Metal: Hellsinger Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Metal: Hellsinger RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network GameSkinny's Best Games of 2022 https://www.gameskinny.com/h3xxb/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2022 https://www.gameskinny.com/h3xxb/gameskinnys-best-games-of-2022 Sat, 24 Dec 2022 14:56:02 -0500 Jonathan Moore

2022 was a fantastic year for games. God of War: Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West, Dying Light 2, and Pokemon, among many others captured our collective attention. That's not to mention the amazing indie that release this year, as well, such as Signalis, Prodeus, and Citizen Sleeper just to name a few. Across PC, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation and Xbox platforms, we've collected our highest-reviewed games of 2021 into a "best of" list. 

Since we're a small staff at GameSkinny, going the traditional "staff voting route" doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, as has been the case the past few years. Though it means there are more games here than on other lists, the best way we've found to highlight the best games of the year in 2022 is to include any game with a score of "8" or higher. So that's what we've done. 

The Best Games of 2022

Among Us VR

Image via Innersloth

Publisher: InnerSloth
Developer: InnerSloth
Platforms: Oculus Rift (reviewed), Meta Quest 2
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Simple is an overall theme for Among Us VR. At launch, the game lacks most of the advanced modes and options of the core game and only comes with one map. That said, when the original launched, it was just as limited in scope, and we expect regular updates in VR to make this version just as robust. Even with just the single map, this is a superb Among Us experience. Read the full review here

As Dusk Falls

Image via Xbox Game Studio

Publisher: Xbox Game Studio
Developer: INTERIOR/NIGHT
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: There are so many layers that I'll be unpacking for the next several weeks as I wrap on my second playthrough. I likely won't be the only one exploring everything that As Dusk Falls has to offer. It's a stellar entry in the interactive narrative genre that will only be exceeded by what its dev team has planned next. Read the full review here

A Plague Tale Requiem

Image via Focus Entertainment

Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Developer: Asobo Studio
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PC, Xbox Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: A Plague Tale: Requiem is an enthralling sequel that makes real refinements to the original. Its narrative manages to feel both utterly crushing and incredibly hopeful at the same time. And the degree of freedom in its gameplay options means there's never a dull moment. Read the full review here

Atelier Sophie 2

Image via Koei Tecmo

Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Gust
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Atelier Sophie 2: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Dream is a vast improvement over its predecessor. Borrowing exploration elements from the Atelier entries while keeping its traditional turn-based combat system is a great way to help it stand out within its own franchise. On top of that, the battles have more depth than ever before. Sophie Neuenmuller’s new adventure is well worth it for veterans and newcomers alike. Read the full review here

Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium

Image via Capcom

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, PC, Xbox One
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium continues in the fine tradition of the original Stadium with a great collection of classic coin-op games. While these retro compilations are largely for the overly nostalgic older gamer, there’s a lot of great action to be had here, especially with friends playing in the same room. Read the full review here

Capcom Fighting Collection

Image via Capcom

Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4, PC, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: For fighting game lovers, the Capcom Fighting Collection is a treasure trove of '90s goodness. Aside from finally being able to play the Darkstalkers series again, the inclusion of Red Earth, Cyberbots, and others makes this a thoroughly entertaining package. Read the full review here

Citizen Sleeper

Image via Fellow Traveller

Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Developer: Jump Over the Age
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Series X, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: With mechanics inspired by contemporary tabletop RPGs, Citizen Sleeper feels fresh, tense, and engaging throughout its 6- to 8-hour run time. Balancing your actions, resources, and story progress is a tight-rope act that's engrossing the further you get into this stellar sci-fi world. Read the full review here

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion

Image via Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Whether you’re a returning player or you’ve had your eye on Crisis Core in the past, Square Enix has delivered again in its ongoing saga of overhauling FFVII for a modern audience. For better or worse, there are no surprises of the ilk seen in Remake, though I would have happily seen some liberties taken with the events here, even if just to tidy up the game’s finale a little. Read the full review here

Dying Light 2: Stay Human

Image via Techland

Publisher: Techland
Developer: Techland
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Dying Light 2 does so much so well. You never know what you are going to get when you venture out into Villedor. Every handcrafted quest and environment tells a story, something that many other games aspire to, but few achieve. The movement is thrilling, the musical score is tremendous, and there is a bounty of good, but optional content. Read the full review here

Elden Ring

Image via Bandai Namco

Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: FromSoftware
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 10/10

What we said: What FromSoftware has accomplished with Elden Ring is staggering. The culmination of more than a decade of trial, error, and success, Elden Ring raises not only the bar for the genre but for FromSoftware itself. It will send a ripple throughout the industry at large, acting as the new standard-bearer for open-world games. If there's more Elden Ring to come, count me in. Read the full review here

Evil West

Image via Focus Entertainment

Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Much like Flying Wild Hog’s flagship series Shadow Warriortheir latest release in Evil West is again an entirely over-the-top and bombastic affair designed to elicit a chuckle as much as it’s meant to appease your lizard brain with its almost non-stop action. But Evil West has done something fairly remarkable by dragging the sort of shlocky, B-tier, 360-era action games into 2022 with basically all of the quality-of-life upgrades you’d expect from a modern title. Read the full review here

F1 2022

Image via Electronic Arts

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Codemasters
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: F1 2022 is a fantastic racing game and the best Formula 1 game to date. There are some very nice improvements to the gameplay, a smattering of new tracks, and a realistic representation of the changes the sport has seen in the latest season. If you really want to get your hands on the new era of cars and feel how they drive, F1 2022 is a must-buy. Read the full review here

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Image via Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 9/10

What we said: I secretly wanted a "golden route" scenario with Fire Emblem: Three Hopes, a resolution to Three Houses' dangling plot threads where maybe everyone could be happy at the end. What Three Hopes actually delivers is so much better; it's a finely crafted expansion that's fresh and familiar at the same time, all with smartly designed tactical combat that stays entertaining in spite of class similarity. Read the full review here

Ghostwire: Tokyo

Image via Bethesda

Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: Tango Gameworks
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Ghostwire Tokyo is essentially what I thought it would be, for better and for worse. It's charming but empty, ambitious but too formulaic, and it's got the most personality of any game I've played this year. I sincerely hope Tango has more Ghostwire in store, either as DLC or a sequel. Despite its issues, there's nothing else quite like it. Read the full review here

God of War: Ragnarok

Image via Sony

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Sony Santa Monica
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: God of War: Ragnarok is the very definition of a great game. Its scope is grand, with a polished presentation that looks and sounds spectacular. While the overarching plot is mediocre, the characters, anchored by some of the best acting performances of the generation, stand out for their depth, development, and empathy. The action is exquisite, further honing a winning combat formula while adding some refreshing variety. Read the full review here

Gotham Knights

Image via Warner Bros. 

Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: WB Games Montreal
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PC, Xbox Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Gotham Knights is a surprising game. On the surface, it looks like a lesser knockoff of the Batman games that came before, but underneath that rough exterior is a well-crafted action RPG with outstanding co-op, engaging characters, and a story worth taking time to enjoy. Read the full review here

Gran Turismo 7

Image via Sony

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Polyphony Digital
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS5
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Gran Turismo 7 strikes the perfect balance between accessibility and realism in a way that caters to casual players and veterans. It's a gorgeous racing game with a surprisingly addictive gameplay loop thanks to the new Café and Menu Books systems. While some modes are certainly not as strong as others, Gran Turismo 7 checks almost all the boxes of what a driving simulator should be. Read the full review here

Hardspace: Shipbreaker

Image via Focus Entertainment

Publisher: Focus Entertainment
Developer: Blackbird Interactive
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS5, Xbox Series X
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Hardspace: Shipbreaker is an enjoyable physics-based puzzle game with something for everyone. The surgical feel of dismantling ships, the lore, and the mix of beautiful graphics and folksy soundtrack lends itself to an enjoyable time. The campaign story is enjoyable and the cast of characters are relatable if a bit stereotypical. With its 1.0 launch, now is the perfect time to suit up. Read the full review here

Hard West 2

Image via Good Shepherd Entertainment

Publisher: Ice Code Games
Developer: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Platforms: PC (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: 2022 is unexpectedly shaping up to be the year of the tactics game. Despite enjoying the preview, I didn't expect Hard West 2 to grab me quite as much as Triangle Strategy or the likes of Tactics Ogre, which is itself getting a remake later this year. However, if you're a fan of strategy at all, it absolutely deserves your attention. Read the full review here

Horizon Forbidden West

Image via Sony

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Guerilla Games
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4
Rating: 8/10

What we said: I hoped Horizon Forbidden West would shatter expectations and take the series to the boldest new heights. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the sequel, but it’s also impossible to ignore there’s so much material to warrant doing far more than just making prettier, bigger worlds with more breathtaking set pieces. Forbidden West is a very good game. It could just be even better. Read the full review here

Infernax

Image via The Arcade Crew

Publisher: The Arcade Crew
Developer: Berzerk Studio
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), Xbox One, Series X, PC, PS4, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Infernax is largely exactly what you'd think at first glance. It's very retro and challenging with simplistic 8-bit graphics and gameplay. Where it excels is taking those old-school constraints and expanding on them to create a gory adventure that feels at once totally familiar but with enough depth to still be interesting and worthwhile all on its own. Read the full review here

Kaiju Wars

Image via Foolish Mortals

Publisher: Foolish Mortals
Developer: Foolish Mortals, Michael Long
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: While Kaiju Wars carries a feeling of familiarity, there’s enough here for it to stand apart from others in the genre. With good pacing, tactical play, and pop-culture moments, there’s plenty of fun to be had with the main campaign ... Add to that the near limitless amount of player-generated content, and Kaiju Wars is a game that emulates its namesake — it's something you can keep coming back to again and again. Read the full review here

Kirby and the Forgotten Land

Image via Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Overall, Kirby and the Forgotten Land is exactly the sequel we'd expect. Despite the move to 3D, the gameplay is instantly familiar. While nothing here is anything close to groundbreaking or even innovative, it is a comfortable, casual, all-ages adventure worth taking. Read the full review here

LEGO Bricktales

Image via Thunderful

Publisher: Thunderful
Developer: Clockstone Software
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: LEGO Bricktales is a delightful surprise, even with its fiddly controls. Pairing puzzles with LEGOs seems like such a natural thing to do; I'm surprised it took this long to see it happen. And I sincerely hope it's not the last such puzzle game from Thunderful. Read the full review here

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

Image via Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: This creative approach to the tactics genre finally gives the series an identity of its own. It won't be winning any awards for its writing, but Sparks of Hope still manages to be a blast at nearly every turn. Merging tactics, RPG elements, and platforming, the Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is one of the best Mario spin-offs on the Switch. Read the full review here

Marvel's Midnight Suns

Image via 2K

Publisher: 2K
Developer: Firaxis
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One, Series X, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: It's safe to say Marvel fans who are the slightest bit interested in Midnight Suns should check it out. The writing doesn't work for me more often than not, but if you're just looking to spend some time hanging out with Captain Marvel or Blade while you start a book club or go fishing, then you'll be delighted to find out just how much of that sort of thing is packed into the game. Read the full review here

Metal: Hellsinger

Image via Funcom

Publisher: Funcom
Developer: The Outsiders
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 9/10

What we said: All in all, Metal: Hellsinger is a short, sweet, and immensely enjoyable experience worth every second of your time. It more than earns its purchase price. I cannot wait to see what the team at The Outsiders makes next because if this outing is anything to go by, they have one Hell of a future ahead of them. Read the full review here

MLB The Show 22

Image via Sony

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Sony San Diego
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Ultimately, MLB The Show 22 is a powerhouse like most entries in the series, but it falls victim to the sports-game pitfall of yearly editions: it just doesn't add enough new features. Most long-time fans may not mind that, though if you're looking for an upgrade, this is just another season, albeit a good one. Read the full review here

Nobody Saves the World

Image via Drinkbox Studios

Publisher: Drinkbox Studios
Developer: Drinkbox Studios
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Nobody Saves the World is an excellent action RPG with unique progression and class systems. If you come to RPGs for their gameplay rather than their characters or stories, you’re going to be well-served here. Read the full review here

