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Seven ‘Metal: Hellsinger’ tips to find your rhythm in the slaughter

(Washington Post illustration; Funcom)

“Metal: Hellsinger” is the unholy union of frenetic first-person shooters and heady rhythm games — two genres that, as it turns out, are a surprisingly good fit for one another. On top of a stirring soundtrack featuring an astounding lineup of metal icons, including Serj Tankian from System of a Down, Matt Heafy from Trivium and Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy, “Metal: Hellsinger” is also an adrenaline-inducing experience, requiring you to execute waves of demons to the beat of its soundtrack.

This is exactly what differentiates “Metal: Hellsinger” from first-person shooters like “Doom” (which it shares DNA with in both its heavy metal stylings and hellish setting) but it can be tricky to keep up with that tempo, especially for FPS veterans who see themselves as less rhythmically inclined.

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That’s why we’ve come up with seven tips and tricks for surviving “Metal: Hellsinger,” so you can concentrate on lining up your shots and carving a bloody path toward the very peak of the leader board.

Learn the difference between beat and rhythm

First off, a quick music lesson: The beat is the song’s tempo — essentially, how fast or slow the song is played. It typically doesn’t change. An easy way to think of it is as the pulse at which you can clap your hands (or headbang) to a song. On the other hand, the rhythm is the pattern that the notes of the song are being played, which may vary throughout the piece.

With that in mind, be mindful of the beats in “Metal: Hellsinger’s” soundtrack. One tip is to count the beats verbally, as in “1, 2, 3, 4,” even as you’re knee-deep in demon viscera. That said, if you’re having trouble identifying the beat, listen closely to the bass drum, which is the drum instrument with the lowest pitch. For most songs in “Metal: Hellsinger,” the hits on the bass drum are quite consistent, and should guide you along your rampage.

Stick to the flow

Once you’ve identified the beat, whatever you do in “Metal: Hellsinger” — be it shooting, slashing or reloading — should be in sync. Despite its “Doom” sensibilities, “Metal: Hellsinger” is still a rhythm game at its core, and landing attacks as closely to the beat as possible will deal more damage, build hit streaks, charge your Fury meter and more. Even reloading your weapons at the right moment will allow you to shave off precious seconds, so you can get back to unleashing your vengeance on hell without missing a beat.

Shoot Paz to the beat to maintain Fury

Another factor that determines the damage dealt is Fury, a meter that’s filled up when you land your shots on time. The more Fury you accumulate, the more damage you can deal — but Fury can also be gradually depleted when there are no enemies in the vicinity to kill. One way to max out your Fury is to fire your pistol, Paz, in between encounters. While you don’t need to aim your gun at anything in particular, you have to continue shooting Paz in time with the beat to maintain your Fury. This is immensely useful since Paz doesn’t need to be reloaded, unlike the rest of your arsenal. At the same time, this helps you to keep on grooving to the music between kills, so you can swiftly ease into the soothing rhythm of shooting when you face your next horde.

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Keep moving and grooving

One of the most important tips is to stay on the offensive. Taking cover behind boulders and sniping from a safe distance aren’t going to help you much here, especially since you’re strongly encouraged to eliminate foes rapidly. Keep moving no matter what, and remember to sidestep and strafe to avoid taking damage. Don’t forget that you can also jump and leap off cliffs to spray a barrage of bullets into the noggin of a demon below you.

Slaughter your way to victory

Taken from the “Doom” rule book of heart-palpitating, shoot ‘em up action, Slaughtering is the “Metal: Hellsinger” equivalent of Glory Kills, in which rushing forward to slash satanic creatures into fleshy chunks with a lethal blow will reward you with some health. This move can usually get you out of some tight spots when you’re low on health, so be prepared to zip around the battlefield frequently. You may even find weaker demons, such as the Marionettes, to be a good source of health during boss battles.

Get familiar with your weapons

The infernal pit of hell comes with its own demonic arsenal, but these are still based on familiar guns and weaponry: The talking skull Paz is your pistol, Persephone is a shotgun and the Hounds are a pair of revolvers. Every weapon varies in terms of damage dealt, reload speed and rate of fire, but your familiarity with them becomes pivotal as you attempt to shoot your foes on beat. For instance, Persephone deals a great deal of damage, and its spread lets you take out multiple demons at once, but its low reload speed means you can only fire the shotgun once every two beats at most, which can throw you off your rhythm.

Take some time to understand how the guns work — even experiment with different weapons rather than sticking to your favorites — so you can work out how to blast these demons to a pulpy mush efficiently.

Don’t worry too much about dying

The truth about “Metal: Hellsinger” is that you’ll probably end up dying a lot — which is fine! Embrace death as you would an old friend; the more practice you get, the more familiar you’ll be with the music, the map and your enemies. Before long, you’ll be dodging attacks and killing demons like the hardened, hell-bound avenger you’re meant to be.

Khee Hoon Chan is a freelance writer who lives on the internet. You can read more of their pieces here, or ask them about the weather on Twitter @crapstacular.

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