Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has been dividing opinions this week. While the game has attracted a healthy, if not overwhelmingly positive, critical consensus, it has not been without its controversies. Firstly, there was the erroneous claim that the game introduced a permadeath mechanic, in which players who died too many times would be sent back to the very beginning. This was later proven to be a bluff on the game’s behalf, though not before the internet was besieged with hot takes discussing whether or not this was a very good or very bad thing for Hellblade to do.
Then there was a separate controversy surrounding critic Jim Sterling’s review of the game. Sterling, host of the popular The Jimquisition web series, initially awarded Hellblade a 1/10 despite praising the game, solely due to him encountering a game-breaking bug that prevented him from making any progress and, somewhat ironically considering the absence of a true permadeath mechanic, start from the beginning.
Sterling swiftly took down the review after discussing his score with his followers, stating in a later video that he had scored Hellblade so low as a result of being frustrated by the game-breaking bug, but that up until that point he had thoroughly enjoyed the game. However, while he initially believed that his progress was halted as a result of a freak accident, it has now transpired that more people are encountering this bug in their own playthroughs; a player on the Steam forums has revealed that they too have stumbled upon the bug, causing them to become stuck and unable to make any progress.
How to avoid Hellblade‘s game-breaking bug
The bug takes place in Helheim, during a fairly simple but nonetheless nerve-wracking puzzle in which a torch-carrying Senua is tasked with staying out of the darkness in order to stay alive. During one segment of this puzzle, Senua must walk beneath a waterfall, which inevitably puts the fire in the torch out and causes the darkness to catch up to her.
With Senua’s vision slightly impaired during this particular section, it can be easy to miss a source of fire that you encounter shortly after walking through the waterfall — if you do so, then the path behind you closes up and the game auto saves, leaving you stranded in the darkness with no way to escape.
The waterfall scene can be viewed at the 26:47 mark in the below video, with the fire appearing directly ahead of Senua:
Those who encountered the bug had managed to do so as a result of running straight past the fire, and at the time of this writing there is no way to once again light the torch and proceed through the game. This bug will hopefully be fixed by developers Ninja Theory in the very near future, but until then this is how you avoid encountering this game-breaking glitch in Hellblade.