Let's discuss Hellblade. Spoilers Galore!

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#1 Posted by mordukai (8516 posts) -

So this where I am in the game right now.

I just finished doing Surt's part of the game and I am about to start Valravn's part. So far I am very impressed with the visuals and the magnificent sound design. Combat I could do without as the main creative juices went to the story and how the narrative unfolds. Right now I don't really want to talk about specific story beats as I am not done yet. However, I would like to mention that as someone who seen a close friend descent into dementia, this game is hitting me pretty hard. It's actually making understand what she was going through for the first time in my life.

I would also like to mention how great the voice over, especially Nicholas Boulton as Druth which I hope will get recognition when GOTY talks arrive.

How's your experience so far?

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#2 Posted by Truekirby2 (12 posts) -

I just finished playing it and it's one hell of a game. Pun maybe intended. I know immersion gets thrown around quite alot poorly but this game gave me a good, and also uncomfortable, idea of what it's like to have psychosis. Or at least having voices in your head. I, nor anyone that I know, has psychosis but I still found some parts of this game impactful. The combat was pretty simple and satisfying. Though I'll admit that I was getting pissed off at it towards the end because having your ass swarmed and kicked by multiple enemies isn't fun. Also fuck dudes with shields! That being said I think it's an amazingly powerful game and I hope more developers follow by Ninja Theory's example and create more games that are honest about sensitive subjects.

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#3 Posted by Pezen (2325 posts) -

Just finished the game a few minutes ago and I am overwhelmed by how much I like this game. I played it nonstop start to finish. I was enthralled with the story, Senua's struggles and the world they built on norse mythology. I would say there are a few spots where the combat scenarios was a little overstaying their welcome, but otherwise I found the combat to be pretty fun and when you got a nice flow going it felt pretty damn satisfying. Terrific sound design and soundtrack as well.

Also, around the time you leave Surt's part one of her voices (the narrator) said something that made me pause the game because it hit way too close to home. She says; "Have you ever died before? It's a serious question. When the illusion of self is shattered, you simply cease to be. Though it may not seem that way to others, you know when it's true. You can feel it, a stranger in your own body, an imposter.. and nothing is the same ever again." -- While I had already started finding Senua's character interesting at that point, from thereon out I had a bond with her. I see myself in some of her struggles at an uncomfortable level of accuracy. I don't have psychosis, but I definitely recognize some of the patterns of thinking about oneself overall.

Unless something extraordinary comes out later this year, I might say this is by far my game of the year.

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#4 Edited by GunslingerPanda (5263 posts) -

I just beat a birdman and got a new power and so far I hate the game; I find the puzzles to be mind numbingly tedious and just generally bad and the combat to be an absolute joke, but it has very nice graphics and a kind of cool if awfully told story. To those who have beaten it, does the game get good or at least competent enough that there's anything of value there? Or shall I just go ahead and refund it?

I'll at least say this in the game's favour: Its depiction of psychosis is largely pretty accurate.

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#5 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2068 posts) -

@pezen said:

Just finished the game a few minutes ago and I am overwhelmed by how much I like this game. I played it nonstop start to finish. I was enthralled with the story, Senua's struggles and the world they built on norse mythology. I would say there are a few spots where the combat scenarios was a little overstaying their welcome, but otherwise I found the combat to be pretty fun and when you got a nice flow going it felt pretty damn satisfying. Terrific sound design and soundtrack as well.

Also, around the time you leave Surt's part one of her voices (the narrator) said something that made me pause the game because it hit way too close to home. She says; "Have you ever died before? It's a serious question. When the illusion of self is shattered, you simply cease to be. Though it may not seem that way to others, you know when it's true. You can feel it, a stranger in your own body, an imposter.. and nothing is the same ever again." -- While I had already started finding Senua's character interesting at that point, from thereon out I had a bond with her. I see myself in some of her struggles at an uncomfortable level of accuracy. I don't have psychosis, but I definitely recognize some of the patterns of thinking about oneself overall.

