A rhythmic FPS for Doom-loving metalheads

With a shotgun from hell named Persephone, I fight my way through wave after wave of demons Metal: Hellsinger.

The steady pulse of the melodic guitar riff with accompanying guttural vocals serves as the driving force that keeps me going, the pace that keeps my combo intact. Then an untimely demon slash knocks me off a ledge. Instead of throwing myself to my death, I spread my wings and dash back to the platform before decimating the creature in my way. One shot, then another, then another – all in sync with the beat of the song.

It helps that I’m a demon too.

Metal: Hellsinger is a first-person rhythm shooter with a focus on metal music. The moment-to-moment gameplay feels very much like fast-paced FPS, with Doom being an obvious comparison, but you deal more damage with a combo multiplier as you shoot your enemies to the beat of the song. This adds an extra depth that requires precise timing and reinforces the meaning of the song being played.

Ahead of its release later in 2022, the developer invited The Outsiders Vice versa to try a preview build of Metal: Hellsinger, with the tutorial and the first level of the game. While this is just a bite-sized taste of what the full version will offer, it touches on the unique mechanics while also highlighting a hard-hitting performance by Two Feathers featuring Alissa White-Gluz from Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy.

go to hell with me

Use an arsenal of weapons to shred enemy demons in Metal: Hellsinger. (Disclaimer: This is a work in progress build and is subject to change.)funcom

Metal: Hellsinger throws you straight into the deep end: a beautiful, if frightening, section of Hell known as Stygia. The song played in this section is absurd, with a catchy, symphonic guitar riff that pairs well with White-Gluz’s vocals. She sounds like a demon, which fits the context.

The FPS mechanics work as expected, but there are pulsing icons on either side of the crosshairs that match the rhythm of the song. Shooting when these symbols match the crosshairs will deal more damage and give you a multiplier bonus. Doing it again increases your multiplier and increases your score. This scoring system allows you to assess how well you’ve done at a given level and encourage you to repeat it to get better. Even if I only had access to a short level, I had to keep replaying it to beat my previous score, making it hard to put down.

The only thing worse than killing demons is doing it to the beat of a metal song.funcom

There will be a variety of weapons in the final build, but the demo provided access to the Persephone shotgun, The Hounds’ dual revolvers, a sword, and the Paz, a skull that shoots fireballs. While The Hounds were super effective in many situations, I was drawn to the Persephone, especially as the placement of a well-timed shot made it sound incredible alongside the music. The crunch of each blast associated with a demon makes the shotgun feel like an instrument in and of itself.

Metal: Hellsinger takes the familiar FPS gameplay we’ve grown accustomed to over the past few years, but ultimately turns it on its head thanks to the rhythm mechanic. A player can no longer rely on shooting aimlessly to get through a stage. It’s a match made in Hell that really works.

Into the mouth of hell we march

The Hounds are dual-wielding revolvers that work best at range.funcom

Rather than spamming the fire button, you must drift into a zen-like flow state and only fire when it makes musical sense. Not only are you encouraged to shoot along with the music to make sure the song sounds great, but you also deal a lot more damage as you adapt to the track. The enemies in the demo are challenging enough that you’ll need to be as precise as possible with the timing of each shot. Otherwise, the gunfights would easily become overwhelming.

Every time I landed a shot at a demon in time to the music, it clicked, culminating in a hugely satisfying little moment that made me eager to do it again. And again. And again.

Then, when the final boss of the stage was thrown at me, I felt prepared. This particular segment was the most challenging of all: not only did I have to dish out shots to the beat of the music, I had to jump and dodge rows of fireballs like a bullet hell shooter. This skill test was the perfect farewell to a powerful experience that felt like the explosive marriage of powerful game mechanics and equally effective music.

Or get up close and personal with your trusty sword.funcom

in many ways Metal: Hellsinger is every metalhead’s dream, not only for the imagery and subject matter, but also for the highlighting of famous musicians from bands that many fans have been listening to for 20+ years.

These are singers like Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Matt Heafy from Trivium, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, the aforementioned Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy and one of my absolute favorites, Tatiana Shmailyuk from Jinjer.

It’s unclear if more musicians will be added later, but from the looks of it, it’s a jam-packed lineup of fan-favorites lending their voices to original songs that absolutely shred. Just because of this demo Metal: Hellsinger could very well be one of the most original games of 2022. Sure, it’s aimed at a niche audience, but the gameplay is solid enough that even non-Metal fans should have a lot of fun, while metalheads will feel right at home with this game, thanks to the love and care that has gone into it.

Metal: Hellsinger coming later in 2022 for PS5, Xbox Series X and PC.

https://www.inverse.com/gaming/metal-hellsinger-game-preview-doom-rock-band A rhythmic FPS for Doom-loving metalheads

Emma James

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