Do I need to play Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice before playing Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2?

Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 combat lava
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Do I need to play Hellblade 1 before I play Hellblade 2?

Yes, it is recommended that you play Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice before playing Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. This series is very narrative-driven, and Hellblade 2 takes place almost immediately after the conclusion of the first game. In order to understand Senua as a character and how she got where she is in Iceland, you'll want to experience the harrowing journey she took in Senua's Sacrifice.

Nearly seven years after the release of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Ninja Theory is poised to release its long-awaited sequel. Dubbed Senua's Saga: Hellblade II (no, I don't know why Ninja Theory swapped the name around), it continues Senua's story across Iceland. It'll further explore Senua's psychosis and the past that gave it form, as well as shed light on her motivations and objectives, freshly created following her terrifying descent into Hel.

The Hellblade series is obviously narrative driven, meaning it tells a dark, heavy, and detailed story of personal hardship, trauma and grief, and mental health. So, it shouldn't surprise you when I say that you do want to play the first game before diving into the second. If you already played the first and simply want a refresher (or you're intent on not playing Senua's Sacrifice), you can catch up with our recap of the story so far in Hellblade.

Playing Senua's Sacrifice: Hellblade

Senua's Sacrifice is still beautiful, and explores Norse mythology and mental health in equal measure. (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

The first Hellblade game puts you in the shoes of Senua, a young Pict warrior who is willing to put everything on the line to bring her lost lover Dillion back to life. Accompanied by an unsettling darkness born of her father's abuse and the auditory and visual hallucinations attributed to psychosis, Senua begins her journey into Helheim. Along the way, she will confront her past and the path that led her here, as well as vicious opponents in the form of the Norse god Surtr, the raven-like god of illusions Valravn, and an army of corrupted Northmen.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a powerful and poignant story that brazenly explores mental health in ways we don't often see in entertainment. Ninja Theory invested a lot of time and effort researching psychosis to bring Senua to life, culminating in Senua's revelations at the end of the game. One is her acceptance of herself, and the other is her acceptance of Dillion's loss. This ending leads almost directly into the beginning of Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, in which Senua sets out across Iceland alongside new companions.

The depth and proximity of these tales almost necessitates that you're familiar with the first game before diving into the second. Fortunately, Senua's Sacrifice is a shorter and more approachable adventure than many other games. On average, it takes around 8 hours to fully complete the game, and interested players can probably 100% the title and its achievements with just a few hours of extra effort.

If you want to play Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, it's also very cheap — just $11.69 at CDKeys (Xbox) or $5.19 at CDKeys (PC). You can even play Senua's Sacrifice through Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Cloud Gaming, since Ninja Theory is an Xbox Game Studio.

The next chapter is here

How far has Senua come, and how far will she go yet? (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is 100% worth your time. While the gameplay isn't astoundingly deep or varied, the story, lore, world, and unique interpretation of mental health and mythology all help make Senua's Sacrifice one of the best Xbox games fans of great narratives can play. Once you've played it, you'll be ready to play Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, which brings with it nearly seven years of improvements and advancements in graphics, gameplay, motion capturing, world building, and more.

You can check out our Senua's Saga: Hellblade II FAQ for more information about Xbox's debut first-party game of 2024. If you're already confident you'll be playing, you can preorder the game now for $45.39 at CDKeys (Xbox & PC). Like its predecessor, Hellblade II will also be available through Xbox and PC Game Pass, as well as Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II — $45.39 at CDKeys (Xbox & PC) | $49.99 at Microsoft Store (Xbox & PC)

Senua's Saga: Hellblade II — $45.39 at CDKeys (Xbox & PC) | $49.99 at Microsoft Store (Xbox & PC)

Ninja Theory has been working for years on its latest masterpiece, a new chapter in Senua's story that tells of her struggles in Iceland against foes both human and supernatural, all while dealing with the weight of her psychosis.

Also see — Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice for $11.69 at CDKeys (Xbox) | $5.19 at CDKeys (PC)

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.