Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 big preview: First hands-on gameplay impressions of the new Xbox Series X exclusive

Disembodied voices shriek at the sight of it: a flayed corpse suspended between rough wooden branches. As Senua steps closer, the voices shrink to a whisper. She’s seen this before, they taunt, and the scars it seared onto her soul are permanent. Inching closer still, a wreath of dismembered body parts curls out of the ether and slowly it begins to swirl – a dazzling, disgusting fracture in reality. Sigils dispel the nightmare, hidden across a settlement stained maroon by gore and viscera – the rancid decay palpable through thick, drifting pockets of mist and fog. This pattern of violence repeated the next village over. There, a stream of water cascades gently over jagged rocks; a brief respite in a land of loss. A rickety bridge creaks towards a canyon illuminated by vibrant, flickering embers. Towards a rite of blood and fire. Hell awaits.

Fast Facts

Release date: May 21, 2024
Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios

Ninja Theory studio head Dom Matthews describes Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 as “an experience of cinematic immersion.” It would be more accurate to call it an astounding visual and auditory assault on the senses. The sort of all-encompassing adventure that can set an unassailable benchmark for upcoming Xbox Series X games designed and delivered by the Xbox Game Studios network. The intent behind this surprising sequel, Matthews continues, is to “make it as easy as possible for players to suspend their disbelief and sink into Senua’s world, achieved by translating ground-truth references to the real world into our game in the purest way possible.”

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