Hellblade 2 is a defining moment in the evolution of real-time graphics | Digital Foundry

The Digital Foundry verdict on the technology of Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2.

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PrinceOfAnger31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Such a good looking game, best graphics this gen so far

" When the camera zooms in for a close-up, the level of detail is such that it left me guessing whether I was looking at real-time graphics or a pre-rendered cutscene. Thankfully, with Photo Mode being available at any time, you can easily confirm that they are, in fact, real-time.Of course, it's really the animation you experience while playing that impressed me the most. The expressions visible while engaged in combat or simply exploring really help bring the characters to life. "

As a story-focused game, characters and character rendering play a significant role in the presentation. However, while the pre-release media largely focused on Senua herself, Hellblade 2 features a surprisingly large number of other humans. It's without doubt one of the games defining visual features - the character rendering in Hellblade 2 sets new standards, delivering sequences that, at times, almost resemble actual filmed scenes with real actors. This is one of the first examples of a game that stands up against the promise of the UE5 demo The Matrix Awakens. The scenes feel very natural and realistic in a way that manages to somewhat sidestep the uncanny valley almost completely.

Einhander197230d ago

So, the other day I was talking about how DF lies, and their bias. I said cross-reference what they say with other videos and you'll see that what they say is dishonest.

You can see here, that frame-rate is section is hidden near the end of the video and it's one of the shortest sections and of course the segment they show is all 30 fps and they of course don't show any series s footage, but they specifically say it holds 30 FPS "flawlessly".

"It does reach this target flawlessly in my experience with virtually zero hiccups - it runs at 30fps and 30fps is exactly what you'll get from start to finish."

Now watch this video

Here it drops to 21 fps for example

I just used these videos because they were already posted on N4G and Analista De Bits it above questioning about legitimacy, but you can find other people who will also show that the game drops frames regularly, especially on series s.

Petebloodyonion30d ago

OMG! You caught them Lying hard because the game frame dips from time to time to 29 frames per second and at one point it drops for flash at 21 FPS.
Clearly, they are trying to hide something and the 99% of the time that the game holds 30 frames doesn't mean squats in a saying with VIRTUALLY Zero hiccups.

As you can see by the several comments in the video you posted people are venting their anger about how well the Serie S is holding up and how well the game is running across the board

But I guess MS probably paid the users to Shill for MS also since it's your narrative
By the way, let me inform you that 87% of Steam users who got this game are recommending it!
Must be shilled too right?

darthv7230d ago

You're trying too hard... John enjoyed the game and stated as much in his testing.

Einhander197230d ago (Edited 30d ago )


OMG! You caught them Lying hard because the game frame dips from time to time to 29 frames per second and at one point it drops for flash at 21 FPS.

I did catch them lying, thanks for noticing.

The problem isn't me. The problem is that you're O.K. with it because they are lying in a way that supports your personal opinion.


Get mad at me because I catch them being dishonest? I'm the bad guy, not the people who are actually lying. Man, the world we live in today is absolutely backwards, it's the bizarro timeline...

If I wanted to take the time I could show you that this isn't the exception, they constantly lie and mislead people in their videos.

30d ago
Petebloodyonion30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

Have you considered that perhaps John didn't have the same exact experience to Analista?
Was the game played from a freshly rebooted Xbox?
Was the game played from a Quick Play resume stated?
How many games were in a suspended state on each box?

You know 0 of these variables that can affect performance.
Yet you're here calling fraud despite no validation because it suits your hate for Xbox and you can't stand that this game seems to review well.

And you're right about one thing This video supports my opinion that I should continue to thrust Digital Foundry over someone who's motivated by hate since videos like this exist:

Another Xbox shill like Digital Foundry since there 0 frame drop in a 15-minute vid.

Einhander197230d ago


"Have you considered that perhaps John didn't have the same exact experience to Analista?"

No, because you can find plenty of other people on youtube and twitter reporting the same thing.

"Was the game played from a freshly rebooted Xbox?"

Is xbox that crappy that you need to refresh it to get normal performance?

"Was the game played from a Quick Play resume stated?"
"How many games were in a suspended state on each box?"

Does xbox really have this many problems? I mean I guess I knew that quick play causes save games to be lost on a lot of games most famously BG3.

"You know 0 of these variables that can affect performance."

Yes, I agree 0 of the variables you listed are affecting performance in this case.

"Yet you're here calling fraud despite no validation because it suits your hate for Xbox and you can't stand that this game seems to review well."

