Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Review

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Time
Blogs Team Editor

The wait is finally over, and Senua’s Saga Hellblade 2 has landed on both Xbox Microsoft Store and Steam. While the game continues to be pushed across various regions of the world, we got our hands on the first few copies to deliver an honest opinion. If you are looking for a one-liner review, 

“Hellblade 2 has over-delivered in terms of action, gameplay experience, combat systems, graphics, and immersion.”

So, you should definitely buy the game without any second thoughts. However, if you weren’t quite satisfied with the original Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade, you should read the whole article, as it will lift a lot of fog. Without any further delay, let’s get started with our Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 review.

Table Contents

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Detailed Review

Overall, Senua’s Saga seems like a successful project, and it is delivered in almost every aspect of the game. However, before we dive into how the game surpassed many expectations and which sections had some room for improvement, we need to set some ground rules. First of all, Ninja Theory had to go the extra mile to maintain the same vibe as the original Hellblade, which is a pretty serious challenge on its own.

Secondly, the story was completed at the end of the first game and didn’t leave much room for a sequel. So, crafting a whole new story while maintaining all previous settings was yet another hurdle in the path. 

Fortunately, Ninja Theory seamlessly overcame both these hurdles with relative ease. Not only did we get a whole new gameplay experience and an immersive storyline, but it also felt like an expansion to the original Hellblade. Furthermore, the fact that Senua made peace with her inner voices and now they power her fire for vengeance completely shifts the game’s nature. Let us break Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 review into individual segments for a better understanding:

Hellblade 2: Graphics Review

Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga Graphic Review 2

The next-gen Hellblade 2 was all about graphics and immersion. The good news is that Ninja Theory came off the top in this area. The whole Icelandic world was captured through photogrammetry and generated with Unreal Engine 5. So, we got to experience a hyper-realistic world with extreme details at the smallest scales. From a dynamic environment to the sound of dripping water, everything felt truly alive throughout our experience.

Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga Graphic Review 3

Secondly, all actors went the extra mile in their acting, be it voice acting, which felt like someone was whispering to us, or the subtle performance of human actors. Similarly, the giants and other non-human characters truly displayed a truly unsettling presentation. Overall, it was a remarkable experience, and we couldn’t help but capture screenshots of everything from the darkened sky to the close-ups of the realistic characters. So, if you are looking for a game with great graphics, Hellblade 2 won’t disappoint you.

Hellblade 2: Combat System Review

The combat system in Hellblade 2 got a complete makeover. The new game offers a lot more than the conventional hack-and-slash system. You could feel the pressure of every blocked attack, and the tension remained consistent in every encounter. Similarly, you can easily dodge an incoming attack, but the attacker has enough time for a connecting strike if you aren’t quick enough. Lastly, we were amazed at how different every attack felt, even with just two basic moves, i.e., Heavy Strike and Light Attack.

Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga Graphic Review 1

Moreover, the game also includes a new melee attack to break your opponent’s defense. However, again, timing is everything, as the enemy will quickly get back on his feet if you don’t connect the melee with a sword attack. The slow-mo ability that we gained halfway through Hellblade I has been carried over to the new game. Unfortunately, Senua won’t be learning any new moves as you progress through the story.

Lastly, all fights in Senua’s Saga are limited to duels only. In other words, no nearby enemy will intercept the fight while you are engaged with another foe. The new opponent will quickly jump into action as soon as you are done with your previous rival. However, the transition between opponents felt buttery smooth, thanks to the seamless interception moves. Thanks to this new system, we no longer need to worry about a second enemy backstabbing us during a fight.

Hellblade 2: Gameplay Experience

As mentioned earlier, Hellblade 2 has overachieved in terms of immersion and game mechanics. Our beloved Perception Puzzles are back with a few improvements. Most of these puzzles are pretty straightforward, and you can’t get stuck in them for hours. However, they do offer a break from all the endless action so that you can appreciate your surroundings. Similarly, the inner voices (angel and demon) are on your side, but they don’t offer much besides explaining what you already know.

Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga Gameplay Experience

In our opinion, the new psychological curse system feels more of a distraction. For instance, they start repeating the same phrases while you engage in combat. Maybe it was kept this way to depict what anxiety really feels like. Adding to the already noisy atmosphere, the side-character dialogues also start feeling repetitive after a while. So, it gets pretty frustrating to focus on all the actions surrounding Senua.

Overall, Hellblade 2 felt like a stripped version of Zelda with better graphics. We understand that the game is all about narrative-driven storytelling, but it also takes away the satisfaction of completing a task or winning a battle. The only dopamine that we got was at the end of each chapter. Otherwise, it’s all about running, crawling, solving simple puzzles, and engaging with one enemy at a time.

Our Verdict

Overall, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is a must-have experience rather than a satisfying game. It features realistic graphics, immersive narratives, accurate combat mechanics, and a compelling storyline. However, it starts to feel like a scripted narration with few interactive elements after a while. 

Moreover, the game failed to carry most, if not all, of the rogue-like vibes from Senua’s Sacrifice. So, you should definitely play the game if you want to experience next-gen gaming and the power of Unreal Engine 5. Otherwise, you can get pretty much the same experience from watching gameplay footage on YouTube. Unless Ninja Theory finds a way to maintain all the anticipation that Hellblade 2 had created, it will be long forgotten in a matter of months.

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