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Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

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Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review – Spoiler Free

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a single-player action adventure game that is available on PC, Xbox One and PS4. The game comes developed by Ninja Theory and was made by a small team of developers in the UK. The game is a mix of Celtic culture and Norse mythology. As a player you will experience the journey of Senua, a female Pict warrior on a quest in a dangerous and dark world.

When first seeing the trailer for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice in amongst the games available to buy digitally on my PS4 some time ago, it did catch my eye as something interesting but for some reason I never thought of purchasing it. Recently I saw the game on sale as part of the current Winter sale on the PlayStation store and due to my delight experiencing the world of the Norse myths in my recent God Of War adventure, I was looking for something similar. So I committed to purchasing the game this week, but should you do the same? The short answer is yes.

Not really knowing what I was in for other than what I had seen in the impressive trailer for the game, I began my playthrough late last week.

Early on in the game you are introduced to the game’s main character Senua. Senua is a Pict warrior on a journey to Hellheim which is the realm of the dead in Norse mythology. An incident had occurred in Senua’s life recently and her partner Dillion is dead, so she’s travelling to Hellheim in an effort to recover his soul.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

Along the way you will hear a vast amount of Norse myths which are narrated to you as you scan the runes in the area. If you’ve played God Of War recently, you will recognise some of the tales, particularly that of Baldr as you progress through the story. Now being a massive fan of Norse mythology and the entire culture of the people of the time, I found the entire experience of hearing all of the tales to be quite enriching.

The voice acting and the various narrators who you hear throughout the story are all quite strong and are very well done. The voice actors are a big part of why the experience of playing Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was so strong and so entrancing.

But Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was an experience like none other for me this week and that’s something I was not expecting. While the plot of simply travelling to Hellheim is a linear one, the themes, symbolism and character development throughout the journey certainly wasn’t.

The game tackles one of the hardest themes and possibly least covered themes in entertainment media at the moment and that’s psychosis and mental health. This is something that’s virtually unexplored in gaming or even film, but this game represents a time in which the gaming medium seems to excel at a certain theme more than any other medium out there in our time. Playing through the game you will play as and experience Senua’s journey, who is someone who herself is suffering from psychosis. She hears voices, she sees symbols and she has a variety of other issues she is dealing with. As a person experiencing a game like this, which is like no other I have experienced in the past, I found the whole thing fascinating. In fact, I could not put my controller down and didn’t want to either.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

The character development for Senua’s character is one of the best one’s I’ve seen in gaming for a long time, but even better than that was that the developers seemed to have delivered a game here that deals with a very difficult theme of mental health and somehow didn’t make it lame, boring or washed down. Having to play as a character dealing with these difficult issues in a past world environment as Pict warrior struggling with the world of Norse myths was one of the most interesting gaming experiences I’ve ever had. By the end of the story I really came to admire Senua and her journey and had a strong understanding of people going through these issues. I learnt a lot from this gaming experience and that’s a great thing.

As far as the gameplay goes. There’s the combat scenes where you fight a variety of enemies using a sword as your weapon. For the most part the combat is fairly simple, you can block, quick attack, heavy attack, punch or dodge. At times enemies can be a little difficult. But there’s no levelling system or xp gains as you go through the story. While combat isn’t the main focus of the game, I did actually feel it was the weakest side of the gameplay experience and at times having such a basic combat system was frustrating. You don’t really get stronger or better at fighting by the end of the game and enemies aren’t really that varied. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice Review

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice Review

Where the game does excel in its gameplay is with the level design and the various puzzles that you have to deal with as you journey to Hellheim. Between each area in the game there are doors with runes on them and you will have to search through the world to find these symbols in the environment. At first these things were quite a challenge for me to find as I couldn’t see any patterns anywhere. But as I went on and I started to understand how things work much better I became much better at it. Seeing symbols and things inside the world is something that is apparently to do with people who suffer from psychosis so the game is trying to show you a bit of what that’s all about. One of the things that the game developers do seem to want you to do or learn is that there’s different ways of looking at things in the world and the idea of perspective in the gameplay is pushed quite hard. It was very interesting to see this element in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

The graphics in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice are some of the best in the current generation. What’s interesting about the graphics is that this game was developed only by a small team in comparison to some of the AAA games out there and it looks just as good as some of the big budget titles. The levels are filled with a variety of vibrant colours and small details which do make you feel as if you are in the world the game is in.

Recently a VR version of this game was made available although I recommend only getting it if you have a high end gaming PC and VR is not available on consoles at all because it’s very demanding. Playing this game in VR would be an interesting experience and possibly a much more scary one as Senua’s world is dark and full of death. The game is intense enough without VR so the addition of it makes things so much more stronger and immersive.

Overall Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is an excellent game to add to your collection. In some ways I wish I had played this on release, but as it’s now discounted or if you can find it at a time when it is, it will surely be a new treasure to add to your game library. As far as an experience goes, I’ve never played anything like this before and haven’t really experienced anything at all that deals with themes of mental health and psychosis in this way. The way the game was written and the amount of effort put into the level design and character development so that everything had a strong connection the the game’s theme and message was impressive. For some the gameplay may be a little slow or simple and the themes possibly too strong, but for many out there, the game will deliver an interesting adventure and an experience like no other.

Bryan loves writing about movies, TV shows and games and tries his best to give a balanced and honest view in all his reviews or opinion pieces on Resident Entertainment.

