Overview Hellblade: Senua”s Sacrifice — Scandinavian Silent Hill
Hollowed out of a log boat slips on the lake. With every sweep of the oars out of the fog all the more clearly emerges the shore of HELHEIM is the underworld Kingdom ruled by a horrible giantess Hel. The wreckage of a Viking ship, bodies, impaled on stakes, bloody runes on the rocks — here to turn around and sail away from the creepy entrance to the Norse underworld. But the choice the heroine Hellblade: Senua”s no Sacrifice — in the halls of Hel languishing soul of her murdered lover. And for his sake, Senua ready to go to hell to face an army of demons and challenge the gods.
The descent into madness
When in 2014 the English Studio Ninja Theory has announced work on “indie project of the AAA quality“, the idea seemed absurd. The modern blockbuster, made by a tiny team of 20 people? Penny for your own finances? No publishing support? Well, pure madness. Nevertheless, the British managed to realize our plans in three years. And in terms of technical performance Hellblade: Senua”s Sacrifice really the hallmarks of big-budget hits. For example, the facial animation of the main character is not inferior to the level of Uncharted 4 and Injustice 2. But the appearance and the voice of Senua gave not a professional actress and full-time video editors Melina Jurgens. The role she performed so skillfully that the Hollywood ward David cage fit to weep in three streams. And it’s not the only surprise of the new creation Ninja Theory.
Looking at the screenshots and watching the trailers, it’s easy to think that the authors of DmC and Heavenly Sword once again issued a slasher — but in the entourage of Nordic mythology. This screams and the title of the game, reminiscent of metal albums, some Celtic Frost. “Hell blade”? Great title for a murderous Thriller in which a Celtic warrior, Senua shred the infernal sword of the Vikings.
I see dead people
If Hellblade to spend an hour or two, it turns out that this is not a pathetic act in the spirit of the God of War, and psychological horror in the tradition of Silent Hill 2. Where the important not spectacular fight, and pressing on the nerves of the mood and the feeling of total loneliness. Of course, there are wandering through linear locations, interspersed with puzzles and fights enemies on a narrow arenas. But oppressive and the scenery, bloody river with mountains of rotting dead and other mortdecai in the spirit of the movie “Valhalla: a Viking Saga” do not reflect the essence. On phantasmagoric background there is no atheist epic, and down-to-earth story about a battle with insanity, family tragedy and self-acceptance.
Senoi, suffering from severe psychosis, not only hears voices in his head, but does not distinguish the truth from nightmarish hallucinations and painful memories. Avoiding spoilers, let’s just say that the script, the dramaturgy and camera work, Hellblade worthy of comparisons with the blockbusters on the pathology of mind — a kind of “Spider” by David Cronenberg and “Through a glass darkly” by Ingmar Bergman. If HELHEIM and its demonic inhabitants? Or the heroine is immersed in a personal hell, born of childhood trauma and the death of the beloved, which the Vikings sacrificed to the goddess Hel?
Ghosts appear and fade before the darkened eyes of Senua, whispering terrible secrets of the past. Sunny day suddenly gives way to a rainy night. Meadow turns into the flames of the village. And when a girl in a psychotic fit cut face with a piece of the sword screaming or rolling on the ground, trying to extinguish an imaginary fire, all this without hesitation to show close-UPS. Terrible vision, coupled with photo-realistic graphics powered by Unreal Engine 4, compelling game Melina Juergens and workshop of film direction create a viscous, sticky atmosphere of insanity. Ninja Theory is not in vain consulted with Cambridge professors of psychology: so convincing a hallucination in an interactive format is still not displayed.
But really paranoid Senua”s Sacrifice makes sound effects, the genius which can be felt only in good headphones. Thanks to binaural recording voices that constantly hears the terrible sounds from all sides and in your head. The closer, then away, tormenting the ears and testing the sanity of strength. They whisper at the same time and alternately. Arguing with each other. Abused, tortured, ridiculed and comment on the actions of the heroine. And in some moments the voices of cheer, consolation after a nervous breakdown and tips. Or warn you when the enemy tries to attack from behind.
A hell of boredom
Everything about the show the destructive power of psychosis, implemented in Hellblade with frightening conviction. The problem is that Ninja Theory is not intended to be limited to “walking simulator” and tried to make a full game. But the gameplay is debatable. It would seem that the combat mechanics a La Dark Souls (strong and weak swipe with his sword, kick to break defense, rolls and parry) comes to intense fights. But all crossed out with a small variety of enemies, slowness and uniformity of their movements.
Once in another close room, Sanua a dozen minutes shrugs off waves of demonic Vikings appearing out of thin air. Why split hairs with tactics, if the margin of victory — an endless rifts, health regeneration and the slowing of time? But during the duels with the bosses Senua”s Sacrifice ceases to be a mobile clone of Infinity Blade and makes nervous. For example, in one of the fights you need to Dodge attacks an invisible monster, focusing on hearing, and arena is gradually reduced. Hidetaka Miyazaki approves!
Ambiguous situation and puzzles, which boil down to the ability to see the world from the right angle. The pass gate block, sealed the two runes? Will have to search nearby the desired characters. Don’t see the rune R? Look at the shadows on the ground cast by the roof of the ruined building. Found? Great. Now take the trouble to find M in this forest. Impossible? And look at that tree trunk, branch and bruised the beam is the silhouette is not similar to M? The main thing — to look good side: people with mental disorders tend to be found throughout the relationships and patterns.
Tired of puzzles? But Ninja Theory they are so popular, what to look out for runes will be in over 6-8 hours of gameplay. And I do not say that the game designers tight with imagination. At one point the warrior wanders in the darkness, following the sound and lighting torches to ward off the monster. In the other solves riddles, moving like Raziel from Soul Reaver, between the light and dark versions of the same locations. The third runs through the maze from a fiery monster. Alas, such episodes rarely indulge.
What is the result? One of the most controversial releases of the year: whether Arthouse masterpiece, or mediocre action adventure. If we consider the elements of the Hellblade: Senua”s Sacrifice individually, it is easy to drown the work of the British in the negative. But this is the case when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Exhausting monotonous fights, search runes, maddening chorus of voices — all is subordinated to a single task. To immerse the gamer into the inner world of the character, suffering from severe mental disorder. The topic is unpleasant. But who said that art should be enjoyable?
- carefully recreated the atmosphere of psychosis;
- photorealistic graphics on Unreal Engine 4;
- adult plot about madness and the depths of human despair;
- revolutionary work with sound;
- great animation;
- aesthetics of Celtic and Scandinavian myths;
- a reasonable price tag on Steam and GOG.com (769 rubles).
- repetitive battles;
- annoying puzzle;
- timing is tightened about finding runes.
- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4
- Developer: Ninja Theory
- Publisher: Ninja Theory
- Release date in Russia: August 8, 2017
- Localization: Russian text
- Similar games: Dark Souls, Silent Hill 2, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
- Is it worth buying now? Yes, if you appreciate unusual gaming experience
The author of the text: Vladimir Saldan
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