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Senua's Saga: Hellblade II

Platform(s): Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Ninja Theory

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As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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19. 'Senua's Saga: Hellblade II' (XOne)

by Judy on Jan. 27, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II is sequel to Ninja Theory's action game Hellblade.

Redmond Carolipio: I thought the first Hellblade deserved some Game of the Year consideration, even though it was relatively small compared to other titles. Ninja Theory's tale of mental illness — and how they handled it within the framework of a tragic warrior tale — was a very important piece of art that called for more exploration. Now we're getting it, and seeing how Senua grows could lay the groundwork for something transcendent.

Joseph Doyle: The previous game, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, fascinates me. The gameplay seems nice and balanced between fighting and puzzles, the design is gorgeous, and the narrative focuses on more severe mental health issues than video games had really tackled up to that point. Norse mythology was still kickin', according to some of the best games and movies around that time (lookin' at you, God of War and "Thor: Ragnarok"). Hellblade II seems to embrace more folk horror elements, following the popularity of both of Ari Aster's recent films "Hereditary" and "Midsommar," which is a welcome change. Arms hanging from crude wooden racks, vague pagan symbols, and skull masks made from jagged tree branches? Sign me up; I'm ready to be terrified. 

Andreas Salmen: Senua's Saga may or may not release this year, but it was an impressive showcase of next-generation visuals and facial animation. More importantly, it was a hint that Microsoft may finally be able to turn the ship around and deliver meaningful exclusive titles for its lineup that goes beyond Halo, Forza and Gears. The first was a short but incredibly powerful experience, so it'll be interesting if the backing from Microsoft will change the budget and ambition for its sequel. Hopefully, Ninja Theory can craft an equally mesmerizing experience that goes beyond the unnerving mental images that were explored in the first entry.

David Silbert: Senua's Saga: Hellblade II was revealed just a few weeks ago at The Game Awards 2019. Announced alongside the Xbox Series X, Hellblade II's teaser trailer impressed with gorgeous landscapes and expressive — not to mention chilling — facial animation.

Very little has been said about what we can expect from Ninja Theory's sequel. However, it's safe to assume it'll be quite the emotional journey — one that takes full advantage of the Series X's horsepower.


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