Inviting players to journey into Hell, Metal: Hellsinger isn’t a walk in the park.
That shouldn’t put you off, though. Because this blend of first-person shooter and music rhythm game is set to rock your world. Having had access to a demo of Metal: Hellsinger, we’ve been blown away by its potential. In fact, what seems more hellish now is that we’ve got to wait to get our hands on the full game.
Thankfully, our time with Metal: Hellsinger began with a short tutorial of sorts. At its core this is much like any the games recently released that combine shooting with rhythm based gameplay; performing actions like shooting to the beat of the music rewards you with increased damage, and also raises a score multiplier. It pays to have rhythm, then, whether you’re shooting, dashing or reloading.
It’s the way that Metal: Hellsinger feels, however, that is set to put it above its peers; there’s something rather magical about it. We enjoyed BPM: Bullets Per Minute and the recent Soundfall, but the gameplay here feels a cut above. Diving into a level of the game, we love the fact that the rhythm elements seem to complement the first-person shooter action rather than get in the way of it. You’re not too penalised if you make a mistake, for example.
It is important to play to the beat, though. Pummel enemies into submission with either your guns or melee weapon, for instance, and if you press the finisher button in time with the beat you’ll dash forward, putting an end to their miserable lives while causing healing pickups to spew forth. If you’re not in time with the beat, you’ll simply be left standing with egg on your face. Time to try again.
The gameplay is also bolstered by just how much variety there is to your weapons. As we said, we only played one level, but that gave us access to a fireball-spewing skull, a shotgun, and dual-wielded pistols, all with their unique ultimate skill that came in very handy when the action got a bit manic. And the protagonist of Metal: Hellsinger, The Unknown, is never parted from their blades which make short work of enemies when up close.
But what’s really sold us on Metal: Hellsinger is the audio-visual experience it provides. If you’re into hellish landscapes and their suitably grotesque inhabitants like we are, you’ll simply love the game’s aesthetic. And then there’s the game’s crowning jewel: its music. With the original soundtrack made for the game featuring vocals by metal artists such as Serj Tankian, Alissa White-Gluz and Tatiana Shmailyuk, those who like to live loud will be in their element.
Surprisingly, the vocals are a sort of reward for performing well. You’ll raise your fury meter as you play, with the music ramping up with it. And when you hit a 16x multiplier, which thankfully isn’t all that hard to do, the vocals kick in, elevating the action to epic levels. Needless to say, from that point on you’ll strive to keep your stellar performance going so the vocals don’t go away.
Our time with Metal: Hellsinger ended with a boss fight, and it’s here that even more gameplay elements were introduced to keep us on our toes. A winged demonic entity warped around an arena, revealing itself frequently to bombard us with a hail of projectiles, bullet-hell style. Cue plenty of jumping and dashing to avoid the incoming attacks while also seeking the opportunity to fill the demon with lead.
Our disappointment that our time with the game was over once we emerged victorious was telling of the immense fun we had with it. Although we will be jumping in again to see if we can improve our score. Beyond that, though, Metal: Hellsinger has now won itself a place in our “Games We Must Play in 2022” list that we keep in our heads. We love metal and we love games, and this seems to be the ultimate combination of both.
Metal: Hellsinger launches this year on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.