Dashing through hell with a complete chorus of guitars and hard vocals while destroying everything that stands in your way, what’s not to love?
This was the first thought I had when I launched the new game from The Outsiders, an indie game company formed in Stockholm, Sweden, way back in 2015 and was acquired by Funcom in June of 2021.
While many have compared this title to Doom (2016), I believe that the lore and characters injected into this fast-paced shooter, teamed with a lovable narrator and some nice design work, set this indie game apart from Doom in a really nice way.
So, with all this in mind, why don’t we look at the new game that has had me tapping my feet and banging my head to the beat for the last couple of days? Let’s kick off our Metal Hellsinger Review.
Bottom Line Up Front
Metal: Hellsinger is a new FPS rhythm shooter that places the player in the cloven hooves of a half-human, half-demon entity known only as ‘Unknown.’ In this game, you must stick to the heavy metal beat while slaying armies of hell’s fiercest creations, working your way to a final confrontation with ‘The Judge.’
In Metal Hellsinger, your top priority is not exploring and taking in the scenery. No, all you will ever get to do or want to do is line up your strikes with the beat of the amazing heavy metal song playing in the foreground (I would say background, but you can hear nothing else at times).
The game allows the player some pesky little double jumps and dash motions, but outside of this, you are simply trouncing your way through countless enemies with your various different weapons, trying to stay on the beat as best as you can. If you do it successfully for long enough in one combat exchange, the game rewards you with extra damage bonuses and the like.
Before playing this game, I didn’t think I would overly enjoy the gameplay, having been deficient in rhythm for my entire life, even nearly failing elementary music class once. However, as you keep playing the game, your timing and sense for the beat increase, making you better and more efficient throughout your session. After an hour or so of gameplay, I felt like a God or Devil, I suppose.
Nothing could get near me; I was perfectly balancing strikes, dashes, and reloads with the beat, hearing how each gun’s reload timing was synced with the beat. I loved every second of this feeling, which is why I have continually returned to the game. As you play, the main goal is to stick to the beat, with each strike being rated as ‘good’ or ‘perfect,’ adding to your combo meter. As this meter fills, your character becomes more deadly, rising incrementally from 2x to 4x, then 8x to 16x at its peak.
The adrenaline you feel is unmatched, and I sometimes find myself holding my breath to stick to the beat. I don’t know about you, but if a game about a fictional demon can make me hold my breath without realizing it, I’d say it’s a pretty good game. Of course, this may have something to do with my complete lack of rhythm.
This satisfying gameplay system is then put on steroids when you jump off the main story and start playing the ‘Torments.’ These are challenges unlocked after completing each level of hell in the game, often requiring the player to kill a certain number of enemies with a prescribed weapon while a timer ticks down. Completing these challenges comes with unique rewards and helpful hints towards the game’s lore.
Once you have gotten over your initial obsessions with the game’s heavy metal soundtrack, you may start to notice some of the beautiful art design that seeps into every pore of this game, ranging from the huge expanses of hell down to the smallest little notch on one of your weapons. The attention to detail is truly unique at times.
However, I feel like my appreciation for this title’s visuals was mostly ignored because I was so obsessed with staying on beat and keeping my combo multiplier ticking over, forcing me to rush between combat zones without care for exploring the world around me.
Of course, this is pretty typical for any Doom-style shooter; however, this does not mean I have to agree with it or ignore my penchant for exploring the entirety of each level in every one of my games. After all, this is still an RPG title, so I believe you should be somewhat encouraged to explore.
Outside of this slightly annoying game aspect, the visuals are certainly up to par for a modern-day audience and console. I played this title on PS5 and was certainly not left wanting. My favorite graphical touch was the comic book style, stop animation of the cutscenes. This slight change in style helped break up the game and rest your eyes. Something that you definitely need after such fast-paced gameplay over a prolonged period of time.
While the narrative in this game is not simple or devoid of nuance, I will say that there will be no awards for storytelling for this title. To me, the lore and overarching story of this title have merely been constructed to fit the style and feel that the developers wanted to situate their rhythm FPS in.
In my opinion, I think a story should be the first thing developed, with everything else falling into place over the development cycle. However, I do recognize that this isn’t always effective or possible with certain games such as this one.
With that being said, the narrative of this game sees the player, a figure known only as ‘Unknown’ dashing through different dimensions of hell, working her way through creatures and armies of the judge, facing off against a slightly more powerful version of The Judge in a boss battle at the end of each hellscape.
In the background, several other demon lords and covens of power are mentioned. However, none of this extra lore actually features in the main storyline and often appears as throwaway lines of dialogue during the ‘Torments’ section of the game. This made me feel as though the developers were merely ticking the lore box as they progressed through the development cycle, artificially adding another level of depth to the game.
