2017 was the year of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. And I will now tell you why is that.
Here’s another nominee for you. Calling Hellblade mind blowing, in the running for understatement of the year. Honestly, I feel that whatever I say about it, is not going to do it justice.
It’s almost beyond my comprehension how Ninja Theory pulled this one off. One slight movement in the centre of Hellblade‘s gravity, and I see it descending wildly into a trippy mash-up of nonsense, or worse, a uniform copy-paste of something the ‘industry’ loves to call ‘a franchise’. On the back of marriage between Norse and Celtic mythologies, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice marries so much more.
It’s heavy when it needs to be. It’s beautiful when you need it to be. It throws one in and out of combat at precisely the right times, it descends upon one with uncomfortable creep just before it empowers to the point of euphoria.
Just as they did with striking a perfect balance between honesty of ‘indie’ and the bombast of triple-A, Ninja Theory have managed to find a sweetspot between the various moods and mechanics of Hellblade. Just as everyone should follow suit in their business model, everyone should take a good look at how video games are capable of creating connections beyond scale, things-to-grind, or Michael Bay-esque production.