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Metro Exodus

Posted by GG Goblin On February - 25 - 2019

Stepping into the light.

4A Games’ Metro 2033, based on the books by Dmitry Glukhovsky, was a bigger hit than I think even the developers expected. There was something about the more realistic post-apocalyptic setting, the struggle for resources that made each firefight expensive, the fear of everything from mutants to the very air trying to kill you, and those claustrophobic tunnels filled with tension, that made the game instantly appealing to a more hardcore shooter audience. This gave rise to the sequel Metro: Last Light, which managed to be more accessible than the first game, opening up the wonders of Moscow’s Metro system to perhaps the more general shooter fans, while still forcing players to keep an eye on their gas mask filter and use bullets wisely. Oh, and there were plenty of dark, tight spaces to be fearful in again. Now, after a good few years in the real world and in the world of Metro, the hero of 2033 and Last Light returns, convinced that there must be other survivors out there in the world, perhaps somewhere less dangerous and more clean than the depressing underground tunnels.

me1 (Copy)

Metro Exodus may have taken years to emerge, but it was certainly worth the wait. Artyom, the silent hero, is back and things are not looking so good in the Metro system and the community of survivors that took shelter there when the bombs dropped. Despite being warned against it, Artyom has been heading up to the surface to scan for radio signals as proof of other survivors, but has been returning disappointed by the silence. Through a series of events however, it turns out that there are other people alive and Artyom, along with his wife and a team of soldiers, manage to get themselves onto a train on the surface that zips off on a tour of the Russian countryside to find a new place to call home. Yep, that’s right, no more dingy underground tunnels.

Well, that’s not completely true, but Metro Exodus is much more about the open environments on the surface. It also has a number of open-world areas in which the player will have the freedom to explore as they see fit. Exodus is not an entirely open-world game however, and these large open areas are interspersed with smaller, much more linear sections that move the story along. Don’t think for one second that the atmosphere is any less tense with all of this freedom, as everything is still pretty much trying to kill Artyom and friends, and an excellent day/night cycle can bring benefits or hazards depending on the way the player approaches their situation.

me2 (Copy)

Y’see, mutants are still a problem in this post-apocalyptic world, and they really are not fun to face off against, and mutants will be far more dangerous during the night. However, Human adversaries, of which there are many, will be less aware at night, especially for the stealthy player. Day time may mean less mutant issues, but will lead to a far more observant Human enemy.

Players who want to take the more aggressive stance will still run into problems due to the scarcity of ammunition in the game. Bullets are tough to come by, and the player will spend a lot of time scouring the environment for materials that can be used to craft both ammo and better equipment. The weapons all feel like they have been bodged together with sticky-back plastic, but can be tweaked and upgraded along the way, at the various work benches, into very different weapons if need be. The gunplay itself still feels twitchy, although certainly better than the previous game, but strangely seems to suit with the weapons used. It is still a tough game, with Artyom only requiring a couple of hits to be in trouble and require one of those hand-crafted health kits. You did craft some, right?

Heading down the stealth route, players will need not worry so much about ammunition, as the option to sneak up behind enemies and either knock them unconscious or kill them outright is available. Which the player decides to do has an effect on how Artyom will be perceived, which opens up interesting options for playing. There are also plenty of dark, hidden places for stealthy players to take advantage of, if they choose that option. I would say that trying to sneak up on some of the mutants wouldn’t be a great idea. Either way, the game caters to a mixture of both gameplay types and allows the player to make their own choices.

me3 (Copy)

So, the gameplay mechanics all work well and are involving. But it really is the atmosphere once again that will pull the player in. While Exodus may have left the Metro behind, and even given the player some wide open areas to explore, the developers have still gone above and beyond to create a story that feels real and is filled with real characters. There are plenty of linear story sections that break up the open-world areas, and the missions always feel meaningful and of importance to the group. Even between missions, the player can actually have Artyom spend downtime with the other characters in their group, discovering their very real hopes and dreams for the future among other things. Despite the open-world sections, Metro Exodus is still very much a narrative shooter, and it really does tell a great story.

Exodus is a visual spectacle too. One of my favourite things in the previous titles was the ability to wipe the gas mask as the players vision becomes obscured. The gas mask, and thus the wiping, is not used so much in Metro Exodus, but I don’t mind because I wouldn’t want my vision clouded when everything looks this good. It really is a beautiful post-apocalyptic world that 4A Games have created, be it as it flies past while on the train, or when exploring one of the open areas that each bring their own style of environment.

Metro Exodus is not without problems though. It is a tough game and does very little to guide the player, and so will not be accessible to all. There are times when the difficulty feels cheap too, not giving the player a chance to avoid death. The game is not without glitches either, although most of these are simple graphical problems that I am sure will be fixed in time.

me4 (Copy)

Metro Exodus leaves the confines of the Metro system and takes in the big wide world of Russia. While some may miss the tight spaces and mutants around every corner, there is still plenty here to be fearful of, and the world that the developers have created is simply stunning. The story is another highlight, removing any doubt that Exodus is a narrative shooter. The linear sections are tense and exciting, while the open-world areas offer a certain amount of freedom without becoming boring. For both Metro fans and those new to the series, Metro Exodus a great first-person shooter and well worth picking up.




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