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Forgotten gems - Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice VR Edition

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Recently, devs announced Hellblade 2 with no VR support - and many fans got upset. But how many have really tried and completed the original game in VR? 🤔 This game from summer 2018 - that's nearly 6 years ago:

 

 

 

Hellblade is in 3rd person perspective, and you need an XBox controller to play - or a similar controller. The game is on Steam and GOG. The game supports native Oculus drivers and native SteamVR drivers. So if I wear the Rift CV1, the game will work there - if I start the game wearing the Index, the game will automatically use SteamVR drivers. 

My backlog is gigantic - I have been playing the game for maybe 4-5 hours, but haven't played for years. Not sure I ever tested the game with the Index before. 

Problem is the game does not respond to the SteamVR res. So going from Index res 100% to Index res 500% made no difference, and the game looked blurry with the Index. But then I found some res slider in the game - devs just said it was about antialiasing. I don't think that slider worked with the Rift CV1. But it certainly works with the Index - that slider is not just antialiasing, it's super-sampling and how you increase res with SteamVR hmds. With the Rift I need to use Oculus Tool Tray or similar solutions to increase super-sampling. 

Using res 300% set in-game the game was mindblowingly beautiful with the Index - and maxing out all other in-game settings, my RTX 3090 started heating up, lol. Not sure what the in-game res 300% means - looked more like some SteamVR res 400% to me, maybe something is getting multiplied 🤔 Well, never - ever - saw Senua looking this good before. 

I've said it before - to go forth these days, we need to go back: 

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Senua - I took this screenshot while playing last night - she's wearing some war-paint/mud 🙂

 

I would like to take some screenshots from the start of the game, but then I get the message if I want to delete my current game and start all over - and nope, that would be a really bad idea, so I only have shots from this slightly more dull location:

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The game is very blurry due to TAA (temporal antialiasing), but with this res everything looks amazingly sharp - you'll need at least an RTX 3080/4070 for this quality

 

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You normally see Senua from her back - you control her much like you control Lara Croft in Tomb Raider using 3rd person perspective

 

Here she is in full figure - note the dynamic shadow she's casting:

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She's carrying some golden plate - let's try to zoom in here, I had to go down on my knees and crawl to her to take this shot, lol:

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Textures are still made mostly for 2D, but note the great details on the plate

 

This is Senua - different angles and distances:

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Fun thing, some dude praised Max Mustard on the Quest standalone for showing how good VR is using the 3rd person perspective. Of course he's may have very limited knowledge of what real VR looks like with Senua - this is Max Mustard on the Quest:

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The above shot from Max Mustard was taken by the devs - these images are from the devs behind Hellblade showing the graphics in the VR Edition:

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Note that Hellblade is a psychologically disturbing game - you constantly are exposed to elements of psychosis like hearing voices and visual hallucinations - this game is 18+, and can be found here:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/747350/Hellblade_Senuas_Sacrifice_VR_Edition/

So do not mourn not getting Hellblade 2 - most have never played Hellblade 1, and Hellblade 1 is first really playable today using the necessary res with current high-end gpus. Hellblade 1 is not old, it really wasn't very playable before today. I can't even get solid 80 fps using Index with in-game res 300 and max details, but the game runs great in 80 Hz with motion smoothing. Looking forward to getting that RTX 5090, so I finally can enjoy Senua in 120 fps with all the bells and whistles 🙂

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Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

8 REPLIES 8

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

A few more screenshots from the VR version - but older images from Steam, not sure if they used the same ultra settings for graphics like I just did - but still does provide some nice impressions:

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Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Hmmm, not sure how I could forget all about this gem for years - but it was rough on the GTX 1080, the game needs an XBox controller and I'm not that much into the fighting. Turns out, Hellblade has rather limited fighting - but when it starts, it's quite demanding - nearly had cramps in my hand last night, but I'm not used to use an XBox controller, at least not so intensively, lol. 

Compared to Alyx, Hellblade was not made ground-up for VR, and Hellblade has worse textures - but not much - environments also are more simple - still, this is what you get, these images are screenshots taken while playing the game, nothing is prerendered:

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Alyx actually does not do faces better - but Alyx has more detailed environments

 

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Beautiful view - well, sort of 🙂

 

This game is 18+, when the violence is worst, it's pretty bad, here's a small taste from a distance not to show too much:

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Some more shots of the scenery: 

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Note the HDR-like lighting

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My old friend, Mr. Scarecrow 🙂 They do come alive, sadly 😬

 

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- and sometimes you do not need a calendar to know it's Monday:

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The game has many visual puzzles, like some match-to-sample - not going to say more, it can look like this 🙂

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Sometimes the game feels like Dark Souls 4 VR, sometimes it feels like a walking simulator, and other times like a puzzle game. I appreciate the variation. Mostly I appreciate seeing the many faces of Senua og to be with her on this magnificent VR journey 🙂

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As I said before, no one could really play Hellblade in a proper quality in 2018, when the game launched, but you can today - if you have an RTX 3070 or faster. An RTX 4090 is by far not wasted on this game 🤓 

Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

WootM4ge
Meta Quest Support
Meta Quest Support

Oh my goodness, @RuneSR2, you're the best! I've been looking for some new PCVR titles to hop into and this one takes the cake! Always impressed with how you can sell me on a game lol. I've wanted to check out this game for quite some time, but now that I know I can play it in VR... I'm stoked!

