The final segment of this First Impressions article it is by no means the least impressive. In fact in utilising both Psychosis and Combat it may well be the most effective weapon in Hellblade’s arsenal. The game drips with atmosphere in every sequence, enthralling you as it taunts you through psychosis, forces you to run through areas burning down around you and tricking you with terrain that is and isn’t real. It is a vision unquestionably beautifully realised.
The claustrophobic atmosphere extends to far more than just the combat. With voices questioning your every move and the effective lighting that can plunge you into darkness and confusion at any moment the game truly utilises its setting to full effect.
This is nevermore apparent than the puzzles system. All of the puzzles utilise environments to varying success. The find a rune style puzzle is less immersive than I would like, making you a victim of being one or two frames off even when looking at the right thing. This made Surtr’s segment of the game suffer from a certain amount of almost game breaking stonewalling. Dialogue would become repetitive or your eyes would begin to hurt from looking at the right spot in the wrong place. Valravn’s fortress of illusions made far more effective use of puzzles with illusory terrain. This style of puzzle forcing you to unlock portions of the map via breaking illusions to progress, showcased the games environment in a more immersive and enjoyable way. In fact it is my favourite sequence of the game so far as Valravn toys with you, leading you ever deeper into his fortress.
However this setting comes with a price and lots of systems including my own have been struggling to run the game in specific areas or maintain a solid fps during area transitions. Whilst this hasn’t prevented me from fighting properly or navigating the game overmuch, it has ground my attempts to record a letsplay to a halt. Which is a shame honestly given how much I have been enjoying it.
To sum up:
Hellblade: Senua’s sacrifice is a well made game with some prominent flaws. Whilst for the most part extremely enjoyable it suffers from puzzles that feel more luck than skill based, frame issues and an annoying save system. (It makes sense but it has made me replay the game up to Surtr with a corrupted single save file) It is for these reasons that my first impressions of the game sit somewhat regrettably at 6/10
So that’s my first impressions, how would you rate Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice? Let me know in the comments section below. (No game spoilers please.)