Pokemon Legends Arceus

Image via Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Gamefreak
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: I might have wanted more from Pokemon Legends Arceus, and it definitely deserves more, but I’m so happy with what I got. At last, Game Freak took the imaginative, fascinating world it built all those years ago and decided to build on what makes it special — the sense of wonder and, more importantly, the Pokemon themselves. Read the full review here

Prodeus

Image via Humble Games

Publisher: Humble Games
Developer: Bounding Box Software
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: [Prodeus is] still one of the better action games I've played this year, and I can see myself loading it up again whenever I'm in the mood for some stylized ultraviolence. Whatever issues I have with Prodeus become as irrelevant as its storyline whenever I liberate a demon's entire upper half with one four-barreled shotgun blast. Read the full review here

Rogue Legacy 2

Image via Cellar Door Games

Publisher: Cellar Door Games
Developer: Cellar Door Games
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Ultimately, anyone who played and enjoyed the original Rogue Legacy is going to love this sequel just as much if not more. Everything that made the first game so great is here, though it is all bigger and better than ever before. With a host of new classes, traits, and abilities along with some welcome changes to gameplay mechanics, Rogue Legacy 2 is everything you'd want in a sequel and one of the best roguelikes available. Read the full review here

Salt and Sacrifice

Image via Ska Studios

Publisher: Ska Studios
Developer: Ska Studios
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Salt and Sacrifice is a labor of love for its genre, one that will scratch any veteran’s itch for more mysterious worlds to explore. It never reaches the heights of the best Souls-likes but never sinks to the lows of those that attempt and fail to work within the framework. Read the full review here

Saturnalia

Image via Santa Ragione

Publisher: Santa Ragione
Developer: Santa Ragione
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Saturnalia uses horror in smart ways to explore social topics – the town’s isolation, resistance to change and to outsiders, and the ugly social beliefs that those things inform. Those facets combine perfectly to make a game that isn’t just horrifying because of the monsters that stalk us in the night. It’s horrifying because of the monsters we make, too – and the things we’re capable of becoming. Read the full review here

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem

Image via Devolver Digital

Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Croteam
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS5, Xbox Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Croteam has teamed up with truly passionate Serious Sam fans to make their vision for the game a reality, and it shows. Siberian Mayhem’s new weapons, enemies, and gameplay variations keep the experience fresh while sticking to the roots of what makes Serious Sam so great: ruthless alien-killing action with plenty of puns along the way. Read the full review here

Signalis

Image via Humble Games

Publisher: Humble Games
Developer: rose-engine
Platforms: Xbox Series X (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
Rating: 8/10

What we said: While it’d be remiss of me to discuss some of the specifics that truly elevate Signalis, particularly in terms of the story and its experimental delivery, you can believe that developers rose-engine have made good on their promise. They’ve delivered a top-tier game that marries cosmic horror with altogether more grounded points of conflict. Signalis is a vital experience for anyone who fondly remembers being terrified of vague pixel arrangements of early survival horror games. Read the full review here

Sonic Frontiers

Image via SEGA

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS5, Xbox One, Series X, PC, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Always fast and sometimes furious, Sonic Frontiers gives me a sense of wonder I haven't had with the 3D portion of the franchise in a decade, and it does so with the sort of flair I want from Sonic Team. It's not perfect, but it is a huge spin dash in the right direction for the Blue Blur. The next game needs to build on what Sonic Team has put together here because this is a formula with long legs. Read the full review here

SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash

Image via SNK

Publisher: SNK
Developer: SNK
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 9/10

What we said: SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters' Clash was a game I loved dearly at one time and have had a wonderful time coming back to in 2022. Fans of both SNK and Capcom can find plenty of enjoyment here, whether in the gameplay itself or just in the card art — just don't expect the bells and whistles one might expect from a modern CCG video game. Read the full review here

Splatoon 3

Image via Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Splatoon 3 is the most polished version of the concept yet. While it doesn't break any new ground, Splatoon 3 is still a unique joy within the shooter genre. There are the typical Nintendo design quirks built into the online experience, but they don't spoil the thrilling combat loop at the game's heart. More approachable than ever, Splatoon 3 is exhilarating family-friendly mayhem for competitive and co-op gamers alike. Read the full review here

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II

Image via Aspyr

Publisher: Aspyr
Developer: Aspyr
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II is still an amazing game and compelling sequel to one of the best love letters to the fandom. Pushing 20 years old, it is still a contender when it comes to story, mechanics, and audio, though the visuals are slightly dated. The Nintendo Switch port has some issues to be smoothed out yet, but they aren’t game-breaking and aren’t nearly as bad as some of the issues the original game shipped with. Read the full review here

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

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Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Team Ninja
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4, PC, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an endearing action RPG that takes careful steps with its reappropriation of traditional Final Fantasy systems. The translation to Team Ninja’s brand of fast-paced combat feels amazing when it’s firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately, it’s let down by technical issues and a loot system that actively pushes you away from messing around with its jobs in the way that it so desperately wants. Read the full review here

Stray

Image via Annapurna Interactive

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Stray takes about five to six hours to finish, but it makes use of that short run time to tell a touching story between a cat and a robot drone. Its controls feel great and impactful, whether you're jumping or running. There’s so much personality to the cat, too: being able to meow on command and do cat things like knocking over items and scratching on walls is a nice touch. Stray is a tightly focused journey that is worth experiencing at least once. Read the full review here

Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Image via Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Tactics Ogre: Reborn is a thoughtful re-release of a classic that adds meaningful changes to make the experience more approachable in relation to previous installments. Those changes, by and large, are a good thing, but the complexity of Tactics Ogre isn't lost in the process. Diehard fans will likely be happy to hear that, but it would have been nice to see Tactics Ogre: Reborn strive to be even more accessible for newcomers. Read the full review here

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

Imgae via DotEmu

Publisher: DotEmu
Developer: Tribute Games
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed), PS4, PC, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge works so perfectly because it’s clear the developers not only love the source material, but understand intrinsically how to recreate that beloved sense of nostalgia in a way that feels both authentic and evolved. This really does come across as a game that could have actually existed in a 1990-era arcade... If you have a soft spot for classic arcade brawlers of the 80s and 90s, Shredder’s Revenge is a damn near perfect homage and sequel to one of the best of the era. It doesn't get much better than this. Read the full review here

