Riffing in the Abyss: Metal: Hellsinger VR Preview

Metal: Hellsinger VR 

The Metal: Hellsinger VR Demo is a collaborative effort from game developers Lab42 and The Outsiders that takes the flat version of the game from 2022 and makes it virtual. Now your journey through hell blasting away demons in rhythm to metal music, you’ll be doing it full scale virtual reality.

You can get a taste of the game right now on Steam as the game devs have released a demo which includes the first two levels. The VR version of the game is more than just a straight port of the game. The devs are committed to using the new gameplay mechanics available in virtual reality.

Every weapon is retooled for maximum effect in VR. Each weapon will feel different to use. The developers have created a new hub dubbed The Unknown’s Lair for players to regroup and strategize before tackling the next level. The hub will also contain options for setting gameplay options as well as exploring lore. In keeping with the lair motif, the options take the form of arcane volumes.

Also available in the hub is weapon and level selection. Additionally, you can review your statistics. All of these functions are designed to work in a VR manner where you can reach and touch or grab items. The game devs are taking great pains to include a host of VR options that in today’s VR game market should be standard.

Hellacious Options

So there will be options for vignettes, snap/continuous turning, turning speed adjustment, head vs hand directional movement and more. For the game in particular because it is a rhythm based game, there will be options for beat indicator, aim assist, automatic/manual weapon pumping and height calibration.

Graphically, the game looks impressive when played on my Quest 2 using a AMD 7800 XT GPU. (Can’t wait to try this when the PC adapter for the PSVR 2 becomes available in August).The level design is such that even though the game is arena based, each stage visually flows into the next one. This approach gives a great feeling of more space than there actually is. The game depicts the hellish environments in an impressive array of colors, with the reds especially popping out.

The reds are notable because some enemies are winged demons that pulse internally with the red in time to the music. This provides a great visual aid when to time your attacks for maximum impact. From the levels available in the demo, there is a decent variety of enemy types that evoke, but do not copy, the Doom enemies.

One option available is a Beat Indicator, which is a reticule that overlays an enemy. It shows you the optimum moment to attack for optimal damage. String together enough maximum hits and you will get a prompt for a finishing attack. This is a combination dash and slash attack where you put down an enemy using your skull handled sword, the Terminus.

Metal: Hellsinger Weapons

Other included weapons in the demo are the Paz, a sentient skull that acts as a pistol. For the shotgun equivalent you have the Persephone, better known as the Queen of Death. For two handed firepower, there are the Hounds, Cerberus and Orthrus. The designers gave each weapon a demonic overall and they look very cool.

Two of the eight ‘hells’ are available in the demo and feature some of the music, which is a vital aspect of the game. For the first level, Voke, there are two songs by Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity. Stanne along with Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy each have a song on the second level, Stygia.

Music is a vital part of the game, and they have collected an impressive array of metal talent. The soundtrack includes work from such artists as the composer duo, Two Feathers plus vocalists like Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Matt Heady from Trivium, and Randy Blythe from Lamb of God.

As you move through a level, the music becomes more layered. It moves from simple rhythmic beats to add more instrumentation and then vocals. This is a great approach, as it heightens the tension as the enemies and action ratchet up.

Coming 2024

A specific release date has not revealed yet beyond sometime in 2024. Metal: Hellsinger will include most of the content from the original game except for the Leviathan mode. The game will officially support the Quest 2, Quest 3, PSVR 2, HTC Vive and Quest Pro. There will be DLC to purchase upon game launch.

Metal: Hellsinger comes across as a cross between Pistol Whip and Hellsweeper, both great VR games in their own right. Considering the positive reaction the flat game has received and what the demo shows, Metal: Hellsinger VR is ready to make a fun entry in the VR Rhythm game genre.

***Metal: Hellsinger key provided by the publisher.***