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MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


veni veni veni posted:

I really hope the permadeath thing is actually a bluff because I have died like 8 times in this burning house.

Same

I started this last night and was totally hooked. The voice acting, the combat, everything. This maze part kinda frustrated me because it's been the only time I've died so far and the first 2-3 times I was totally panicked from being so immersed, with the latter few times being more gamey frustration.

This game is incredible though. I really hope it sells well because I'd love to see more mid-priced games with this kind of focus and length.

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MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Finished it this afternoon after two sessions that were about 4 hours each. My thoughts are kind of scattered but a few things stand out.



- The sound design is incredible. Binaural audio obviously works very well if a character is hearing voices, but it added so much to the whole experience. The voices gradually become less doubtful and mocking, more reassuring and confident as the game progresses. Hearing them cheer you on every now and then during combat was wonderful.

I love the sound of clashed steel during a perfectly timed parry.

- The combat, while not very deep, was incredibly satisfying. Almost every fight feels like a grueling struggle. It only started wearing thin to me on the bridge before you reach Hela. Fighting like a mad demon in the end and having a lone voice in your head reassure you that you can't lash out in fury forever was a nice way to cap it since the player is as exhausted as Senua by that point.

- While the use of live action actors helped reinforce the unreality of the whole experience, the effect was much better with Druth than Dillion or the Shadow since Druth had an opaque ghostly filter. It was just jarring having Dillion lying opposite Senua in that one sequence near the end.

- Shadow of the Colossus and Silent Hill 2 jumped out at me while playing as being good thematic and tonal companion pieces to this game, but it also reminded me a lot of the most recent Tomb Raider reboot. Tomb Raider tried to do a serious treatment about a woman who forges herself through violence and emerges as a survivor - even using some of the same imagery like rivers of blood - but its execution was infantile compared to this game.


Really glad I paid full price for this, if only so it helps convince publishers that $30 passion projects have a viable market.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


SirSamVimes posted:

I like to imagine that all the stuff about going to Helheim actually literally happened. Senua is a warrior in a world of myth and magic, but also suffers from psychosis so you get this blend of genuinely fantastical things along with her mental illness making them even weirder.

Same. I look at it a lot like how Silent Hill is treated in Silent Hill 2 - a place of great supernatural power from which manifests real, physical reflections of the participant's own mind. What's real or not is wide open to interpretation since the entire experience is contingent on Senua.

I watched a bunch of developer diaries that Ninja Theory put up. It's cool seeing it gradually come together. The actress who played Senua was originally just the video editor at Ninja Theory. They used her as a placeholder for mo-cap but eventually offered her the role, and I think she did a great job. They had a really cool demo where she performed in a mo-cap rig for a live audience who watched her performance in-engine.

MeatwadIsGod fucked around with this message at 15:35 on Aug 29, 2017

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


veni veni veni posted:

I think in anything else it would have felt like over acting, but it worked for Hellblade. I remember seeing previews and thinking "Jesus, take it down a notch" but once I actually played it I wouldn't have changed it

I feel like Senua would have been closer to the Heavenly Sword protagonist - basically a flatter badass warrior woman - had they gone with someone else. The performance as-is makes her much more believable as a person rather than just a character, which makes all the badass stuff she does accomplish all the more impressive.

God of War 4 definitely has a high bar now. It'll be interesting to compare the two.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


To anyone wanting to learn more about auditory hallucinations, I would highly recommend The Center Cannot Hold by Dr. Elyn Saks. It's a memoir from the author about her experiences with schizophrenia which began in her childhood. It's pretty harrowing stuff but also admirable since she worked through it, graduated from an Ivy League school and is now a psychology professor. I read it in college, and this game obviously brought it to mind a lot. Probably what struck me most is that people who are experts in the field on auditory hallucinations have suffered from them themselves. Even though they know the neurology behind hearing voices, they can still nevertheless be convinced that the voices they hear are from external sources.

I definitely want to brush up on Norse mythology and Celtic history thanks to this game, though.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Over There posted:

So what was the reason for her father killing her mother? Just the same sort of burning at the stake that happened back then to anyone who seemed like they were different/trouble?

I'm guessing Zinbel is a druid of the local tribe - at least he dresses like one - and thought that sacrificing her would be beneficial to the community since he would be purging her "darkness," but apparently if you collect all the runestones you get a secret conversation from Druth implying Zinbel could have been a quisling for the Norsemen so who knows what his real motives were.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


exquisite tea posted:

Zynbel killed Galena at a much earlier point though, when Senua was only five years old. My take is that being a community leader he was probably embarrassed and felt his social status was threatened by Galena's psychotic episodes. He believed her to be cursed by the Gods, at a time back when being a woman with opinions was already enough of a case to be burned at the stake.

True, I'd forgotten about that. This is probably a better explanation.

exquisite tea posted:

Given the choice though I tend to favor a more mythological reading of events because a warrior woman yanking a godslaying sword out of a burning tree and battling to the gates of hell to save the soul of her dead lover is metal af.

That's why this interpretation is the one I've ultimately settled on. It's as hell along with being a poignant story about dealing with mental illness.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


While I really don't think a sequel to Hellblade would work, I'd be curious to know if there's enough cut content to warrant a director's cut version. It seemed like the developer diaries even well into the late Beta stage had a couple segments that weren't in the game, but Ninja Theory also seemed pretty intent on trimming or changing segments that didn't work for this or that reason so maybe it's best left as-is.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Snak posted:

If her journey is literal, than the story is saying "you can be a hero, even if you suffer from mental illness". If she's just off murdering vikings, the message is "mentally ill people might go on a confused and murderous rampage of revenge and work out their problems in the process".

I think the latter reading is what makes that Zero Punctuation review miss the point entirely. He criticized the game for framing psychotic people as being good at killing people when, if I remember correctly, Senua's path to becoming a warrior begins with her crush asking her to join the warrior trials with him. That's the first of his reviews I've seen in a long time. Why anyone would rely on reviews nowadays when you can use good word of mouth is just beyond me.

Anyway, if you like the music in Hellblade I would recommend Wardruna. They're a Norwegian folk band that puts a hell of a lot of effort into making the most authentic sounding Old Norse music they can. Apparently their music is featured pretty heavily on that Vikings show.
"Helvegen" and "Völuspá" are two songs that I've been listening to over and over since I found them.

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MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


I love all the various combat animations, like how Senua throws drunken, desperate punches when she's close to dying.

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