TemTem

Image via Humble Games

Publisher: Humble Games
Developer: Crema
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Temtem may play a lot like Pokemon on the surface, but a suite of tweaks to the battle system, exciting visual design, and heavy emphasis on PvP more than make up for the similarities with it and other monster catchers. While a deeper story would certainly be welcome, Temtem is a unique and rewarding experience for those with the patience to master its intricacies. Read the full review here

The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story

Image via Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: I feel like The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story may have been better paced as an actual movie than a game given that the interactive elements bogged down the experience a bit. Even so, everything else about the title shines. The century spanning story is exceptionally engaging and I found myself wanting to continue on to the next chapter to see what happened next. It also helps immensely that the actors bring stellar performances to each case. Read the full review here

The DioField Chronicle

Image via Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The DioField Chronicle has some fantastic ideas, even if some of them feel a bit underbaked. This could be the foundation of something ambitious for Square Enix, and if another game could build upon the combat system and narrative style found here, it could really turn into something special ... The DioField Chronicle is easily one of the most unique games of the year and a breath of fresh air in the JRPG genre, even for its problems. Read the full review here

The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero

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Publisher: NISA
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Trails from Zero might be missing a few features it could, and maybe even should, have had, but if you've never played it before, don't let that hold you back from giving it a try. This decade-old RPG lost none of its potency as time wore on and remains an essential experience. In short, Zero is a remarkable feat of RPG storytelling and worldbuilding; even 12 years after its original release, little else like it exists. Read the full review here

The Quarry

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Publisher: 2K
Developer: Supermassive Games
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: The Quarry isn't exactly the scariest game out there, but horror game aficionados will find plenty to enjoy here thanks to its high-stakes gameplay and fantastic performances from its all-star cast. If that doesn't sound like your type of game, it becomes difficult to justify paying full price for a 10-hour experience. The game certainly doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel, but still manages to provide players with a unique and rich interactive experience on par with that of Until DawnRead the full review here

Thymesia

Image via Team17

Publisher: Team17
Developer: OverBorder Studio
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS5, Xbox Series X, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Thymesia is one of the best Souls-likes not to come from FromSoftware, full stop. It also stands firmly on its inspirations while finding its own character from within them. It's not perfect, with some of the most valuable aspects (story and level design) being some of its weakest points, but between its stellar boss battles and well-realized combat, there's a lot to love here. Read the full review here

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands

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Publisher: 2K
Developer: Gearbox
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X
Rating: 9/10

What we said: The game's similarities to Borderlands 3 make it an easy sell for longtime fans of the series who already know what to expect from these looter shooters. Still, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands puts its own D&D twist on things, which makes it a unique experience that can draw in new players thanks to its quirks and wacky gameplay. With an excellent loot system and stellar gunplay, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands is easily one of the most addictive and satisfying FPS games in recent memory. Read the full review here

Triangle Strategy

Image via Square Enix

Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Triangle Strategy has in abundance the three things any tactics game needs to succeed: story, systems, and style. Whatever its shortcomings in character development and pacing in the first half, they're easy to overlook. This is easily one of the smartest and most interesting tactics games to release in years, and one I'll be playing for a long time to come. Read the full review here

Tunic

Image via Finji

Publisher: Finji
Developer: Tunic Team
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: TUNIC brings together a gorgeous art style, phenomenal gameplay, and old-school game design baked directly into the way you discover the world, delivering one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played in years. Read the full review here

Two Point Campus

Image via SEGA

Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Two Point Studios
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 9/10

What we said: Somehow, Two Point Campus manages to find a great middle ground between easy-to-pick-up gameplay and deep management mechanics. There’s an undeniable, joyful glee in spending hours meticulously placing items, seeing it turn into a massive well-oiled university. As stressful as you might think it’d be to run a school, Two Point Campus is nothing but fun. Read the full review here

Vampire the Masquerade: Swansong

Image via Nacon

Publisher: Nacon
Developer: Big Bad Wolf
Platforms: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X, Switch
Rating: 8/10

What we said: While Swansong shares one of Earthblood's big flaws — both games throw you straight into the deep end of an established and complex setting, which makes them thoroughly inaccessible to newcomers — it's a much more solid project. Its horror is subtle, its puzzles are mostly difficult but fair, and it's got a surprising amount of replayability. Read the full review here

Warhammer 40K: Darktide

Publisher: Fatshark
Developer: Fatshark
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Xbox Series X
Rating: 8/10

What we said: Darktide is a fantastic live service co-op FPS that is almost worth every penny. Almost. I love it to death, and it's ramping up to be one of my most played games of 2022, but it's not perfect. It will surely become one of the titans of the genre just like Vermintide and its sequel, but it's got a long way to go. Read the full review here

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Image via Nintendo

Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Monolith Soft
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Rating: 8/10

What we said: A recommendation for Xenoblade Chronicles 3 comes pretty easily if you're a fan of previous Xenoblade games or just a fan of JRPGs in general. For others, it's tougher due to its complex mechanics and slow early pacing. Regardless, though there are rough edges, XC3 makes up for it thanks to areas of absolute brilliance, and it's a game well worth experiencing. Read the full review here

That's it for our list of the best, highest-scored games of 2022. What were your favorite games? Let us know in the comments below! 

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Metal: Hellsinger — How to Stay on Beat https://www.gameskinny.com/e9og2/metal-hellsinger-how-to-stay-on-beat https://www.gameskinny.com/e9og2/metal-hellsinger-how-to-stay-on-beat Sun, 18 Sep 2022 17:00:54 -0400 John Schutt

Metal: Hellsinger is a rhythm FPS, staying on the beat is integral. The more musically accurate you are with your shots and kills, the higher your score, the more damage you deal, and, most importantly, the more music you get to enjoy.

If staying on-tempo is giving you trouble, the rest of the game will quickly fall apart. We’ve collected four of our best tips for improving your ability to slay to the beat so you can take the fight to demons across the eight Hells.

