Hellblade 2 Shaping Up To Be Visual Benchmark For Gaming In 2024

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Ninja Theory Pushing Unreal Engine 5 To Limits!

Story Highlight
  • 2024 has many games that can be considered visual showcases, but Hellblade 2 stands out from the rest.
  • Pushing Unreal Engine 5 to its limits, this Xbox Series S|X console exclusive might finish as the best-looking game of the year.
  • From animations to graphics, Ninja Theory appears to be knocking it out of the park in all areas.

Last year was incredibly eventful for the gaming industry in more than one way. In addition to an incredibly memorable slate of games, 2023 spearheaded the proper beginning of this console generation.

With Alan Wake 2, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and Dead Space, games finally took a step forward through the hardware available to them in the PS5 and Xbox Series S|X. However, 2024 is set to be equally impressive.

The likes of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and Tekken 8 have already shown studios utilizing the new consoles for next-generation visuals. Games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 are also coming up soon, but I believe Hellblade 2 will be the best-looking game of 2024 when the dust settles.

Why it matters: Despite Microsoft advertising the Xbox Series X as the most powerful console, its hardware lacks a killer application that can fully harness this technology.

Hellblade 2
Hellblade 2 Approaches CGI-Level Detail In Real-Time Gameplay

An Unreal Engine 5 Showcase

With Hellblade 2 positioned as one of Xbox’s most important first-party titles, Ninja Theory has constantly one-upped itself with each new showing.

Built on the foundations of Unreal Engine 5, this narrative adventure is seemingly blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Each character is depicted through surreal detail in the preview footage, setting the stage for what could be a new benchmark for character rendering.

Equally impressive is the team’s work on facial animation. Thanks to Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman technology, the tiniest of movements and expressions are captured in immaculate detail, leading to class-leading output.

When these elements are put together, the result is jaw-dropping.

Immersion At Its Finest

Hellblade 2 is centered around immersion, and the visuals are key to the heightened sense of immersion Ninja Theory is aiming for.

Each part of the game seems to have received the same attention to detail, whether it be Senua herself or faraway objects in the background. Ninja Theory’s art direction is also commendable.

From the tiny particles given off by Senua’s torch in pitch-black caves to the splashing waves across the haunting coastline, each visual element emanates lifelike qualities.

Screenshot from Hellblade 2
Hellblade 2’s Lighting Is Just One Part of Its Spectacular Visual Output

This brings me to the game’s lighting. While the developers have yet to confirm ray tracing, recent trailers show light rays piercing through withering trees, giving the scene a gloomy and disturbing atmosphere.

Given the fact that Unreal Engine 5 boasts Lumen, I would not be shocked if this technology was on display in the earlier footage. It is also important to note that Ninja Theory is no stranger to ray tracing since this technology was patched in the original Hellblade many years ago.

To further drive home the point of this masterful presentation, the team has dubbed this game a humongous leap forward compared to the first entry.

Hellblade 2 will make Hellblade look like an indie game.

-Hellblade Creator Tameem Antoniades

YouTube video

This is one hell of a claim to make, but I remain confident in this team’s ability to stay faithful to its word.

Hellblade 2 is said to be much shorter than the typical AAA release of today, clocking in at around eight hours of gameplay. However, the game’s limited scope may end up a blessing in disguise.

With only so much content in the game, each element should end up refined to perfection as a result of the limited runtime.

Where open-world games might suffer from understandable inconsistencies, Hellblade 2’s carefully crafted experience may be able to avoid such pitfalls. Therefore, I await the May release date with high expectations.

Here’s hoping Hellblade 2 will be one of the many games that deliver on its promises in every way possible.

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