Very mixed feelings about the game. I certainly loved the look of it, the environment design, the facial animation, the color palette, and especially the design of Senua. The voice acting and sound were also top tier, the game got me to turn the camera quite a few times with the sound work, making me think something was coming up behind me or to the side of me. It did a great job of feeling creepy and unsettling, particularly the trials, they all gave me a really uneasy feeling.
The story was also good, but kinda fell flat for me. I was interested in finding out her back story, and the way they present everything and explain it through visions/flashbacks was very well done, however the story turned out to be exactly what I thought it was going to be, which was disappointing. I think I was looking for more story or more of a plot twist, some big reveal maybe? But in the end the whole thing just felt pointless and depressing. I guess the point of the ending was she faced the fact that her entire journey was a delusion brought on by her mental illness, the death of her lover, and all the Northemen's gods/beliefs, and she was able to let go of her lover, not in the fact that she stopped loving him but that she accepted his death. Unfortunately she still has her mental illness, her lover is still dead, the voices are still there, and it seemed like she was just going to go onto some other "quest" in order to fill the void. I guess I was hoping in the end everything she was seeing and doing was real and she was going to bring her lover back to life, but that wasn't the game they were making so I respect them for that.
Watching the making of video was really interesting as it showed how deep in actual history the game was based, particular in the handling of mental illness. It also explained why there was these rune puzzles in the game, and a lot of the color effects/filters. Ninja Theory really put a lot of work in to create a game that truly addressed mental illness and showed what it could be like to have a mental illness.
However, none of this excuses the gameplay for being mediocre to bad. The rune puzzles are a neat idea and I enjoyed a few of them, and by a few I mean like 3 out of the 30 or so the game has you do. They were tedious, not extremely creative, and mostly felt like annoying time wasters. I understand they wanted to show Senua's illness made her create puzzles and symbols out of nothing, in an attempt to connect things in the world, but the way the chose to do it just made for frustrating gameplay.
The combat was good at first. The animation is really awesome, the impact of the swings feels good, and timing a parry always felt satisfying. Unfortunately the combat boiled down to back up, parry, parry, attack, dodge back or to the side, parry, attack. The boss fights were similar, just way more dodging. There were no combos, no real systems, just parry and smash whichever attack button until the enemy falls dead. And you are forced to fight the same exact enemies over and over. It grew very tiresome.
I really wish they removed the rune puzzles and built the combat out more. More enemy types, combos, and maybe a small upgrade system would all have been appreciated. Either that or scrap the entire combat and puzzles and make it a full on walking simulator, turning and 7-8 hour tedious game into a 3-4 hour enjoyable nice to look at story. It ended up giving me a bad feeling in the end because the gameplay was so tedious and the atmosphere and story was so depressing, that I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone unless they are looking for a really unique story experience, even if that experience may not leave you feeling great in the end.
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