How does the latest chapter of Metro Exodus live up to its predecessors? Read on…
This is the third instalment of the Metro Exodus series, the “difficult album” as it were, and one of the games I was most excited about this year. It follows the continued story of Artyom from Metro Last Light, after the attack on the D6 bunker and one of the game’s possible endings; the redemption.
The world you are playing in for this game is very different from the first two games in the series, which is a most welcome change as there is only so much you can do with level design when your location of choice is basically a load of dark tunnels. The initial part of the game is familiar to any previous players of the series; you are navigating your way through the dark tunnels of Moscow’s old metro system with excursions up to the surface of what was formally Moscow, during which you are trying desperately to survive against other rival factions, mutated animals and the environment, all of which are trying to kill you. But later on in the game you actually leave Moscow and explore other parts of post-nuclear war Russia. This post-nuclear Russia has never looked more miserably beautiful with the developers giving further improved visuals over the previous game taking advantage of some of the latest developments in graphics cards processing power and technology.
The game is made up of a series of liner levels and sandbox areas giving you the opportunity to make your own tactical decisions but still very much giving you a guided story experience. And those tactical decisions and awareness are key to surviving the game; like previous games this is a challenge between resource management and gear accusations to enable you to make more tactical choices. Stealth is once again your friend for ammunition management; it is scarce in the game and it only gets scarcer as difficulty is increased. You need to talk to everyone and listen to the conversations going on around you to pick up bits of information, as side missions are where you gather additional equipment. But in this game there are no arrows or flashing icons above a person’s head for clues, instead information is gleaned from those conversations I told you to listen to and people you talk to and then added to your map that you hold.
One of the most joyous aspects of the games is the way Artyom reacts, moves and interacts with the environment. When you get to doors he pushes them with his hand, you often need to wipe his gas mask as it is covered with the detritus of the Moscow. You don’t have a magical oxygen system that is magically refilled by simply walking over to some oxygen tanks, you have to swap the filter and the animation for this is perfect. The guns are brilliantly designed; there are a couple of typical classics like AK47s but there are others built in the metro system. They look like they are made by engineers but with limited access to materials and more advanced machining equipment; they are functional but brutally simple. The weapon modification system has expanded from the first games, you can now do some modifications out in the game world, and when you do get to modification locations the options available to you are far greater.
I’m not going to talk about the story because this is a story driven game, and a well crafted one at that, and as such I don’t want to ruin it. Like I said earlier in the review, this is one of the games I have been most looking forward to this year and I am very pleased with what I have played so far. The story takes you to new and different places and allows you to engage with the world in a different manner. It is a more human adventure this time, about your own character and what he needs for life and for his family, friends and a small group of comrades. My only criticism would be that some of the mechanics of the game are not explained very well and you really need to watch or read a tip guide to get the most out of the game.
I cannot recommend this game enough but make sure you play the previous 2 games as this is one continuing story, building on the life of Artyom. Plus those other two games are good, especially the second one in the series Last Light, and are usually in sales so can be picked up for a really good price. Just make sure you pick up the Redux versions which have improved levels and graphics and lots of little bugs and issues fixed.
Author: Jon P, Cardiff store