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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II Review – Story, Gameplay, Visuals, Ninja Theory Future, and More

  • Marilyn Walters
  • |
  • June 27, 2024
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  • 4 minute read
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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II Review – Story, Gameplay, Visuals, Ninja Theory Future, and More

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is an immersive game with a gripping story and stunning visuals.

Join Senua on her journey through Midgard, battling real and inner demons.

Key Takeaways
  • Hellblade II features stunning Nordic-inspired locations and first-class binaural audio, creating an immersive experience.
  • Hellblade II offers fierce and visceral combat, although its mechanics remain simple and straightforward.
  • The game continues to explore Senua's psychosis, blending her inner struggles with mythological elements.

Hellblade II Story and Character Development

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II starts with Senua surviving a shipwreck, hurt and barely breathing. This sets the tone for her challenging journey.

This immediately pulls players back into her world, where psychosis influences every aspect of her journey.

The story picks up shortly after the events of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, with Senua now feeling empowered by her psychosis rather than hindered by it.

She travels through Midgard, dealing with her inner struggles and real dangers.

After surviving a severe storm that wrecks the Icelandic slave ship she stowed away on, Senua grapples with survivor’s guilt and self-doubt. These inner battles drive her to continue her tough journey.

Senua meets a few companions along the way, like a slave master and a settler she rescues.

Though these characters don’t get much development, their conversations add depth to the story.

Combat and Gameplay

Hellblade II’s combat combines brutal, intimate encounters and streamlined mechanics that favor cinematic spectacle.

Each fight feels immediate and intense. Senua’s sword splits her opponent’s skin, making each attack visceral and impactful. Plus, the tight combat camera and realistic animations enhance the feeling of every blow and dodge.

The combat is simpler than the first game, with fewer abilities and attacks.

Senua’s slow-motion focus ability is available from the start, and the guard-breaking melee attack from the original is absent.

While the combat remains engaging, some players might find it lacking in depth. A big improvement is the one-on-one combat, which avoids the frustration of unseen attacks.

The game’s direction makes these fights feel chaotic and realistic, adding to the sense of struggle.

Visuals and Sound

Hellblade II takes Senua through darker and more disturbing places than the original but with a broader color palette.

The game contrasts heinous pits of blood and bone-decorated marauder camps with serene mountain treks and awe-inspiring views of the aurora borealis.

Players will be especially pleased by the impressive lighting and fog effects that add depth to each destination, making the journey feel grounded even as it shifts between reality and Senua’s altered psyche.

Playing with headphones is essential to fully appreciate the first-class binaural audio design. The swirling voices in Senua’s head are so close you can almost feel their breath.

This audio detail enhances the immersive experience, making you second-guess every decision alongside Senua.

Puzzles or Special Gameplay Elements

The game balances combat with environmental puzzles that challenge players to use perspective to unlock paths forward.

These puzzles, reminiscent of the original game, involve lining up environmental elements to form specific symbols.

Hellblade II also introduces torchlit braziers and bubble switches that alter the terrain, adding new layers to the puzzle-solving experience.

Despite the wide-open appearance of its world, Hellblade II remains a linear adventure, with hidden lorestones and Nordic knowledge trees providing additional lore without affecting gameplay.

Current State of Hellblade II’s Sales and Ninja Theory’s Future

Despite its great reviews for story, visuals, and audio, Hellblade II has not sold well.

Last month, seven years after the first game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 launched on Xbox and PC.

The game faced a long development process, which changed direction when Microsoft bought Ninja Theory in 2018.

Many wondered if the game would be a Microsoft exclusive, but it was released on PC and Xbox. Despite this, sales have been disappointing, putting Ninja Theory’s future at risk.

Many studios, including those acquired by major companies, have shut down due to poor sales.

Hellblade 2, despite being one of Xbox’s major releases, received a lack of marketing.

Many gamers noticed they hadn’t heard much about the game even weeks before its release. As such, relying on existing fans wasn’t enough to boost sales.

Why You Should Play Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II offers an unforgettable journey through a beautifully crafted world.

The strong story and characters will keep you hooked from start to finish. The stunning visuals and detailed sound design make the game feel incredibly real.

Despite some concerns about sales, the game delivers a powerful and immersive experience.

If you love intense stories, impressive graphics, and engaging gameplay, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is a must-play. Don’t miss out on this fantastic game!

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn is a seasoned journalist known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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