The Darkness Within
Hellblade begins by presenting the Celtic warrior Senua aboard a canoe while slamming a muddy river and surrenders to the mysterious territories of the Great North, where Norwegian mythology and the hallucinatory world of the protagonist blend in a credible, dark and surreal amalgam. Looking for the soul of her beloved and herself, Senua is in perpetual struggle with the darkness that has devoured her many times, with the invisible and creeping evil she has to live with and with the past that torments her.
To the narrator who is left the task of telling the story, adds the voices that Senua has in mind (splendid intuition to put the subtitles at the top of the screen when they are on multiple shots), which with their incoherence and the manifestations of altered associative joints perfect a characterization of the character already ensured by the interpretive thickness of Melina Juergens.
Writing is intense, intimate, solid and able to tell casually a complex and faceted illness. Finds in the power of the medium and its ability to identify the user with his best ally, because by memory we do not remember in the history of video games a representation of such profound and satisfying psychosis. In addition, the context and gameplay make the banality never present in Hellblade , and indeed contribute to making the work even more unique and unique.
However, Hellblade is a game from the two souls: if the title works from the narrative point of view, knows how to communicate and develop the idea on which it is based and does everything to adapt it to the gaming system, the compromises that developers have achieved on the the front of the gameplay does not fully convince. Ninja Theory was very focused on her good intuition and shaped the game around it, sacrificing some of the most important elements on the altar while pursuing her vision.
I see your true colors
We refer in particular to the phases of puzzles that constitute a good percentage of the adventure without which it is impossible to continue. Consider that most of the doors ideally divide into the segments of the environments are marked by up to three runes, which must be stored by means of the special focus button in order to find the same forms within the ‘ surrounding environment.
If, for example, we are faced with a door on which a rune is inlaid that vaguely resembles an ipsilon, it is necessary to look for two trees that, at the right angulation and height, allow to see their intersecting branches that give shape to the same symbol of barrage.
While it is true that the presence of some unmistakable signals makes us realize that we are in the right area, it is true that this is a mechanics that forces you to wander more than expected, until you deduce what are the elements of the scenario that they remember the aesthetics of the runes. They are usually overlapping games, prospects, shadows and lights, but sometimes it’s all too intuitive and aimed at stretching a game time that would normally not exceed five to six hours.
Try to imagine progression into stagnant compartments interspersed with a couple of clashes and you will have a fairly clear idea of Hellblade ‘s structure , which is very linear to support the story-driven nature of the work and never presents intersections or decision-making biases.
Fight the Darkness
The Hellblade combat systemis rather straightforward and straightforward, does not envisage a complex combo system and is basically based on the ability to know how to choose attack times and parade, with the dodge option that will only be useful in some special cases.
You have opted for a realistic approach, so in dealing with the four types of enemies present (boss excluded) you have to alternate the powerful attack, the light one and a melée blow that unbalanced the opponents or breaks the guard. In this sense, even the perfect parade will put the creatures out of the game for a few moments, giving you the ability to handle more deeply the bumps from multiple directions or to try a racing attack. You can also use focus even in combat,
There is no progression system, there is no ability to develop and from the beginning to the end you will have to arrange alternating the two or three types of attacks made available.
The difficulty is not supported at all and even selecting the difficult one will not be difficult to get rid of it all the time: no change patterns change and increasing are just the damage you will suffer.
You can also select the automatic difficulty, which by means of an adaptive schema shapes around the player’s capabilities, but is calibrated downwards. The only real variation in combat is the “obscure” version that some enemies can take, becoming vulnerable only when entering focus mode, but all in all they never represent a notorious obstacle or a source of real satisfaction.