Unless something extraordinary comes out later this year, I might say this is by far my game of the year.

Came in here to say all of this, and in addition that the ending to this game was a welcoming "happy" ending. As happy as it could be at least and that it was certainly bittersweet.

It's gonna be really sad seeing people unable to get past ok-not-great combat to find what's incredible at the core of this game. Ah well.

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#6 Posted by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

I just deleted it. Was stuck at another obtuse puzzle. Someone's gonna tell me the Tower Shard trial is simple, but I don't care. The puzzles aren't fun. Nothing about this game is fun or compelling, and the voices become annoying. I seldom say this about a game, but IT SUCKS. One of the most overrated games I've ever played. I found Ninja Theory's other games, Enslaved and DmC, more tolerable. The former actually had a decent story (though I remember the ending being weak) and art. Heavenly Sword is probably better too, though I only played the demo.

I already shared most of my thoughts in the other thread, but I'm gonna quote my last post, because I feel it's the game's biggest problem.

This is a boring story. It's one-note, grim and depressive all the way through. Would have been more effective if they had contrasted that with moments of beauty and optimism. Maybe they could have looked at her past more, let you play out some of those moments, when everything wasn't dark. I just don't care much for Senua's story, just hearing all the time what happened, but rarely being there or seeing it.

It reminds me of how unrewarding Gone Home was. Everything that mattered had already happened and you just listened to your sister brag of her love life for an hour or however long it was. At least when they do mental illness and delusions in movies, there are other characters. Tangible characters, I mean.

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#7 Posted by Ravelle (3250 posts) -

Finished it and loved it but they could have dialed down the puzzles and combat parts, some fights dragged on for too long, which isn't really fun when the combat is the same every time.

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#8 Posted by ThaMilkMan (397 posts) -

I just finished the game and though I loved some parts of it there are definitely some things about it that make me frustrated because they will deter many from enjoying the story (which is simply put "unlike anything else in video games").

The combat is simple and fine, just as the puzzles are simple though at times obtuse, and some times tedious. However because of the length of the game with a lack of variety on these aspects of the core gameplay loop (I finished in about 8 hours) you see all there is (minus slight variation) within the first 2 hours. This is easily my biggest/only real complaint with the game which is huge considering that is the gameplay loop.

However the game is telling such a unique story executed so excellently that it makes up for the repetitive nature of the gameplay loop (at least for me). I think it looks immaculate, the sound design is one of a kind(in some respects quite literally) and the mood is ominous and striking in some real powerful ways.

If you aren't in for the story or the way it's told this is most definitely not going to be for you, but I think if you can stick around and get through some of the rather frustrating parts of this game you won't be let down by the narrative whatsoever.

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#9 Posted by Pezen (2325 posts) -

Which puzzles did some of you consider obtuse? I'm curious because I found most of them to be pretty intuitive. The only one I had some issues with was the end of the blind shard trial because I missed what was supposed to guide me and then kept falling off a balancing thing for no apparent reason.

Oh and if anyone's curious, the words on the glowing lore rune circles read; Seek - Helas - Truth - In - Mirror - Gods - Betray - Us - Unmask - Fear

@ezekiel: You didn't think the game had any optimistic moments? Hm, maybe I have a higher interest in tragedy in and of itself but I found the game used beauty and optimism in a few key moments to really enhance her struggle and perspective. The problem I guess is that it isn't a story about completely overcoming an enemy because you are your own enemy (hence the mirror being a key item). It's more about being at peace with who you are than trying to fight it. One of the key issues for Senua is that she doesn't see the positive optimism you wish was in the game, most of the things she see are obstacles and how her inner darkness and rot will ruin it for people around her. I am not sure if you've ever experienced feelings like that though, but as someone that has I found it extremely relatable. Even the end of the game is, for me, quite optimistic all things considered. But I would understand if someone didn't. Also, your point about not being any other characters also, for me, misses the point of this being an internal struggle rather than an external struggle. Other people doesn't matter when you're in your own head. That being said, I also love Gone Home, so we may just have very different tastes in how (and what) stories are told. So as always, to each their own, too bad it wasn't for you.

