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Romier S

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice - $29.99 (PC, PS4) - Now coming to Xbox One April 11th, 2018

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A friend of mind recommended this game to me recently. I have to say that I probably overlooked it entirely before because the name is, as Iain pointed out, rather generic (although the subtitle does add a little intrigue).

 

In any event, I started it last night and was quite deeply absorbed into it from the first scene. It's startlingly beautiful and stark. Everything is so well realized as others have mentioned, it's got a raw psychological edge to it, and the presentation brings you right in with the character.

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Finally arriving on the Xbox One on April 11th.

 

 

I will happily double dip to support this wonderful game. If you have not played it, it is well worth your time.

 

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I've spent my free game time this past week finally catching up with this one.

 

I'd gone all this time knowing it was highly regarded, but little more. I'd assumed it was something in vein of a lower budget God of War come Tomb Raider/Horizon with a lot of emphasis placed on the lead character performance. It certainly raised an eyebrow the moment the game opened crediting not only a historical advisor but a mental health advisor. Immediately the sound design caught my attention too. Lamenting my lack of 5.1 I rushed to grab my headphones, and you can imagine my delight at what a good decision that was as the game seems tailored for such an experience.

 

Had I known about the game's challenging exploration of psychosis and depression I'd have picked this up long ago, but I have to say going into this completely unaware made this all the more special for me. I have second hand experience with psychosis, and first hand experience with depression and anxiety, so to say the game's tone struck a chord would be an understatement. What's remarkable is just how well researched and thoughtful the depiction of these illnesses are. I honestly never would have imagined such a thing to be possible in a game, and while the game on a technical level is itself a superb achievement from such a tiny dev team, it's that sincere care in exploring these issues that I honestly think makes this game an immensely important contribution to the history of the medium, marking a radical turning point for what's possible with narrative and character development in interactive media that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as The Last of Us.

 

In the games closing moments, I felt something I'd not felt in a game since Shadow of the Colossus back when it first came out on the PS2, and that is this unbreakable connection I felt between myself and the character, willing them to push on to the point where I am practically yelling at the screen. It takes a lot for a game to get that kind of reaction out of me. 

It's an essential game of this generation as far as I'm concerned, and for those with Gamepass access there's no excuse to let it pass.

 

I dearly hope that Microsoft recognise what they've got having acquired Ninja Theory. They deserve a bright future and, nurtured properly, there's every chance they could become MS' equivalent of San Diego Studio or Naughty Dog. It was fascinating to discover that Senua was played by Melina Juergens who happened to be the dev team's in house editor and photographer, who was initially supposed to be a stand in. BAFTA did a nice interview with her which I've attached below:

 

 

 

BAFTA also conducted a Masterclass on the game which I will make a point to watch tomorrow:

 

 

 

I'd also highly recommend watching the making of featurette included with the game too. 

 

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Glad you finally played it and that it clicked for you so well.

 

I loved this game and I’ve played it a few times now. It’s great as a standard game but, for me playing it in VR was the “experience”. It was entirely harrowing and uplifting, and hard and amazing all at once and the voices and the way psychosis is portrayed was really personal (for lack of a better expression) in VR. 

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I mean that’s cool and all but not terribly interested given there will be significantly better versions out there and that’s just not a game I care to play on the go.

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