Soapbox: Once a PS4 Console Exclusive, PS5 Players Are Missing a Visual Stunner in Hellblade 2 13

Back when it was released on PS4 and PC back in 2017, we gave Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice an 8/10 in our review and highlighted that the way it uses the "unique attributes of the medium to raise awareness of mental health" is what "elevates this release beyond the sum of its parts". Since then, Microsoft has bought Ninja Theory, and Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 isn't available on PS5. That is a damn shame, as after finishing Hellblade 2, I can say PS5 players are missing out on one of the most visually jaw-dropping experiences of the generation.

Set across the stunning hillsides and shorelines of Iceland, Senua has found herself in Midgard and has to battle her way from village to village, fighting off slavers who she has escaped from. That journey takes you from rain-soaked beaches to misty, haunting forests — all realised so exquisitely that at times the game could easily be mistaken for a video of a real-life landscape.

The same goes for Senua herself and the game's character models, which blew me away. The combination of both of these in the final product reveals just how successful Ninja Theory was at achieving this realistic goal that the studio's founder, Tameem Antoniades, back in 2021, mentioned in this showcase trailer.

Soapbox: Once a PS4 Console Exclusive, PS5 Players Are Missing a Visual Stunner in Hellblade 2 1
Image: Push Square

As I walked along the beaches or looked over a barren, empty field, I was taken aback at the visual fidelity on offer, woven into the fabric of the environment and amplified during some incredible, unique set-pieces.

It's hard to think of a game that even comes close to this level of visual quality in Senua's Saga. This is possible thanks to the game's cinematic, narrative focus, much like in the first game. The gameplay aspects from the original are present, although they have been pared back or changed significantly. There are far fewer visual puzzles and more exploration and wandering through these gorgeous environments, which won't be for everyone, as evidenced by the criticisms in the game's reviews.

Combat also feels less arcadey and is almost entirely focused on one-on-one fights with large, slow sword swings and punishing repercussions if you fail to block or parry. Our sister site, Pure Xbox wasn't a huge fan of this, saying that the game "isn't satisfying to play in combat". But even in these moments, the detail in the environment, whether it's smoke resting in the background or fire illuminating a dark village, is hard to ignore.

Soapbox: Once a PS4 Console Exclusive, PS5 Players Are Missing a Visual Stunner in Hellblade 2 2
Image: Push Square

The way Senua grunts and shrieks as she swings her sword from one side to the other is harrowing. How you can see the emotion in her face as she picks herself back up after an intense fight to continue on her journey, despite being increasingly exhausted by her suffering, is immaculately displayed through the game's incredible motion capture.

Nowhere on PlayStation can you play a game this detailed and immersive visually, set within a narrative that is as brutal as Senua's Saga's is. That is a huge loss for the PlayStation platform and also fans of the series who began Senua's journey almost seven years ago.

Are you disappointed Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 has launched as an Xbox Series X|S console exclusive, after the series previously debuted on PS4 and PC? Would you play the sequel if it was ever ported to PS5? Let us know below.