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Popular reviews

Wow this game looks incredible. I beat it in 5 hours and HATED playing it. The combat is so lame and boring and unengaging and UGHHHHH WHY

They made the same game again. The lame gameplay and annoying mental illness voices make for a miserable cinematic experience.

Very short but features a good message. Interesting gameplay mechanic as well.

Very one and done however, but its free so who cares lol

This game felt like it was 1000 hours long to 9 year old me. Thats a shit ton of podracing. Why did I do so much podracing?? I must have raced through the ceramic mosaic water world of Choot Chumba 100 times, somehow enthralled and also bored to tears as I piloted Kirtl Jonkta and his giant twin swamp cooler ass pods. I raced through the battle marshes of Terkwue, served my sentence in Anikins home desert of Bhutupo-3, and through the magma halls of Mount Dooq, all for a chance to unlock Darth Vader, the only Star Wars character anyone really cares about.

But in all honesty I do think I gravitate to Star Wars alot more when its focusing more on the “Star” and less on the “Wars”. Pod Racing isnt exactly the most mystical or sexy thing in a Jedi universe, but it actually presents an interesting cultural exposee with the fact that pod racing itself is an exotic popular sport. You race on planets that dont typically feature in Star Wars media and get a more involved look at how these societies might construct themselves - in some cases you can even see how they engage with the sport itself through contestant racers. Its alien Gran Turismo and thats still got more going for it than regular Star Wars.

Having rolled credits, I still don't understand why this game exists. What was the intention behind this game? When you make a sequel to a video game how do you evolve from the original? What do you fix, what do you do differently, what do you add? Hellblade 2 does none of those things and instead doubles down on the design template of the original game - which was released 7 years ago. What we're left with is essentially the first game again yet somehow worse in some areas.

I understand the desire for something like Hellblade. Yes, the game is gorgeous. It's a visual showcase of Unreal Engine 5 tech, I liked looking at the shiny rocks and trees and volumetric fog tech. But underneath all that is a hollow and nauseatingly linear "game" that refuses to attempt anything new.

I think my biggest gripe with the game is the writing and narrative devices. The first game was novel and unique in how it presented itself, however in Hellblade 2, they use the same voices in your head and the same 3D audio trickery to the point where it feels gimmicky now. It also feels like they've upped the frequency at which the voices are talking, to the point where I was subconsciously ignoring them, even if they were expositing key narrative information.

I also feel like this doubling down on the original themes and usage of psychosis or schizophrenia comes off as hokey or juvenile, rather than whatever I assume the devs intended. I don't think that presenting Senua's mental illness as some sort of in-universe superpower that can help save the land and its people is a smart decision narratively, and I think can be rather insulting depending on how you view the game. With the first game, it was Senua coming to terms with herself, which is a much more honest and natural way to explore the themes they wanted to present. The doubling-down on this narrative device becomes the game's weakness. How do you write a sequel while still relying on these themes and growing the character past the first game? You don't. It's just not the right decision to make.

As a game, it's the same as the first just with more production value behind it. Nicer animations for the shallow combat. The puzzles are the same albeit easier than the first as they removed a lot of the originals jank and the voices in your head help you solve them. The music is fun, and the performances are great. Ultimately the writing is what falls flat for me and because the game relies on it so heavily it drags the whole experience down with it.

I think Ninja Theory is talented, there are moments in this game where I was seriously impressed by the animation work or some of the cinematic sequences. I just wish they would spread their wings a bit and deliver something more rather than limit themselves like this.

I pray they don't make a Hellblade 3. Please just make Enslaved 2 or something I don't know make a video game again for godsakes!