Ninja Theory, The Mind of BAFTA's Award-Winning Action Adventure Game Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (2017), brings the full, unknown title to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headphones soon. We got an exclusive first look at the game's new VR release, which comes free to all owners of the PC game when the update goes live on Steam July 31st. In short: there are some errors, but it's a great game.
If you have never played Hellblade: Senua's victim, here is a fast, spoiler-free primer. You can skip these two sections if you are already well informed:
Played in the third person, Senua is a warrior from the Orkney Islands, one of the many places in the present day of the UK that was subject to Viking raids and later colonization throughout the eighth and ninth centuries. Combating mythological creatures from both Scandinavian folklore and classical Nordic mythology, you push Senua through difficult attempts deep into Norwegian territory, constantly experiencing its pain and reviving its past. Senua suffers from psychosis, and according to her people's traditions she was sent to live in the woods alone to fight her own demons. Returning from the wilds, Senua, a fierce warrior, carries a loved one whose soul was taken hostage by the Norwegians, driving her to fight the gods in a fatalistic and crushed world of her own design.
The game clearly addresses the serious mental illness of psychosis – a descriptive term that can cover many maladies like hearing voices, looks hallucinations and connects dots that are not there, like assign special significance to everyday events, or by creating profound fantasy worlds where the person is completely immersed in solving cryptic puzzles that surround them in everyday life. This is the basis of the game; The world constantly changes, evil spirits confuse and fight against you, and internal voices cry and doubt each move. Reasonably, the game comes with a trigger warning, which is twice as important for the VR version, based on how immersive it can be.
Now for VR
Ever since I started writing about virtual reality four years ago, I did I found myself playing less and less traditional games, and replacing them almost entirely with VR titles. While I'm a bit ashamed to say I missed Hellblade's PC Release last year, my first opportunity was to play it in VR and, apart from a few minor niggles, specific to the game VR implementation, I'm very glad that my first experience with it was from the competitive edge of a VR headset.
I start with some warnings, but I think you find them easily outweighed by
At a technical level, Hellblade on minimum requires an Intel i5 3570K or AMD FX-8350, 8GB RAM, and either an NVIDIA GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX 580. Fortunately, my test tube meets the smallest specifications, but I do not suspect that the majority of VR owners want. While I suppose that lower GPUs could be able to play on lower settings, as I could play the highest possible settings without suffering reprojection with the GTX 1080, Ninja Theory was aware of the game's minimum requirements for an acceptable experience.  Playing "very high" for all possibilities – foliage, finishing, shading, textures, viewing distance and viewing effects – I noticed at times that textures and a little less game geometry take a noticeable piece to load in larger areas, as sometimes may impair what would otherwise be a big detailed world. Turning down to medium settings in some of these departments mitigated this somewhat, but overall the distance between objects like plants and rocks (read: slow landscape loads consistently) seems to be a constant phenomenon, leading to some ugly texture / geometry popping throughout the game.
The game is in third person and there is no chance that the first page view will come. This is less of an obstacle than I thought it would be though, as the game can be quite intimidating at the moment, what about all binaurally-caught voices that criticize every step (these can be beaten down) and the ever-winding road towards Senua falling mental state – it may be as depressing and intimidating, if not more than many first VR games at the moment.
The latest niggle: The only supported controls are the Oculus Touch, gamepads and keyboard. Vive controllers were probably omitted in relation to the species of fast inputs needed during combat sequences; A touchpad simply does not. Hopefully, Vive users have an additional Xbox One gamepad located around, otherwise you will want to use a standard WASD layout, which is not really a great way to play. Touch controllers are supported, but predictably accommodate a gamepad, as there is no motion-regulator-specific support.
Warnings are condemned to Helheim
Although these main considerations may prevent you from engaging in the game "Perfect & # 39; , the base experience is anything but disappointing. Hellblades engaging story quickly takes over and Senoa's masterful prisoners of action are wonderful to see in VR when you face face with the warrior bedecked in blue war paint, which transmits some very realistic and intense emotions. Textures here are dumbed down somewhat for the VR version, but it is clear that your face is really beginning to immerse yourself in her pain, fear and struggle through the game's trials. Check out the video at the bottom to see what I mean.
