LifeisXbox’s Metal: Hellsinger review | Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm FPS that has all the elements you need for a delightful symphony full of fast-paced action and heart-pounding metal music. Your ability to keep shooting to the beat amplifies your damage output and adds stack upon stack of musical elements to build up to a crescendo that will resonate for months, if not years to come.
It’s developed by The Outsiders and published by Funcom, with music from Two Feathers and other artists really sending it into the next level. This devilish title has been on my “most wanted” list for a few months now and I’m thoroughly excited I got to finally play beyond the demo level that I had beaten more times than I care to count.
It’s also currently in Xbox Game Pass, so none of you have an excuse not to try it out. (unless you don’t have Xbox Game Pass yet, but then there is no helping you. It’s the best deal in gaming after all!)
Most Memorable Moment
I was already in love with Metal: Hellsinger ever since I played the demo on Xbox Series X in the summer. The perfect blend of awesome music, eye-watering visuals and solid FPS action was already enough to sway me, but then I made the brilliant decision to play it with my SUBPAC on and I was in Heaven…
… errr, Hell!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Metal Soundtrack | Let’s start with the most obvious element: the music. While I’m far from a metalhead (you will have a hard time finding music that would fit into this game on my Spotify list) I very much enjoyed discovering the musical genre and might even dip my toes further into the pool of darkness inspired songs after this. In Metal: Hellsinger, it was especially epic how increasing your fury by shooting enemies to the beat added sound layer upon sound layer until finally adding vocals at x16 fury. I was weeping with joy when the bass kept pumping through my SUBPAC and headset and it’s an experience I would wholly recommend to anyone that even remotely enjoys music.
- Solid Gameplay | Sticking to the beat wasn’t as hard as I expected it to be. I found myself tapping my feet to the beat to help me stick to the rhythm and soon I wasn’t just shooting along with the soundtrack but also (double) jumping and dashing through the air. There isn’t a lot of platforming in the game and most of it is just there to prevent enemies from reaching you, but I was always able to land exactly where I wanted to.
- Optional challenges & passive ability rewards | After beating a level (or a Hell as it’s called here) you’ll unlock three challenges that have a certain restriction on how to play, like not being able to restore health from executions or each kill switching your weapon automatically to another one. Successfully beating each one will grant you with passive abilities that will make it easier to land big scores, like never dropping below a certain Fury level or charging your weapon’s ultimate with every beat in the song.
- Comparing highscores | Each time you play through a hell, the same type of enemies will spawn in the same locations. That sounds like a downside, and it kind of is, but the predictability also means you can improve each run and that makes Metal: Hellsinger the perfect game to compare highscores with your friends. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll run through all the levels again, just to beat Jim‘s scores.
- Difficulty settings | I hate to admit that I played Metal: Hellsinger in the Lamb difficulty or the easiest setting, but even then it got quite challenging towards the end. You need to be on the move at all times as even the weakest enemies can close in pretty quickly and deal some unexpected damage. Luckily, dying is not the end of a run and at the exchange of some highscore points, you can resurrect up to 3 times per level. Unlike BPM, the other rhythm-based FPS that I also loved (and reviewed) the (somewhat) more forgiving difficulty here actually allowed me to beat the campaign!
- Story & Voice Acting | Paz, the talking skull you carry around, will narrate everything that happens in the game and I just love how it’s delivered in a calm, yet almost satirical voice. That voice will sound awfully familiar to most people though, as it’s Troy Baker, also known as the most overused voice in videogames. But personally, I didn’t mind as the delivery was spot on! The story he has to tell is actually quite interesting, with you playing as the titular Hellsinger, a fallen angel coming to bring chaos to hell and fully intending to kick its current ruler off the throne.
- Weapon variety | I felt like there could have been one or two more weapons in the game to spice things up. Especially because I personally felt like some of the weapons, like the crow boomerangs, were drastically more efficient than the others. That awesome feeling of unlocking a new weapon to try out could have used one or more additional instances in the game.
- Repetition | While I had an amazingly good time with the game, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome with its 4-5 hours runtime (depending on skill & difficulty), the repetitive nature reared its head early on. Throughout the game you’ll always have the same loop of entering a big room, being locked in with some enemies and fighting until it’s cleared.
What we Disliked
- Enemy Variety | There aren’t that many different types of regular enemies with most of them being more powerful variations of the ones from the first few levels, and the bosses do not fare much better. Every single Hell ends with a boss fight that is just a kind of floating head with wings. I was really hoping to see a different design by the end of the game but was let down when this wasn’t the case and instead just saw different crowns on their heads. Luckily, the boss fight room changed around a bit, but it still left me hungry for more. *NOTE: the final boss is an exception and sent shivers down my spine, but that just brings home how epic they all could have been.
How long to beat the story | 4 hours if you’re great at it
How long to achieve 1000G | ~7-8 hours to get all achievements
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.