The Three Biggest Mistakes That Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 Made

Let’s get this straight: to me, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 is a letdown, even though it’s a true technological marvel. While it’s not the most disappointing game I’ve ever played, this highly anticipated and largely unnecessary sequel falters in all the key areas that made the original so good. It’s as if Ninja Theory failed to grasp what made the first installment unique and opted for a different course instead, retaining its signature elements that now seem out of place and appear irrelevant.



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Hellblade 2’s “epic” plot, which includes several characters and menacing giants, only loosely connects to Senua’s character. It fails to delve into her psychotic conditions, showing little interest in doing so. The inner voices, once integral to the experience, now appear unnecessary and distracting, robbing players of deeper interpretations. Additionally, the puzzles, largely unchanged from the original, proved ill-suited to the game’s photorealistic visuals.

About one-third into Hellblade 2, I began to feel that the developers should have strayed from simply replicating the mechanics of the first title — and sadly, this impression never left.

A Story That Lost Its Unique Perspective

Hellblade 2’s story, along with the basic motivation to end raids by slavers, is rather impersonal. It reduces Senua to a spectator of others’ fates, disconnected from her own journey. The theme of “becoming a leader” in the sequel feels forced, especially for a character like Senua, who struggles with mental health issues and doesn’t seem suited to such responsibility.

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What’s even worse is that this plot takes an entirely different direction — exactly the kind many worried about prior to launch. In pursuit of scope and epicness, this story stretches beyond Senua’s inner thoughts, trauma and emotions, revolving around seemingly real monsters and old gods. This essentially leaves us without any layer of questioning the exact nature of things — something that worked exceptionally well before. In Hellblade 2, all of Senua’s hallucinations, representing her own inner demons, suddenly get diluted by real people who confirm that all the wild things happening around her are indeed real.

The story also felt quite detached from Senua and what makes her a special and unique protagonist, instead trying to turn her into a classic foreign hero who came to save this troubled land. Why not leave all that, along with the whole giant-killing thing, to someone like Kratos? Despite some really great performances in the sequel, there’s just no place to explore Senua’s conditions more deeply or focus on themes that made the original Hellblade so intimate.

The Voices Reduced To Background Noise

Hellblade 2 Photorealistic Sky

By making the story more grounded in the real world and embracing the fact that Senua has made peace with her Furies (voices in her head), learning to coexist with them, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 essentially makes a mistake. Now, the voices appear as a needless gimmick, serving almost no purpose and constantly distracting and denying players any quiet moments they might desire.

Related I Hope Hellblade 2 Can Match Alan Wake 2’s Mastery Of FMV Remedy’s just raised the bar in blending in-engine graphics with FMV, so now it’s up to Ninja Theory to embrace it.

The voices are always there, totally ignored by Senua, and offering no insight into her character. They just constantly comment on the most obvious things, often interrupting other characters’ lines in dialogues and cutscenes. At times, it’s almost like watching a Let’s Play video on YouTube with someone being excessively chatty.

It’s frustrating to admit, but there were numerous occasions where I wished I could disable them in the options — a thought that never crossed my mind with the original, where voices were an integral part of the experience from the very first seconds. The traditional, cinematic narrative seems to clash with this unique perspective, turning the franchise’s distinct and emotional feature into a needless obstacle with no impact whatsoever, evoking no emotions beyond annoyance.

Messy Puzzles Lost In The Visual Splendor

Hellblade 2 Giant's Hand

Hellblade 2’s final sin to me is its approach to puzzles — not the new kind, like altering realities akin to Alan Wake 2’s Angel Lamp (those are fine, but too simple), but the old and familiar task of scouring the scenery for visual runic symbols. This feature definitely wasn’t the most thrilling part of the original, but it felt fitting and worked as intended. However, due to the follow-up’s photorealistic visuals (seriously, it’s the prettiest game out there if you still fancy ‘realism’ in gaming), searching for these patterns becomes an unexpected challenge.

Not only is it quite hard to spot the exact part of the rune amidst these blended surroundings, but traversing the identical rocky landscapes in search of the right angle becomes an insufferable chore. Senua’s movement is pretty limited, with constant, non-obvious blocks dictating where you can and cannot go, as well as unclear separations in ledge heights that she can or cannot reach. As a result, even when you somehow manage to identify where the needed symbol might emerge, you often find yourself stuck in the environment, struggling to reach the precise spot you need to access.

Hellblade 2 Dialogue Cutscene

I’m not suggesting that the fancy visuals hinder the puzzle mechanics; rather, what I mean is that as developers, Ninja Theory should have acknowledged this issue and put effort into smoothing out this aspect of the game to make it less of a slog. Alternatively, the team might just give us a little more freedom in movement during such exploration sections.

Ultimately, these three mistakes mentioned above only solidified my impression of the superfluous nature of Hellblade’s sequel. With insufficient innovations and lack of strong aspects, aside from the technical side, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 can hold your attention for the several hours needed to beat it, but it never feels essential.


Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2

Developer Ninja Theory

Platforms Xbox Series X/S and Microsoft Windows

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