While I don’t have access to the game just yet, I did hear several few game reviewers tell me something that was deeply disturbing. Sure, the game has permadeath and I’m no stranger to that sort of gameplay mechanic, but this is different. What Ninja Theory has done has surpassed even what I am used too and I don’t know how I feel about it.
In a turn that I see either being praised or being reverted due to complaints (or low sales) if you die too much in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, your game save is deleted. Yes, as in completely removed, erased, gone! As you progress through the game, you will surely die due to some sort of punishing attack or falling to your death. It happens, we’ve all been there. In Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, however, the way that death looms over you is real.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t die in the game. You can die, over and over, it seems. However, do it repeatedly and then you have an issue. We’re talking a lot of deaths. Basically, you’d have to purposely die over and over to trigger the mechanism. But when you do, that’s when the game tosses a lofty punishment and wipes the game save. Ths is definitely a first, I don’t recall any other game attempting this. I’m sure that many people that pick up this game will find this out the hard way and they likely won’t be thrilled. Yet, there are other gamers, like myself, who live for this sort of thing and see it as a challenge.
I suppose those on the PC could backup their saves or setup a script to do it, but those on the PS4 don’t have this luxury. Still, it’s not all bad as the game will reset your death counter at checkpoints. So again, you’d have to be trying to trigger the permadeath function. That or be really bad at the game and even now, it seems that no one has been able to actually experience this save deletion. In fact, some are even questioning it is even a thing. I guess that means we’ll see countless YouTube videos of people actually trying to see if this indeed happens.
It’s actually interesting, yet very puzzling why Ninja Theory added this sort of permadeath. From what I’ve heard, the game is very similar to Dark Souls and I know that death in that game is like breathing in air. Of course, this could serve to make you think about every move you make and pay attention to your surroundings. It also can extend the longevity of a short-lived game, such as this.
Since it’s too early to see the results of this new approach, I’ll have my eyes on Twitter, Reddit, and several other places to see how players react to this. If anything, I’m sure that Ninja Theory will be taking everything that will be said into consideration.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is now available on PC and PS4 and is priced at $29.99. Are you going to pick up the game or does the thought of having your game save wiped bother you?