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#10 Posted by Truekirby2 (12 posts) -

@pezen: The only puzzle I really got stuck was at the tower and you had to align the broken staircase to rebuild it. But a crazy thing that I found was that the longer I was taking to solve that part the more negative the voices in Senua's head would keep getting. I actually caught myself saying "shut the fuck up!" when the voices just wouldn't stop. Which made me stop and catch myself thinking "woah...I've never had a game get to me like that before." Makes me wonder if it does that throughout the entire game too. Cool fact about the runes in the circle, I was wondering what they read out to be.

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#11 Edited by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@pezen:

"but I found the game used beauty and optimism in a few key moments to really enhance her struggle and perspective"

Barely.

"I am not sure if you've ever experienced feelings like that though, but as someone that has I found it extremely relatable."

I have. I do.

"Also, your point about not being any other characters also, for me, misses the point of this being an internal struggle rather than an external struggle. Other people doesn't matter when you're in your own head."

Maybe so, but it makes for a boring story. Maybe it can be done effectively, in a way that's compelling. Either way, Hellblade fails. Probably because it's all really overdone. It would barely be tolerable if the puzzles and voices didn't become so annoying.

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#12 Edited by glots (4132 posts) -

I enjoyed this a bunch, despite a fair amount of technical hiccups, like the subtitles/voice overs not always loading in and some gameplay bugs like getting stuck in the environment. The gameplay was admittedly simple, but didn't become annoying and the combat had a great feel to it. Those few combat sections towards the end with the background music kicking in were fantastic and kinda made me wanna go back to that airport level from Max Payne 3 with that HEALTH song blasting on the background.

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#13 Edited by Nefarious_Al (279 posts) -

Beat it this morning. All the puzzles were very easy and the combat was barely ok, but that said I enjoyed it.

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#14 Posted by Ford_Dent (870 posts) -

Finished the game last night. It is a tremendous accomplishment. I actually liked the combat (and thought it got plenty challenging further in), and I think the shard trials were maybe my favorite areas (the trial of sight creeped me the FUCK out). The narrative is the real crown jewel, so to speak - the end of the game especially was an exquisite moment of catharsis. Part of me kind of wants to go back to it again - I missed some of the runes, which isn't a bad thing but man I gotta hear Druth tell me more stories about Fafnir, dammit.

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#15 Posted by M4STR0 (7 posts) -

It's not the best game in 2017, but man... it's the most surprising game for me in 2017. I agree that the Combat is not as great as DmC or Enslaved and the puzzles were not that hard. But man, the immersion this game had , made me pause the game many times. I wasn't annoyed by the voices, I was more under pressure , that they were judging me / helping me / hindering me constantly without a break. The struggle to fight against these voices made the story progression so fantastic. The ending of this game is fantastic, nothing over the top nor is it having a big impact to the world the character lives in. And with its playtime of 6 to 8 hours, the simple puzzles and combat were bearable for me, because the way of storytelling and character progression were cleary in the bigger focus for this game and made me continue playing it.

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#16 Posted by Kidavenger (4417 posts) -

Did she say "fuck" at the end to Hela?

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#17 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3702 posts) -

@werupenstein: Not to Hela but yes she says that.

I just finished it last night. I liked the combat more than most people it seems. I thought the puzzles worked well, reminded me of parts of The Witness. I enjoyed the story of it, though one thing I disliked was the FMV stuff blended with her character model. I think I know why they did it, but I thought it just looked bad. Shadow figures would've been better. Senua's character model looks amazing, but you lose that when you put a real person next to her. That and there's time they try to do stuff like have them touch and it just looks off.

I think the combat is a lot better than most people are giving it credit for. The fight across the bridge to Hel felt incredible. And once you start noticing the patterns and chains you can put together you can really go all in. I didn't realize there was a "punch" button that knocked the shield guys off balance until the final bridge. So it felt just the right amount of tense.

