Metro Last Light
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
North American Release Date: May 14, 2013
European Release Date: May 17, 2013
Trophies: 1 , 3 , 11 , 38
Inspired by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky's novel Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light takes us into a morally ambiguous world filled with danger, sex, mutants and magic. One bullet can mean the difference between life and death, and only the strongest survive; will you?
Metro: Last Light is one of those games that you can’t describe as completely realistic, but can describe as grounded in realism where the gameplay is concerned. Yes, you are using fictional weapons in a fictional environment against fictional enemies, but Metro: Last Light is about as realistic as a shooter gets without ditching good gameplay for the sake of realism.
Your arsenal consists of any three guns of your choosing – ranging from a double-barrelled shotgun to a revolver to a massive sniper rifle - all of which are customizable – claymores, two types of grenades, throwing knives, and a melee blade. On top of that you are equipped with gas masks for walking on the surface and polluted areas, night vision goggles, a pump for your flashlight, filters for your mask, and a watch that alerts you of enemy awareness. These gadgets and gizmos alone make Metro: Last Light stand out from the crowd, even more so when you start using them.
The gas masks are for protection in polluted areas. Each time you sustain an injury, the mask may fog up, get smeared with grime and flies, or slowly start to crack, eventually splitting open and rendering the gas mask useless. You’ll also need to keep a watch on your watch, (poor pun, I know) to see how much time you have left in your filters. When it reaches zero, you die within seconds. To avoid such a tragic incident, you’ll need to replace your filters, which only can be found, not brought. As with your flashlight and night visor goggles, you need to charge them up with a pump in order for them to work. It’s these little things that put you in the shoes of your character – you feel as if you are the one performing these seemingly mundane, yet life-saving actions. Not only that, it keeps the pace varied and forces you to be ready for anything at any time. Your visor might break at a moment’s notice; you could run out of mufflers and health packs; your ammo supply could be reduced to zero. You’ll need to investigate the darkest corners of the Metro in order to stay alive, and the game makes it worth your time.
Yes, the Nazis have gathered up again for a nation-wide clusterfuck. Yes, you can shoot them.
Almost every combat situation allows for a different approach; do you want to be silent? If you choose to do so, will you kill the enemy soldiers or spare their lives? Or do you prefer to not approach them at all, and keep to the shadows? Or perhaps you will shoot them from a distance using silenced weapons? If you’re feeling like a fight, then you’ll possibly decide to go in, guns a blazin’, using your shotgun to blow them in half. With the exception of some scripted, dialogue-heavy scenes such as escaping from the enemy’s base, you’ll have the option to tackle each situation as you see fit. Not only that, you’ll be able to perform actions such as switching off (or breaking) lights bulbs, flicking off fuseboxes and blinding everyone, distracting the enemy, listening in to conversations and gleaning useful information, or even stealing their gas masks before turning the poisonous steam on, killing them all instantly. How you tackle each situation is up to you, and there are even some optional tasks that you’ll hear in passing, requiring you to listen into the conversations that people have, most of which are very crude, and very interesting. Deciding to kill the enemy with steam and gas as opposed to shooting them is an interesting tact as well.
The gunplay itself is difficult to describe. It’s clunky and slow in a good way, if that makes any sense. The guns carry a lot of weight and the more modifications and attachments you add the bulker they get. When you start off with a pistol or revolver, it’s quick and snappy, but when you start piling on modifications the weapon becomes harder to handle and may affect your playthrough style, so you’ll need to balance out gameplay on yet another scale. This may sound intimidating, but you’ll get used it to in no time at all. Unlike Metro: 2033, the gunplay is a lot more accurate and enemies aren’t the bullet sponges they once were. Shooting feels satisfactory and meaty, and each weapon seems to have its own distinct style. The ‘bastard’ sub-machine gun is slick and stylish; the double barreled shotgun rewards one-hit satisfying kills, and a headshot with a sniper rifle has a fair amount of kick-back. One of the most interesting features that I saw in Metro: Last Light gameplay was the different types of guns - some are pneumatic and have to be pumped.
Overall Metro: Last Light does what almost every other shooter fails to do: it allows for fantastic gameplay that maintains a steady pace throughout the entire game. Hand-crafted and polished to near perfection, Metro: Last Light gives you countless ways to approach any given situation.
Metro: Last Light is a world that you can taste on your tongue and feel in your blood. From the radioactive surface with a grey sky and crumbling buildings, to the partially flooded tunnels that reek with isolation, to the blood-stained walls of the enemy-occupied camp, Metro: Last Light is every bit tangible as it is horrifying. This post-apocalyptic world sets a grim future for humanity. Set in the unlikely location of Russia in the year 2034, humanity is hiding in the underground metro, struggling to survive after the nuclear war. The game follows the storyline of Artyom, a Ranger in Metro 2033, presuming you chose the worst possible ending that has you sending missiles to destroy the home base of a new, strange species called ‘The Dark Ones’. In Metro: Last Light, you find out that one of these creatures is in fact, still alive, and are sent to capture and kill it. Suffice to say, it doesn’t go as planned, and the game is far from over.
