Deep Silver and 4AGames latest release inspired by the events of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s bestselling novel Metro 2033, is a heart-pounding thriller set against the toxic ruins of a post-apocalyptic Moscow. Humanity barely survives in the underground stations where law and order still forms the governing army that allows survivors to coexist in a city devastated and infested with mutants; yet Metro: Last Light will have you fight with every last breath. The year is 2034, and a time to redeem your past in your efforts to survive the future with an arsenal of hand-made weaponry and a land filled with demons.
Metro: Last Light is the direct sequel to Metro 2033, that was released in 2010 and is a dark and dismal tale of the continued survival of humans in the Moscow underground. As a story in its own right you can easily pick up the plot without confusion if you have never played the first game in the series. Within this new Metro outing you continue the adventure as Artyom, where your objective now as a soldier in this sequel is to save the world around you, delve deeper into the tunnels as you brave a deadly evil; and the threat of civil war with the survivors from the catastrophic events could even lead to the end of humanity itself in the aftermath! You begin your journey on a quest to finish what you had started (referencing to the original game) as you embark on a hunt for a Dark One, a mutated creature caused from the effects of the radiation that sits looming over Moscow, but in a turn of events that soon sees you captured, the story soon focuses on your own survival as you try to escape a Nazi prison. From then onwards everything unravels and points to significant occurrences from your past – it’s not just the mutants who you must fear! Whether there is light at the end of the tunnel remains uncertain, Last Light is your last attempt to save life in this story that feels heavily like a final conclusion in game form, yet only just the beginning for Glukhovsky’s upcoming novel, Metro 2035.
There is quite a lot resting on your shoulders as the main protagonist with the future of life itself at stake, full action-packed missions combined with stealth where the story is a remarkable tale that will reel you in with every chapter. Sometimes the intensity of the happenings within the ruins of Moscow had me gripped on the edge of my seat. An immersive, wonderfully paced story with many surprise twists and elements of suspense conjoined with the atmospherics of despair and desperation to live. As well as the battle against mutants affected by the radiation, you encounter political issues with factions, communists and the deadly fascist Fourth Reich who believe in the destruction of all minority factions, everyone has an enemy! It has been a while since a first-person-shooter and survival horror title has made me shudder at the thought of turning another corner whilst taking a slow dreaded walk down a long dark alley, for that alone I can only give praise. Metro: Last Light has succeeded where other horror games such as Dead Space 3 failed miserable because this genuinely has a more mature and memorable scary horror theme. Some scenes are really quite horrific, but in an environment with power struggles, limited means, torture and a deadly threat – expect a dark, unsettling take on how one city can destroy itself with very little hope left. Everything about Metro: Last Light gives the impression of an underground take on a World War III. A mixed bag of surviving, scavenging, going in all guns blazing or taking the option to remain hidden in the darkness as you slaughter your next victim to get closer to your goal.
Not only is Metro: Last Light’s horror elements a constant stream of surprise, but also as a first-person-shooter with a deep and complex plot focussing on survival from destruction, torn factions; it’s difficult not to see come comparisons with the eccentric scenes of Bioshock in some instances with random underground recreational activities to keep people entertained through difficult times. A few oddities that leave you pondering “Seriously!” in a good way of course. With a campaign that felt it tested the human existence both sociologically and psychologically, I felt more depth to Metro: Last Light than that of the last Call of Duty title ‘Black Ops 2’ from Treyarch. Although both very different games, the storytelling and the way you feel immersed into the adventure with Metro: Last Light leaves you wanting to talk about your survival experience and the surprises you encountered. I feel I’ve done my best not to report any major spoilers, but by the time you are 3/4s way through you will find it very difficult to keep your mouth buttoned. I’m trying so hard here…
So, as a first-person-shooter there are plenty of guns to play with (obviously) as you fast get to grips with a new range of weaponry home-made style. Forget the regular overpowered AK47’s and Sniper Rifles from other top shooters, but here in Metro you can carry an arsenal of modified guns to aid your survival techniques with ammo required to be looted from dead bodies or from cases lying around the environments. Scattered and placed are modified Shotguns, Handguns, Assault Rifles that includes a Bolt-Action Rifle, homemade Grenade Launchers and a handheld minigun with a host of different attachments and modifications that can be added and bought from underground markets. It’s difficult to compare their realism as I am no gun-expert and the weapons are classed as modified and home-made, but the favourable choice for me was the range of Assault Rifles because they felt familiar and very accurate with the shots. The heavier weapons felt less accurate and harder to aim as you would expect. Additionally some modifications allowed for enemies to be shot and burn in flames, but you can double up and add suppressors, sights, a bayonet and an extended barrel depending upon your chosen weapon. If you play a more stealthy approach, you need not shoot in the open and send alarm bells ringing to all the other guards wanting to shoot you down – but you can sneak around in the darker areas, turn off lights to hide your visibility then take down your target with a trench knife. Knives and shotguns come in handy for close-quarters combat situations, with some that can even be thrown from a distance and collected again after a successful kill.
The switching of weapons and selection of modifications can be accessed with the games weapon menu through the ‘Y’ button, a quick tap will quickly switch through any of the three weapons you hold at any one time, whilst holding it down will open the options. Here you can browse the modifications and apply them as necessary. Use of an Equipment Inventory screen will give you the option to select a lighter for those darker low-light environments, a medkit and any other equipment that may come in handy on your travels. Some of the modern technology is available for quick glancing; your character will wear a watch at all times that will notify you when you are actively visible to enemies and how much time you have remaining on your Gas Mask when out in the open, toxic environments above the Metro. Whilst touching on the subject, button pressing will become second nature as throughout the course of the game there are many interactive objects that require your attention; turning off lights, finding collectible notes, opening doors, interacting with other objects and even the occasional swinging across from ledge to ledge with a metal pole!
Some of the noticeable areas for improvement could have been with the enemy A.I. Since you have the option to turn off the power from fuse boxes to remain hidden from sight, it comes as a bit of surprise to think that whilst covering the area for investigation not one soldier assumes to put the lights back on or even acknowledges the sudden darkness. The A.I is very lazy are their efforts to hunt you out and although if you shoot one he immediately alarms the others, but as they try to look for you if you remain hidden they just ponder about slowly around dead bodies. However, as soon as you are visible they and many others from nowhere are all over you like a rash. The A.I doesn’t seem very responsive between when you are visible or in stealth – although being able to accurately spot you from quite a distance in a small lit room, yet unable to see or hear you whilst looking directly at you from behind a very small box when in a little darkness.
Visually Metro: Last Light looks very good graphically, highly detailed in the background of all of the environments maintaining a consistent tone of underground rubble with a heavy military theme. This miserable tone of detail neither changes the more you play and it’s a depressed looking underground in serious distress – exactly as it should represent the effects of post-apocalyptic state. Some of the character models look as though they’ve seen better days with the design on soldiers and other key characters looking a bit dated, but this doesn’t distract from how great the story is. It’s entertaining, gripping, addictive and a battle of wits as you fight to save humanity from the bowels of the Moscow underground. You are literally the only hope as you fight with every last breath.
Metro: Last Light is an outstanding, thought-provoking tale of survival against all odds. Released on May 14th in the U.S and May 17th across the E.U it deserves to top the all-format gaming charts. It doesn’t feature any multiplayer or co-operative gameplay, but with a consistently immersive story from beginning to end – the lack of multiplayer doesn’t feel like a loss or needed element.
A must-buy! Pre-order now to receive access to the Ranger Mode for seriously hardened gameplay!