Preview: Metal: Hellsinger – Heavy Metal Demon Slaughter

Developed by The Outsiders and published by Funcom, Metal: Hellsinger is an upcoming rhythm-shooter featuring an original metal soundtrack featuring some of the best metal artists from around the world. Publisher Funcom was kind enough to send over this early access demo of Metal: Hellsinger for preview purposes and we were thrilled to jump into the game. On paper, Metal: Hellsinger may look like Doom however with its rhythm-based gameplay and the heavy reliance on beat-syncing shooting, Metal: Hellsinger is in a league of its own. This is our preview of Metal: Hellsinger in which we try to sync our shots with beats and listen to some amazing metal music while slaughtering demons.

At the start of the game, the game offers a calibration tool where you can adjust the inputs if there is an audio or visual delay to make sure that the gameplay is optimized for your system. This is excellent because not everyone will be able to run the game at stable frames. As far as my observation goes, this game will require at least 60 frames or above to be played optimally since there will be zero delay both from audio and video. This will ensure that your inputs are registering at the perfect time when the beat is coming so you do not get any delay and end up ruining your gameplay. You can adjust this setting in the game later as well and have the gameplay according to your taste. Normally, the optimization tool has the best setting for you once you are done with it.

Preview: Metal: Hellsinger

As the name suggests, Metal: Hellsinger is a first-person shooter however you score bonus points and deal bonus damage to your enemies if you align your shots with the beat. The cursor on the screen has a system where you can see each beat and try to align your shot with the beat when it hits the cursor. Doing so gives you bonus damage which is more than double the regular hits. It may sound simple but there is actually a learning curve to the game that you have to go through. For me, even after completing the demo level 4 times, I was still a little off the beat in certain places but then again, if you really want to nail the soundtracks, you will need plenty of practice. The cursor of the game is designed to show you the perfect shots as well as the hits become red and gain a combo bonus. The game also keeps a track of your current kill streak if you manage to get one.

For killing the demons, you get a variety of weapons as well however the demo only included four of them. The demo level started with the skull that shoots at the enemies along with the sword which is personally, my favorite weapon in the game. As I progressed in the game, I also unlocked the shotgun and dual-pistols, but my weapons of choice were still the skull and the sword. Each of these weapons comes with an ultimate attack as well however you have to charge it first with killing demons successfully. Each of the weapons in the game is unique and they react differently to the beat as well. For example, when I switch to the sword, there were more beat inputs encouraging fast gameplay and the shotgun had its own slower pace of beats.

Apart from shooting, each action in the game also has its own bonus if you sync it with the beat. This helps you maintain your beat combo even when you are out of combat. You can match your jumps, dashing, and reloading with the beat as well to get a combo bonus. All of this goes towards your Fury which is the main multiplier at the top of the screen and it determines what level of music is played. This helps during combat scenarios as well because as you are jumping around shooting demons in the face, you will need the highest combo to score as many points as possible while dealing the highest number of damage. There is no regen health in the game and for recovering your health, you can collect Styx Crystals by breaking them from walls or performing QTE kills on weakened enemies. Managing health is a vital component of the game because death is not a luxury in the game, and you must try to stay alive throughout the level if you want to keep your high score as high as possible. At the end of every level, you are presented with your stats showcasing how well you performed and your score earned for a variety of parameters in the game.

When you are shooting at the enemies, once you deal enough damage to them, you can match the beat to perform a QTE kill at the blinking enemies. This gives you a bonus and the enemy also drop health for you. I cannot remember, how many times this saved my skin in tight spots. This not only lets you kill enemies in style, but it gives you a massive health boost as well. All of the demons can be killed this way for health apart from bosses. The demons are merciless, and they keep coming. For most of the tense bits, sometimes you just forget about getting the combos, and Metal: Hellsinger becomes a normal demon slaughter-fest where you are just jumping around and shooting your enemies. However, during these moments, if you shoot a little carefully and sync to the beats, you deal additional damage which offsets the slower shooting due to beat-syncing. This is really beneficial, and this generates an additional challenge for you as you avoid the enemies and land powerful beat-synced hits at the same time. As you play around will demons and your weapons, you can also discover new combos for example the slaughter and kill combo.

Visually, Metal: Hellsinger looks amazing, and I loved the level design as well. Since this is also a demonic shooter, you will see some similarities between DOOM and Metal: Hellsinger but this is actually in a good way. Metal: Hellsinger’s level design suits the rhythm-based gameplay and is not just open arenas for mindless shooting. The visuals and animations are top-notch and the demon design is pretty decent as well. The demo did not include a lot of enemies, but I loved the final boss design and its battle arena. The arena itself looked pretty basic the how it was designed to offer a challenge apart from the boss itself was really cool. Unlike Doom, there does not seem to be a lot of platforming in Metal: Hellsinger and it was mostly pretty basic movement where you can just jump on platforms and move ahead to the next section of the level.

The normal enemies or what I call them, combo fodder, were basic and the special more powerful variants were pretty cool to look at as well. Fights are usually fought in arenas where after clearing the enemies, you can open the door to the next area and progress in the game. These doors act as checkpoints and if you die, you can respawn at the same spot, but this will have a cost and you have to sacrifice your accumulated score until that particular point. If not this, you can quit the game or restart the level right from the start to try again. Even with this mechanic in place, the game only gives you two chances to respawn before you are dead for good. The levels are not too huge and if you fail it once, you can always retry it. The demo level was around 30 minutes on average for me.

With all this said, there are a few of the things that put me off in the game as well. For example, if you stay on the lower combo levels, hearing the same drumbeat can cause it to become annoying after a certain time. Since vocals only come at the highest combo level, you must become extremely good at nailing your shots with the beat in order to listen to the actual song otherwise you are just listening to the same music over and over again. Apart from this, giving multiple cursor options would be beneficial for players as well as some might find the current setting to be a little confusing. During some of the tense fight sequences, even I was having a tough time seeing the cursor however this is something that you have to master while playing the game if there are no additional options.

Metal: Hellsinger is shaping up to be a solid shooter and I cannot wait for its full release. If you own a good pair of headphones or have a surround sound system installed with your gaming setup, this game is a blast to play with all of the amazing metal soundtrack keeping the flow of the slaughter going with each beat. The visuals look amazing, the gameplay is silky smooth, and the soundtrack is probably one of the best ones that I have ever heard in any of the video games I have ever played. I have big hopes for the full game, and I really hope that the full version is more optimized when it comes to gameplay. The learning curve of the game is a little high if you want to nail all of the moves correctly but then again, it is a blast to play this game and I am eagerly looking forward to the full game.

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Kingdom Rush 5: Alliance.

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