Game Review: Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice

For those of you who haven’t heard of this game, please take a moment to view the amazingly epic trailer above.

There is a lot of different reasons why I love this video game.  I’m going to make a list.

  1. It features a Pict as the main character and while it stretches the religion of the Norse, it doesn’t really break it.  The myths themselves are accurate and portrayed fairly well within the context of the game.  The Norse are the ‘bad guys’ in so much as they are the ones who caused the events that set off the story that you play in the game.  The Norse themselves are absent from the game itself.
  2. The graphics were stunning, but what made those graphics so amazing is that the game was actually acted.  The graphics are CGI, but the animations are motion captured and boy does it show.  This is one of the few games where it felt like the characters were actual people, and not something created to behave like people.  The eyes are what usually break that illusion and in this game, they eyes are nigh on perfect.
  3. This game explores mental illness.  The creators actually studied mental illness and had a group of people who actually experience mental illness who consulted on the gameplay and effects.  It explores it in a way that doesn’t pass judgement on those who suffer from these things, but as a way to show folks what these people deal with on a daily basis.  I have yet to find a game that addresses mental illness in a similar way.
  4. It is a shamanistic journey.  Outside of the mental illness aspects, this is a story of a woman going on a journey to save her loved one.  It hits several basic core aspects of shamanism and mysticism in varying different ways.  Combine that with the nordic mythology and it’s no wonder why this game is one of my favorites.
    The puzzles were fun and engaging.  Each area required you to think a little differently, yet still allowed you to utilize the skills you had gained in the previous areas.
  5. There are no levels in this game, so you didn’t have to worry about skill trees or equipment.  You immersed yourself into this world and just enjoyed the ride.  It was fantastic.  I didn’t have to worry about character build, the story told you all you needed to know.

It’s not open world, so there is certainly a specific path you had to take, but the story it wove made up for the more ridged outline.  It couldn’t have told the story with the same depth and engagement without giving you a little nudge every now and then.

They added a mechanic where there was a possibility of losing your game saves if you died too much.  I died a LOT and never lost the saves, so I don’t know what that threshold was but it was more than should be needed for sure.

If there was one complaint I had about the game and that was the fighting mechanics.  Senua is slow, and the monsters are fast.  That is okay but it means that in order to beat the fighting scenes you spend most of your time doing two things, dodging the incoming hit, and then following through with a slash of your sword.  No matter what you are fighting, that is pretty much the totality of the combat mechanics.  There is also no way to change target focus until you are hit, or you just so happen to hit the monster on your way to your current target.  It’s not a game killer, but it’s certainly less than ideal.  Luckily the combat was balanced by the puzzles, so in the end the clunky combat didn’t take up the majority of the game.

10/10  I would HIGHLY recommend this game.

Once you have completed your play through make sure to check out the little trailer included with the game, it goes into more detail with how the game was made and the various consultants that they had to make sure it was as true to life as they could make it.  Just be certain to do it AFTER you finish the game as it contains spoilers.

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Freed from the Chains of Silence

Breaking the Chains of Silence2

I have had this blog for a long time.  The first post was February 18th of 2010 and since then I have posted things I have found on the internet that amused me along side tidbits of my writing.  I have used this blog to host my short story “Dreaming of White Marble Tombstones” and excerpts from the larger novel I am working on.

Nothing earth shattering for sure.  But it is a lovely way for me to keep track of things and let my friends and family see what twisted shit lies within this brain of mine.

I wasn’t able to do much more with it until recently.  Posting anything personal was forbidden.  Hinting that there was a person behind these posts, unthinkable.  This blog was a glimpse into my world, yet never more than a passing glance upon the beauty of a still pool, it’s depths hidden and unknown.

Perhaps it is better if it stays that way.  But the bindings that have held me back for so long are no longer there.  I no longer have to worry about being ‘allowed’ to write about myself or my family.  I will still maintain some distance for safety’s sake.  I know this is a public venture after all, and as such, one much take care what information they allow the public to see.  But I want people to know that yes, there is a person behind these writings, and yes, I have thoughts and feelings beyond the short stories and prose I write.

As always, I am an ephemeral prosaist, my writings are few and far between but rest assured they shall come, even more often if I am given the pleasure of responses from my audience.  Proving to me I write not just for myself gives me incentive to write more often so feel free to comment here or on facebook.

Much of my free time is given over to my hobbies.  Role Play, both online and live action, video games of all sorts, and my eternal love, beadwork. I even sell some of my beadwork in hopes of bringing in some extra money with which to buy more beads.  (Shameless plug)

Role play has brought me some of my closest friends.  It is where I met my husband as well as given me the opportunity to see the world through eyes not my own.  It has honed my writing skill and given me confidence I can take into other aspects of my life.

My faith is personal and strong.  I might go into it more here in another post, but there are things that I don’t feel comfortable talking about yet.  Politics and religion being the top two.  Just know that I am well aware of the majesty of the world around me and I take comfort in that knowledge.

Both of these things, my hobbies and my faith has allowed me to confront the shadows from my past and helps me to work through the darkness that taints my soul.  I suffer from anxiety attacks due to the Dark Times I have suffered.  My husband is a blessing in my life because he knows what it’s like to have to deal this these particular shadows, and his hand has guided me more often than once though the nightmares that follow.

At this point of my life I am truly blessed.  I never thought it could be this good.

I am hoping to make this blog more of an open expression of who I am as a person, as well as a writer.  My day to day life may be boring, or they may inspire.  Who knows?  My favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”  I write because it pours from my soul, not because I have some great lesson to teach or because I know how to fix the world.

I am who I am and I am content with that.