Video games are based on all kinds of cool properties these days, but the sad fact is that most licensed titles totally suck. The problem is usually that developers have little choice but to rush a game to coincide with the release of a movie or some such thing. Luckily, in the case of developer 4A’s Metro series (based on the series of novels by author Dmitri Glukhovsky), zero time constraints (beyond the normal release windows) means that the tale of Artyom and the post-apocalyptic Moscow Metro tunnels remains one of the cooler IPs in games today.
Following the demise of publishing giant THQ, it was almost uncertain that the sequel to the atmospheric Metro 2033 would be released. But when the title was picked up by Deep Silver (), all of us super fans breathed a collective sigh of relief; this is one hell of a game.
Following World War 3, the denizens of Moscow are forced to live within the sprawling Metro system when the surface is rendered uninhabitable by extreme radiation. Each station becomes its own sovereign city and clashing ideologies in the form of communism, Nazi-ism and beyond are laying the groundwork for the possibility for another awful war.
We rejoin Artyom following his courageous missile strike against the Dark Ones, a new race of humanoid beings that appeared in the wake of WW3 and who thrive in the harsh radioactive atmosphere of Moscow. The Dark Ones appeared to be the greatest threat to mankind with their ability to enter minds and kill with ease. Also, they’re spooky as hell and look like some sort of combination between an alien and a. Thus, Artyom and his Ranger brethren wiped them out, or so it was thought. Your old friend Khan has tracked down the last of them, and it is up to you to find the young Dark One and discover its place in the grand scheme of things. Will this bizarre creature cause the downfall of the Metro, or will he be mankind’s last hope for redemption and a sustainable future?
Though former THQ president Jason Rubin recently wrote an open letter admonishing the working conditions under which Ukrainian developer 4A was operating, Metro: Last Light is a superb blend of gritty, post-apocalyptic decay, political intrigue, and good old-fashioned action/adventure. What begins as a simple mission to locate and study the last of the Dark Ones soon spirals out of control and becomes a race against time to save humanity from itself. Every time Artyom turns around, he is faced with another set of problems that send him barreling through the massive Metro and through such terrifying locales as a Nazi-run concentration camp, communist occupied train yards, and mutant spider-infested catacombs.
Thankfully, there’s an expanded arsenal at your disposal to help keep you alive. The inaugural installment of the series only boasted a handful of weapons, but the sequel not only adds some fun new toys with which to experiment, there’s also the option for attaching different scopes, silencers, barrel extensions, and laser sights to your weaponry. This helps provide a stealthier means of execution similar to taking outposts in Farcry 3. Oh sure, you can run into any situation with guns blazing, but the smart player takes his time and surveys his surroundings. You’ll now have the option to shut off circuit breakers so as to easily hide in the shadows. It’s tricky at first, but with the visibility meter built into your watch, you’ll be silently taking out bad guys with throwing knives and pneumatic sniper rifles from the shadows in no time.
You’re still equipped with your handy headlamp, and the clever hand-crank generator mechanic returns from the first game to help keep you out of darkness. Enemy AI has been dumbed down a bit on easier difficulty levels (this is not a bad thing), which means that you won’t be spotted from a million miles away this time around. You’ll be able to truly take in the spectacle that is the Metro system. Last Light was built on a budget, but the amount of detail found in every station, tunnel, or trip to the surface is mind-blowing. It’s one of the most creative game worlds since Bioshock’s Rapture, and fits the dark tone of how far humanity is willing to go to kill one another quite nicely.
Players looking for the ultimate challenge will be glad to know that Ranger Mode makes its return in Last Light (it’s free with the special edition, $5 otherwise). By limiting the HUD and resources while simultaneously upping enemy AI intelligence and endurance, you’ll truly feel the desperation and frustration that would come with trying so hard to bring peace to humanity. This means that things get a little more real, and Ranger Mode should only be played by Metro or FPS veterans.
Hit the jump to continue reading the review of Metro: Last Light…
- Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
- Published by:
- Deep Silver
- Developed by:
- 4A Games
- Year Released:
- May 14, 2013
- Also Available On:
- PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PS4, Windows
- First-person shooter
- Official URL:
- Metro: Last Light