Becoming One With the Beat

Metal: Hellsinger does a good job of introducing its shoot-to-the-beat mechanics, with both the tutorial and opening levels leaning on slower songs with more recognizable percussion and less overall accompaniment. Things quickly ramp up, however, and if you haven’t mastered the rhythm-shooting by the second level, don’t expect to have an easy time for the rest of the game.

One of the most important things to remember is to listen to the kick drum when starting a level; most songs begin by prominently featuring its thump, thump, thump, thump. Focusing on that as you play will help you get through most of each level since many of the songs don't deviate from a basic 4/4 time signature. 

It's also important to remember that the reticle pulses with the beat of the kick drum, as do the red centers of the Marionettes found throughout every Hell. Most stages start with Marionettes within visible range, so watch their midsections to learn the beat before letting the bullets fly. 

Something else that can be useful, if a little awkward, is to say the beats out loud (1,2,3,4) as you play, which can help you focus on the core beat amongst the chaos or get back on beat if you lose it. 

Practice with Paz

The Paz skull weapon is the main way you’ll be keeping your Fury meter up, but more importantly, he allows you to practice Perfect shots without needing an enemy to shoot. As the underlying beat of a level’s music doesn’t change as the sounds get more complex, you can use Paz to get yourself accustomed to the tempo.

Pull out Paz and try to string Perfect hits together when you first load into a level. The music loops endlessly, so take as much time as you need to get accustomed to the speed of the music. Head to the first encounter area and test your skills once you feel comfortable. Remember that practice and real-world execution are separate things, so if getting into the action causes you to fall off, don’t be discouraged. Keep at it.

Replay Early Levels

The first few levels of Metal: Hellsinger are the easiest in the game, and the difficulty ramps up quickly past those. While you won’t be practicing speed by going through the first few levels, you can ingrain the core mechanics into your brain. As progression is all about furthering your mastery of the music and testing your reflexes, you may hit a wall that will take additional effort to break, and mastering the first several levels will lay the groundwork for doing so.

Listen to the Music Outside of a Level

You gain access to a level’s soundtrack once you complete it, so if you managed to make it through a level but didn’t do as well as you would have liked to, head into the Extras section of the Codex and listen to the music free of additional distractions.

Grab a pen or use your feet, hands, or fingers tap every time you hear the beat of the percussion (kick drum). Take that experience into the level to see how you did and compare your out-of-game experience with how you do while playing. With that comparison in mind, try to determine where the disconnect is. You’ll probably find what you think is the percussion is an off-beat or something similar, so take some more time to practice listening closely to the music.

Check your Audio and Visual Calibration

Precision controls are essential to staying on the beat in Metal: Hellsinger, no matter what difficulty you play on. The developers knew this and provided an audio and visual calibration system, so you know your control scheme is dialed in and accurate. If you feel you’re hitting the beat properly, but the game isn’t giving you the perfect rating, go into the Settings and run the calibrations again. Depending on how much delay you need, the game can adjust when it registers your shots.

The gameplay and music are inseparable in Metal: Hellsinger, so your enjoyment of one is intrinsically linked to the other, as is your skill at playing. Check out our other guides to the game, including best Sigils and how to keep up your Fury. Our review of the game is here for your enjoyment as well.

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Metal: Hellsinger — Best Sigils for Getting High Scores https://www.gameskinny.com/qwvrf/metal-hellsinger-best-sigils-for-getting-high-scores https://www.gameskinny.com/qwvrf/metal-hellsinger-best-sigils-for-getting-high-scores Fri, 16 Sep 2022 11:12:38 -0400 John Schutt

Metal: Hellsinger is well-balanced around its core experience, and you don’t need any buffs or bonuses to get an incredibly enjoyable five hours out of it. If you want to challenge yourself more and go for the highest scores on the leaderboards, you’ll want to collect the Sigil buffs from the Torments you unlock for completing each level. From there, you'll want the best ones from the lot.

All Sigils have three levels, and at their highest level, Sigils can make your play more comfortable and consistent, ensuring you score higher and higher the more you master each Hell. In this Metal: Hellsinger list, we’ll explain which four Sigils you should focus on depending on your playstyle.

Metal: Hellsinger's Four Best Sigils

There are seven Sigils in Metal: Hellsinger, but you can only equip two Sigils at a time. The two you choose will need to complement how you play. Experiment with all seven, but the four listed here are the best for consistency and ease of play.

Streak Guardian

This Sigil does exactly what it says in the title. At level three, you can take three hits before your hit streak would reset. That’s valuable because the higher your hit streak, the more bonuses you’ll have, like Ultimate and Point Gain, among others.

We should mention that this Streak Guardian is best used as you’re making your way toward mastery of a level and won’t necessarily let you get the absolute highest scores. To truly top the leaderboards, you’ll need to be perfect, or nearly so, and take as few hits as possible. We go over how to get high scores in another guide

You earn Streak Guardian via the Killing with Rhythm Torment, so it’s available early in a first playthrough, and it doesn’t take long to upgrade to the level three version.

Boon Momentum

Reaching specific Hit Streak break points awards boons that increase your Fury and Ultimate gain, among many other bonuses. Boon Momentum makes those break points appear much faster, ensuring your scoring potential ramps up as quickly as possible.

As we’re not interested in getting hit, this Sigil’s usefulness falls off once you’ve collected all the Hit Streak boons, but if you take a hit or two, the Sigil immediately becomes relevant again. While you won’t always lose 16x Fury for taking damage, boons do disappear, and this Sigil makes it easier to get them back.

You earn Boon Momentum from the Relic Thief Torments, some of the more satisfying and least challenging to complete. It’s also an early pickup, so put it to good use.

Ultimate Sovereignty

This Sigil is one of the only passives in the game, granting a minimum of 0.5% of your Ultimate with every beat. While that might not seem like much, the later-game songs are very high-tempo, and there can be at least two or three beats per second, meaning you can get a minimum of 1.5% Ultimate charge for doing nothing at all. Combine that with the energy you gain from hitting and killing enemies, and the Hit Streak boon will keep your abilities active almost constantly.

