The Land Of The Dead — Hell.
Senua is a hardened Celtic warrior, that ventured into the land of the dead, to get her dear beloved Dillion back. The game starts off with Senua rowing herself across a river using a tree log — to the land of the dead — it’s her only hope of getting Dillion back is here, so she ventures forth with his skull on her hip ( Not kidding about that).
Senua suffers from psychosis, and the game tackles some of these symptoms. These symptoms include Deluded visions and hearing multiple voices that have a total disconnect from reality. Which creates some of these moments where you question the reality of things. Mental Issues aren’t really tackled in video games, or at least not accurately, but Ninja Theory made sure to do their homework on the subject by asking and working with professionals and people who suffer from the illness.
If psychosis wasn’t enough Senua has the “darkness” imbued in her, she believes she’s at fault for her beloved’s death. So the story is more than getting Dillion back, it’s about Senua overcoming her darkness and discovering the truth behind it as well. The Darkness plays a part in the game’s perma death mechanic, but I haven’t really died in the game so I couldn’t test that out. I believe it simply deletes your save once the darkness reaches your brain, after dying so many times.
The gameplay is pretty simple if you think about it, you got your usual light attacks, heavy attacks, blocking, evading and kicking. It is a simple system, yes, but it creates some of the most intense moments in this game since your peripheral view is restricted to Senua’s back. Every fight is personal, you don’t just 1 hit an enemy and move on to the next.
Combat is especially over whelming when you have more than 1 enemy against you, as I said before every sword fight is personal, but enemies won’t care about that. When you’re engaging multiple enemies, you will get attacked from multiple directions, and most of the time you won’t see them coming. Sometimes the voices in your head will warn you if you’re about to get hit, which gives you a great window of opportunity to evade or parry your opponent.
You also have an ability called “focus” that can be enabled by filling that little round mirror on your hip, by enabling focus you can slow down time while doing extra damage to the enemy, and can be refilled by doing damage and successfully blocking/parrying.
the gameplay isn’t just about combat, but puzzle solving as well. In the game, you have to solve some puzzles, expected in an action- adventure game after all. Puzzles have varieties, some are called “rune” puzzles, where you basically run around the environment looking for objects that look like the runes, though some of the areas especially in the beginning of the game are annoying to look for the runes in since they are highly detailed and kind of open areas. Even with help from the game indicating that a rune is nearby, it can be frustrating at times. There are different types of puzzles including some that use “gates of illusion” where you have to pass through specific gates reveal hidden things, and sometimes change an entire structure.
Also, there are times where Senua can travel between different versions of the world she’s in. Which leads to some awesome puzzles, and scenery
You can also find Lorestones scattered around, which provide you with lore about Norse and Celtic mythology, such topics as Ragnorock, and the stories involving the different Gods of the Norse mythology. They can be activated by focusing on them.
This game is something that doesn’t happen often, a well-executed story with great combat, graphics, animation. Not to mention this was made by a small team. This game promises and delivers. Even though some of the puzzles were a bit frustrating, it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the game at all. It is the perfect package, and it’s half the price of a AAA game. Definitely pick this up when you have the chance.