First-person shooters and heavy metallic go collectively like AC/DC live shows and audiologist appointments. Their relationship stretches again to 1993’s Doom, for which composer Bobby Prince borrowed closely from the music of Alice in Chains and Pantera. However they’ve by no means been so intently intertwined as in Metallic: Hellsinger, the place the music dictates the rhythm by which you need to slay demonic enemies.
The debut recreation from Swedish studio The Outsiders, Hellsinger has you assuming management of a winged demoness as she makes an attempt a scorching jailbreak from the deepest circle of hell. Referred to easily as The Unknown, your fiendish avatar is uniquely attuned to the pure rhythm of the cosmos, ready to attract energy from it as she battles the thralls of hell’s overseer, an off-brand model of the satan referred to as the Purple Choose.
In sensible phrases, which means attacking foes on the beat of the sport’s soundtrack offers extra harm than attacking out of rhythm. Aided by an animated crosshair that gives visible cues synchronised with the music, repeatedly matching bullets and blows with beats boosts your harm. On the highest stage, you possibly can fell even the largest, meanest enemies with just a few, well-timed photographs.
Hellsinger’s weapons aren’t solely pleasing to wield; every enhances the sport’s rhythmic gunplay. Your shotgun fires on each alternate beat, whereas your twin revolvers can hearth on 12 successive beats earlier than it is advisable to reload. It isn’t merely taking pictures that’s ruled by sound, both. A well timed second faucet of the reload key can prepared your weapons quicker, whereas even dodging might be executed to a 4/4 signature, serving to maintain your assault multiplier within the course of.
All this good design could be for naught for those who have been blasting enemies to Black Lace’s Agadoo. Happily, Hellsinger’s thunderous metallic soundtrack is the spotlight of the sport. Every stage has its personal tune composed by specialist gaming music outfit Two Feathers, with vocals carried out by main metallic artists equivalent to System of a Down’s Serj Tankian and Trivium’s Matt Heafy. Ingeniously, the devices in every tune are layered into the music, relying on how effectively you’re taking part in. On the outset of a stage, you get solely the uncooked beat. However as you choose off enemies metronomically, the sport loops within the bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar after which the hovering, roaring vocals.
At its finest, Hellsinger is hypnotic. Within the warmth of the motion, all of the totally different parts fold collectively. You cease seeing the on-screen prompts, and to a sure extent the display itself, letting your actions be guided purely by the music. It could appear odd that one thing so ferocious may induce a zen-like state, however this can come as no shock to followers of both metallic or shooters. Shooters have at all times been extremely rhythmic video games, all about movement and fire-rate. Hellsinger merely externalises these underlying rhythms.
As a synthesis of audio and motion, Hellsinger is a wickedly seductive little bit of darkish magic. It’s extra of an EP than an LP, nevertheless. The sport is slight, not merely in size, however in its weapon roster and array of enemies, which may each do with two or three extra concepts to spherical issues out. The story, too, struggles so as to add meat to the skeleton premise of escaping from everlasting damnation, the rambling narration discovering a formidable variety of methods to say the identical factor.
One final situation: the sport’s visuals don’t match the standard of its audio, which is stunning contemplating director, David Goldfarb, initially pitched the sport to writer Funcom as “a metal album cover come to life”. However its final depiction of hell is surprisingly muted, painted primarily in browns and greys, missing the wild colors and playful character of, say, the album artwork of Iron Maiden.
Someplace out there’s a larger, extra vivid model of Metallic: Hellsinger that might actually rock it with the FPS greats. But whereas Hellsinger’s artwork isn’t ok to grace the black cotton T-shirts of an avid metallic fan, its music actually wouldn’t really feel misplaced of their file assortment – and the way in which Hellsinger weaves this soundtrack into an infernal motion expertise makes it a completely pleasing twist on shooter conference.