Yes, they were lying and I called them out for it. Anything else would be calling Analista De Bits a liar and I fully trust them, and again, you can watch other peoples videos about FPS problems for the game. And again, this isn't a one off thing with DF, I have pointed other things they have said that weren't true in the past.

Petebloodyonion30d ago (Edited 30d ago )


Honestly, I post the first Youtuber (Xbox testing) that comes after DF for a 15-minute Xbox frame test with 0 frame drop and you still hinge to the idea that DF is lying.

Is Open Surprise lying too in his 8-minute analysis?

Now unlike you, I won't call Analista liars because it seems I know that things like a different version, RAM cluttering, and external processor activity (downloads) can slightly alter the performance of a game (sometimes crash it) and why REBOOTING is usually the 1st thing suggested on all companies F.A.Q. when troubleshooting.

But Hey you can prove me wrong and provide some of the several videos you're alluding to since it's a well-known issue so it should be easy right?


Andrew33630d ago (Edited 30d ago )

This is trying really hard and its actually embarrassing that you are talking about a frame rate dip this much. It's also sad that 34 people up voted this nonsense. You anti Xbox anything people are real weirdos

lavatiy30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

DF is definitely biased.

fr0sty30d ago

It's 2024, games are running at less than 30fps while upscaling to hit 4K... and people are defending them for it. I've seen it all now.

cthulhucultist30d ago

@Einhander1972 You are indeed trying too hard at this point.

The game is phenomenal visual wise and their is no doubt about it (for anyone that played it or watched the video).

You are completely ignoring this and trying to focus on framerate dips which are far less frequent from the actual frame rate target.

Thus in my opinion (could be wrong), you are trying to invalidate DF in order not to take into account their analysis on this game as this time they praise a MS game and will shatter your narrative about PS5 always having the best graphics.

Just ignore this video if you are not willing to enjoy this game for a few frame drops and let other gamers rejoice for having to experience another graphics defining game this gen among others (Horizon Burning Shores, Alan Wake 2, Plague Tale Requem to name but a few).

You spend too much time trying to extol PS5 and downplay Xbox as if it was your main job. Give it a rest and enjoy the games.

PrinceOfAnger30d ago (Edited 30d ago )

john said :

" Hellblade 2 is limited to 30 frames per second on Xbox consoles. It does reach this target flawlessly in my experience with virtually zero hiccups - it runs at 30fps and 30fps is exactly what you'll get from start to finish.

Performance on Hellblade 2 on Xbox Series X is a uniform 30 frames per second from start to finish, with consistent 33.3ms frame-pacing."

GamerRN30d ago

DF didn't seem to encounter or mention a single frame drop. Might want to check your sources

Einhander197230d ago


You couldn't be more wrong, what i am talking about is that DF regularly lies and misleads people, they are the ones with the bias, presumably because they are getting paid to do so.

Again, this is just one easily observable instance of it, I and many other people have been pointing this stuff out for years. Cross-reference their videos with other reputable peoples videos and you will see this isn't the exception, they do this all the time.

This isn't even about this game, it's about a group of people who have more influence than anyone else using that influence to mislead people. (for money)

The actual fanboys are all the people who are defending them.

cthulhucultist30d ago


As per your quote

"You couldn't be more wrong, what i am talking about is that DF regularly lies and misleads people, they are the ones with the bias, presumably because they are getting paid to do so."

I understand what you are saying, however this seems to fall most likely within confirmation bias territory as you see only what you want to see.

If Digital Foundry were indeed paid by MS, they would not give Sony wins in the graphics department (unless they pay them on per game basis).

DF gave a) GT the win over Forza in their analysis, b) included 3 PS5 games on their best graphics for 2023 (whose opinion you seemingly accepted as you commented on that article and did not mention any bias) and c) gave a glowing analysis for Burning Shores graphics.

My point is that you see only what suits your narrative. Whenever a PS5 game is praised by DF, it is totally ok.

If an MS game is praised, its gotta be the money talking.

More over you forget that the frame rate issue was not reported in other videos as well (Open Surprise etc) which has already been mentioned by other people here.

Judging by your comment history, I am inclined to believe that you are not the gamer you claim to be

Michiel198929d ago

and when they give praise to a game made by your favorite plastic box maker are they also biased or lying? mfer watched an entire video focusing on the bar on the bottom just so they can say for a mili second they were lying thus proving their whole video useless to win an internet argument.

