With so many games fighting for attention, it’s not surprising that some will slip under your radar.
But ignoring Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – the latest game from Cambridge-based Ninja Theory – could be the worst thing you do all year.
The game, developed by a team of just 13 people, follows a young woman called Senua as she journeys through a hellish underworld on her way to ‘Helhaim’.
To make matters worse, she’s constantly fighting against psychosis – a barrage of creepy voices in her head.
Here are four reasons why you need to play it right now – starting with the one everyone’s talking about…permadeath.
It has permadeath – or does it?
Fancy a challenge? Then this game is for you.
Throughout the quest, which is based on Norse and Celtic mythology, Senua will encounter demons and monsters.
Each time she dies, the ‘dark rot’ – a physical manifestation of psychosis – starts eating away at her skin.
Perish too many times and she’ll end up being totally consumed – meaning that you’ll have to start the entire journey all over again.
But Eurogamer revealed this could all be a huge bluff.
They died more than 50 times without a restart taking place – who knows, maybe it’s just Ninja Theory messing with our minds?
Either way, it’s incredibly effective.
The sound is too intense
Yep, it’s such a full-on experience that you’ll be greeted by warning screens before reaching the main menu.
It’s all thanks to something called “binaural audio”, which mimics the way we hear sound through our ears.
To create a genuine feeling of psychosis, Ninja Theory worked with neuroscientists and mental health patients for two years.
Those who suffer from the condition say that voices in their head sound as if they’re coming from an external source – rather than inside their skull.
Terrifyingly, this is represented perfectly in Hellblade.
It looks absolutely stunning
Not that we would expect anything less.
After all, some of the talented Ninja Theory team were behind the stunning PS3 classic, Heavenly Sword.
The underworld has been painstakingly recreated – from dank, oppressive woods to eerily-quiet streams with flayed corpses on spikes lining the banks.
Arguably the most impressive visual experience is right at the start of the game, which sees Senua tentatively guide a primitive wooden ‘raft’ along the river as she makes her way to the underworld.
It costs half the price of most games
Make no mistake, Hellblade is a full-fat, triple A title – just without the triple A price tag.
You can snap it up for £24.99 on PS4 and PC (Sorry, Xbox fans, it’s not available on that platform).
The story lasts between eight and 10 of the most intense hours of your gaming life – plus, you’ll want to replay it to show your friends.
Go on. Listen to the voice in your head and pick it up.
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