What do you get when you cross id Software’s DOOM with Harmonix’s Guitar Hero and throw in a kickass metal soundtrack for good measure? You get Metal: Hellsinger. Developed by Swedish based company The Outsiders, Hellsinger is a rhythm-based first person shooter that sees you shred your way through hell.
If these are the good guys, just wait until you see the bad guys.
Backed by a killer soundtrack featuring the talents of a number of famous vocalists, there isn’t a dull moment in the game. But there’s so much more to explore, so read on ahead and dive into hell.
Our latest descent into hell sees us take the role of “The Unknown“, a badass demon of a woman hellbent on taking back something that was stolen from her: her voice. The Thief in question is the devil herself, or in this case the being known as The Red Judge, voiced by the talented Jennifer Hale of Bayonetta 3 fame.
Think the Devil can just take your voice? To hell with it!
Accompanying The Unknown is our narrator, Paz, the talking and fireball spewing skull voiced by Troy Baker (The Last of Us). Together Paz and The Unknown traverse the 9 circles of hell to take back what rightfully belongs to them, voice and memories.
Being a rhythm game, you can already have an idea with how the gameplay is set to play out. The idea is to move, shoot and reload to the beat of some sick metal tracks. Starting the game off with your sword you must cut your way through hordes of demons to reach the first boss, an aspect of The Red Judge. Now while it is possible to just attack blindly, that’s really not going to get you far.
Music is the cornerstone of the gameplay in Metal: Hellsinger.
Attacks will only do a fraction of their full damage if they’re used off beat. Your beat indicator will appear as little chevrons that come from the side of the screen and meet at the reticule. A perfect beat strike will start a point multiplier up and will keep climbing until you either shoot or dash off beat or take damage. As your multiplier climbs higher more of the level’s song will be uncovered until you reach the top multiplier of 16x and finally the vocals of the song will kick in.
Shoot to defeat and shoot to da beat.
Along with your sword and Paz, you will also unlock a shotgun, dual revolvers, an explosive crossbow and a couple of throwing axes. Enough firepower to dish out plenty of death as you make your way through hell! But if that’s not enough for you, take up the challenge and complete some of the game’s Torments, challenges which will reward you with sigils, perks that can allow you to increase your damage, hit offbeat before breaking a streak, etc.
Choose your loadout and find your preferred way to slay.
Between the demons you mow down, the setting of hell and your interesting arsenal, it’s hard not to invoke an image of the rebooted doom franchise. You can definitely see where the developers got their inspiration.
The Sing in Hellsinger
The best part of Hellsinger are the tracks that play through each level. Composed by Two Feathers (Aragami, Warhammer: Vermintide), they did a killer job of creating one of the most metal OSTs in gaming. But they didn’t do it alone.
To really hammer home the love for the genre, they actually sought out the talents of lead vocalists from a number of metal bands. This includes the likes of Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity, Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy, Matt Heafy of Trivium, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and, probably the most recognisable, Serj Tankian of System of a Down. These are only half of the people who have lent their names and their voices to work as the backing while you rip demons to shreds. Just take a listen!
No Tomorrow ft. Serj Tankian
This is the End ft Mikael Stanne
Stygia ft Alissa White-Gluz
The way the game makes you work for the music and how it rewards you with such stunning vocals is beyond satisfying. It makes you want to stay on track so you can keep hearing the music. When the tempo speeds up when versing a boss is just the cherry on top. There is zero fault to be found in the OST.
Becoming The Red Judge
That’s not to say there aren’t faults elsewhere, though they are very minor. For starters, the game could use a little polish. I found that some areas wouldn’t load all the textures. Leading to some confusion as to why there were floating demons. The second minor issue I found was with the repetitiveness of the bosses. Before you reach The Red Judge at the very end, you must take on one of her aspects at the end of each other level of hell. Now while they had some variety in their attacks, it all felt the same as each previous fight before it.
Metal: Hellsinger will leave you wanting more.
The only major issue I have with the game? It’s too damn short! Turns out you can make it through the 9 levels of hell in about 4 hours if you’re a decent shot. Now that doesn’t mean there’s no replayability. In fact, there’s tons of it! Unless you’re God’s gift to gaming, there’s no way you can play through the game on the hardest difficulty and get the most perfect high score possible.
It’s a game that is easy to play but difficult to master. Even still, would have loved to have more levels to hear more kickass tracks.
Metal: Hellsinger is a fantastic game that blends the first person shooter genre with the overlooked rhythm game genre wrapped up in a heavy metal package. It’s not a game that panders to a specific demographic for easy revenue, it is a love letter to die hard fans everywhere. Despite its minor faults, the game can easily become a much loved game in the long run. It may not be the greatest game about killing demons in hell in the world, but it’s a kickass tribute.
So, why should you play it?
- You’re a fan of FPS and Heavy Metal
- You’re able to keep rhythm
- You want to play something a little different
- Kickass metal OST with some of the world’s best vocalists
But why shouldn’t you play it?
- Not a fan of metal music
- Unable to carry rhythm to play
- You want to play something a bit longer