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Review: Metal: Hellsinger Is Truly a Dance with the Devils

Waltz your way into the Hells
intro Red judge in Metal Hellsinger
Image via The Outsiders

To say that The Outsiders’ Metal: Hellsinger is original is an understatement. An FPS rhythm game set in hell is a game description I never thought I’d stumble across, and yet it’s perfect in every way. From the combat to the music, to the enemies, to the bosses, to the environments, to the weapons, everything in this game is as it needs to be. Not too long and not too short, this game almost makes a statement that a game doesn’t need to have endless content to be great.

Metal: Hellsinger is a linear, campaign-focused experience, however with each of the eight Hells that you will be fighting through, there will be some extra, smaller levels with unique rewards, for those wanting more of a challenge, a change of pace, or simply to slaughter some more beasts.

Engaging story

Firstly, the plot was something I hadn’t expected to be drawn to. The story, and how it’s told, is surprisingly in-depth, detailed, and interesting. Not just some excuse of a plot to pad out the game or provide some sort of narrative to latch onto to justify the action, but a detailed and carefully constructed story that is revealed bit by bit.

unknwown facing camera in metal hellsinger
Image via The Outsiders

I am a sucker for narratives, and this one was living in my head for a bit after I completed the game. It isn’t intrusive and is totally skippable if you want to cruise straight through to the action (which would be a huge shame, but to each their own), catering to story-driven players and those who don’t particularly care.

Vibrant visuals

The visuals in this game are incredible. The cutscenes have a wonderfully detailed yet drawn aesthetic to them, really complimenting the story and narrative provided by Paz. But not only during the cutscenes are the visuals great.

During your actual battles through the Hells are the animations and models great. Sure, they aren’t the most detailed or stunning visuals the gaming world have seen, but they portray the horrors of each Hell well, and each enemy looks grotesque and detailed enough to inspire the creeps.

Incaustis in metal hellsinger
Image via The Outsiders

Each level is designed with a whole new look, theme, architecture, and style that makes them unique and interesting, prompting the want for exploration despite the linear nature of each level. Even within the levels, each setting differs from the last, providing new sites and environments to do battle in, keeping the game constantly fresh.

The bosses in this also look fantastic. Each with their own design quirk and style, every battle is unique and feels different. Every aspect of the model design contributes to that boss’ feel, tone, and attitude, complimenting their attacks, difficulty and environment.

As your bestiary grows, you get to see the models of each monster, which provides a great chance to see each best up close in case you miss the details in the madness of your rampage.

Explosive action

This is the main event. The reason people will buy the game. The action. It’s difficult to begin talking about the action without me ranting on and on.

Firstly, The Outsiders has really managed to implement the rhythm and beat system into the game. You have full autonomy to slash and shoot as you will, but if you keep to the beat time perfectly, you will be rewarded with more damage, providing a fantastically satisfying rhythm-keeping element with the ability to go all out and blast your way out of situations.

Fighting in-time with the awesome heavy metal awakens a primal instinct I didn’t think I had. All I wanted to do was slaughter the beasts of the Hells with the heavy metal pumping in my veins. You will fly around the arena, blasting limbs and leaving a gory trail in your wake.

Image via The Outsiders/Funcom

And yet despite the glorious feeling of keeping on-beat, the game is still challenging and engaging enough for you to have to think, jump and strategize your way out of situations, especially if you want to remain on-beat.

One of the best things about the game is that not only is attack a beat-timed thing, but dashing, reloading, some special abilities. Everything you do can be-in tune with the pulse of the metal.

Related: Every enemy in Metal: Hellsinger and how to beat them

Your weapons of mass destruction

Metal: Hellsinger yet breaks more conventions in the best way possible. In other FPS games, you are usually limited to two weapons, a primary and a secondary. However, The Outsiders had the ingenious idea of giving you two weapons that will always be equipped and then letting you choose two more weapons from your arsenal. This great idea allows players versatility and range, but most importantly, fun.

Being able to have such firepower is a feeling unmatched, as you swap out the right weapons for each job. The best thing is, that having such capability doesn’t make the game a walk in the park. The game is difficult no matter what weapon you are wielding, and it is your job to make yourself well-versed in the caveats and pros and cons of each weapon. You may find yourself only ever using one weapon, or you may find yourself using them all.

hellcrow ultimate in Metal hellsinger
Screenshot by GJ / The Outsiders

There aren’t a huge selection of weapons, but they all serve a unique purpose and do their jobs well, there isn’t need for more weapons. Metal: Hellsinger manages to get the proportions correct at every turn, to leave you spellbound and with the feeling of just being satisfied without feeling bloated or overwhelmed.

Every weapon is a joy to play with, even if one particular weapon isn’t very good, or not to your likes, if you would be forced to play with it, there would hardly be a complaint. The weapons feel good and satisfying to play with.

Mental metal music

Metal: Hellsinger provides a monumental slew of original metal tracks that will be accompanying you on your delve into the Hells. Being a rhythm game, the game very much plays to the beat of these songs, but on their own, they are crazy tracks that you won’t get enough of.

But not only does the world work in tune with the music, but the music is influenced by your actions. The more of a rampage you go on, the more of each ensemble gets revealed. At the height of your fury, the vocals get added, to establish a rewarding and insane track to play alongside your vengeful wrath.

locked up unknown in Metal Hellsinger
Image via The Outsiders

Benevolently, The Outsiders have made all the tracks available to simply listen to in the game, so you can sit back and reminisce on how many heads you separated from bodies.

Even if you aren’t much of a heavy metal fan, the game itself is so satisfying and challenging and fun enough to play. And who knows, it may grow on you…

Easy to learn, hard to master

Sure, you may understand the principles of the game. You may even scrape by the whole game, being able to just about the enemies and bosses. But these is not the heights of skill that you could achieve. Each level has an individual score and leaderboard.

Unknown in Metal Hellsinger
Image via The Outsiders

So if you want to really test your skills, you can try and rhythmically strafe your way through the levels like a true Hellsinger. The game allows you to be as skillful as you want to be, the game will still provide challenge either way.

Metal: Hellsinger is available on Steam, PS5, and Xbox Game Pass. There is no multiplayer functionality, this is a solo experience. And an incredible one at that.

Keep an eye on Gamer Journalist for more gaming and Metal: Hellsinger content.

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