I enjoyed most of the boss fights - with Valravan being the weakest. I thought they did a good job visualizing and telegraphing when the bosses are getting weaker. The one against the beast in the shadows made me wish that Bloodborne had lighting that good.

And about the psychosis stuff. I went into the game expecting them to try do some deep dive into psychosis. And they didn't. And it's better for it. This is just a character who has psychotic issues and you play as her. I thought the voices were effective in what they're meant to do, they're meant to annoy you and confuse you and contradict each other and make you question what's going on. I thought the final voice you hear being your mothers was a brilliant piece of work.

Overall I really liked the game. It's not a "fun" game to play, but I think we're past the idea that games have to be fun to be good games.

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#18 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -

@jesus_phish: can you have a bigger psychosis than wandering around in the woods with a skull imagining you are in the new God of war fighting for your dead boyfriends soul?

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#19 Edited by ExiledVip3r (153 posts) -

I just finished (credits rolling on my main monitor now...)

I really liked the game as I played through it, the story/ambiance were great; and I mention them both because it feels like the two are one in the same when it comes to Hellblade. There were times when the voices kinda stressed me out and screwed with my anxiety. Which is great and impressive, in a sort of masochistic way I guess...

I was expecting there to be some transition to the female narrator in a psych office or something telling Senua's story. Kinda glad they didn't do that, but the closing dialog also kinda left the idea of a sequel up in the air, which I didn't like as this really felt like a stand alone thing. Continuing it in a sequel would sort of make it start feeling more like God of War...

A lot of people seem to be against the combat, I for one really enjoyed it. It was basic enough to understand quickly and a lot of the bigger encounters felt pretty intense. I didn't realize I could counter enemies until mid game, before then I almost never blocked and just dodged everything. Fuck shield guys though, they were nothing but annoying to handle until I learned how to counter, before that I saved up my slowmo focus mostly just for killing them quickly.

Maybe died 4 or 5 times throughout the game. Not counting the final battle which I assume you had to die in? Went something like 10 minutes in the final fight before I finally died and the game ended anyway. Curious if the battle ends automatically at some point if you don't die? Actually had to pause the final battle midway through to wipe the sweat away and compose my self before continuing.

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#20 Posted by glots (4132 posts) -

@exiledvip3r: I'm pretty sure that it just becomes impossible to beat at some point. I was also getting close to sweating and had a dry throat by the time I finally got killed, first reaction being just a irritated "Oh, come on!"

They probably could've made that more obvious somehow to avoid some frustration. Have Hela incapacitate you slowly over time or something.

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#21 Edited by IVDAMKE (1813 posts) -

@glots: I think forcing the player to give up under their own volition was on purpose.

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#22 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3702 posts) -

@glots: @exiledvip3r: Yeah in the final fight you just have to die. I went for about 20 minutes before I finally tried it.

Your mother will tell you to just let go, to give up, but it was hard to trust if that was a genuine message or another trick.

The longer I went the worse it got for me. Like I said, I went for about 20 minutes and at that point my biggest worry was that if I died and I was wrong and this wasn't a scripted, necessary dying point, then I'd have to do that all over again.


Maybe it's intentional in that way.

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#23 Edited by Do_The_Manta_Ray (1618 posts) -

Let me begin by saying that I quite literally broke down in tears over the ending. It's a feeling I've not felt for a long time now. Years even. I'd begun to wonder if I even could any more. If there was anything that wouldn't feel like just.. A lesser version of a something that once moved me.

I have problems. I've had problems. For almost my entire life. At times, these have crippled me, taken me away from the world and kept me shackled to my own demons and fears. I've made great progress over the years, and while I will never be able to claim that I am normal, or free of pain, I have moments of great happiness. I live a life that is increasingly improving. I have people who love me, I'm in a great relationship, I'm pursuing a dream I want to believe in. Piece by piece, it is coming together. Though I still very much fear that one day, it'll turn out that the pieces don't fit, or that if and when they do, I'll realize the full picture is something grotesque, something I never wanted in the first place. But that will always be part of it. It's the chance I have to take, to hope and believe in myself.

