Today, I wanted to take a look back at a game that had yet to review in detail, so upon finding this in my library, I found it high time to renew my interest in this title.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Metro is a series that takes place in Russia after a nuclear armageddon consumed the world. Survivors have taken to the Metro lines deep under the city for protection from radiation and other worries of the deteriorating world. Now this is the second in the series, but playing through the first is not required at all, anything you need to know is delivered through stylish cutscenes and keeps you engrossed.
Something Metro fans may be concerned about is the gunplay, this is a first-person shooter first and survival-horror second. The guns each feel satisfactory to use and all have upgrades available for purchase at periodic rest stops. I found the revolver with rifle stock and silencer particularly handy, and it stayed with me the whole way through my first time playing the game.
Graphically speaking, this is a contender for prettiest visuals of the year. Textures are high quality, and they make good use of Nvidia PhysX for water and cloth physics. Animations are spot on for all the animals and people look sharp. The post apocalyptic theme runs strong as you see and explore the ruins of civilization.
If you do plan on exploring, it is best to stock up on air filters while trekking the radioactive world above. As Artyom, you have a handy watch that will monitor how much longer your current filter will last. In fact, most of the user interface is expressed in this fashion: Objectives are listed on a clipboard, a compass will direct you where to go, and even all the magazines have places for you to view the remaining bullets. Actual HUD elements are minimalistic and the game is much better for it.
As far as the story goes, you are a ranger, Artyom, and you are tasked with hunting down the last of the “Dark Ones” a humanoid creature whose race you wiped out in the previous game. With various partners in the beginning, Metro will hold you hand through the first chapters to teach you the basics, the real excitement comes when you are alone. When alone, the survival aspects and horror work so much better. Scavenging for supplies becomes second nature and fighting off the various beasts and factions is exhilarating. The story is no Bioshock Infinite or The Last of Us, but is an adequate motivation to keep you compelled.
The one pitfall the besets the game is in the last act, where it is an all-out fight with a particular faction. You work with fellow rangers and take out numerous soldiers and even a vehicle or two. The climax is the antithesis of the whole game. Supplies are plentiful and scavenging is useless. Stealth is not an option. The feeling of loneliness is replaced by a Call of Duty-esque band of soldiers theme.
Despite some shortcomings, Metro:Last Light is definitely a title worthy of your attention, whether it is your inner graphics whore, or the survival aspects that draws you in. If you see this game at around $40 or less, then I would say to pick it up and give it a whirl.