Not very often can one say that they so enjoy the idea nuclear Armageddon, but Metro: Last Light does a pretty good job of making it an experience. The sequel to cult-favorite Metro 2033, this new release, developed by 4A Games, has the player take the role of Ranger Artyom once more in an adventure to complete his mission from the previous game.
Enter dystopian Moscow, where an irradiated surface world has led to the last remnants of human society in the area to retreat to the underground subway of Moscow and split the population into three basic groups, The Reds (Russians), The Reich (Germans), and The Spartans. Yup, there’s World War II gang warfare, even in the year 2034.
Although a sequel, Metro: Last Light makes it easy for newcomers to pick up and understand the story within a short amount of time. Although the previous game had multiple endings, Last Light follows the story tree that Artyom, the main character, has fired nuclear missiles at the “Dark Ones,” in an attempt to destroy their nest. The Dark Ones are explained to be a group of oft misunderstood, supposedly irradiated humans that have survived the nuclear bombs and evolved into strange, black humanoid figures with telepathic powers. In Last Light, the group Artyom has signed to, The Spartans, are now hunting what appears to be one last surviving Dark One in an attempt to wipe them off the map completely.
In a world of Modern Warfare, Halo and Borderlands, Metro: Last Light is a welcome breath of fresh air for an player looking for a truly engaging storyline, environments and rewarding play styles. Characters are realistic and natural. Environments are engaging, realistic and immersive, just as well as the strange, yet not completely unrealistic mutant creatures. Moments in certain environments of the game are hauntingly frightening, not because they are attempting to jump out at you – quite the opposite, in fact. Many of the games scariest moments are simply frightening because they don’t jump at the player. They are simply there, as a part of the environment. Don’t look to Metro if you’re looking for long-lasting scare factor, though.
While Metro does well to scare in brief instances, it’s no Silent Hill.
It’s not just about shooting in Metro Last Light, although the game is a first person shooter. In fact, sometimes the less you shoot, the more fun players may end up having. Due to the fact that this is indeed a nuclear wasteland, supplies like bullets and grenades can be hard to come by, particularly on the higher difficulties. It also is worth noting that the in-game currency, military grade rounds, is one of your ammunition choices. Using them in battle can disable a player from rearming with ammunition and customizing weapons at one of the shops scattered throughout the Metro. Because of this, the player can employ stealth tactics like sticking to the shadows and using silent kills to allow ammo conservation and progress through the game without setting off firefights. By using stealth tactics, players are able to hear enemies having conversations with one another that glean out more details of the story.
However, it’s also worth noting that at times the AI dumb as hell. As long as you are in a shadow, it usually doesn’t matter how close or far you are from an enemy, because they won’t see you either way. Apparently, in the world of Metro, staying in a shadow, regardless of how light said shadow is – will make you 100% invisible. Despite this, the stealth feature is still functional and enjoyable, as long as you don’t abuse this slight overlook. The game also employs a system where the player must use a gas mask as they explore the surface, as well as avoid the slightly more irradiated pockets of land sprinkled around the world. The player must constantly keep a steady supply of gasmask filters on hand in order to continue to survive above ground.
All in all, Metro: Last Light provides a great experience for those looking for a little less shooting and a little more story and realism in their FPS gaming life. There’s no multiplayer here, which is a shame, because Metro has a modest amount of unique weaponry and weapon customization in it that would make for interestingly tactical battles online. Regardless, Metro stands strong on the single player alone, and makes for a great game because of, easily comparable to the Half Life and Bioshock series. Metro is what shooting games should look to when trying to strike a balance between the narrative and gameplay.