The most satisfying FPS in years
Of all the games at Gamescom this year, Metal: Hellsinger was my favorite. The Gamescom jury agreed – The Outsiders debut was named Best Action Game and Most Wanted PC Game, and also just missed out on Most Original to Superb Game Inkulinati.
Still, a lot can change between a demo version and the final game, especially when developers and publishers go all out to wow fans on the big stage. Luckily, the finished product is exactly what we were hoping for: Metal: Hellsinger deserves the accolades it has already won, and it is sure to receive more in the months to come.
Serving as an intriguing combination of classic PC Pain killerthe Loss restarts, and Guitar Hero, Metal: Hellsinger is short but sneakily sweet. With a focus on simplicity, The Outsiders has created one of the most unique first-person shooters in recent memory, and arguably the most satisfying FPS of the last five years.
Metal: Hellsinger sees you take on the role of The Unknown, a demon whose voice was taken by The Red Judge, who oversees Hell. As you fight your way through eight levels of the underworld to retrieve it, Paz, a skull played by Troy Baker (Joel in The last of usBooker DeWitt in Bioshock Infinite) – tells your story through a series of long-forgotten memories, while also serving as your first weapon.
The story is as simple as the game itself. Metal: Hellsinger has almost no fat. It offers eight levels, six weapons and ten enemies. Stages take between ten and 20 minutes to complete, culminating in a boss battle with Aspects of The Red Judge itself. Its simple combat ties it all together: rhythm action gaming is taken to a wonderful new level.
Starting with Paz and your sword, Terminus, the pre-game tutorial gives you everything you need to understand Metal: HellsingerThe simple premise of: you do everything in rhythm to improve your multiplier and score, with rolling prompts on either side of the crosshairs keeping you on the straight and narrow. Sounds easy in principle, but even a seasoned Rock band a drummer like me had trouble getting used to it quickly.
It wasn’t a calibration issue either; swinging your sword and making a connection with the game’s floating zombie-like puppets–Metal: HellsingerThe basic enemies of – never manage to keep up. It’s often more luck than skill, but hellish singer is patient with you while you learn its quirks. Once you get Persephone, your first gun, everything falls into place; your sword is almost reserved for instant, life-regenerating kills.
This starter shotgun is joined by three other unlockable and interchangeable weapons: The Hounds (two pistols), Vulcan (a time-bending crossbow), and Hellcrow (a pair of boomerang-shaped axes). Each has its pros, cons, and individually-loaded ultimate attacks, perfect for different playstyles. Still, shotgun and pistols seem like the most reliable combination – something I’m sure will be disproven. by the picks of players much better than me as they compete for world high scores.
The reticle becomes invisible when you soon find yourself nodding your head at the sound of music. Jumping, dashing, reloading and even changing direction is tied to the game’s superb soundtrack, which includes a long list of legends: Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Matt Heafy (Trivium), Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquility ), Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) and Tatiana Shmailyuk (Jinjer) all lend their voices for the action.
Not that you hear those metal gods right away. Unlike stable buddies Pain killer and Eternal destiny, Metal: HellsingerThe crucial soundtrack comes and goes as the action builds, based on its Fury combo system, working with 2X multipliers until you hit the 16X top tier. That’s when the world famous singers are thrown into the mix.
Nothing compares to the feeling of hitting your beat in Metal: Hellsinger, landing perfect kill after perfect kill, getting every quick reload, hitting that all-important 16X combo, and Matt Heafy suddenly starts screaming in the song you’ve been listening to for five minutes. This is not only rewarding, but also improves your performance, motivating you to seize every opportunity to maintain your rhythm, whether that’s killing kills, doing combos, shooting pottery, or collecting multiplier pickups.
Level design ranges from multi-level open-air arenas to narrow, claustrophobic hallways, but each encourages you to keep moving. While these stages range from icy wastes to flaming pits, and there are some truly stunning vistas along the way, their visual appeal is limited – it doesn’t look as hellish or detailed as it could be. .
Yet this design choice complements Metal: Hellsingerfocuses on combat, speed and high scores. On the highest settings on PC, Metal: Hellsinger is far from raw, but it’s not meant to blow your mind. The most important factor – a consistently brilliant frame rate – is maintained effortlessly, while motion blur is well-balanced on paper for the occasional anti-aliasing issue, without losing sight of the threats around you. .
Combat moves in increasingly noticeable waves, regularly seeing you take out a group of enemies before another group of baddies lands on you. The game’s lineup of beasts and elites certainly keeps you on your toes and varies enough to force you to quickly change tactics to maintain your combo; often the biggest threat can be a swarm of uncontrolled entry-level puppets rather than the brutal, hulking, bullet-sponge Behemoths.
The only annoying enemy is the Shield Cambion: the one that requires you to use your special to stagger them, but the window it grants is too small to finish them in one go, and your slow charge special often seems wasted. You may find yourself killing everything else before endlessly strafe around them, losing your combo and denting Metal: Hellsingerbrand rhythm.
However, the biggest challenge of all comes at the end of each level with the Aspects. The arena design is spectacular but deceptive, as you work to conserve available health, learn bullet attack patterns, and avoid death. On lower difficulties, dying is not the end; you are offered the option to resurrect yourself, but at a major cost to your score.
Metal: HellsingerThe main story of ends much faster than you expected. On the middle GOAT difficulty, I managed to get through it in three and a half hours. Still, I didn’t feel like I was wronged.
There are plenty of incentives to return: revisiting an earlier level with a new loadout and refined skills can transform the experience; increasing the difficulty offers a whole new challenge that’s as hellish as an FPS can be; the pursuit of a higher score is always enticing, especially with global scoreboards. Additionally, seven of the game’s eight stages offer three challenges of their own.
But above all, Metal: Hellsinger can make you replay its handful of stages because the game is so satisfying. You always feel like you’re improving, ironing out mistakes, and refining your strategies. All the while, you’re nodding to the beat, completely mesmerized by the music for all the right reasons, with the biggest smile on your face.
There is also another thing to smile about: Metal: Hellsinger goes out of its way to imply that a follow-up might be in progress. If this debut album from The Outsiders is as successful as it deserves – and all signs point to it being so, given that it’s dropping on Xbox Game Pass on day one – there’s every reason why it will only getting bigger, badder, longer, and even shinier tracking.