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Metal: Hellsinger First Impressions – By Metalheads for Metalheads

With or without E3, June continues to be the month when people from across the industry gather together to discuss the future of gaming. 2022 was no different thanks to the Summer Game Fest. There were quite a few interesting announcements made at this year’s event, but few of them got me quite as excited as the Metal: Hellsinger demo. That, and news that the game is launching in just a few months from now.

Metal: Hellsinger is a heavy metal rhythm FPS currently in development at The Outsiders, a team of industry veterans who had previously worked at studios like Machine Games, Guerilla Games, Fatshark, DICE, and more. For the past couple of years, this group of talented individuals has been working on a shooter that takes ideas from Doom and Guitar Hero and blends them together in a very unique way.

Metal: Hellsinger won’t be ready to hit the shelves until September, but last week The Outsiders were kind enough to release a free demo on Steam, meaning you can get a taste of the game right now. Which I wholeheartedly recommend. I was already pretty interested in the game even before, but now that I got to play the demo I’m completely sold on the concept.

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The Rhythm of Metal

Before we go any further, I feel I should mention that I’m generally not interested in rhythm games. The only one I ever played was Beat Saber, and even though I enjoyed it, it didn’t make me want to try other games in the genre. So why am I interested in this one? Well, put simply, the answer is all in the name.

As a fan of metal music, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play a game where you run around blasting demons in the face while listening to quality heavy metal. “But can’t you already do that in Doom?” I hear you asking. Indeed you can, however, things work a bit differently here.

In Metal: Hellsinger, the music isn’t there just to pump you up and give you a burst of adrenaline as you’re slaying demons. The music is a key gameplay element that’s just as important as the shooting or the stabbing; arguably even more so.

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Performing actions on the beat increases your Fury, which causes the music to become more intense with each new threshold. More Fury also means more damage, so the better you are at slaying on beat, the more havoc you will be able to cause.

Not Exactly a Casual Listening Experience

metal hellsinger screenshot
Image Credit: The Outsiders

One of the things that immediately stands out while playing Metal: Hellsinger is how hard it makes you work for the music. In most games, the music has two levels of intensity – calm during exploration and action-packed during combat. Here, you’ve got four tiers. At tier one, you get little more than the beat, but as you progress through the tiers the song gets progressively louder and more complex. The full song, complete with vocals, only kicks in at tier four.

Needless to say, tier four is where you’ll want to be in order to enjoy the music in all of its glory. Getting there isn’t particularly difficult if you can stick to the beat, but staying there can be a problem. The Fury meter gets drained when you’re not performing any actions or when you’re performing them poorly.

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You learn early on that playing Metal: Hellsinger like a regular FPS game won’t get you very far. The game demands precision and timing but doesn’t actively try to punish you if you’re not good at those things. Instead, it uses the music to incentivize you to keep getting better and offers power-ups to help you reach those higher tiers in areas with tons of enemies. While a bit frustrating at times, the game never feels unfair.

The Mystery of The Unknown

The Metal: Hellsinger demo only includes the tutorial section and the first level of the game. You can complete both in 30 to 40 minutes so it’s not much, but it’s definitely enough to give you a taste of what the game has to offer. The first level contains multiple arenas jam-packed with enemies, including a few powerful ones, and there’s even a neat boss battle at the end.

Your arsenal throughout the demo is comprised of one melee weapon and three ranged ones. Weapons are unlocked gradually and come with a special ability that can be used once you fill a gauge. Weapons in Metal: Hellsinger are pretty much what you would expect from a game like this. The weapons you get to use in the demo aren’t particularly memorable but they get the job done just fine. The dual revolvers are the most interesting of the bunch and seem to fit the protagonist the best.

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The protagonist of Metal: Hellsinger is a bit of a mystery. You play as The Unknown, a half-human half-demon hybrid obsessed with vengeance. The protagonist doesn’t say anything while you’re actively playing, at least not in the demo, but we do get to hear The Unknown’s voice in-between missions.

The narrator is none other than the omnipresent Troy Baker and he’s doing a southern accent in this one. I found this choice to be pretty odd, to be honest. You wouldn’t really expect a demonic being to have a southern accent, would you? At this point, I’m not sure if that’s The Unknown’s current voice or the voice he had before becoming half-demon.

The voice acting was the most baffling part of the demo for me but I’m guessing we’ll get to learn more about The Unknown in the final version of the game. It’s a bit hard to get a sense of what this character is all about based solely on the demo.

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Best Video Game Soundtrack 2022 Nominee

metal-hellsinger-soundtrack
Image Credit: The Outsiders

Before we wrap things up, I have to talk a bit about the soundtrack because it’s easily one of the biggest selling points of Metal: Hellsinger. I’m not sure how they pulled it off but The Outsiders managed to gather a stellar cast of artists to work on the game’s music. We’re talking Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Tatiana Shmayluk from Jinjer, Matt Heafy from Trivium, and more.

With a line-up like that, the soundtrack is going to be nothing short of incredible. The demo only features a couple of songs and they’re both amazing, so I’m really looking forward to checking out the rest of the soundtrack.

Now, I will say that if you’re not good at the game you’re probably better off just getting the soundtrack separately once it launches. Unless you can consistently maintain your Fury meter at tier four – which can be difficult – you may have a hard time enjoying the music. The music changes pretty abruptly whenever you switch tiers, which can become frustrating if it happens often. Especially between tiers three and four because then you’ll hear the vocals constantly cutting in and out.

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I’m hoping The Outsiders make it so you won’t have to reload as often in the final version because that’s one of the main things that affect the flow of the game. Personally, I would make it so that you either wouldn’t have to reload at all or make the reload animations much faster. But that’s just me.

Metal: Hellsinger Release Date

If you want to check out the Metal: Hellsinger demo for yourself and/or wishlist the game, you can find it on Steam right here. Metal: Hellsinger will also be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S when it drops on September 15th.

You can check out the video version of this article down below.

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Written by Jason Moth

I'm a classic jack-of-all-trades author who loves to write about most topics, though gaming has always been my strong suit. That said, I definitely won’t turn down the chance to cover some juicy news involving superhero movies, Stephen King novels, or space travel. Or robots. Or space-traveling superhero robots disguised as Stephen King.

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