VariantAEC29d ago

I slowed the video down to assess the drops and couldn't spot them. If the FPS dropped to 21 then (on X) there should be 9 missing frames or really 9 duplicate frames in that second. I didn't spot them. I don't trust Digital Foundry either and I didn't trust them before their TR 2013 DE review where they openly lied about the PC version's visuals in comparison to the console versions. Even so... this wasn't the win you expected the drops shown on the graph did not manifest in the video itself suggesting the analysis tool flagged duplicate frames incorrectly.

VariantAEC29d ago

Open Surprise is even less trustworthy than DF. They were already caught multiple times fanboying for their personal favorite games. Once making a mockery out of GT7 just to make the rubblepile that is FM (23) look good by comparison.

29d ago
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TheEroica29d ago

The downvotes...! 😂🤣 How pathetic can one be to downvote a quote about how beautiful a game looks? Soulless husks...

OptimusDK30d ago

Incredible graphics..this is finally next gen graphics. It’s an experience more than a game. You can fault it or accept it and embrace what it gives you. It’s like Sony 1886.

blacktiger29d ago

1866 was a launch game i believe

VariantAEC29d ago

The Order: 1886 released January 12 2015. It was certainly an earlier release than SS2, but it was not a launch title.

PrinceOfAnger30d ago

- Takes advantage of everything UE5 offers
- Final game 'lives up to the lofty expectations' of the 2019 reveal
- Character rendering sets new standards and nearly resembles movie sequences with actual actors
- Leverages Unreal's Meta Human 5 to bypass the uncanny valley feel
- DF were left guessing whether some cut-scenes were in-game or real life footage (photo mode shows they're all real time)
- Character detail and how light / specular etc reflect on it praised
- A lot of the visual make up is tied to the post-process effects
- No option to disable things like CA, DoF etc but it's all suitable to the games presentation
- Soft filmic image quality and wider FoV praised

Resolution and Visuals:
- DRS 1296 to 1440p (w/ black bars 964 to 1070p). Series S will be covered in separate video
- 'Not sure if adding more pixels would make a difference to the filmic quality'

UE5 Features:
- Lumen is used extensively for direct and in-direct lighting, a lot of real time changes and shadows etc all update accordingly
- 'Phenomenal stuff'
- Lumen does a better job than traditional real time lighting system for indirectly lit areas like under ramps etc
- Lumen reflections used in combination with SSR for water bodies. Some water bodies can show SSR artifacts when moving camera
- 'Anyone looking at the game in motion will be impressed even if they do not understand the technical reasons'
- Unreal's fog is used effectively, fog lights up with light sources and runs at high quality
- Water effects and waves are praised. ' Absolutely stunning'

- Nanite is extensively used and eliminates visible pop-in even during scene transitions
- Minimal repetition or tiling, uses photo-grammatory
- Some assets like tree branches can show low resolution when zoomed in with photo mode, however

- Fine shadow detail is retained even when zooming extremely in thanks to Unreal's Virtual Shadow Maps
- Shadow quality is not always perfect and can show cracks in some instances but very consistent by and large
- Not the first UE5 game to use all these features, but by and far the best looking game to do so.

- 30 FPS but the performance is locked and never dropped in John's testing on Series X
- DF tested the game on their Series X - similar - PC to see how much performance could be gained over 30
- 4K with DRS, they were able to stay locked at 30 FPS on High
- DRS 1440p with 60 FPS target sees game play at high 50s with more drops in cut-scenes
- DF thinks based on this test, SX can do 60 FPS with a more aggressive DRS target
- However, PC version can show massive frame time stutters that the Xbox version does not in the same areas
- DF summary: 60 FPS is theoretically possible, but for a stable 60 they might need to drop settings a lot

- Headphones are needed for Binaural audio effect that the game uses extensively
- DF thinks it is 'incredibly engaging'

Trailer Comparison:
- They compare the Giant fight trailer with the same area in the final game
- Final game has lesser lens distortion and difference in how the flame is lit
- The flames felt more 'fluid' in the demo versus the final game, otherwise no difference in the segment noted

- DF thinks Ninja Theory 'reached their goal'
- Praise the polish, presentation etc.

Obscure_Observer30d ago

Excellent work from Ninja Theory to get the Series X to finally flex it´s 12TF muscles to the max!

Thanks for the summary, @PrinceOfAnger.


PrinceOfAnger30d ago

After all 60fps is possible on series x with tweaking the graphics settings! :)

Lightning7730d ago

They hate those facts very much lol.

sushimama29d ago (Edited 29d ago )

The disagrees are not because you're wrong or anything like that. They're because you're desperately trying way too hard here man. It's kind of weird. I downvoted because of this. Your post is way too long.