Comparisons aplenty have been made to the Doom series, but the deeper I delved into Metal: Hellsinger, the clearer it became that the game is very much its own thing. Especially given the natural rhythm of combat and how it pairs beautifully with an impressive metal soundtrack that you can’t help but move and groove to. If you’re looking for a headbanging worthy experience, Metal: Hellsinger has it in spades.
First Day in Hell
The game’s soundtrack serves as a rock solid foundation that everything else is built on top of. Featuring a wealth of talented musicians from the likes of Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Matt Heafy from Trivium, Tatiana Shmayluk from Jinger, and Serj Tankian from System of a Down, the soundtrack is truly a metal lover’s dream.
Adding to these performances are impressive compositions from duo Two Feathers made up of Elvira Björkman and Nicklas Hjertberg, with both composers having contributed to the likes of League of Legends, Aragami 2, Vermintide 2, and games like Ravenbound.
Rather than play the tracks in full from the start, the songs unfold and expand as you build up your rage multiplier. For example, you won’t hear the vocals of a track until you get your multiplier up to a certain point through on-beat hits and picking up multiplier bonuses hidden around each map.
This music-tied-to-multiplier mechanic encourages you to shoot to the beat, move around, and explore, as does the satisfaction you get when you get into a nice rhythm as the shots that ring out pair beautifully with the songs themselves. Some song standouts for me included Stygia and Acheron.
For streamers worried about a game with a soundtrack featuring big name artists, Metal: Hellsinger is also noteworthy in that the developers have taken steps to make sure that streamers don’t encounter any DMCA issues. So yes, you can stream Metal: Hellsinger in full with no need to mute the audio, allowing your audience to enjoy the screaming soundtrack right along with you.
And as an aside, I feel like the game’s soundtrack is one that’s going to be well worth buying on its own once it’s made available, it’s just that good. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say it’s one of the best video game rock/metal OSTs ever created.
Angel of Death
The campaign in Metal: Hellsinger can be described as both short and sweet, and compelling and engaging. Having had her voice stolen from her, the half human, half demon protagonist known only as “The Unknown” has to slay her way through demons across eight levels of Hell in order to reach the Ruler of Hell, the Red Judge, and get her voice back.
Accompanying her on this journey is a skull she carries around named Paz who, in addition to being useful as one of the game’s first weapons, also serves as the game’s narrator.
More specifically, Paz’s insightful narration comes courtesy of acclaimed voice actor Troy Baker, and takes place at the opening of each level, as well as sporadically through different key points. The narration style is really fun, and feels akin to how the game Bastion is narrated in that it’s reminiscent of a wise old man sitting by a fire ready to tell you a grand tale.
Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
Gameplay wise, Metal: Hellsinger is about using your weapons in time with the beat with the beat counter displayed alongside the weapon’s reticle. Not only are you rewarded for on-beat hits, which raise your rage multiplier, you’re also rewarded for things like reloading weapons in time with the beat. The better you do, the higher your score will be, with each level boasting its own leaderboard.
The leaderboards help motivate you to make the most out of each level, not only in shooting enemies in time with the beat, but in doing things like seeking out green crystals which can help you heal. Even if your health is in a good place, shooting these crystals in time with the beat is worthwhile if you’re looking to improve your leaderboard rank.
The same goes with explosive red crystals which can be used like a trap to damage multiple enemies at once. If you’ve made it through a stage and there are leftover red crystals, it’s worth going around and shooting those on-beat as well. The farther you progress in the game, the more enemy and weapon types you’ll discover. I enjoyed the small, but noteworthy assortment of weapons in Metal: Hellsinger, even if I did primarily stick with the Hellcrow twin boomerang-ish blades, and the trusty shotgun called Persephone.
That said, there are Slaughter kill opportunities where you’ll dash forward towards a foe, highlighted in red, and slice them using your blade called Terminus. So with that, you’ll end up using Terminus quite a bit regardless of the weapon you gravitate towards more. The Slaughter kills are extremely satisfying as well both in style, and in sound and rhythm which I’d describe as shoot-dash-slash.
Each weapon is not only different in its basic attack, but also features a different Ultimate as well. With the Hellcrow blades, this comes in the form of a swirling blade tornado. Meanwhile, with Persephone, you get one big, deadly shotgun blast that’s great for putting larger, harder to take down foes in their place.
It’d be nice if the game had more than 6 weapons on offer in total though (Paz, Terminus, Persephone, Vulcan, The Hounds, Hellcrow), especially given the fact that Paz and Terminus are more “default” weapons whereas the other 4 are the ones you’ll primarily rotate between. That said, the weapons that are in the game all feel well-designed, and each have something unique to offer, especially in regards to their Ultimate attacks.
Different enemy types are a bit more plentiful than weapon types, with the first enemies you’ll encounter being the mostly harmless Marionettes that you can take out with 1-2 hits, Cambion which shoot flaming projectiles, and the towering Behemoth that runs towards you like a Titan out of Attack on Titan, just to name just a few.
Then, there are boss battles at the end of each level of Hell in the form of the Red Judge’s Aspects. Some of the battles with these Aspects felt a bit same-y and I would’ve liked to see more boss battle variation, though these do evolve as you progress through the game to include things like surprise waves of enemies that you’ll need to remain alert for, and map hazards that make jumping, dodging, and dashing a bit more complex.
The end result is a game that feels extremely enjoyable to play, never overstays its welcome, and one that’ll keep you coming back for more as you work to climb higher and higher up the various leaderboards. There’s some decent replayability as well if you’re an achievement hunter (one involves only using Paz which is best tackled in the first stage, Voke), or if you’re competitive thanks to the aforementioned leaderboards, or if you’re someone who simply wants the thrill of beating the game with each different weapon. Regardless of how you approach Metal: Hellsinger, you’re almost guaranteed to have one hell of a good time, pun intended.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Metal: Hellsinger. While the game is on the shorter end, and could use the addition of more weapons, modes, and boss battle variation, the core foundation of the game is incredibly strong. The music is to die for, and the way the game pairs the music with on-beat shooting and movement feels nothing short of satisfying. It’s like moshing your way through Hell.
Doom comparisons aside in style and tone, Metal: Hellsinger is one of the most unique, refreshing video game offerings I’ve seen in a while thanks to how it caters to fans of metal music, and its approach to rhythm mechanics. We could use more heavy metal-focused rhythm games, and I hope to not only see more games like Metal: Hellsinger in the future, but to see more from the talented developers of Metal: Hellsinger, The Outsiders, as well.
This review is based on a PC version of Metal: Hellsinger provided by the publisher. Metal: Hellsinger is available now for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PS5, and Windows PC.