Hellblade Tips: How to Avoid Permadeath in Senua’s Sacrifice
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a great game, as evidenced by our review, but it does feature a threat of losing all your progress if you die too many times. Well, we played through the campaign ahead of release, and have a collection of tips that should help to make your trip to the underworld of Hel a bit more palatable. Who knows, you might even survive to see the ending of the game!
Choose the Right Difficulty
While Hellblade ships with an “Auto” difficulty level which will scale enemy toughness up or down depending on how you perform in the game, it may cause some unnecessary deaths as it adjusts, edging you ever-closer to losing all progress permanently. So, if you’d rather not stress over dying too many times, just scale back the game’s difficulty to Easy or Normal, and enjoy the story.
Take Your Time When Fighting
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice may be billed as a fast-paced fighting game during its combat moments, but your best strategy is to slow down, and allow the enemies to come to you.
As you fight, land combos and evade attacks, you’ll earn focus energy. Once it’s reached a certain level, an emblem will glow on Senua, and her inner voices will yell at you to focus. Pressing R2 will slow the action down, and you can get many hits in against the enemy. But watch out! Enemies can still react to you, and if they hit you, they will go back to regular speed.
Senua suffers from a psychosis that puts multiple voices in her head. They actually serve a purpose during battle, however. If you hear one of these voices say “behind you,” block immediately, as an enemy will no doubt be flanking you. Senua will automatically lock on to this new enemy, and if you time things right you can take out these would-be attackers in one big counterattack.
Master the Parry
It’s tempting to go into battle on the offensive, but sometimes the best offense is a good defense. As most enemies come in for an attack, there is a point where their weapon shines for a moment. It is at this time that you can press the R1 button to block. Time it right, and things slow down for a few seconds. Pressing the triangle button will allow you to launch a heavier-than-normal heavy attack, which will take out regular enemies in one hit, and will take tougher enemies’ health down quite a lot, or open them up to further attacks.
Don't Forget to Evade
Again, this is a recommendation to slow down a bit and think as you fight the monsters in Senua’s mind. New, big, scary enemy rushing flying towards you? Blocking is usually going to end up putting your face in the dirt. Instead of bracing for impact, move left and press the Cross button as the enemy gets close. Then go in for some attacks of your own! You can also evade backwards to put some distance between you and a group of enemies.
In between intense combat, you’ll be tasked with lining your view up to uncover hidden Celtic glyphs in the world. If you’re having problems finding one last glyph in order to progress, you might want to go back to a glyph that you have already found. Sometimes, glyphs are very close to one another, separated by a few walls or a staircase.
Really, Look Everywhere
If you want to find all the runes in the game (separate from the glyphs, which are required to progress), it’s important to look in every nook and cranny of an area. Some of the runes are off the beaten path, and are not in an obvious location. Since Hellblade doesn’t let you simply choose a chapter to replay later, it is crucial that you find every rune in a level before moving on.
Check Your Rune Progress
Curious if you have looked everywhere and found all those runes? The circle of symbols around the one you are currently focused on shows you which rune(s) you have found in the current chapter so far. Chapters are indicated by a dot, and each rune has a symbol which glows once that rune has been visited.
Play At 60Hz!
This one applies to PS4 Pro players. If you turn off the 60Hz option in Hellblade’s settings, the graphics will improve subtly. But this comes at a cost – the frame rate will dip to very low levels. Our advice? Keep that 60Hz setting on, for faster, smoother action which gives you more frames to react to the on-screen action, and makes the game handle much better.
Hopefully these tips help you in your quest to help Senua overcome her loss, and conquer some of her inner demons. If you’re playing the game on your own and figure out a killer strategy or trick, let us know in the comments below!
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a complete experience for a bargain price. Struggling through life as a psychosis sufferer is an alarming experience, and Hellblade provides an illuminating glimpse into the lives of those afflicted by such terror. Combat is visceral, yet on the game’s easiest mode should prove no problem for those interested in experiencing the story. At an asking price of $29.99 USD, the campaign is just long enough to feel like this is money well-spent. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a stellar entry from Ninja Theory, and I can only hope this is the first of many “independent AAA” games to come from the veteran studio.