The Game Awards 2021 saw a lot of great looking games, but the best was almost certainly Hellblade 2 on the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X/S is over a year old now and it still hasn’t had a single exclusive game. Microsoft always warned it’d be like that but it means that, as good as the cross-gen Forza Horizon 5 looks, we still haven’t really seen what the console is fully capable of. But Hellblade 2: Senua’s Saga gives the best indication yet.
Hellblade 2 was actually the first ever Xbox Series X game to be shown in public, at The Game Awards 2019, but it’s not been seen again since. Or at least not until The Game Awards 2021 on Thursday night.
Unlike most of the reveals it was a lengthy look at some actual in-game footage, as Senua and a host of allies attacked what the screenshot filenames imply to be a troll on the shores of Iceland – and it looked almost photorealistic.
The quality of the visuals certainly aren’t in question but whether what was shown was actual gameplay is more debatable.
Although there’s no reason to doubt the footage was real there didn’t seem to be any actual gameplay going on. Senua barely does anything except run backwards and half the time the camera isn’t looking in any useful direction, if this was supposed to be someone actually playing it.
The most obvious competitor for the accolade of best graphics was Horizon Forbidden West which also got a new trailer at The Game Awards 2021, although it was quite short and heavily edited. (Star Wars: Eclipse is another contender but that seemed to be mostly or entirely pre-rendered.)
Hellblade 2 wasn’t given any kind of release date, but Horizon Forbidden West is out on February 18, after having been delayed from this Christmas.
That will likely mean a significant gap between the two games’ release, so by the time Hellblade 2 is out it may be a different PlayStation 5 game that it ends up being compared to – especially as Horizon Forbidden West is cross-gen.
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