For anyone who’s played the original Metro 2033, the expectations are fairly high for Metro: Last Light. Metro 2033 is still one of the best post-apocalyptic games ever made. Known for its realism, difficulty, and awe inspiring scenery. Metro Last Light is a pretty anticipated sequel with a pretty big name to live up to.
Based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky the game continues where Metro 2033 left off. Once again you are Artyom dealing with the aftermath from the end of the previous game. The game follows Artyom trying to capture and contact what looks to be the only remaining Dark One, all the while war is about to break out all around the metro over ownership of the newly found D6 military base, which is full of precious supplies.
The story is pretty immersive and very entertaining. The atmosphere compliments the dark, almost defeated tone of post apocalyptic Russia. Artyom is now a Ranger, one of the elite soldiers of the Communist faction of the metro. In your adventures you visit the Nazi side of the metro which is very serious about maintaining purity. This means eliminating non-pure humans. Any mutation is grounds for death. You also run into the communists, which, like any communist state in history, is based on the ideals of equality but instead ruled by a corrupt leader.
The enemies for the most part remain the same. The thing that changes however is the difficulty. Probably one of my main issues with Last Light. Unless you’re in Ranger Mode, it’s just too easy. I remember hiding around in Metro 2033 purely for survival. Afraid that as soon as I peered my head I would be killed. Crouched in a dark corner waiting for footsteps to please go away. Usually low on bullets and health is how I would describe my experience with Metro 2033. It truly was about survival. You just don’t get that in the normal mode of Last Light.
A good portion of the levels are against other humans, be it nazis, bandits, or communists, and you have the option of stealth, pacifist, or guns blazing action hero. There are 2 endings to the game, and if you want the good one you’re supposed to be stealthy and try to kill as few humans as possible. But if you’re seen, it’s extremely easy to kill 10-20+ soldiers without breaking a sweat. It’s not even hard to literally just run up to most of them and knock them out while the other soldiers watch, trying to shoot you. The AI just isn’t difficult. But this is half the problem. The other half lies in supplies. In 2033 you found yourself scavanging and hoping your last few bullets would last you and that the last medkit you had would be enough, all the while trying to get to a safe spot before your gas mask’s filter ran out because you didn’t have another one. In Last Light you will find ammo, medkits, and filters, to the point of not being able to pick up anymore (except the filters, there’s really no limit to how many you can have, but you definitely won’t run out). Currency is almost useless because you never really need to buy anything.
When you’re outside you have to keep changing the filter for you gas mask, just like in Metro 2033. The main difference is that filters are everywhere in last light. You just have to remember to change them, but you don’t have that pressure of time running out like you did in Metro 2033. You can explore to your hearts desire now, which is actually a lot of fun, but another part of the review. For now, I’m just complaining of the game being dumbed down a little. Just like the filters, you’ll find medkits everywhere. Not like you really need them though, since you will usually regain your health pretty quick by hiding. Combat at times seemed less survival, and more call of duty. Shoot a few people and hide until my screen wasn’t red/bloodied and my breathing was normal, then go step out for more.
Now lets talk about the good. The game is fun. Seriously fun. Exploring is addicting and interesting. I complain about all the filters everywhere, but they made it so that I could explore around. The game isn’t an open world type game like Fallout, but there is a lot to see. The flashbacks to pre-apocalypse Russia are great. There is a really good flashback in a downed passenger airplane that just leaves you in awe. Watching from a cockpit as the nukes are raining down over the majestic city you were going to land in. The glimpses of that fateful day are all entertaining and leave you wanting to explore more.
The graphics in the game could be better in some parts, but are very good in others. Some of the characters practically sport shiny helmets for what should be hair, and the shadows could definitely be better, but the scenery is beautiful. If you take the time to look around outside you really see that they created a wonderful world in the weirdest way possible. This once fast-paced city belonging to a super power of a nation now a destroyed wasteland that is actually pretty peaceful. Even the levels indoors are so well done you will find yourself exploring the ugliest of little towns. You really get that sense of people trying to just survive. One of the better parts of the game is exploring these small towns of the Metro. Seeing how people bond and try to create a home like the one they once knew. I spent at least 20 or 30 minutes in each city just watching people and overhearing conversations and don’t regret a single second of it.
The mechanics of the game are solid. The controls are perfect. I had to turn up the sensitivity almost all the way to get it on par with what I consider normal for most games but thats one of those things where everyone has their preference and its adjustable. The game includes many languages, both spoken and captioned. The best way to play and really get into the world of Metro is Russian Audio if you don’t mind a little reading. The story moves at a great speed, adding twists along the way and never getting boring. This is one of those games you start and don’t want to put down. Its on par with most story driven corrider style fps games out right now. At about 9-10 hours to pass, its not terribly short, but you sure wish there was more of it. I took just shy of 12 hours to pass it, but there was a lot of exploration done.
Overall the game is near perfect. I wish the difficulty had been turned up, but I guess that’s what Ranger Mode is for. Just a bit of a shame that some people will have to pay to get the difficulty about on par with what Metro 2033 considered Normal difficulty. Aside from that though, this game is among the best of the year. A story that keeps you interested, incredibly fun gameplay, and, though not an open world, a world that you will love exploring.
Gameplay – 4/5
Graphics – Ã‚Â 4/5 (Probably a 5/5 for PC gamers on max settings)
Story – 4/5
Fun Factor – 4.5/5