 

Excited to see how my 3080ti holds up against this beautiful  looking game! Looking forward to more PCVR showcases!

"They say that the best blaze burns the brightest when circumstances are at their worst."

Thanks - I appreciate the kind words - btw, I also posted here if you want to follow some more detailed discussions:

https://www.reddit.com/r/virtualreality/comments/1c69zzp/forgotten_gems_hellblade_senuas_sacrifice_v...

https://www.reddit.com/r/ValveIndex/comments/1c68kpr/forgotten_gems_hellblade_senuas_sacrifice_vr/

Close to 40,000 views now, so the interest is still there - to some degree 🙂 And you'll surely need that RTX 3080 Ti for this 🤓

If you use a lcd hmd, try to turn up brightness a lot when you get to the "blind/darkness level" - I literally could not see anything with lcd using standard brightness - but my Rift CV1 with oled saved me 🙂

Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Hellblade VR is now on sale - 90% off, so get the game for just 3$ 😮

https://store.steampowered.com/app/747350/Hellblade_Senuas_Sacrifice_VR_Edition/

Offer lasts to 25 April. 

Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Note that there are errors in Hellblade, but I only noticed one. There's a trial close to the end of the game, and if you leave the game before you've completed that trial (finding 3 runes), the save game will be broken and you can no longer complete the trial and cannot advance in the game. This may not be an issue to many completing the trial in one run, but to some it's a severe issue breaking the game - and I got to experience it. 

Luckily some dude has made a copy of save games through out the game, so if needed, just find a working save game here - these only work for the VR edition:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=10rCNKfURu_fb1seAAdh1hZ_yRb_OPcPh

Also, if the trial of blindness is too hard using a lcd hmd, you can skip it by using a later save game. Just find the correct save game, and rename it to the exact same name as your own save game file. 

My save game was located here:

  C:\Users\"YOURuserNAME"\AppData\Local\HellbladeGame\Saved

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Screenshot from the Blindness Trial - for those thinking the difference between lcd and oled is of little importance, this is a great trial to learn why the difference between oled and lcd can be like day vs. night 🙂 Turn up the brightness using lcd to the max, or skip the trial using a new save game. The Blindness Trial was designed for oled hmds. 

Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Btw, fighting The Beast in Hellblade was one of my greatest VR experiences in a long time. Unfortunately my screenshots weren't great - but here are some from the 2D version, and the VR version looks the same:

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Try to imagine what that beast looks like in VR - standing right next to it - it's gigantic.

Really got a sore thumb pushing all those buttons on my gamepad, lol.   

PS. The beast is shown in the official Hellblade trailer - so I'm not spoiling anything 😇😎     

Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

RuneSR2
Grand Champion

Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice VR Edition is much like a poem for adults - it's about love and the ability to fight through times of darkness, no matter the depth of the darkness. It's also a game about history - taking you back to ancient times with the Vikings. Being an indie game, animated npc's are limited, but environments are very impressive - like here:

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 You also get to visit the equivalent of Hell with many animated tormented souls:

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Most impressive about the game is still Senua - here are some maybe slightly disturbing images, when she's at the very bottom of existence, not even Alyx has faces this detailed and life-like, which greatly fuels VR immersion and presence - it just looks real:

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The above images are screenshots of what is being shown to the left eye - in the hmd you get twice that input and res looks much higher, when the brain makes two images into one. 

Btw, having completed the game, I was finally able to start all over to get some screenshots from the beginning of the game - using extreme res and maxed out graphics settings thanks to the RTX 3090. 

For those new-ish to the game, Senua has lost her beloved partner due to a Viking raid on her village, and now she's taking her partner's head to Helheim to fight for his lost soul:

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Note the decapitated head in a cloth on her back - as she approaches Helheim, the head starts to breathe - note the fine threads sticking out of the cloth material

 

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Senua and her *cough* two heads 🙂

 

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Here's the head in a very close-up screenshot (had to get down on my knees) showing the fine threads sticking out of the cloth - much work went into creating such details

 

Finally, to show the water, textures, sun (lighting), and other effects - here are two more screenshots - if Meta keeps doubling the performance, you'll get this quality with the Quest 7 standalone in 2032 - 2035 😉

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PS. Senua was made by using motion capture and the actor Melina Juergens:

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- and Senua with more modern make-up 😉

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Oculus Rift CV1, Valve Index & PSVR2, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 16TB SSD
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"