You’ll need to progress a bit to unlock the Ultimate Mastery Torment that awards this Sigil, as it’s in Yhelm, the third Hell you explore. You won’t be able to fully upgrade it until you reach the second-to-last level of Acheron, but even at lower levels, it’s more than worth your time.

Perfectionist

This Sigil pairs perfectly with high-level play, as it gives at least 10% extra Fury when you make a Perfect hit or kill on the beat. As before, our goal is to never be at less than a 16x Fury multiplier, but it’s also next to impossible to keep that meter maxed out 100% of the time.

This is especially true when moving through longer hallways without any enemies, where Paz is all you have to rely on to keep Fury up. Perfectionist, however, works with Paz, so this Sigil can be effective in and out of combat and make recovering from a bad moment in a boss fight much easier.

You don’t get access to the first level of Perfectionist until Incaustis, the fourth Hell, and you won’t be able to max it out until Acheron, the final Hell with Torments attached. It’s useful at any level, however, so once you’re on your way to the highest scores, it should be a permanent equip.

Those are the four best Sigils you’ll want to always have on. The first two are more useful as you learn the game, while the latter two are best once you’ve achieved some level of mastery. Depending on your preferences, you may want to stick with one over the others. It’s all about how you enjoy racking up points and rocking to the soundtrack of Metal: Hellsinger. We cover how to get all of the other Sigils here

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Metal Hellsinger: All Torments and Sigil Rewards https://www.gameskinny.com/ltuyt/metal-hellsinger-all-torments-and-sigil-rewards https://www.gameskinny.com/ltuyt/metal-hellsinger-all-torments-and-sigil-rewards Fri, 16 Sep 2022 11:23:24 -0400 John Schutt

The various Hells and their soundtracks might be the main attractions of Metal: Hellsinger, but they aren’t the only way to play. After you complete a level, you’ll unlock its three Torments, short challenge stages that reward Sigils (buffs) once completed.

Torments cover a range of difficulties — each has three difficulty tiers — with the better Sigils locked behind some of the game’s toughest challenges. In this Metal: Hellsinger guide, we’ll go over what how to unlock and complete each Torment. Beware, there are some level-name spoilers here, so read at your own risk.

Every Torment and Sigil in Metal: Hellsinger

You start unlocking Torments as soon as you complete Voke, the first level of Hell, on any difficulty. The next four levels unlock the first tier of at least one other Torment, but by the time you reach Gehenna, the fifth Hell, you’ll need to complete previous Torment tiers to face the higher level ones.

Torment: Killing with Rhythm

  • Level 1: Voke.
  • Level 2: Yhelm.
  • Level 3: Gehenna.

In this Torment, you must kill a set number of demons on the beat to get the Sigil. You’ll have 10 seconds to do so, with each demon killed adding between 3-5 seconds to your timer. Lower-level demons give less; tougher demons give more.

Sigil Reward

You’re awarded the Streak Guardian Sigil for completing the Torment, which allows you to take one to three hits before your hit streak resets, depending on the Sigil's level.

Torment: Weapon Trickery

  • Level 1: Voke.
  • Level 2: Yhelm.
  • Level 3: Gehenna.

After every kill you get in this Torment, your weapon switches to another one in your inventory, and you need 30 kills on a 15-second timer to complete the activity. Though, kills grant three to four seconds back to the clock.

As the Torment limits which weapons you have, you’ll always know what you might swap to, so be sure to master all the weapons in the Unknown’s arsenal. The Torment description page will tell you which weapons you'll use, shown under the "Arsenal" section to the left of "Reward." 

Sigil Reward

Completing this Torment awards the Ghost Rounds Sigil, which keeps you from using a set amount of ammunition when you swap weapons, depending on the Sigil's level. 

Torment: Relic Thief

  • Level 1: Voke.
  • Level 2: Stygia.
  • Level 3: Incaustis.

In this Torment, you must kill 50 demons on a 30-second timer, earning between five and seven seconds per kill. You also deal reduced damage, and your Ultimate does not charge unless you pick up one of the buff tokens scattered around the arena.

Doing so increases your damage fourfold, and your Ultimate charges at an increased rate. These buffs do not respawn, nor do more appear as you progress, so you have to use them sparingly.

Sigil Reward

Completing Relic Thief awards the Boon Momentum Sigil, which drastically speeds up how fast you earn streak boons like increased Ultimate and Point gain, among others.

Torment: Giantslayer

  • Level 1: Stygia.
  • Level 2: Incaustis.
  • Level 3: Nihil.

Here you must kill 10 Elite Demons, including Behemoths and Stalkers, for the first two levels and a mix at level three. You have 45-second timer but earn between 15 and 25 seconds per kill, depending on the demon defeated. Accuracy and efficiency are key, as even the weakest opponent here takes a lot to kill.

Sigil Reward

Succeeding here grants the Unyielding Fury Sigil, which, when active, keeps your Fury from dipping below a certain level. You have to reach that level before the Sigil becomes worthwhile, but once you reach 4x (the highest level this Sigil protects), it will never drop below that value.

Torment: Death’s Edge

  • Level 1: Stygia.
  • Level 2: Gehenna.
  • Level 3: Acheron.

One of the most challenging Torments in Metal: Hellsinger, Death’s Edge, tasks you with defeating 99 demons on a 30-second time with a max of four seconds returned per kill. There is also no way to heal in this Torment, but you get more powerful the lower your health is, so it’s advantageous to take a few light hits and then coast on low-ish health for the rest of the challenge. The demons get harder the farther you make it, however, so your play needs to be better and better the longer you go.

Sigil Reward

You get the Last Breath Aegis Sigil for completing this Torment, which gives you a minimum of 50% extra damage when you’re low on health.

Torment: Ultimate Mastery

  • Level 1: Yhelm.
  • Level 2: Nihil.
  • Level 3: Acheron.

Your task in this Torment is to kill enemies with Ultimates. Initially, you’ll only be using the shotgun, sword, and Paz Ultimates, but as you progress, additional options will become available. You’ll have a 30-second timer to get 20 Ultimate kills, with between 7 and 15 seconds rewarded for each done successfully (note: only ultimate kills refill the timer). Your best option here is to group enemies up so you can kill them en masse, especially if you’re running low on time.