Everything is where it should be. To be honest, this is the best thing I can honestly say about a UI. I was never confused about how to change or edit the settings, and I was never forced to transfer over to Google for some assistance. What higher raise can one really give?
The UI was smooth and well laid out, ensuring that by the end of the tutorial section, the player had already figured out the basic move sets available to them.
To ensure that everything was tip-top, I tested the beat and visual latency UI to see how effective it was. In this section, the player is instructed to tap on the screen every time they hear a noise and then do the same for a flash of light; this then helps the game determine your visual and audio latency, helping to balance your attacks with combo ratings.
At first, I admit, I did it wrong, which was my fault; this made the game think I had pretty poor latency, receiving a rather pitiful score on the test. This resulted in my tempo being completely off during the game’s tutorial.
Of course, the UI decided that nobody could possibly be this devoid of rhythm, so it asked me to recheck the latency. When I did it correctly and received a proper score, everything was instantly fixed as the game shifted around my score and perfected itself to my setup. This was something both unexpected and very cool to experience.
The only negative thing I have to say about the UI is the weapon-switching mechanics. Due to the game’s fast-paced nature and certain enemies requiring different weapons, you do need to switch weapons quickly to achieve a good score at the end of the level and rank well on the leaderboards. However, some of the weapons require the player to switch two times before gaining access, which throws you off more than you’d think and is slightly annoying at the best of times.
Speedrunning is one of the biggest things I can see happening with this game. Already people are setting excellent times and posting about it on the Hellsigner Discord. I just saw someone post a 1:31:06 Any% WR, and, directly below this, there is already a conversation going about non-fps-related skips to be found throughout the first level.
Because this game greatly emphasizes score and timing, I can see people returning, repeatedly trying to work their way up the leaderboards or hit a new speedrun time.
If you like the sound of Hellsinger but maybe don’t have a musical bone in your body, then DOOM might be the game for you. Not only is the aesthetic similar, but the fast-paced gunplay and level design are sure to give you the same adrenaline hit.
Of course, many of you will already know what to expect with this game, considering its predecessor is probably one of the most famous games of all time; however, if this one managed to slip you by, maybe give it a go.
Bullets Per Minute
If you really love an excellent rhythm-based FPS game, then BPM is the one for you. It differs significantly from Hellsinger in terms of music choices and design philosophy. However, the core gameplay is still the same, providing you with that satisfying feeling whenever you hit that perfect groove.
This title, released back in 2020, is more like a roguelike than Hellsinger, so if this sounds like more your cup of tea, give it a go on all suitable consoles, including the new generation.
Score – 7/10
I really enjoyed every minute of this game, being well and truly sucked into the beat of each level, hoping that the feeling of perfect rhythm and power would take me away again. The main storyline was simple yet slightly different from the norm, making me ask questions and listen intently to every bit of narration and piece of lore.
However, I feel this game falls down slightly regarding the depths of the lore. While they mention several pieces of seemingly important information throughout, there simply isn’t enough substance here to really get your teeth into. For example, I am pretty sure there was no actual reason given for why we wanted to kill ‘The Judge’ so badly until pretty fair into the storyline. While it’s fun to hack and slash your way through countless mindless droves, a little motivation would still be nice.
With all this being said, though, I do believe this game is the perfect rendition of a rhythm-based FPS title and that it will certainly take some beating in the future.
Metal Hellsinger Review: Pros and Cons
- Each track is amazing and easy to sync your attacks, too, allowing for the requisite head banging in certain bits, only adding to the overall high you get from the game.
- The weapons are unique, and each serves a different purpose, useful for different types of players and against different enemies. The fact that your reload is also synced to the beat is such a fantastic touch.
- Tons of replayability due to the speedrunning potential of the game.
- There is no time for exploration due to the game’s fast-paced nature.
- There is shallow lore running through the game that lacks any real detail.
- Weapon changing can be quite slow in certain combinations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is Metal: Hellsinger coming to game pass?
Answer: As with the game’s official release, it has instantly been added to the Xbox game pass.
Question: How long is Metal: Hellsinger?
Answer: This game will take the average gamer four hours to complete. However, it will take a bit longer if you want high scores or to complete the extra challenges.
Question: What consoles is Metal: Hellsinger on?
Answer: You can play Hellsinger on all current and previous generation consoles and PC.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive review of one of the most exciting Indie games I have played in some time. Not only is this game different from the droves of copy-and-paste content we are seeing nowadays, but it also has some real standout elements that separate it from the pack.
In the end, I gave this one an 7/10; however, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it immensely or that I won’t be jumping right back into it once I finish this review. So, with this in mind, maybe give it a try and see how our views line up. With that being said, I hope to see you again soon. Good luck in hell!