Senuas journey echoes so many emotions and events I've had occur to, for and against me over the years, sometimes in the metaphorical sense, sometimes in the literal, and I recognized her grief and her madness, and I was even drawn back into it for moments where those memories had power over me again.

And it isn't just the story, but the full breath of the experience, that provides this effect. The increasingly stressful combat with the promise of damnation, the notion of desperately looking for clues in the world, trying to see beauty, trying to see a way forwards, it all applies. One could definitely argue that it could have used a little less of the rune puzzles, and a bit fewer combat instances, but the journey still feels complete to me.

The way the story culminates, however, is perfect to me. It rings true, because Senua will never be free of all that haunts her, but that notion doesn't stifle her any more, she has taken the steps to overcome the worst of her past, and come to realize that there is a future for her, even though she doesn't know what that will be yet. But that's okay.

I deeply, and dearly love this game as it walked me through my own life again, and let me re-emerge at the other side of that suffocating, oh-so-dark tunnel, and look up into the sky and smile at the shapes of clouds and what they remind me of. Is this game perfect? Definitely not. But it's very special to me, and I think people should try to play it, and keep an open mind, as it has much to tell and possibly teach.

I also want to point out that I enjoy how misleading the title of the game really is. Senuas Sacrifice ultimately not being her own life, but Dillion and her hopes of being with him again.

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#24 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3616 posts) -

I hear there is an extended ending. Anybody get that yet?

Also I totally cried at this game.

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#25 Posted by Do_The_Manta_Ray (1618 posts) -

@jonny_anonymous: You get it for finding all the runes and not dying too much, it includes a few additional minutes of Druth before the final battle.

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#26 Edited by ExiledVip3r (153 posts) -

The longer I went in that fight, the more obvious it seemed. Every time I was knocked down, the "inside voices" said something about it all being pointless. I caught the hint at some point but kept going anyway.

@glots said:They probably could've made that more obvious somehow to avoid some frustration. Have Hela incapacitate you slowly over time or something.

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#27 Posted by Anund (1258 posts) -

Yeah, I fought for maybe five minuted before listening to the voices and letting them end me.

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#28 Edited by Baal_Sagoth (1602 posts) -

I just finished the game and loved it. I got frustrated by the puzzles in rare instances and thought some of the later-game-combat was a little tedious. But a lot of the combat frustrations were the result of not figuring out some of the non-obvious moves until very late, for example the kick-attack or forward sprint+light attack.

As far as exploring the human psyche goes, Hellblade is the greatest achievement since The Void. Also a flawed gem with fantastic writing and atmosphere. Hellblade is beautiful, creepy and disturbing in equal parts. A strange game made just for players like me. I'm so glad I felt that pull to just give the game a shot.

I'll check out the feature from the main menu now and then, I think, I'll play it again - missed three runes and died quite a bit after all. And we can't have that. What a game.

Edit: I should temper all that excitement with mentioning that I was about to refund the game after going for Valravn first, running into a progression blocking bug (you somehow can access the boss-fight-arena before actually entering the last area preceding it and it fucks the entire scripting) and also struggling with the Valravn fight like crazy once I replayed the game up to that point.

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#29 Edited by RosesAreDan (86 posts) -

@baal_sagoth: I think they released a big patch about a week after release for bugs, but I had already finished it by then. I didn't encounter any but hopefully they fixed any big ones.

Also just wanted to say, what a good game. I guess we'll see how people think about it in a few years, but man I really think it's great.

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#30 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1602 posts) -

@rosesaredan: I actually played with the first patch (gog version). But I think my sequencing was super weird. I opened both doors to get a little more information, then went to Valravn (suboptimal choice), then got confused where to go next and managed to open the door to his arena (the exit) without ever entering the final area. Therefore, the door you should normally use to enter the arena from the intended side wasn't locked by the runes and the entire scripting for that area never kicked off. Very, very frustrating.

