Hellblade is a weird little front from Ninja Theory – the hack and slash savvy minds behind DmC: Devil May Cry and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It’s not a full AAA title, but it’s not an indie one either. It’s sort of in the middle – a half priced AAA title that Ninja Theory is expecting to be half as long. But it’s also some of the subject matter that its protagonist, Senua, is tackling that makes it so captivating. Because in this Viking-themed fighter, you’re not fighting in real life. You’re fighting Senua’s own PTSD.
The entire third-person fighter takes place in Senua’s subconscious, as the warrior has her wounds tended to after a big battle. Or at least that’s what it seems is happening. Ninja Theory is keeping the context purposefully ambiguous, instead hoping players will uncover some secrets when they play next month. In this semi-dream state, Senua is tasked with fighting her past demons – the figments of people she’s killed in the past, plaguing her own psyche after each battle.
The gameplay itself looks incredible. The slow, purposeful fighting will likely remind you of titles like Dark Souls and perhaps Ubisoft’s For Honor from earlier this year, but Ninja Theory aren’t shying away from their signature style. Quick dodges and bullet-time powers are part of Senua’s staple abilities, letting you unload on your enemies while they move through imaginary molasses.
Hellbalde: Senua’s Sacrifice is out next month, and is just one of many fantastic looking games out before the heavy hitters arrive near the tail-end of the year. It’s out on PC and PS4.
Last Updated: July 28, 2017