There are few games that I feel that were 100% created for me, and Metal: Hellsinger is one of them. The Doom-like rhythm shooter incorporates the most underappreciated music genre, heavy metal. It’s honestly a nice change of pace from the typical EDM music you typically get in rhythm games. With this being The Outsiders first “outing”, I was curious to see if they could actually pull this game off.
The first thing that’ll stand out to you about the game is obviously the music. The studio collaborated with various artists from popular heavy metal bands to make original music for the game. Metal: Hellsinger consists of 9 tracks and 8 levels. Each level has it’s own unique song, and the ending level has 2 tracks in it. If you can’t stand heavy metal, you probably won’t be headbanging like I did, but you might still be able to appreciate how it works within the game. Much like Guitar Hero, the worse you do the less music you here. As you build up your fury meter, more of the music starts coming in. Getting a 16x multiplier is the highest you can go, and that’s when the vocals appear. It’s not hard to get to 16x, but it does feel rewarding when the vocals come in.
Keeping a 16x isn’t that hard thanks to the systems the game has in place to keep you on beat. As you would expect, when you pull the trigger, the game tells you if you are on beat with a good or perfect showing up on screen. Nothing appears if you weren’t on beat. Metal: Hellsinger also has visual cues for the beat. There are chevrons near your reticle that move to the beat and things like fire on the map bounce to the beat. It’s well designed and there’s many ways to make sure you understand when to shoot in the game.
The shooting in the game is similar to what you would find in the Doom series. It’s quick and responsive and you’ll have to be moving at all times to survive. I don’t think it feels as responsive as Doom, but it’s still a very solid FPS. I had a ton of fun shooting with the beat and evading all the demons they throw your way. The rhythm shooting is unique and it does feel cooler than just shooting to survive. It’s kind of like Pistol Whip when you stay on beat, where you feel like a badass assassin.
One thing that completely took me by surprise was that there was an actual story in the game. I figured it was going to just throw me in arenas without much of a story. At the beginning of each level is a storyboard that is narrated by one of the characters in the game. You play as “The Unknown”, who is a fallen archangel. There is a prophecy about a Hellsinger that will bring the about the end of Hell. The Red Judge, aka the Devil, can not let that happen. The story doesn’t demand too much of your attention, but it will entertain you while it’s being narrated. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is set up for a sequel (“Hell” yeah).
Even with a short campaign, there is another side mode to play called Torments. Torments are small arenas that have specific sets of rules. Each main campaign level has 3 torments to do afterward, besides the tutorial and the last level. These torments have the same songs as the campaigns as well, so don’t expect anything new. Some of the rules of the torments are things like bonus damage for hitting on beat, switching your weapons on each kill, and more things of that nature. You get a time limit to complete them and kills may grant you bonus time. The torments themselves are pretty fun, but can also get a little frustrating. It was a nice change of pace from the campaign, and I would highly encourage you play them as you get them because of the reward. By completing the torments they grant you sigils, which are small bonuses you can equip before you play a level. These bonuses can range from passive ultimate building to minimum fury meter levels. You can find a use for the sigils if you are just trying to survive or building up your score.
As much as I loved Metal: Hellsinger, there are still a couple of shortcomings with the game. The weapons in the game are basic, and I’d say you are more than likely you to use the same ones I primarily used. It seemed like a little bit of a balance issue, because the weapons I didn’t use felt weak. The game could have only given me “The Hounds” at this point, and I would have been totally fine. If I had to guess, I think making a rhythm game limited what kind of weapons you could put in the game. The jumping in the game also felt a little off for me. There were multiple times I felt that whatever I was jumping on was just a bit to high for my jump. You can double jump in the game, but it didn’t always equate with you reaching your desired destination. I personally would have liked the initial jump to be a bit higher. The last thing that kind of bothered me was using the adaptive triggers on PS5. Since you are constantly shooting it wears on your finger, and I ended up turning it off for the first time. It’s not a big deal but having resistance in a rhythm game just didn’t work for me.
All in all, I really loved my time with Metal: Hellsinger. Most of my shortcomings with this game are small, and don’t take away from the overall enjoyment with the game. The shooting is fun and the music is the star of the show. I loved all of the songs, and I couldn’t wait to build my meter up to hear the full song. The story was more interesting than what I expected, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the sequel. The campaign is short (3-4 hours), but there’s a score you get at the end of each run you can try to improve upon. As of the time of this writing, I was mostly ranked 600-1000th on each level on normal difficulty, so let me know how terrible I am when you beat my score. For 30 dollars, I think it’s well worth the price of admission, especially if you are a heavy metal and FPS fan. I would highly recommend it to anyone that has the same interests as me.