Monday , 27 March 2023
PCVR GamesReviews

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition Review

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice VR Edition

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition Review (Oculus Rift)

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.

I have loved every game that has been released by UK studio Ninja Theory, but Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice landed just at the time I was deeply invested into VR. I was so pleased when they announced the VR support for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, because the game was getting so many great things said about it. But, has the wait to play it been worth it?

You start the story with the main protagonist Senua arriving at Helheim, with the goal of saving the soul of her dead lover, Dillion. The little addition to this journey is Senua suffers from what she calls ‘Furies’ which are voices in her head commenting on all of her actions, and one of these is aware of the player’s presence. You start to learn more about Senua and her back story as you move through the game, through things like hallucinations and the voices as you take a trip through the Norse mythology it is based around. The question is can you save Dillion’s soul, while dealing with Senua’s mental illness?

The gameplay is a mix of puzzle solving and combat, in what is essentially a linear narrative driven game. The puzzles are not overly complex and are a mix of finding runes and matching them to parts of the environment, and some puzzles that are required in order to find them. I don’t want to say much about the puzzles to not spoil them, but they have got the difficulty of them correct meaning you don’t break up the narrative or your progression for to long.

When it comes to the combat you will be taking on a total of six different enemies types, and each one will require a different tactic to take down. It’s all about dodging and taking your shots at the correct time or using the rune you are given to slow down time in the game, and I would say it is some of most visceral combat I have experienced not only in VR but gaming in general. Where to some it might all sound a little simple, but as you ramp up the combat difficulty level and there is more than one type of enemy attacking you at once, it really does become a challenge.

Then as an added extra in both the puzzle solving and combat with the Furies playing their part in making you doubt yourself in these situations, and believe me they can put that doubt into your mind. Also your death can become a permanent one, if you die too many times the darkness can take over you and you will be defeated and have to start the whole game again. This is portrayed in the game as a black dye that will grow up you arm after each death, if this gets too high that is the end – adding this with the doubt it does so well at putting in your head, really gives the combat that extra level.

As well as the standard encounters with enemies the game will also offer some boss fights and these really are tense moments. Again these voices will do their part in making you feel like your taking on something you have no chance of defeating, adding an extra layer to how tense these excellent battles are.

Hellblade-VR-Edition-01 Hellblade-VR-Edition-02 Hellblade-VR-Edition-03 Hellblade-VR-Edition-04 Hellblade-VR-Edition-05

When it comes to the visuals it really is a truly beautiful game, and I am not even running the game on a PC with the recommended specs – so I can only imagine how it looks in full specs. All the character models are insanely detailed and when Senua looks straight into the HMD it really will take you back, and you will feel a connection to Senua. The environments are really something to marvel at as you look around them, and the part where you need to get through fire in one of the levels really drags you into the world.

The audio really is something to behold, the game advises at the beginning it best experienced with headphones, and what the game is doing it really is advise you should take onboard. The audio in the game is just as impressive as the visuals, which really makes sure you stay immersed in the game and the story it is telling. As aforementioned these voices of the ‘Furies’ in the game really are some of the most intense use of audio I have ever experienced, and they can really give you that doubt in your own head. Which makes you feel the connection to Senua and the metal struggles she is facing herself.

Both the visuals and audio use in VR mode really does show how VR can make you connected to the world, and give you those extra feelings of being there. Now, a few complaints I have heard about the VR Edition is that the cut scenes will go into cinema mode. However, for me this choice was an essential one because these scenes are so cinematic and this give Ninja Theory the chance to control what you are looking at – in turn making sure you are not missing anything.

In order to play the game you are going to need a gamepad, and it is to be played seated. There really wasn’t any other way to do the controls because of the type of game it is, being in third-person and of course being an addition to the standard version. The controls are really easy to gets used this way, which was always going to be essential due to the tense combat sections.

When it comes the time you will spend in the game it really depends on the difficulty and if you just want to get through the story without finding the hidden extras for more information on the world. If you are looking to just plough ahead and get through the story you are looking around six to seven hours with the game, then if you want to find the extras this could increase to nine to ten hours. Nevermind which way to take on the game, you are going to love every second with the game, and I can see myself taking the game on again in the future.

Mental Health Work

One thing the team over at Ninja Theory need some recognition for is the work they have been doing with raising mental health awareness. Not only has the game helped people suffering from mental health issues (see tweet embedded below), they have also been donating money from the sales of the game to Mental Health America, which they have donated $50,000 to. Now this is an issue that affects many people, and it’s great to see another game developer/studio helping to raise awareness about this.


Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition really does a great job of bringing a critically acclaimed title to the VR platform, and it has transitioned into this medium perfectly. As well as bringing the awesome use of both visuals and audio with it, this extra dimension of placing you in the world with Senua adds another layer of immersion and connection with the game’s protagonist. This really is a masterpiece in story-telling and presentation, bringing a complete work of love and art to gamers. If you have either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive this really is something you have to experience, you are only punishing yourself and missing out on an essential VR game if you don’t.

Also available on HTC Vive
Developer: Ninja Theory
Buy on Steam (if you already own the standard version, you get the VR update for free)

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