I’ve said this many many times before, but if I had to name one game as “The best I’ve ever played” it’s very likely Hellblade would be it. The game sets the mood as soon as you start with a warning about psychosis and proceeds to put you in control of Senua, working through her mental issues - not in an overly obvious way, but in a fully immersed audio and visual way. I played this game in two parts with a few months in between, when I started playing again I had a proper sound system which enhanced the whole thing even more. I guess it might vary depending on how you empathise with the character but for me, when Senua was scared I could feel it, when she was borderline panicking I was sweating, when I hit the part of the game where you’re almost blind and everything is dark and you have to dodge monster silhouettes .. I felt it. And then there’s the story, which you unravel as you go along and it’s as dark and personal as … well, as Senua’s mental state suggests.
As game mechanics go there are puzzles and battles, the latter none too hard, the former clever and fun. They also do something very clever to put you in an empathic mood, early on they dangle permadeath on you, with a very visual indicator, which may or may not be true, I did my best not to challenge that . Play this game, take your time, play in a dark room with the sound blasting , it’s worth it!