The hardest battles are fought in the mind
Ninja Theory’s new game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice takes you to Helheim to fight your way through monsters, Northmen and giants. The game tells the story of Celtic warrior Senua who sets upon a journey to Viking hell, the realm of the goddess Hela to get her soulmate Dillion’s soul back. Even though so far it already sounds like a good story, what makes Senua’s Sacrifice even more interesting is the portrayal of psychosis of Senua. When you are playing, you hear different voices inside her head, whispering, screaming, laughing and sometimes plotting against her. The voices, light and images change, trickery surrounds you. You cannot trust what you see and feel the panic and anxiety. As one can guess, the game comes with its trigger warnings.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is definitely not the first game including mental illness but it is approached expertly and thoroughly. The producers consulted with psychiatrists and patients to make the matter more than a “crazy” trope. Side note, on World Mental Health day, the sales of the game went to a mental health charity.
If you are not bothered by unreliable narration and historical disputes about the timeline of Celts and Vikings, Senua’s Sacrifice paints a great Norse underworld with amazing graphics. Don’t keep Hela waiting!