But I was enticed enough to just replay the game up to that point. Never encountered any other trouble. No regrets!

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#31 Posted by CJduke (1031 posts) -

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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#32 Edited by Hayt (1625 posts) -

I am shocked to hear anyone saying the puzzles were anything but too easy.

I loved the game but both the combat and the puzzles weren't very challenging. My only complaint was that it locked a door behind me while I was trying to find all the lorestones haha.

I also really liked that the ending didnt have a magical resolution and was more just about acceptance. I can see how people would see it as depressing but it's not. It's just not a boring happy ending.

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#33 Posted by Herk (255 posts) -

Also just finished it. It was a pretty dour game for almost all of it with few moments to pause and recover but having finished I enjoyed the experience. I missed a single rune which is kind of annoying but I usually don't get too caught up in collectibles so it doesn't really matter. But anyways I like when a game is mature about its subject and most of the game worked for me (except Valravns puzzles which was boring at parts) and I hope people and the industry sees this and show them that new experimental stuff can work great too

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#34 Posted by Torrim (409 posts) -

I was very surprised at how badly I reacted to the game, considering I was pretty interested in it. The combat was awful, for reasons that I could go on about, and made me wonder why even have it at all. I also had an incredible aversion to the narroraters's awful whispery-voice. I absolutely know that was intentional. What i'm not sure about was thinking that the voices inside Senua's head were awfully helpful for tutorials and combat. Their decision to put "mental health" on so many advisories and cram allusions to it in every sentence just ended up rubbing me the wrong way. Blug.

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#35 Edited by Tesla (2276 posts) -

This game fuckin sucks. It’s “bite-size” but still manages to overstay it’s welcome. The combat is somehow easy and frustrating at the same time. The story plods along at a snail’s pace while not really telling much of a story at all.

There are some really cool visuals and moments worth experiencing. Bah gawd what an overrated game though.

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#36 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -

@tesla: How can a game thats bashed everywhere be overrated?

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#37 Edited by Tesla (2276 posts) -

@rethla: Because it’s “bashed everywhere” yet still has a mostly positive critical reception. That is pretty much the definition of overrated.

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#38 Edited by tha16thletter (1 posts) -

I just finished this game last night. Absolutely loved it. I feel like if you don't enjoy this game, you may be missing the point. Or maybe you just value different gameplay experiences than others.

I'll give my retort to most of the qualms people have lobbed- most often, the combat. At first, I thought the combat was a bit of a slog. The depth is not really revealed until you are about 4 hours in. It rewards experimentation- if you go only by the command list in the pause menu, you're missing out on a lot. I didn't figure out I could use a charge attack with heavy until almost the end of the game! And then I figured out while I was charging I could still use movement to avoid attack and counter with my heaviest slash. When played with finesse, the fights become a beautiful dance and are very rewarding. If you play based solely of the light, heavy, kick repeat, I can see why it is boring. But like most things in this game, it rewards being out-of-the-box and abstract.

The puzzles wore me down in a few places when I'd be running from something and couldn't figure out why I was constantly dying- early on I kept getting lit on fire as I had to run from the blazes. And I was getting very aggitated because I swear it wasn't touching me. But it leads to a lot of "ah ha" moments, more often than not, that are very rewarding. There were a few puzzles I had to look up the answer to avoid me getting too frustrated, but I feel like the frustration serves a purpose to the narrative as well.

I guess there is artistic/narrative value to making the game a _little_ difficult to love. The combat rewards you being experimental and trying different stuff- it's possible I STILL didn't find all the moves. And the puzzles reward you for stepping back, taking a deep breath, and trying to place yourself in Senua's mind for a moment.

I loved it. One of the best gaming experiences I've had in a long time.

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#39 Posted by FrostyRyan (2840 posts) -

I just finished this and I was shaken by it. I think this is one of the most important games ever made. I'm so glad it exists.