Senua in VR, Image captured by Road to VR
Senua on PC, Image courtesy Ninja Theory
] Traversing Hellblade solve their many illusory puzzles and engaging in battle sequences is a rather fluid experience. The enemies are bothering you, but the beauty of having a 360-view is to choose where to see and when, so you can obviously keep an eye on evil when they arrive. The battle relies on fast dodges, crucial swords and kicks, and the use of focus, which activates a slow-mo mode that can both make shadow attacks vulnerable to attack and give you more time to tear through more enemies. Boss blow is, for lack of a better word, absolutely epic in VR. Should you ever find yourself facing the hard opponent, you can always switch between simple, medium, hard or "auto" difficulty modes. But beware; Every time you die, an evil root takes a bigger grip, which will ultimately lead to your permanent death and a loss of all progress.
Puzzle games are especially fun and just disturbing in VR, as one of the main features of the game, including the possibility that the world will morph around you; A staircase that was not previously snaps into the view after crossing the threshold to a magic port. The first time you start, you really start asking yourself your own health, but soon the pieces come together and you begin to understand how to use your own illusions for further progress (for example: go through a magic port to reveal a hole in one wall, walk through the hole and unlock the door from the inside). VR implementation is a natural fit and I would like to see it in several games.
Another core puzzle throughout Hellbade lined up runes to open otherwise impenetrable doors – something of "assign meaning to things" of Senuas psychosis – and this is handled very well in VR while using your eyes to search and adjust these lanes using your perspective. At the moment I would have to tap my neck to get the perfect view, as it's usually a fun tree, some well-placed light rays, or a piece of a building that needs lines up, but I usually think this is based on my favorite game setting. I would routinely activate a higher viewpoint in settings so I could get better views of nature without Senua blocking the road.
The game also has some experimental VR modes, which can also let you see the world either in "small mode", which changes your perspective to see the world as a miniature diorama or "giant mode "that shrinks you about three quarters to make the world definitely bigger than life. I did not really do anything about either, when the 1: 1 normal mode was just how I wanted to play in the first place. In normal mode, scaling on Senua felt a bit bigger than reality, but not so far that she was somehow freakishly big.
Intense Themes, Most Comfortable Game
Because the game relies on snap swinging, it's ultimately quite comfortable – and despite the game's warning that it's an "intense experience". There are moments when you get smoothly into a cinema mode to meet Senua, but these are both performed slowly and are few and far between, so whatever the discomfort you can feel from this artificial location will probably fade in a few seconds. Smooth turn is only available in focus mode, which allows you to look for runes and other objects.
Since this is originally a PC / console title, the game contains many cuts to tell the story, which is refreshingly well-managed. Instead of carelessly throwing your POV in order to take care of the story, which can cause extreme discomfort, the world draws into a black void where you get a display window to keep you grounded as things blow up. Had this not been a third-party game, I would say that the cutscenes would be a total damage to VR immersion, but somehow tells the whole story to Senua, who fights for herself and her illusions, this. Psychosis can make a person see the world in a different way, and give experiences outside of the body, so it's really a random match-up that I really enjoyed being a part of.
] After playing the whole game in VR, lasting around 7+ hours, I was left so reassured and sympathetic to Senoa's situation. She fights for love, but carries her hate with her, something you witness further throughout the game. I could not help but feel a real connection with her, even though I was not really from each other of history as such. At times she sees you in the eye, after your head as you approach her. She is unhappy with you, when you are sometimes interpreted as another illusory companion on her fatalistic journey.
Finally, Ninja Theory may have earned some of a gamepad throwback that I really did not have I have not been on the menu since all the major PC VR systems now have specially built motion control support, but it's an undeniable charm for the game that will definitely keep you playing. As a high-quality offer, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice makes VR-specific refining to take it out of shedding of "horn-horned VR ports"; It gives you just enough of the AAA game, which seems to have grip VR enough to make it worth your time if you are not afraid of the aforementioned transitions. More importantly, it serves as a lesson to other developers who look good at traditional PC games and can work in VR.
Check out a full 14 minute play session below to get a better idea of what Hellblade: Senua's victim – VR Edition has to offer.