Gameplay Review of “Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2” at The Game Awards 2021


Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 was, without a doubt, one of the most important games at The Game Awards 2021, presented this time with some gameplay sequences instead of a cinematic trailer like the one for the reveal, which took place exactly two years ago as part of the show. edited by Geoff Keighley.

The new game developed by Ninja Theory exclusively for Xbox Series X|S and PC still seemed a little distant and it’s not clear whether or not it will be released until the end of 2022, but certainly seeing it in action has made it clear to many fans what the ambitions of this project are, which at less on a technical level seems literally out of scale.

the game trailer

and she said: with our swords we will forge new stories to reach the gods that torment us. You may think I’m weak, but I’ll show you what’s behind my eyes.” Thus opens the gameplay video of Hellblade 2, which in the space of six minutes and eight seconds conquered the spectators of The Game Awards 2021 and ended two long years of near absolute silence.

Senua is there, in the center of a symbol drawn on the ground, surrounded by her companions as she bathes in the rain. “Let’s embrace our suffering, soothe the pain of the scars and break the chains that bind our minds,” continues the voice. “You might think they’re gods, but let’s show you what’s behind their eyes.” Meanwhile, the view moves from the beach to the rocks of a cave, lingering on a series of defensive structures built to face a battle. What type?

Senua tells his companions to wait, to listen. “She knows my name,” says the warrior after hearing a monstrous growl echoing in the distance. “Risking your life for what you believe is one thing, putting others to death is a different burden. Something Senua must learn to discover”, continues the narrator, as the hunter and her companions walk through the cave to see outside them, a huge figure emerging from the water.

The warriors’ torches are reflected in the moving pools of water. Lightning tracking? A volumetric mist invades the cave, while the protagonist discovers the bones of those who preceded her in the difficult hunt. And finally he sees: a giant crawling in the mud, pathetic and complaining as he tries to return to his lair. “Those whose eyes are clouded with fear are surrounded by the ghosts that haunt them. Senua understood that to win the war we must break these chains.”

“Break them with unshakable determination. Breaking them with an impossible feat”, says the narrator as the gigantic creature collapses on the rocks, in search of the so longed for rest. Instead, what he finds are fire and metal, when the team led by Senua hits him with the flammable liquid and stabs him with fire spears. The pain is unbearable: the troll screams and falls sideways, raising a blanket of smoke and dust that plunges the situation into chaos. “

The woman calls her companions: one runs before her screaming, covered in flames; another is crushed by the mighty hand of the giant, which burns but doesn’t want to give up. When the fire goes out, the monster sets out in search of its enemies, who flee, pausing every now and then to launch new spears, while Senua yells for him to follow her, quickly leaves the cave and other hunters try to slow the creature’s unstoppable march. .

A barrier is set on fire, Senua falls and realizes that she’s the one the monster wants to kill. Then he bends back, passes the defense posts and orders his men to attack, but the giant is now on top of her and with one blow he literally blows up the structures. The woman watches him bite one of his companions on the head before clear words are addressed to her. “Senua“, says the monster, “help me.” Senua finally looks at him closely and says ” I know you “.

The presentation of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 at The Game Awards 2021 ended with a twist not only, which only increases the hype around a story that promises to surprise and reach us, albeit relentlessly. After the journey narrated in the first episode, after all, anything can happen and probably anything will happen: the Ninja Theory boys seem not to have the intention of containing their ambitions.

The discourse naturally extends to the technical values ​​of production, which seem stellar. The Microsoft acquisition has given the team the resources to do virtually anything, and Tameem Antoniades and his colleagues won’t want it to be repeated twice. In this sense, the choice to go out only on the latest generation platforms is just a confirmation.

In terms of animations (including facials), details and effects, the game feels like something completely new. We know that the scenarios in Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 are inspired by some icelandic landscapes, but it will be interesting to understand how the designers also sought the visual variety needed not to make the scenery repetitive in their views.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 stole the show at The Game Awards 2021, ending two long years in which the game was barely aired at all and leaving everyone stunned and excited by the undisputed potential of this new chapter. The game trailer doesn’t really illustrate the mechanics, but focuses once again on the fascinating story created by Ninja Theory, Iceland-inspired limitless landscapes, and huge, monstrous creatures that, however, may not be our true enemies. What’s hidden behind those eyes?