Sigil Reward

You earn the Ultimate Sovereign Sigil for completing this Torment, which sees your Ultimate ability charge passively with every beat of the music.

Torment: Slaughter Mastery

  • Level 1: Incaustis.
  • Level 2: Nihil.
  • Level 3: Acheron.

The final Torment stage requires you to kill 25 demons with a 20-second timer, and you receive between eight and 10 seconds back per Slaughter kill. To complete these challenges, you need to know how many hits it will take to put an enemy into a Slaughter state, and then you’ll use that knowledge to efficiently Slaughter everything in your path.

Sigil Reward

Finishing this Torment awards the Perfectionist Sigil, which increases Fury gain by at least 10% for every Perfect hit you get while shooting to the beat.

Taking on Torments isn’t required to complete Metal: Hellsinger, and the game is more than playable without any of them active. If you want to keep playing beyond your first playthrough and go for higher scores, they’re extremely helpful and make the process much more consistent. Plus, they’re a free way to get the vocal version of the game’s musical tracks, which is always a win in our book.

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Metal: Hellsinger — How to Increase Fury to Get High Scores https://www.gameskinny.com/xlair/metal-hellsinger-how-to-increase-fury-to-get-high-scores https://www.gameskinny.com/xlair/metal-hellsinger-how-to-increase-fury-to-get-high-scores Fri, 16 Sep 2022 11:22:26 -0400 John Schutt

Next to its solid shooter gameplay and amazing music, one of Metal: Hellsinger’s most important gameplay aspects is getting a high score. Every enemy you kill gives you points and increases your Fury multiplier. The better you do, the better you’ll rank on the leaderboards once you complete a level.

A high score is also a good measure of how you’re performing overall, as it will show how consistently you’re killing to and staying on the beat, hitting headshots, and staying damage free, among other performance stats. Here’s how to get the highest possible scores and top the leaderboards in Metal: Hellsinger.

Fury Multiplier Explained

When you load into a level, you’ll notice that the number at the top center of your screen is 1x. This value is your Fury meter, which determines:

  • How many points each kill is worth.
  • How much damage your weapons do.
  • How epic the music becomes.

Fury advances by increments of two, so you’ll start at a 1x multiplier, then 2x, 4x, 8x, and finally 16x. Each Fury tier adds more complexity to the music — with vocals coming in at 16x  and provides the listed multiplier increase to your score. One of the core elements of your final level score is how long you stay at the 16x multiplier, so keeping your Fury maxed is paramount.

How to Increase and Max Out Fury

To increase Fury and advance to the next Fury Tier, you must defeat enemies on the beat. There are also floating consumables scattered around the levels that instantly fill your Fury meter to 16x, so keep an eye out for those in each combat arena to increase your high score.  

Once you start a new encounter, shoot and kill to the beat and do so quickly and accurately. The faster you clear a level, boss included, the higher your end-of-level time bonus will be. You’re also awarded for headshots and multikills, so endeavor to use the red, exploding Chaos crystals to take out large groups of trash mobs at once for additional points.

Slaughters (the contextual kill animations that reward health) and hit streaks also give a good amount of points at a level’s end. Keep in mind that Slaughters must be done on the beat, as well. 

Still, the most rewarding performance metric is Beats Matched, which can get into the millions if you’re consistent at slaying and shooting to the beat of a level’s soundtrack. On Voke, the first main level in the game, a 98% Beats Matched value awards about 1.5 million points. Contrast that against a 40-hit streak awarding only 75,000 points.

The one thing that will keep you from the high score in Metal: Hellsinger is taking damage. Being hit does two things:

  • You lose Fury depending on how much damage you take. A light tap from a trash mob might cost you a quarter of your meter. A Behemoth slamming into you can take you from a full 16x down to half 8x, costing you both time and points on your next few kills.
  • There is a damage penalty in the end-of-level points screen. It isn’t much in the scheme of things, only costing a couple hundred thousand points, but that deduction can be enough to knock you out of the top spots or break a desired score threshold.

How to Keep Fury Between Combat Encounters

To keep yourself at maximum Fury out of combat, use the Paz skull weapon. As long as you’re shooting his fireballs on-beat, your Fury meter will build until it hits the maximum value for your current tier. Paz cannot take you to new levels, so if you aren’t yet at 16x, he will not get you there.

Paz is vital for maintaining Fury outside of combat between arenas, so once the door to the room opens, pull him out and start clicking to the music. There might be a few trash mobs between combat areas, but in most cases, you can keep Paz active the whole way to your high score.

In short: to get high scores in Metal: Hellsinger, keep your Fury meter at 16x, hit and kill enemies on the beat with speed and accuracy, and don’t get hit. Use Paz when you’re out of combat to keep your meter maxed, and do your best to never lose your hit streak. It sounds simple but can prove quite difficult to execute. Thankfully, you can replay any of the game’s levels to memorize the songs or complete Torment for Sigils to go for higher and higher scores.

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Metal: Hellsinger Review — One Helluva Tune https://www.gameskinny.com/xokyl/metal-hellsinger-review-one-helluva-tune https://www.gameskinny.com/xokyl/metal-hellsinger-review-one-helluva-tune Mon, 12 Sep 2022 11:19:23 -0400 John Schutt

Metal: Hellsinger has one mission: deliver Doom-quality FPS action to a heavy metal soundtrack featuring some of the biggest names in the genre. I'm happy to report that it succeeds with flying colors.

This is the complete package, with satisfying gameplay, fantastic music, non-stop action, and a story that hits familiar beats but is both well-told and well-acted. There's also no filler — Metal: Hellsinger knows exactly how much game it needs to get its point across and adds nothing extra to take away from the experience.

Metal: Hellsinger Review — One Helluva' Tune

You can't talk about Metal: Hellsinger's gameplay without talking about its music. The two are inseparable. As a rhythm shooter, your performance and combat effectiveness are directly tied to how well you shoot to the beat of each level's unique track. Thankfully, none of the early songs are particularly fast or challenging to sync your shots to, with the tutorial level being particularly forgiving.

