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FTN reviews: Metro Last Light

June 10th, 2013 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

I was very surprised with Metro Last Light as I was never very fond of 2033. I felt the latter was missing something and just didn’t play well at all. The atmosphere was great but the dodgy mechanics really put me off the game for a good long time.

I’m happy to say that Last Light has built upon the first game and really pushed the mechanics forward.

Metro Last Light picks up 1 year after the events of the first game. Artyom is now a ranger and living in the D6 bunker facility. Having launched a missile strike at the dark ones at the end of the last game it appears Artyom is regretting his decision.

When the nomad Khan turns up and tells him that not all the dark ones are dead Colonel Miller sends Artyom out to kill those remaining.

Artyom arrives to find a baby dark one and is subsequently knocked out. When he comes to it appears he has been kidnapped by the Nazis and begins his escape through sections of the metro and the surface he has never seen before, aided by a man he meets whilst imprisoned called Pavel, they try to find their way back to the D6 bunker.

The story is more in depth than that but I’ve already ruined too much. To be honest the story was one of the main things that kept me going through out this game. It’s not to say that any of the gameplay elements are horrible but the story is clearly the best part.

This time the story isn’t based off of the book but had the same writer working on it, it is well fleshed out and very satisfying. Plus there are two different endings to see depending on your actions.

When it comes to the gameplay elements there is a lot to learn in this game, especially for console users. The button combos for different things can become confusing sometimes and I found myself throwing pipe bombs when I just wanted to wipe my visor.

There are two wheel menus, a compass and task menu, a journal, a quick key for sorting through weapons and a few hot key buttons. On PC this would be child’s play but on console it becomes a mashing of different buttons whilst holding others to quickly change a mask or take a medkit.

Once used to the menu you still find yourself making the odd mistake which in the ranger difficulty just isn’t good at all.

Bullets are a commodity in this game so don’t go in expecting a post apocalyptic FPS. Most of the game will be spent conserving ammo for the surface dwelling mutants. Humans can be easily dispatched with stealthy tactics. I found the ability to unscrew light bulbs, disrupt breakers and lure enemies to their demise to be quite fulfilling. There are various ways to get around a level and on the easier game modes shooting through the masses may be the better choice but as you raise the difficulty enemies become harder and bullets less available.

Mix the stealth with an ability to throw knives and the stealth kill becomes satisfying.

If you have somehow grown a conscience and don’t want to be the one killing your fellow man in this post apocalyptic ‘there may not be many of us left’ scenario then there is the knock out option. Artyom sneaks up and strikes his opponent with an almighty blow to the head, this tends to be more dangerous as it requires you to be close enough to smell their breath and honestly I found killing to be much more satisfying.

The times where shooting is a must it plays like any other FPS but with the knowledge you do not have infinite bullets, the enemies you are likely to shoot tend not to go down in one or two shots either and you find that precision is the key, short precise bursts to be exact.

The world of Metro Last Light is wonderful, a series of abandoned tunnels, bones and dead bodies. A world where giant armoured spiders roam the dark caverns, where the husks of a world long too gone lay uninhabited and where radiation lies around every corner.

You sometimes find yourself stealing a look at this bleak Moscow, a plane long since crashed lying in front of a theatre, the rusted skeletons of cars once driven by families and the debris of homes once lived in.

You barley have any time to appreciate this nightmarish land as on the surface you require a gas mask to breath, the filters on said gas mask must be changed in order for you to continue breathing and these are not so easy to come by.

Some filters you find will give you two minutes of fresh air, others only 20 seconds, depends mostly on your luck in finding them. There are areas where you can breathe but it is mostly guess work as there are no audible or visual cues that you can remove your gas mask.

Your funky wristwatch tells you how much air you have left and if you can be seen by enemies or not, this watch is invaluable and I cant for the life of me think why no one would steal it from you.

The gas mask will get dirty too, grime from puddles, dust and blood will all splatter onto your gas mask and it has to be wiped. It is a really cool feature and something that immerses you in the experience even more, reminding you every second that you are on this dangerous surface world and should work to soon get back underground.

Metro Last Light is riddled with suspense; the music that plays in the background is unnerving, especially when making stealth kills, on the surface things really become eerie with a sort of moan going on in the background that could be the wind but sounds like a giant with a bad back trying to stand up.

There are moments in the game that you could swear this world was haunted, especially the downed plane scene, these all add to the creepy feeling that you get when surface bound.

Where Metro Last Light goes wrong are its sometimes game breaking bugs.

For instance outside of the theatre with Pavel he is supposed to help me over a wall but all he did was stand there, I tried reloading the last checkpoint but the same thing happened and eventually I had to restart the level.

There were some guards who were frozen in place that were impossible to stealth kill, this led to me being killed every single time and again had to restart the level from the main menu.

Reading the forums it seems there are a lot more and I am lucky to have only come across these two, it makes me think the switch of publishers harmed the development of the game and maybe it was pushed out too quickly. On the other hand the game was slated for a February release this year and I am glad it had extra time to breath.

3.5 out of 5 nerds

It’s a greatly immersive game and if it wasn’t for the game breaking bugs would rate higher, hopefully future patches will sort this problem.

If you are looking for a great looking game with some fun gameplay elements then I highly suggest picking this game up.

If you love a good story but hate the idea of hardcore gameplay then give it a bash on easy, after playing on ranger difficulty I went back to easy and tried out the first few levels, it is a breeze compared to harder difficulties with plenty of bullets and dumber AI.

It may be the only interesting survival horror game this year so go on and give it a try.

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.