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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was released on the 8th of August 2017 for Microsoft Windows and Playstation 4,
as a third person action adventure game.
Norsemen and Psychosis
Set in the grimy, brutal underworld of 9th century Celtic earth in mythical Helheim, Senua, a Pictish warrior, convinced she is possessed, is guided and cajoled by the ‘The Furies’ (voices) which unceasingly plague her. With headphones, the binaury effect causes the voices in Senua’s head to become the voices in the gamer’s head, also. The effect is creepy and disturbing and serves to keep the gamer in a state of stressful, uneasy anticipation.
We travel with Senua on her quest to regain the soul of her lover, Dillion, slain in a Viking raid. Senua experiences both
visual and aural hallucinations and illusions as part of her evident psychological trauma, of which we glean more understanding
as the journey progresses. Terrifying demons emerge from dark places, and combat ensues. A potentially fatal flesh rotting disease strikes Senua if combat fails. Another constant feature of the game are three dimensional puzzles to be resolved so another door into consciousness can be opened; an underscoring of Senua’s psychosis
and need to see patterns.
If Senua does not succumb to the Perma Death or her demons, she completes her quest and is offered salvation from mental torment in the form of acceptance, understanding and release of the deaths of her mother who was killed by her father in his attempt to eradicate the ‘darkness’ he saw in her, and for the death of Dillion.
The game is extremely well researched for both it’s historical content and sensitive use of Senua’s psychosis to provide the narrative. The game is visually stunning and the cinematic use of shadows, dungeons, horror, hallucinations and violence creates a spooky, haunting, harrowing universe for the heroine’s quest.
Hellblade:Senua’s Sacrifice is a beautiful, haunting action adventure game that captures the imagination and soul.