The icing in the cake was the song during the end credits. That's one of my favorite bands. They're not super well known so I was shocked to see a song by them at the end of a game

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#40 Posted by killroycantkill (1602 posts) -

I've always been really confused for the absolute adoration of this game. When I originally played it I loved the acting and the audio direction while using headphone. Also visually they do some cool stuff, but by golly did I despise actually playing the game. The whole time I felt the "find the shape" puzzles were trash and the combat to be middling. I was hoping for this to be a Ninja Theory game I actual enjoy but I felt it was only OK. (Also yes, before people ask I didn't like Enslaved).

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#41 Posted by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@tesla said:

@rethla: Because it’s “bashed everywhere” yet still has a mostly positive critical reception. That is pretty much the definition of overrated.

"Bashed everywhere" seems off too. A lot more people like it than hate it. I mean, the Steam user reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Opinions on forums seem mostly positive too. I've never felt more in disagreement over a game. It's one of the worst modern games I've played. That's not an exaggeration.

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#42 Posted by YI_Orange (1354 posts) -

@killroycantkill: @ezekiel: This is where I think games are starting to get fuzzy, and interesting in a way. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to shut down discourse by saying "all according to taste." but I personally loved both Hellblade and Enslaved. I liked the gameplay for what they were, mostly because the animations felt satisfying. But mostly it was the story and performances that brought me in(the fact that I love mythology helped with Hellblade). As more and more people start seeing games as a viable outlet for telling a story, I expect this kind of conversation to become more and more frequent. I mean, remove the name of the game and we could be talking about Telltale, we could be talking about Naughty Dog, any number of indie games, etc.

I guess what I'm saying, is now more than ever it's important to pay attention to what you want out of a game and what the people who like a game are saying about it. Personally, I find probably 95% of Bethesda, Nintendo, and Rockstar games to be bad, yet people love all three of those developers. But as games continue to evolve, the discourse of "game is good" and "game is bad" becomes increasingly useless(with exceptions of course).

That said, I really don't want this to sound aggressive. I think there's things to talk about with this game, and I think disagreement in general can be valuable for all parties as long as there's an agenda of understanding rather than changing minds. For whatever reason, your posts in tandem just sparked this line of thought.

And yes, the shape puzzles are terrible. And if someone wanted to derisively call Hellblade a glorified "walking simulator," I probably wouldn't fight them on that.

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#43 Posted by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@yi_orange: If you wanna call it a walking sim or whatever, fine. But I think it's tedious/bad as that too. I didn't enjoy the exploration or the story.

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#44 Posted by IVDAMKE (1813 posts) -

@ezekiel: Yea but you don't enjoy anything.

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#45 Edited by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@ivdamke said:

@ezekiel: Yea but you don't enjoy anything.

If you say so. I do complain about lots of games, but I don't remember going so far as to call any of them one of the worst modern games I've played. And what you typed there is an excuse.

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#46 Posted by IVDAMKE (1813 posts) -

@ezekiel: It's not an excuse, it's just dismissing your opinion as near worthless because of how consistently you whinge on this forum.

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#47 Posted by Qrowdyy (364 posts) -

I thought it was good. The norse mythology was cool. The combat was interesting, although it's lack of depth was a problem towards the end of the game. The story was the best part. What they did with Senua and the voices was pretty great. I thought it was fairly obvious that nothing magical was going on, especially since there's a big fat disclaimer at the beginning of the game about mental health issues.I thought it was still a really good depiction of that stuff though. That said I don't think I'll ever play it again. It's extremely uncomfortable, heavy, and I wouldn't exactly say it's a pleasant experience.

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#48 Posted by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@ivdamke said:

@ezekiel: It's not an excuse, it's just dismissing your opinion as near worthless because of how consistently you whinge on this forum.

You know what? Keep it to yourself. It's disrespectful.

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#49 Posted by IVDAMKE (1813 posts) -
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#50 Edited by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@ivdamke said:

@ezekiel: Maybe take your own advice.

Nope. I'm gonna keep talking about the games I wanna talk about. I'm not disrespecting anyone. Modern gaming in general sucks.

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