Breath of fresh air in FPS genre, very entertaining and well-paced. Gripping atmosphere
Choosing new weapons should've been more informative since ammo is crucial to survival
Gameplay ( 9 )Graphics ( 9 )
- Total score
Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter set in Moscow after a nuclear war left the surface unlivable and drove the inhabitants into the metro tunnels . It’s a post-apocalyptic tale based on the novel of the same name by Dmitry A. Glukhovsky. In this world there are no functioning governments left, just factions occupying different stations and even though family is how the game starts off there’s an even stronger connection holding these factions together and it becomes apparent very quickly: survival. From the moment you’re introducted to the currency of the game that is accepted by all factions, military-grade ammo, you get a clear sense of how every facet of life is a constant reminder of that and is a delicate balance. And yes since it is ammo it can be used in any weapon but as the game so truthfully puts it it’s basically shooting money. So aim wisely
You play the role of a young man, Artyom, who was born only a few days before the bombing and raised the majority of his life in the relative comfort of the metro stations. Artyom’s journey starts off simple enough in the Exhibition station run by his adopted father but that will all change soon. A visit by the ranger Hunter brings grim news that the station is losing its current war with creatures called the Dark Ones and will need help or all is lost. This serves as the catalyst for your entire journey. You’re given a task by Hunter to deliver a message to another metro station seeking this help. And you’re soon off to journey through the metro tunnels and across the barren surface in a desperate attempt to succeed in this task to save your home station. There is no in-depth tour or interaction with inhabitants in your home station and that works for and against the game. It works against the game in the sense that you don’t feel any real connection to the home station however it introduces you faster to what the game does so well and makes it so entertaining throughout
Metro does an excellent job of capturing the harsh reality of a post-apocalyptic world from the non-existent HUD to its lack of menus to the detailed graphics showing the exact amount of ammo on not just your own weapon but found in the environment and on other NPCs. All changes to your inventory takes place in-game and action only stops when you pause the game. Want to check on your objective? You hold up a pad in your right hand to see the current task, which also has a compass pointing you in the right direction. Oh, you’re in an area too dark to read what’s on your pad? Well that’s why you have a lighter in your left hand you can hold up. On the surface and want to know how long you have before your air filter has to be replaced? Check the wristwatch on your arm. If that’s not clear enough when your breathing becomes labored and that sound is louder than anything else you might want to change your air filter manually. There is no health bar. You determine your health based on the amount of blood on your screen and the sound of your heart rate increasing. Your health does regenerate when you’re not taking any damage. Need a quick health boost? That’s in-game as well and you better hope you finish using the medkit before you die. There is no aspect of the gameplay that takes you out of the game. You even have to charge your flashlight or night vision manually. And care was put into every graphical detail so as a player you appreciate this and become accustomed to it fairly quickly. It truly makes you aware of your surroundings and puts you in the mindset of what it would take to survive.
Your character can only carry 3 sets of firearms, a knife, throwing knives and a set of dynamite. There are two different types of ammo, military-grade ammo and ammo manufactured in the metro stations. (I never used military-grade ammo in any of my weapons and instead used it to buy much needed supplies in friendly areas on the way to my destination.) Switching between weapons is fairly smooth although there were occassions where going from the handgun to the heavy weapon or dynamite resulted in bringing up every weapon in between and in the heat of combat can make you think you didn’t scroll over to the desired weapon and as a result scroll over again by mistake. Each set of firearms uses different ammo obviously and it’s crucial to manage how much ammo you have for each weapon. On all but the most difficult setting the HUD does display how much ammo you have for your equipped weapon.
Since your journey takes you across the span of the metro system in Moscow you will come across not only the various monsters who’ve mutated from creatures or humans due to the nuclear war and the 20 years aftermath but also other human factions, some friendly and others not so friendly. The strategy you use and your weapon of choice is based on the enemy you face and also the ammo you have available to you. Since ammo is highly valued in this world you’ll never come across a random surplus of ammo that’ll allow you to be gung-ho in every encounter you face and so scavenging ammo and weapons during your journey is a crucial element of gameplay. (And since you can visibly see the ammo on bodies even scavenging ammo off of bodies and making sure you get everything never gets tiring.) Facing humans was more challenging than facing some of the mutants because they used cover effectively, never ran out of ammo and at times had better gear than you. So depending on the area you had to use a combination of stealth and cover to advance. There is no cover system so it’s up to you to use the objects in the environment to your advantage. And even though you’re outnumbered in every encounter you never get the feeling that you’re invincible and can just run through stages killing everyone in your way. You will be punished swiftly in this game. You have to defeat each enemy differently and it never feels repetitive.
There are occassions where you work with another NPC or a group but it doesn’t last long whether your company departs from you or they meet an untimely end. There was only one occassion where you was responsible for making sure the NPC you was with survived or the mission was a failure. The game does an excellent job in making you appreciate when you do come across a friendly area or receive help from an NPC. It’s a brutal world and any relief is welcomed.
An issue I had was being unable to test a new weapon in a friendly area before setting off. And in a game where having the right gear not knowing when you’ll come across the next friendly area, getting rid of a useful weapon because you’re not entirely sure if the new weapon in front of you will be more powerful or easier to use could be slightly frustrating if the new weapon leaves you at a disadvantage. (This is avoided only when purchasing weapons because the seller tells you if the weapon is better in some way).
Even though the game is described as being RPG-lite I didn’t see any RPG elements but it didn’t take away from this particular game.
Metro stays true to its theme of being a survival, horror FPS and the further I got along in the game the more I become engrossed in the cold, brutal environment that contained slivers of hope pushing me along in my journey. The game doesn’t give much backstory to work with other than knowing there was a nuclear war that left Russia devastated and the surface uninhabitable. Over hearing conversations from NPCs or being told stories by friendly NPCs adds to the personality of the game. Since encounters with friendly NPCs are limited to the task at hand and they don’t tend to survive long, towards the end of the game I cared more about scavenging their bodies for much needed ammo than their actual death. It works against the game in the sense that the overall satisfaction from completing the mission felt more like an individual accomplishment than one of saving the home station from the Dark Ones and the mutants. However the environment of the game adds tremendously to the personality of the game as well.
Metro was an absolute blast to me. It was a much needed breath of fresh air in the FPS genre and instead of just being run and gun it captured the survival horror aspect perfectly. There were certain chapters in the game that had me on edge exactly like the game wanted me to be. Navigating a partially destroyed building knowing a large mutant could be around the corner in the next room, your breathing laboring due to the need to change the filter in your gas mask mask and only having a little bit of ammo left fit perfectly in the theme of the game. All the weapons felt differently, as they should, and offered enough of a variety to keep the gameplay fresh.
I recommend Metro 2033 to anyone who enjoys FPS and want more than a run and gun experience. The gameplay was solid, fresh and the journey was rewarding from beginning to end.
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