Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

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Posted: 9 months ago, last updated 4 months ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

Overview

This is a dark fantasy adventure, drawing on Norse and Celtic mythology, where you play a young female Pict warrior, Senua. You explore and fight your way to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. As you play, though, you hear multiple voices in your head and wrestle with a decaying grip on reality. In this way the game aims to represent, and offer a metaphor for, psychosis. You battle difficult enemies and solve puzzles but often fighting directly, or obvious solutions, are not the best way forward.

Created in partnership with neuroscientists, mental health specialists and those with lived experience of psychosis, the experience aims to share something of what it’s like to live with this kind of illness. The voices, confusion and delusions weave in and out of the action as Senua struggles to come to terms with the trauma and guilt of her past.

For adults, the game can provide a different window on the experience of someone close to them who struggles with mental illness. Some parents have played the game with older children as a way to engage with this difficult subject. The game succeeds by avoiding reducing its rendition to a literal or journalistic recreation. The story of Senua’s struggle is as much about resilience, persistence, bravery and dealing with guilt or failure as about any specific medical diagnosis. In this way it offers a deeply relatable experience.

Details

Release date: August 2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Narrative.

 

Tips

Commitment

Duration: This game will take between 8 hours and 14 hours to complete. The main story of the game can be completed in around 8 hours. Taking your time or playing on a harder difficulty level can extend this challenge to 14 hours.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

Costs

Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

This game is free with Xbox Game Pass.

Age Ratings

This game is rated PEGI 18 which restricts availability to ADULTS ONLY and is not suitable for anyone below this age. This rating has been given due to strong violence and sexual expletives. The examiners report expands this rating with the following: Gameplay violence although very bloody is nevertheless determined not to be gross violence. One of the cinematic sequences however does contain a scene in which the player’s character is set alight, agonised loud screams can be heard as she runs, with flames engulfing most of her body. She eventually falls to the ground; her skin is charred and she dies. The game also contains use of the word "*!@?*".

Central character suffers from psychosis which is manifest as hallucinations (visions and flashbacks) and delusions. She hears voices all the time in her head. Schizophrenia is also a symptom.

This game has been rated ESRB MATURE 17+.

Accessibility

Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.


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Similar Games

The following games are like Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice for younger age ratings.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice in the following lists:

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Free With Xbox Game Pass

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You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
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Barclay's Staycation Games

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