end of the long and winding tunnel. We want nothing but a happy ending as we sludge through the entity-riddled hellhole. But, as the drama unfolds and the plot thickens, the mysteries of Helheim are what keep us marching forward. It’s the attention to detail and the polished nooks and crannies of the experience which make it a masterpiece of its own kind. It’s those little touches that make us want to relive the same story over and over again.
With twenty-five awards and over forty nominations, Ninja Theory went on to enjoy a rather inspiring reception since the initial launch of the first chapter. This, unsurprisingly, resulted in the team diving back to the drawing board and relighting a few fires. A few years later, the bonfire was lit, and the green light was given. Hellblade 2, was definitely on the cards. Now, this was something a lot of people didn’t really expect from 2020. However, once that trailer dropped and the audience bolted from their seats in amazement – that’s when we knew the franchise was going to skyrocket.
Hellblade 2, thankfully, made its debut appearance at The Game Awards 2019 with an intriguing yet terrifying launch trailer. This was enough for original fans of the first chapter to clap their hands in excitement and bite their lips in anticipation of the next big release. But, for players that missed the lore of the first title in the saga, well, we can only urge you to experience it for yourselves. Hellblade combines a piece of everything that every type of gamer can embrace and enjoy. So, if it’s the action you’re after, or maybe even a bit of puzzle-solving – then look no further. This is your chance to dive into something fresh, my friends. Hellblade is an all-round package that packs a punch and entices you into a world of fear. It’s something you’ll play once and then want to take a second shot at for all the missing pieces of the puzzle. That, I can promise you.
So, if you haven’t slapped Hellblade on your 2020 to-do list yet, then we suggest you do it now. Like – right now. And in the meantime, why not whet your appetite for the second chapter with the official launch trailer revealed at The Game Awards 2019? It’s a franchise you might’ve missed the first time around. But, it’s a franchise you should be desperate to play this year without fail. The rest is up to you, of course. We’re counting on you to make the right decision!
Hellblade 2 is due to release in late 2020 on both Xbox Series X and PC. You can also pick up Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
What are your thoughts on the Hellblade Saga? Intrigued to plough through some internal nightmares? Let us know down in the comments below. Oh, and if you’re feeling adventurous, why not swing by our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links for more nerdy news? Whatever it is you’re after – The Nerd Stash has you covered.