Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review

If you like narrative-orientated games, you can continue Senua’s ongoing story from where it left off. However, I have to say, if you haven’t played the first game yet, I recommend you to finish the first game before reading our Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review. Because Ninja Theory’s long-awaited story continues from where the first game left off.

The first game in the action/adventure/horror genre was first released for PC and PS4. For this reason, even though we think PS5 players are excitedly waiting for it, it seems that their dreams have been dashed for now with Microsoft’s announcement at E3 2018 that it has acquired four studios. As you can guess, one of these studios was Ninja Theory. As a result, this means Hellblade 2 will be exclusive to Xbox Series X and PC. Perhaps in the future, as before, it may come for Switch and PS5, but there is no announcement at this stage.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is finally out on Xbox Series X and PC. The action saga fuelled by Norse mythos sees the return of our hero in a sequel built in Unreal Engine 5 for maximum dark fantasy atmosphere. Developer Ninja Theory has announced that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sequel was announced in 2019, we were all excited again. The production, which we expected to be released at the end of 2023, was delayed until today as a result of the postponement. But I can’t help but say “I’m glad it was delayed”.

Story

Hellblade II is set in 10th century Iceland. Following the return of the warrior Senua from the land of Hel, she sets out to take revenge on the Viking raiders who inflicted devastating losses on her people in her homeland of Orkney. I don’t want to go into much more detail about the story, because as I mentioned above, the game is narrative-driven. This will inevitably lead to a lot of spoilers.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Senua, in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, she suffers from a form of psychosis that causes her to perceive whispered voices and experience vivid hallucinations. A trait he shares with his mother Galena, it has haunted him since childhood and guided him throughout his adventures. “Isn’t it hard to concentrate on the game with so many voices in your head?” I feel like you’re asking, and the answer is definitely no, because if you follow the nu voices well, it helps a lot at critical moments. For this reason, following the game not only visually but also aurally can often lead to life-saving results.

While travelling through Senua’s dark fantasy world, we engage in close combat with enemies and dodge fire attacks. At the same time, we have to pass through countless and eerie tunnels and solve many puzzles. We already feel this as soon as we start our adventure. Although there is no tutorial section, the first chapter is completely designed accordingly. In the game that starts simple, more and more complex puzzles and more challenging enemies appear. In this process, it is very important to develop hand, eye and hearing coordination. Because you will definitely use the experience you gained in the previous fight in the next one. This adds fluency to the game.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

In all the news that came out until today, it was said that the game would be finished between 8-10 hours. Let me tell you that it was not that simple for me. I completed the game in about 12 hours. But believe me, I never wanted to get up from the beginning of the game. The story is so fluidly structured that even if I said, “Let’s take a break after this mission,” I continued because the question “What will happen in the next mission?” kept haunting me. Only a few times I had to take a break to recover my mind, because boss battles can sometimes be very challenging. When I took a break and tried again, I realised what I had missed.

Throughout our adventure, we can make comradeship with people we never expected, and we can also be harmed by people we never expected. For this reason, it is also useful to be prepared as if we will continue the war at any moment. Although the game guides you on many issues, Senua is confused. We don’t know when and how she will react.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Graphics

I was most impressed with the graphics and optimisation of the game. On the MSI Katana I used for the test, I did not feel the slightest stuttering or drop in FPS values even at the highest settings, even though the game was developed with Unreal Engine 5. We know the performance problems experienced in recent productions released with UE5. For this reason, I had reservations because we might suffer from the same problems in Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga. The quality of the optimisation alone can account for a large part of the score I gave.

Even though the world is sometimes very dark and sometimes offers spectacular evening views, the puzzles we encounter along the way are the most colourful scenes of the game. Sometimes you can’t solve the puzzles without interacting with them, and sometimes they just require you to be in the right spot. The puzzles, all of which seem to be independent from each other, are easy to solve at first, but become more complex as you progress. I recommend that you listen to the voices echoing in your mind to figure out what you need to do.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga requires a good level of language because it is narrative-oriented, but Ninja Theory has also come to our aid here and added the Turkish subtitle option to the game.

Now I can continue where we left off. The game’s striking narrative is made possible by the combination of various elements. First of all, Ninja Theory’s extensive experience in this field and their mastery of Motion Capture technology is remarkable. The company, which previously worked with an experienced actor like Andy Serkis in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, has also demonstrated its quality in Hellblade.

Especially the performance of Melina Juergens, who brings the character to life, is an important factor that increases the emotional depth of the game. Juergens makes us want to help her in many scenes with the superior talent she shows while portraying her character. Throughout the story, he makes it possible to empathise with the character by making you feel his pain and emotional difficulties. In this way, the game becomes not only a visual and auditory experience, but also an emotional journey. The reason behind Ninja Theory’s success lies in the competence of their team and maximising player performance.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC - 7
Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Combat Mechanics

Although I would say that the combat mechanics are very basic, the gradually improving structure will make you like Senua more and more. However, it seems as if all the moves we need to make are pre-planned. While you will be successful when you hit the combination, a small point you miss can cause your death. Fortunately, the auto-save feature comes to your rescue immediately. If there was a little more freedom here, it would definitely get a higher score. However, if you played the first game, you will remember that there was a similar situation.

A similar situation is also in the stream. Since Senua’s Saga is not an open world game, the direction we will go is always clear, it offers a linear flow. By the way, if your path diverges in any way while progressing, make sure to go to both of them. Because on one of the paths, there is either a narrative totem that will deepen the story or a tree that will re-green the barren land.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Sounds and Music

Even though I said such landscapes, landlords, greenery, etc., I shouldn’t compare the game with standard adventure games. I found it more of a thriller. As it progressed, the increasing dose became more and more annoying. Especially in closed and dark environments. I wouldn’t lie if I said that the voices in your head constantly warning you made my nerves worse. I was already tense, and on top of that, the maniac aunties’ speeches like “Be careful, baby” made me scared of every shadow.

When I add the soft music that keeps the tension at a high level, it makes someone like me, who is more scared than necessary, even more troubled. You remember the music we listened to in the trailer. Viking melodies and ferocity came together. In the game, sometimes soft and sometimes harsh music awaits us like in the trailer.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Conclusion

Ninja Theory’s work is admirable. It surpassed the first game both in story and flow. I don’t think it will be the game of the year, but it is definitely one of the best games of the year. Whether you buy it or play it on the first day via Game Pass, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is one of the games that should be in your library.

There are many things to tell about the game, but I don’t want to mention it because it is very narrative-oriented. Because no matter what I tell, it is sure to be a spoiler. For this reason, the only thing I will say is that if you love the genre, it is a production that you should not miss.

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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC
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Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review / PC

Decision

Worth to Play - 8.9

8.9

Wonderful

The chaotic story of Senua continues. We set out to take revenge on the Viking raiders who have inflicted devastating losses on the people of Orkney.

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Murat Oktay

Video games have been my passion for as long as I can remember. I have been writing and managing in the game industry for more than 30 years. I've been playing Diablo 2 nonstop since it first came out.

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