Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II – Review

Release Date
May 21, 2024
Xbox Game Studios
Ninja Theory
PC, Xbox Series X|S
Reviewed on
Xbox Series S
Review Copy Provided by

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is the direct sequel to Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Fans of the game will surely not want to miss this sequel if they want to know what happens to Senua. However, it is possible to play the game without having played the first game. The game does give you a summary of what has happened so far. Another thing is that the game’s story is independent of that from the first game although from time to time the game would refer to events or information that have been revealed in the first game.

Hellblade II is a narrative action-adventure game with elements of combat, puzzles, and exploration. But the most intriguing part of this game is our main character Senua who suffers from psychosis. She is hearing these voices of spirits in her head which are called “The Furies.” The narrator also plays a part in these voices who sometimes breaks the fourth wall and talks to the player directly. I always find the voices unnerving and it sends chills to my being that some people live like this. It opens up your mind to the illness and understanding it from the inside out.

The story of the game takes us to this Nordic island where the boat Senua was in crashed. Her people and herself were captured as slaves to be used as sacrifices to the giants. Senua meets a few characters along the way some of who had as good an acting of that of Senua. They all just feel real and believable in a way that you will want these characters to survive this harrowing journey that Senua takes them on.

The battles that Senua does with the giants she encounters were epic and memorable. And it just felt like I was in the adventure and it made me just live in the epicness of the moment. You can feel the rush of adrenaline coursing through your veins as you conquer each set of pieces. It was a thrilling experience through and through.

The gameplay is broken down into two parts, the combat part and the exploration part. During the combat parts, Senua will be facing her enemies one by one interacting with them with several moves. These are either attacking with a standard or heavy hit, parrying, dodging, and using focus. Senua will also get this magic mirror that when charged, she can use her focus to slow down time and allows her cut down her enemies quicker. However, slowing down time can be interrupted if she gets hit by the enemy. I do feel like the combat this time around is more seamless than the first game. There doesn’t feel like a delay in the input and swinging your sword feels precise.

One interesting feature of the game is its Dynamic difficulty setting which adjusts the difficulty of the game depending on how you do well in combat. If you are making short work of the enemies then the difficulty ramps up a bit but if you start dying a lot then it turns down the difficulty.

The second part of the game is the exploration parts. In these parts of the game Senua can explore her surroundings. Solving puzzles and getting to collectible items. Some of these collectible items are hidden behind a hidden area that you can unlock by focusing on key areas of the game. You will know what it is once you find them but it’s best that you find these yourselves. The puzzles were not that hard to figure out and the game in the form of the Furies, will point you to the right direction or hint that you are closer to something you need to solve the puzzles.

The exploration and combat parts are usually done one after the other and there will be times where in one area you will have to do both. And because of this the game itself didn’t feel stale or boring. Because even in the quietest of moments, the game doesn’t fail to kick you back into the thick of it all. There was never a dull moment in this game and every quiet moment just felt like a reward after a grueling combat to the death.

The music and audio do justice to the game well. And it is well thought out and pairs well with the game. The game is best experienced when you use headphones because that’s where the beauty of the audio comes out. Especially when it comes to the Furies. I can only imagine what it would be like with 3D audio headsets because then you will feel the difference and the impact of the voices.

The one thing I can say about this game that I don’t like is how short the game is. You can easily finish the game within 7 hours. For Game Pass subscribers, this may be nothing because they are getting a “free” game but those who do not have Game Pass will have to shell out $50 bucks. This feels like a steep price for a game this short when you can get a game for less and play it for hours and hours. However, this is a quality game and if we’re just talking about the quality and caliber of this game then maybe that price is reasonable.

Overall, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is a cinematic masterpiece. A game filled with epic characters and epic boss fights that will be etched in your memory. If you are into action-adventure games with epic proportions, then this game is something you should look into.

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II – Review
Score Definition
When the issues of a game are rolled and stomped by its greatness, then it’s something to invest on if you have some spare.
Epic boss fights
Fleshed out characters
Likable characters
Too short of a game
Puzzles are not as challenging