That doesn't mean the tutorial soundtrack is lacking, though it is one of the shortest songs in the game, befitting the level's brevity. Everything you learn in that first easy experience carries over into the rest of Metal: Hellsinger. Slaying to the beat, as the game's marketing calls it, is essential, and there are both audio and visual cues to assist you in shooting along with the music.

The percussion is more pronounced to rise above the noise of gunshots and exploding demons. The aiming reticle takes up a good portion of the center of the screen as well, ensuring the beat markers are easy to see even in the most hectic of scenarios.

As you make your way through the game, the HUD becomes less and less of a factor as you become more and more accustomed to the combination of gunplay and music.

Difficulty in Metal: Hellsinger ramps up quickly and follows how music gets harder: it gets faster. The first two levels — the tutorial and Voke — are relatively casual songs compared to the high-tempo shred-fests of the mid and late game.

Every level has a short learning curve as you get used to the new beat, but because of the precise controls and enjoyable shooting mechanics, you'll want to engage with the music. The shift in soundtrack when you reach a boss can be a little jarring after 20 or so minutes of learning a new rhythm, but never enough to cost you anything.

All of these factors come together when you're in the thick of things, exploding and dismembering demons with the weaponry on offer. You start with nothing more than a sword and a particularly talkative, flame-spewing skull. Throughout the first four levels, you'll add a shotgun, dual revolvers, a rocket-launching crossbow, and a pair of infernal boomerangs, which are more deadly than you'd think.

Every weapon on offer is incredibly effective if properly used. Still, the dual revolvers are by far the most consistent because of their damage over long ranges and their Ultimate ability, which summons a second instance of the player character to do damage on your behalf. Paired with the shotgun as a backup, I rarely found a need to use the crossbow or boomerangs except to add some variety to my loadout.

What was never in question was my desire to be at the highest bonus tier. Metal: Hellsinger is, after all, more than just a shooter. It's an arcade-style shooter with scores and multipliers and buffs. The higher your score multiplier (called Fury), the more of the music you'll be able to hear, and at maximum Fury (16x), not only will you be raking in the points, you'll be able to hear the vocals as well. Every enemy you shoot and kill to the beat raises your Fury, but taking hits reduces it, so staying aggressive, accurate, and deadly is paramount.

The dynamic music usually works as intended, with the melody increasing in complexity and intensity the better you do. If you swap between Fury tiers, however, the music can get a little muddled, and it goes from kickass to mildly bungled quickly. This can frequently happen in boss fights, especially on a first encounter, taking what are otherwise amazing fights and transforming them into garbled messes. Not unlike the encounter at that point, really, but off-putting all the same.

There are also challenge rooms called Torments that provide selectable and increasingly powerful buffs that make getting high scores even easier. These Torment levels won't add more than a few more hours to your playtime, but they do get quite challenging and don't give much room for error.

Hell is a Sequence of Arenas

Metal: Hellsinger's story is primarily told through hand-drawn cutscenes with plenty of exposition from your friend Paz, the talkative skull. The levels themselves add little to the narrative, existing primarily as a well-realized and aesthetically interesting series of arenas for you and the demons to fight in. Free of Paz's dialog, expertly voiced by Troy Baker, each level could be a featureless collection of rooms filled with demons and accomplish the same purpose.

That's not to say the setting isn't appreciated. Hell has been associated with metal music for a long time, and having a long series of generic arenas set to this game's fantastic soundtrack would be confusing in the extreme. In other words, while the levels themselves are uninteresting from a layout perspective, combined with the rest of the game's aesthetic and tone, they function exactly as they're meant to.

The story follows much the same throughline. You are the Unknown, a particularly angry and tenacious damned soul in Hell who had her voice stolen from her by the Red Judge (voiced by Jennifer Hale) eons ago.

Following an extended stay in an extradimensional prison, she forces her way out with the help of Paz, who calls himself the Pulse of the Universe. You then spend the next four or so hours of in-game time carving a path of destruction through increasingly more hostile levels of Hell, taking down Aspects of the Judge on your way to killing the Devil herself.

The story is done well, but the overarching narrative relies on more than a few cliches and is content to tell you what happens rather than let you experience it. There are a few twists and turns, but you, as the player, have almost no say in what goes on in the cutscenes, and they serve primarily as window dressing that connects each level. There are some plot holes as well, which the game tries to handwave these away, but they are all the more noticeable for it.

All that said, there is nothing offensive about the story of Metal: Hellsinger, and there are a few cool surprises along the way. While it was frustrating to see it lean on old tropes as much as it does, I was invested enough in the Unknown's plight primarily because she's such a cool character, reminiscent of Doom 2016's Doom Slayer. She's more a force of nature than character sometimes but has enough emotive presence to be engaging in a way that made me want to see her succeed.

Metal: Hellsinger Review — The Bottom Line

 

Pros

  • One of the best soundtracks of the decade.
  • Fantastic gunplay and music integration.
  • Satisfying fights no matter what you're killing.

Cons

  • A trope-y story more told than shown.
  • A small selection of weapons, some of which are more fun than effective.

Metal: Hellsinger doesn't overstay its welcome. It knows exactly what it wants to be and gets it done in the space of no more than five or so hours. It is the perfect length, its music is just this side of perfect, the gunplay is terrific despite the limited weapon selection, and every level is enjoyable enough to play again and again.

The enemy variety is surprisingly large for such a tightly-built experience, with every mob needing a different approach and each boss taking a new spin on established mechanics. The later game enemies are some of the toughest challenges, but by the time you face them, you'll have enough mastery that they won't take long to overcome.

Metal: Hellsinger's only real failing is technically its narrative, but that isn't even a failing so much as it is a secondary concern for the game it wants to be. I'd have liked it to take a few more risks and be a little more engaging, but like the rest of the game, it does exactly what it means to and then gets out of the demon-slaying.

All in all, Metal: Hellsinger is a short, sweet, and immensely enjoyable experience worth every second of your time. It more than earns its purchase price. I cannot wait to see what the team at The Outsiders makes next because if this outing is anything to go by, they have one Hell of a future ahead of them.

[Note: Funcom provided the copy of Metal: Hellsinger used for this review.]

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