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review

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Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review - Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Review - Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as Cliff Booth

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a film which comes written and directed by Quentin Tarantino who some may know for films such as The Hateful Eight (2015) or Pulp Fiction (1994). The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Dakota Fanning and Al Pacino. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is about a fading Hollywood actor and his stunt double who are striving to achieve success in the final years of the Hollywood golden age.

Before going into this film, I must admit I was quite excited about it. This is the 9th film from Quentin Tarantino, who is one of my favourite directors of all time and the cast is filled with so many great actors there’s no reason to not want to see this one. Even though my expectations for this film were set very high, I came out of the cinema incredibly happy, very entertained and extremely impressed with what I just saw. Quentin Tarantino has truly delivered something very special this year and I highly recommend going to see it.

The way the story is told is very interesting. The audience follows the career of Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is trying to maintain his stardom and Hollywood status in a time when things are changing. The actor is trying to transition from being a major TV star to a Hollywood actor, but it’s very difficult. On top of this, Rick Dalton is ageing and he is no longer in his prime, he’s sort of becoming obsolete. Cliff (Brad Pitt) is sharing a similar fate with his career tied to the success or failure of Rick’s. In contrast to these two, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is a character who is everything good about Hollywood in 1969, her personality is welcoming, she helps people and she’s friendly. Quentin Tarantino’s Sharon Tate is the ideal Hollywood star of the time.

Quentin Tarantino with this film captured the spirit and essence of Hollywood in 1969. I felt like I was watching real people going through real things. The attention to detail on each of the characters and also watching them develop as the film progresses was very well done. This film also one has of the best endings and is maybe the best film that I’ve seen in 2019.

The actors were all great, I really enjoyed watching Leonardo DiCaprio in this film. The actor has a very wide range of things he could do as his character Rick Dalton is going through quite a lot and there are a lot of different emotional elements. On top of this, as a character who is an actor, Rick is seen acting in other films within this film as different characters he is playing. There are some very good performances within this film from Rick Dalton and in some ways, I wish I could watch the films that he was making within this film. Brad Pitt does very well and so too does Margot Robbie. Dakota Fanning surprised me a lot in this film as I didn’t even recognise her as Squeaky Fromme, she was only in the film for a bit, but for that time she was, she was very impactful.

Overall, I have no further comments to make about this film without having to go into major spoilers discussing all the different elements of it. It’s hard to write a long review for a film when everything was awesome in it. The directing, acting, writing, music and everything else about Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was awesome and Quentin Tarantino exceeded my expectations for this film. It may just be one of his best ones yet. I highly recommend going to see it at the cinema this week or as soon as you can. I am already wanting to see it a second time and probably will re-watch it on Blu-Ray when it’s released.

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Crawl Review

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Crawl Review

Crawl is a film which comes directed by Alexendre Aja who some may know as the director of The Hills Have Eyes (2006). The film stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper.

Crawl is a film about a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who attempts to save her father (Barry Pepper) who is trapped in his house during a category 5 hurricane. Tremendous damage has occurred to the home and the surrounding area during the storm, with the streets slowly flooding But that’s not the only danger to be wary of, the flood waters have paved the way for dozens of alligators to come into town and they’re ready to feast on anyone still around. Will poor Haley and her father survive though?

Going into this film. I was actually quite excited. I do enjoy these action films where there’s some creature out there and it’s preying on whatever character the film is about. This film is a little similar to The Meg, but it most reminded me of Anacondas (2004). All of these films and Crawl included wouldn’t be ones I’d say were legendary films, but gosh, I definitely have fun watching them!

Crawl as a story is about survival. There are themes all throughout it related to man vs nature and also the idea of the apex predator is scattered all throughout it. Both characters in the film are constantly challenged and struggle to survive in the a town getting torn apart by the storm.

The main reason most people would go to see Crawl at the cinema would be for the action and that’s the same reason I wanted to go along and see this one. I wanted to see what the alligators could do and I wanted to see some people get eaten up. Did I get that? I certainly did! Did I need much more out of this? Probably not.

As for Crawl being scary. I’m not too sure, I find it all quite fun. But there are people who this would probably frighten a little. Much of the film is cgi and for what it is and for the type of movie this is I think it was just the right quality. They didn’t try to go too big like in The Meg where the cgi seemed to struggle in certain areas. Although the limitations of the cgi are visible in Crawl, it’s not too bad in the end.

The acting in Crawl isn’t too bad. Kaya Scodelario is who you’ll be watching for basically the entire film and she delivers a pleasant performance. Some may recognise this actress from her appearance in The Maze Runner (2014) where she played Teresa. Hopefully there is more to come from her in future films.

The tone of the film, while at times can be a little intense with all the danger out there did actually feel a little light. Alexandre Aja seemed to keep the tone not too serious and embraced the silliness of it all in certain areas to keep it light and fun. But it was also tense and scary when it needed to be.

Overall I had a good time with Crawl at the cinema last week. This isn’t a film that is going to blow anyone away with how good it is, but it’s something to see for a bit of fun over the weekend. You get to watch two characters try to survive a massive hurricane and not get eaten by alligators. Crawl was 1 hour and 27 minutes of fun!

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Sea Of Solitude Review

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Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.

This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.

The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.

Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.

In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.

The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.

Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.

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