Beat Aim, AUDICA, Pistol Whip – these are the most prominent results when you search for the keyword rhythm shooter on Steam. These names don't tell you anything? Well, that could be because two of the three titles are exclusive to VR headset owners. And they are, despite the Sales boom as part of the release of Half-Life Alyx, but still seldom sown. Perhaps the reason is that the genre has so far simply not been able to establish itself in the masses.

The developers of The Outsiders want to finally change that. The studio has behind that Darkborn now discontinued devised something very special: in his latest game Metal: Hellsinger, it mixes elements from Crypt of the Necrodancer with the action of a doom and puts the perfect beat for headbanging. We were able to try out the mix and, above all, what it sounds like with a first demo and then asked the makers our most burning questions as part of a 30-minute presentation.

"We want to make the shooter with the hardest metal feeling ever," said the developers of The Outsiders in an interview about their latest project. That sounds like a pretty ambitious project. Especially when you consider that with the Bethesda ball orgy Doom Eternal just last March a really tough genre representative with justified claims to the action throne appeared. But: The Swedish studio around David Goldfarb, formerly Game Director at DICE and Overkill, has an interesting idea of ​​how one could still achieve the goal.







Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (3)



Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (3)

Source: Funcom / The Outsiders




Instead of simply relying on a decent load of blood and lead, you want to focus more on the sound than the competition. Of course, the clang also in Doom Eternal is remarkable. The Tracks from Mick Gordon run mostly in the background. Metal: Hellsinger, however, promotes his driving rhythms to the central element around which the rest of the game experience is built: While you roam through various levels with your character in first-person perspective and let the scraps fly properly, it is not enough to randomly choose the next best opponent To transport load of shot into the visage. Instead, you have to hit the rhythm of the music while shooting and so drive up a point multiplier. The more tact you show, the better your gaming experience will be.

Your performance also has a direct impact on the soundtrack of the title. It consists of multilayered pieces, which are expanded by an additional musical facet as the multiplier increases. So if you start with drums and a rough guitar riff at the beginning of the level, the full performance will finally unfold, including epochal vocals. It not only sounds great, it also drives you to always do your best. After all, you want to enjoy the sounds of Metal: Hellsinger in all their abundance and quality.

A demonic guitar hero

The shooter develops a similar motivation to rock band or guitar hero, names that the developers next to Crypt of the Necrodancer obviously as a source of inspiration. The Outsiders also copied a few things from Doom – especially on Arcade mode, which is also about speed and collecting points.







Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (5)



Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (5)

Source: Funcom / The Outsiders




In order to live up to this role model, the shooter gameplay must of course be right. Fortunately, the makers can draw on a lot of shooting expertise here. David Goldfarb, co-founder of The Outsiders, previously worked on games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Battlefield 3 or Payday 2 with. A foundation that can be built on. Above all, regarding movement, target mechanics and opponent behavior, the team was able to draw important insights from Goldfarb's previous projects.

Accordingly, Metal: Hellsinger can be seen real playfully: You run through a linear game world, which is repeatedly divided into smaller arenas by magic seals. In them you are showered with opponents, who you then turn off the lights bit by bit. Thanks to an impressive arsenal, it won't get boring that quickly. You can dismember attacking demons with your blade, blow their skulls away with the classic shotgun, or perforate them with Akimbo pistols. Each weapon also has a rechargeable Ultima attack, which provides additional bangs again. All in all, the battles pop in really well, also because thanks to fast evasive movements, pithy sounds or successful hit feedback they are really neat and staged.

You shouldn't just shoot around wildly, a little "strategy" is required. After all, you always have to keep an eye on life energy and ammunition display. When they are nearing the end, a tick known from Doom is used: the Glorykill. In metal this means: Hellsinger "Slaughter", but technically it works on the same principle. If you have stunned an enemy, you can give them a pithy finisher by pressing the appropriate button. Then ammunition and salvation fragments hail as if you had just beaten up a demonic pinata. This resource management contributes to the shooter's rather crisp level of difficulty, but our demo was never unfair or even unplayable.







Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (2)



Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (2)

Source: Funcom / The Outsiders




Speaking of claim: In addition to your various shooting beating, you also have a skull with you throughout the game, which acts as a weapon and as a kind of metronome. If you move the skull to the beat, you will keep your multiplier high outside of the combat phases. So even suddenly appearing, thick chunks are no problem. In addition to various standard cannon fodder – so far there were unfortunately only three types of opponents with skeleton warriors and Co. – in our play version we also met a multi-phase boss with life bar.

In addition, almost all of our enemies were attached to mysterious threads. This made it look like you were shooting Metal: Hellsinger at hellish puppets. However, the developers did not want to tell us what it was all about. The story was only roughly hinted at to us: It probably revolves around the main female character named "The Unknown" – a being half human, half demon. With it you embark on a bloody vengeance campaign to dethrone "Red Judge", the ruler of hell. As a result, you fight your way through eight different levels of the "Infernal Planes", which in addition to the typical level design around lava, fire and mysterious stone architecture also come up with more unusual environments such as an ice world.






Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (6)



Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (6)

Source: Funcom / The Outsiders




Big names spit big sounds

So far, unfortunately, not much of it could be seen in our demo. The one playable level of Metal: Hellsinger made a solid visual impression, but of course couldn't keep up with the blockbuster fireworks of a Doom Eternal. At least we got a lot to hear. The title comes up with some well-known voice actors: The role of "Red Judge" is played, for example, by the US actor Jennifer Hale, who also set the female version of Commander Shepherd in the mass effect trilogy. As a narrator, you could Troy Baker secure who is already out in the gaming industry as the English voice of Booker DeWitt or Joel The Last of Us made a name.







Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (1)



Metal: Hellsinger in the hands-on preview. (1)

Source: Funcom / The Outsiders




In addition, of course, there are various well-known musicians on board. Among others, Matt Heafy (Trivium), Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquility), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy) or Björn Strid (Soilwork) participated in the soundtrack for Metal: Hellsinger. Accordingly, the background music hits the mark and gives the impression that you are playing your own metal album with each new level. Top!

The only bad news is probably only the current status quo of the game: At the moment Metal: Hellsinger is still in the very early development phase. The developers therefore do not expect a release before 2021. Then the title should be for both the PC and both Sony and MicrosoftConsoles appear and in addition to the campaign contain other content such as a Challenge Mode. So we have no choice but to stay tuned and hope that The Outsiders will follow up in the coming months.