Metal: Hellsinger
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm-based first-person shooter starring a half-human half-demon named Unknown. After getting her voice taken away, Unknown teams up with a talking skull and goes on a rampage through hell. The rhythm elements and the soundtrack featuring some of the best voices in metal set the game apart, and while short, it offers a lot of fun while it lasts.

Gameplay: Shooting enemies to the beat of a metal soundtrack is a lot of fun but can become a little repetitive.

Graphics: The visuals look good, but there’s nothing here that Doom players have not seen before.

Sound: The metal soundtrack is graced by some of the best singers in the genre, and the voice acting is also very professional

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Metal: Hellsinger

Developer: The Outsiders | Publisher: Funcom | Release Date: 2022 | Genre: Action / Adventure / First Person Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Anyone who has ever played a first-person shooter before will know the feeling that kicks in when the soundtrack aligns perfectly with the action. Where it feels like every gunshot matches up with a drum beat, and the carnage is in sync with the music. Metal: Hellsinger is a game that is based entirely around this feeling and sees players step into the role of The Unknown, a part human, part demon protagonist. Unknown finds herself on a quest for vengeance after her voice is taken from her by The Red Judge. So, after teaming up with a skull named Paz, she sets out to fight through the fiercest domains of hell to get it back.

After a quick introductory level to familiarize players with the controls, players must conquer eight layers of hell. Unknown’s path of destruction will take her through Stygia, Yhelm, Incaustis, Acheron, and more, with an aspect of The Red Judge guarding each. Unfortunately, hell is also filled with all manner of demons that are itching to stop Unknown in her tracks. Fortunately, Unknown is armed with a sword, and in addition to narrating the story, Paz is adept at spitting out fireballs. Of course, additional weapons become available over the course of the game, and soon Unknown will have her pick of a shotgun, dual-wielded six-shooters, an explosive crossbow, and a pair of boomerang blades. While the arsenal is a little smaller than in other first-person shooters, all of the weapons fit in perfectly with the rhythmic style of the game. Each weapon also has its own unique ultimate ability that can be charged up and unleashed to cause devastation.

Since the music and rhythm take center stage in Metal: Hellsinger, it plays a little differently from other first-person shooters. Players must time each shot to be on the beat, and staying in sync with the music makes the soundtrack more intense and causes Unknown to deal more damage. A combo meter, which goes up all the way to 16X, increases with each action performed on the beat. Once the combo meter is maxed out, the vocals kick in, and players can appreciate the talents of Serj Tankian, Matt Heafy, Randy Blythe, James Dorton, and many more. The soundtrack was created specifically for the game, and it really shows. Everything feels entirely in sync once players get into the groove of the metal soundtrack, and it makes the whole experience very immersive. When not killing things, the combo meter begins to drop, but players can keep it going with actions such as dashing or firing Paz to the beat. Unlike the other weapons that only keep the combo going if they hit enemies, Paz can be fired with wild abandon. As long as each shot is on the beat, it will keep the combo going, making it great for getting through quiet stretches with your combo intact. Speaking of Paz, he is voiced by Troy Baker, who makes use of a mean southern drawl to narrate the story. While Unknown is unvoiced for obvious reasons, Jennifer Hale lends her vocal talents to The Red Judge.

Metal: Hellsinger is a good-looking game, but it does feel like some visual elements were toned down for the sake of gameplay. The graphic novel style cut-scenes feel a little out of place at first compared to the 3D art of the game, but they eventually grew on us. There are only seven different types of enemies, along with three elite versions, for a total of ten types of foes to dispatch. The same goes for the bosses, which are all the same, albeit with different attack patterns. In addition, the levels are very short and quite linear, so most players should be able to complete the game quite quickly. Levels are designed in such a way that there’s not much unnecessary scenery for players to get stuck on while concentrating on the beat. Instead, players are mostly locked into arena-style fights against waves of enemies. New waves only appear after players kill the last enemy from the previous wave, but the action can still get very frantic. Although it is possible to stick to the beat using the drums as a guide, the game also features some visual indicators. Players can keep an eye on arrows that are displayed next to their crosshairs and the “good” or “perfect” messages that appear to grade their performance. These arrows also show the best time to press the reload button for a quick reload.

While it lacks any exploration or collectibles to find, players can take on optional challenges, called Torments, to unlock Sigils. These Sigils are passive boosts that can be equipped to activate benefits such as dealing more damage closer to death or preventing your combo from dropping below a certain level. However, these need to be earned, and the Torments are timed challenges requiring players to achieve victory under specific conditions. These can be anything from killing enemies while being unable to heal or having their weapons switched after each kill. There are three of these Torments per realm, and they add some replay value to the game. Thanks to three difficulty options, the game can be completed without the Sigils, but being able to equip two of them per level can make a big difference. Metal: Hellsinger also features leaderboards for each level, and making a dent in these requires skill and Sigils.

After a quick calibration, we found the controls in Metal: Hellsinger responsive and the beat matching to be very accurate. All the weapons have unlimited ammo, so there’s no need to search the levels for pickups. Players can replenish Unknown’s health by shooting the green Styxx crystals dotted about or by stunning enemies and then performing a messy slaughter kill. Since Paz does such low damage, it is perfect for setting enemies up for slaughter. The enemies in the game can hit hard, depending on the difficulty level, but players can select which primary and secondary weapons to bring with them. Our favorites were the shotgun and six-shooters, which offered the perfect blend of up-close and long-range firepower. Players also have access to a dash move, which grants temporary invincibility and is ideal for escaping sticky situations. If Unknown does succumb to her wounds, players can revive her by sacrificing some of their level score, but this can only be done a few times.

Metal: Hellsinger is a brief experience, but it is definitely a lot of fun while it lasts. Slicing and shooting through enemies to the beat of the metal soundtrack is fun, pure, and simple, making it easy to get caught up in the sheer spectacle of it all. Of course, players who are not fans of the metal genre might not enjoy the default soundtrack as much, but thanks to modding support, it is also possible to add any music to the game. This feature alone opens the door to a lot of possibilities and will be one of the reasons we go back for more, even after completing the game and all the Torments. Compared to other first-person shooters, Metal: Hellsinger might not be the best looking or have the best level designs, but it’s hard to beat in terms of fun.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-3450 / AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 / AMD Radeon™ RX 550
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 12 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 30 FPS in 1080p
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-6700K / AMD Ryzen™ 5 1500X
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon™ RX 5700
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 15 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: 60 FPS in 1080p

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