Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II – Beautiful, but boring.

Ninja Theory has been making Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sequel for seven years, occasionally teasing players with beautiful screenshots and uninformative trailers. And they made a game for a few hours, which after passing causes rather a feeling of bewilderment. Let’s find out what’s wrong with Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, who will like it, and who will definitely not.

  • Developer: Ninja Theory
  • Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
  • Release date: May 21, 2024

What you can’t take away from the game is its impressive visuals. Developed on Unreal Engine 5, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II looks very technologically advanced, offering to enjoy the detailed landscapes of Iceland.

The project looks good on PC: thanks to anti-aliasing methods and graphic settings user can adjust the game performance to his iron, and if you experiment a little with the settings, you can get rid of annoying effects of post-processing, make the picture clear. On consoles you have to be satisfied with the limitation of 30 frames per second, aggressive blurring, graininess and chromatic abberration, as well as “cinematic” black stripes in the upper and lower parts of the screen, which reduce the visible space.

However, with all this beauty there are not so many interesting locations in Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. That, in general, is logical, considering the setting. However, walking through stony wastelands, dark forests and lifeless caves is a bit disappointing. At one point, we are allowed to peek into an extinct village and are even allowed to enter each of the houses and explore the everyday life of its inhabitants. But this, unfortunately, happens very rarely.

The plot of the game is straightforward and simple, and the gamer becomes not so much a participant as a spectator in this story. The number of voices constantly whispering to Senua seems to have decreased, and the only thing that stands out among them is the deep bass of the warrior’s father, with whom the girl occasionally has altercations.

The actors play out admirably: Melina Jurgens is still as convincing in the role of a girl suffering from psychosis, while Chris O’Reilly embodied the image of a cruel slave trader Torgestra, who becomes an unwitting ally of the protagonist. In the course of the plot, the heroine meets other characters, and not everyone will treat her favorably, so periodically you will have to expose the blade.

The sequel’s combat system is even simpler than in the original game. There are no combo moves or complex combinations: dodge your enemies’ attacks and hit them with your sword. When the mirror on Senua’s belt shines, press the focus button and perform a slo-mo kill. Battles always take place in a one-on-one format, the girl may well miss a couple or three blows, so you shouldn’t expect any special difficulty from the battles. On the other hand, the battles are very entertaining, wonderfully staged and watching them gives a certain pleasure.

To the battles in the game are added quite simple puzzles. The first part was criticized for the same type of tests to find runes, so in the sequel there are fewer such tasks. However, it’s not much easier, because they are diluted by even simpler locations, where you need to look for stone spheres for altars, to light and extinguish fires, to look for sources of fire for the torch. It is unlikely that you will have to struggle long to solve any of the puzzles.

As a result, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II turns out to be a beautiful, but very short and monotonous adventure.
Fans of the original will most likely remain unsatisfied, because the game does not offer new thoughts and topics for discussion. Those who didn’t like the first part will be disappointed even more. Unless newcomers unfamiliar with Senua’s story can get a new experience. Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, unfortunately, does not offer any new ideas. After going through it, you will most likely have no emotions left and will hardly want to return to the game for a second playthrough.
However, we must admit that if you want a short, beautiful and atmospheric adventure, you are unlikely to find a better candidate for this role now.