Although Artyom never says a word, the colourful cast of characters make up for his silence; quirky jokes are thrown back and forth, most of which are dirty and genuinely funny. Even minor, nameless NPCs are important. They move around their homes, discussing war, hunger, business, violence, sickness, and countless other morbid topics. When you do visit populated places you realise just how desperate these people are; entire ‘towns’ live hemmed together in tin shacks by the river; men drink and smoke to forget their pain, and children cry when losing something as simple as a teddy bear, but yet it twists your stomach in pain to see such a macabre and violent world. A certain scene in which both men and woman are raped, strongly compels you to get involved, although you have the option not to as to avoid being noticed. Situations like these reflect on your moral judgement as a character and the way you wish to play - something rarely seen in other games.
Not the most disgusting depiction of mutant sex you'll see in the game.....
Even worse, not everyone in the Metro has the people’s interests at heart. Very few people do, in fact. Nazis, Communists (referred to as Reds), Rangers, and other factions are all fighting for their own power in the underground society, and are willing to do anything to gain control over the metro. It paints a very desolate and terrifying glimpse at the near future.
Your grim and polluted tale will take you through modern Nazi concentration camps, Communist parties, strip clubs, abandoned tunnels, and best of all, the surface, where you get a glimpse at post-apocalyptic Russia and have the chance to uncover dark secrets within crumbling buildings. Each location is incredibly unique and reeks of atmosphere and attention to detail. This is one of those games where every nook and cranny has something interesting lurking in its dark corners, be it an interesting sight, a diary entry, some supplies, or oddly enough; a musical instrument. Journeying to the surface provides you with an experience drenched in guts, rain, and very weird occurrences that provide no explanation and leave you guessing until the end of the game. Speaking of the game's length, the game clocks in at around twelve hours on hardcore difficultly and even longer if you have the Ranger DLC - which adds an extra difficulty level. Not too short or too long.
Although Metro is a shooter, you aren’t some massive badass in ultra-thick armor who slaughters hundreds of mutants without running out of breath. The weapons can make you feel powerful, but not overpowered. In the Metro, ammo is quite literary money. Military-grade ammo can either be used as bullets or currency to purchase weapons or upgrades, re-enforcing the notion that every shot counts.
Additionally, Metro gives you some downtime from in-your face mutants and enemy soldiers. In some cases you will have to rely completely on stealth to survive. Another situation has you wondering down a dark tunnel, the fringes of your flashlight touching weird, dark shapes as you wonder down a seemingly endless twisting corridor, desperately searching for something that you need in order to progress to the next stage. Although I wouldn’t classify Metro: Last Light as horror, it is certainly a survival shooter, and definitely contains mild horror elements that aren’t overpowering, but leave a nice aftertaste in your mouth.
"Hey guys, firecracker!"
The story itself is intriguing and complex; interweaving flashbacks, diary entries, political lore, and military forces to create a thrilling tale that provides a frightening view of several societies living each day as if it was their last. Tense conversations and angry arguments give you further insight into the survivors and the various ways in which they plan to survive the dystopia.
When you do get a break from the shooting, sneaking around, and political jargon, you have the chance to wonder around small ‘towns’, speaking with strangers, playing minigames, upgrading your weapons, and buying new guns. Apart from one moment of gratuitous and brainless nudity, these small opportunities provide a breath of fresh air and allow you to gather your thoughts before moving onto the next stage.
Metro: Last Light is a unique tale that combines violence, sorrow, political and military factions, and ‘outerworld’ experiences to create a strong and juicy tale that will satisfy your desire to play a shooter that so happens to actually focus on story instead of mindless shooting. Fantastic stuff.
The visuals in Metro: Last Light aren’t the best that you’ll ever see, and there can be some mild technical hiccups such as screen tearing, lag and so forth, but for the most part Last Light does an awesome job in the visual department. Towns are cast in bright light and built out of steel, tin and wood. The metro is mostly grey and black, which is only broken by some hopeful flickers of light and some mutated, green mushrooms. The surface is equally drab, but the few splashes of colour that you do see are splendidly done and pack a visual punch. The attention to detail is profound, from the destructible light-blubs, to the toxic waste, to the glorious level design - Last Light is a game that is simply dripping with detail.
In Soviet Russia, brothel comes to you!
The audio is equally good. Dialogue is clear and well written; voice acting is solid and strong, particularly when the character’s native Russian language is heard. Ominous beats, sinister screams and a heart-racing soundtrack do well to suit each location with equal care. This immersive soundtrack - coupled with the glorious visuals - makes you feel as if you are actually there.
The trophies in Metro: Last Light are not overly difficult or too easy, other than one trophy which requires you to play through the entire game without killing any humans ‘unless forced to’. On the flip side, this trophy encourages another playthrough. You get trophies for collecting cash, doing missions in a specific way, and my personal favourite, playing all musical instruments in the game. Not very difficult, but will require some attention.
Metro: Last Light is a game that is drenched in atmosphere, soaked in a compelling narrative, and presented in a fashionable and enjoyable form that matches all expectations. If you’re looking for an awesome shooter that thinks out the box and focuses on story, look no further than this.
Smooth, crisp, and enjoyable.
One of the best single player experiences you can have in a shooter.
Fresh and soul-piercing audio and visual