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    dkirschner's Metal: Hellsinger (PC)

    [June 11, 2023 01:24:55 PM]
    Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm game meets modern Doom. The draw of the game is that it uses metal music. It’s a cross between melodic death metal and new wave American heavy metal, apparently composed in-house by part of the dev team, but featuring well-known metal vocalists from Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility, Lamb of God, Soilwork, etc., plus a couple surprises, including the guy from Refused and someone else you may not have heard since the early 2000s for the final boss battle. The story and environments are whatever. They do the job of giving your character some motivation and space in which to be pissed off and slaughter hordes of Hell demons on your way to killing the biggest baddie demon. I did end up enjoying the comic book ish art style of the cut scenes, but the narrator didn’t fit for me. I am not sure why they went with a “wild west” narrator. There is nothing about the game that has a wild west vibe. But if you’re going to do the wild west in hell, then you need to license Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell no matter the cost! Missed. Opportunity.

    The moment-to-moment gameplay is awesome, but I have to explain how the music builds for it to make sense. You have a “fury” multiplier (x1, x2, x4, x8, x16) that increases as you perform actions to the beat of the music. As you increase your fury, the music tracks layer on top of one another. Fury x1 is a basic drum track. At fury x2, the drums pick up. The guitar might pick slide in the mix. By fury x4, you’ve got the whole band playing the instrumental song in a relatively restrained part, then at fury x8 the song goes full force instrumental and you’re nodding your head. Fury x16 kicks the vocals in, and at that point, your head is banging. Fury constantly drains over time, so you have to keep hitting enemies, dashing, and so on to the beat to keep it up. Like Doom Eternal, the game rewards risk-taking, alternatively weakening enemies with guns, then pressing “E” at the appropriate time to melee kill them and get some health.

    Enemies spawn in waves and there is a nice variety, from ones that charge at you in a zig-zag pattern, to support enemies that spawn homing mines, to shielded ranged attackers, to quick teleporting melee assassins, and more. Throwing various types at you at once keeps you on your toes. You can also build up a hit streak, but if you take damage, it resets, and I found it difficult, especially later in the game, to avoid taking damage. I could keep fury up at 8 or 16 pretty good, but rarely had much of a hit streak (I had a GETTING hit streak, ba-dum-tss!).

    This is probably my main minor gripe with the game, that as it becomes more of a bullet hell toward the end, the music and what’s going on on the screen cease to match clearly, making it easy (or necessary) to lose the beat. That drops your fury because you’re performing actions off-beat, and since your fury level is tied to your damage output (higher fury = higher damage), you get stuck in a bad cycle of not doing enough damage against hard enemies. Granted, the game isn’t THAT hard on the regular (second) difficulty. I only had to redo a level once, a result of my one death in the game on the final boss (though I beat her the second time with the tiniest sliver of health; I would have died a second later!).

    I understand that the increasing difficulty makes it challenging, fun, immersive, etc., but although I absolutely loved shooting demons to metal music, by the time you’re toward the end, it’s not novel anymore. You’re shooting demons to the beat of the same metal music as you were 4 hours ago and you GET IT. Any longer and the game would have worn out its welcome. So actually the THREAT of dying and having to replay the level was motivation to really not screw up. There are optional “sigils” to acquire in special arena battles with modifiers like “your weapon randomly changes after each kill.” Sigils provide various bonuses, such as making your fury level not fall below x4 or letting you take a free hit before resetting your hit streak. There are three of these sigil battles after each of the main levels. I did probably 8 of them (out of maybe 21 or 24), then they started getting pretty hard, and I ignored the rest. But, getting sigils gives you some grace to screw up, and would certainly make the late game (and harder difficulties) more forgiving.

    Anyway, if you like FPS games, rhythm games, and metal music, this is a no-brainer. It’s short and sweet and you get to bang your head and stress out about keeping various meters and streaks up.
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    dkirschner's Metal: Hellsinger (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 10 June, 2023

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 11 June, 2023

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Kill demons to a heavy metal soundtrack.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    1 : Metal: Hellsinger (PC) by jp (rating: 5)


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