Review | Metro Last Light
Metro Last Light isn’t your typical FPS game; it may have the standard choice of weapons and have you running through corridors blasting hideous creatures, but the game has a lot more depth and detail than most games in this crowded genre. It offers some truly great pacing and storytelling, always giving you a reason […]
Metro Last Light isn’t your typical FPS game; it may have the standard choice of weapons and have you running through corridors blasting hideous creatures, but the game has a lot more depth and detail than most games in this crowded genre. It offers some truly great pacing and storytelling, always giving you a reason to fight (or not), and at times, a desperate compulsion to do so.
Designed as a follow-up to the 2010 shooter Metro 2033, Metro Last Light continues the story of protagonist Artyom and the fractured society that’s trying to survive in a post-nuclear Moscow. Development duties have once again fallen to Ukranian studio 4A Games, with author Dmitry Glukhovsky also returning as a story consultant.
Going deep underground
And, being a post-apocalyptic tale, it’s not just the mutated denizens of the outside world you need to worry about; the same social and political differences that caused the conflict in the first place soon start to remerge, so you’ll find yourself faced with just as many ruthless Nazis in the depths of the metro as you will mutant monsters.
Metro Last Light really knows how to lay on the atmosphere; whether it’s creeping though dark tunnels, the sound of unseen creatures in the darkness, sneaking past enemy patrols or the political turmoil and angst you hear from your fellow men – there’s always something that will keep you hooked to see what comes next in this bleak and interesting world.
Pulling you out of the dark
There are, however, a few things that can pull you right out of the immersion. The voice acting and dialogue can be very hit and miss, which is a shame as there’s a great story to be enjoyed here. There are also your standard slew of technical glitches that rear their ugly heads. Enemies you’ve killed sometimes appear and then disappear depending on the angle you look at them and some of the creatures tend to run around somewhat aimlessly, which can be a bit of a boner killer when it comes to maintaining the level of threat. It’s hardly Aliens: Colonial Marines AI, but it’s something 4A Games will need to patch at a later stage.
So Metro Last Light ticks almost all the boxes for story and presentation, but the most important part, as always, is gameplay – and that’s where things start to go a little downhill. The combat is divided between fighting human combatants and mutated creatures lurking above and below. You’ll also be equipped with the usual rifles, shotguns, assault rifles that have the standard array of upgrades, so you’re never without a weapon to defend yourself (another key difference from the first game). These upgrades can be bought from numerous shops littered across the metro system, with a special kind of ammunition serving as the games currency.
Embrace the darkness
Despite offering a great deal of things to shoot and maim, Metro Last Light does offer the option to use stealth and passive play. And while the option to go silent is a tempting one, it’s also an option that’s far too easy and only serves to imbalance the experience. Shooting out lights and sneaking through the darkness will render you completely invisible to your foes, and no matter how close you get, they simply won’t spot you. And while it does mean you don’t get any unfair fails when you go silent, it just feels strange when you walk through a whole level completely unnoticed with no real challenge.
When fighting above ground you’ll also need to keep an eye on your gas mask, which needs special filters to keep you alive – you won’t be lasting long breathing in the polluted air of the over-world! The games does do a great job of heightening your sense of vulnerability when playing on the surface – your gas mask will often become covered in dirt or blood, with Artyom wiping it away to restore your sight of the battle ahead. It’s a minute touch but it adds another level of depth to your journey through irradiated Russia.
The IR Verdict
Developer 4A Games has tried valiantly to create more than a simple by-the-numbers shooter, especially with its desire to craft a new and interesting story. But with linear progression, a silent protagonist and next to nothing to do outside of the main quest, it’s nowhere near as rich in content as games with a similar them like Fallout 3. It flourishes in many areas, but it struggles to maintain the fear and dread it desperately needs to call its own. If you’re looking for a more cerebral experience that’s heavy on the stealth, then Metro Last Light may be the FPS for you. For everyone else, it’s an effective, yet brief, glimpse of a truly interesting world.