Pretty good

User Rating: 7 | Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice XONE

40 male programmers and 5 female devs making a hack n slash adventure puzzler with a female protagonist with themes of mental illness to a western audience where the gender differential in suicide rates is 3-4:1 males to females to an audience of primarily young males. Gamergate era game though I get it let's move past it, noting the irony that the female character is hysterical for the full 10 hours or so. [Also never try to appease these people]( they only feel special when they're oppressed so they'll will find a way to turn your well-meaning attempt at inclusiveness into a more complicated form of oppression or disservice and how they need more from you. Good heuristic for identifying this kind of complex ctrl+f "invalidat"/"marginalized". Anyway Life Is Strange properly captures a uniquely female experience much more honestly and insightfully.

In terms of portraying symptoms of psychosis... I mean it seemed pretty superficial and shoehorned but I can only speak for myself who does not suffer from full-blown psychotic episodes. It more just felt like video game shit. The rest of the story was sparse and indirect. Not necessarily bad but I can't say I ever really cared about Senua or Dillion or her family no matter how many times Senua whined about it or chased an apparition of them who disappeared as soon as she gets close. The norse mythology felt like it had a bit more going on but was fairly disconnected from the character.

The combat is decent it doesn't go to DMC heights but it's enjoyable and tough enough. The puzzles are nice in a cathartic way. The world looks pretty incredible, the technical realisation and detail as well as the cinematography are super impressive. It can sometimes betray itself when despite the graphics the world feels a little too closed & dead, the puzzles and combat a bit tepid and only 1 living thing in the world who feels fully realised, but ultimately as all the pieces start to play together in the last act, it does have sections that aesthetically feel timeless and complete. The lack of HUD and using Senua's voices in its places for call-outs is a nice touch.