Metro: Last Light Review"A Story-Driven Atmospheric Adventure held back by a few technical flaws"Video ReviewIntro
The year is 2034, and and the remnants of the human race face complete eradication. Not just from the many mutated monsters lurking in the darkness, but from each other Different factions have formed down in the metro away from the post apocalyptic surface. Instead of banding together these factions threaten to destroy each other Humanities only hope rests in the deformed hands of the sole surviving Dark One, and the man who brought about the near extinction of the Dark Ones. An unlikely duo to say the least.
Going into this game I truly had no idea what I was getting into having never actually played Metro 2033. I sort of assumed I was in for another generic First Person Shooter. Man was I wrong instead I was treated with a remarkable, story driven, immersive, atmospheric adventure held back only by some technical flaws that I truly wish I could overlook. The game is actually based on a book series by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Which is obviously why the game takes place in Russia. Playing this game I'll admit I was a bit lost with story in the beginning, but due to the large amount of references and flashbacks I pretty much pieced together all the events in the first game. Either way though I'd recommend playing through the first one to get the best experience story-wise although it's not absolutely necessary because like I said I figured it all out.Story
The game picks up one year after the events of Metro 2033. You play as Artyom a member of the rangers who is dispatched by Miller early on to kill this rumored sole surviving darkling. Accompanied by Anna, Millers daughter proud title owner of being the best sniper the Rangers have. Also boasting a sarcastic attitude, which is displayed early on, my favorite being how when climbing a ladder she accused me of staring at her ass, and saying how "It's out of my reach". Sadly, she wasn't wrong because I was staring at her ass.
This truly is now my favorite post apocalyptic based shooter. Although I stress that I only say that in regards to the games story and atmosphere Very few games have immersed me so fully and completely into their world. Metro Last Light is now one of those game. The world created may be based on a version of our own, but its brought to life in an entirely new and exciting way. This game refreshes the lately over-used post-apocalyptic environment.
As mentioned humanity now resides in the metro which I suppose is where a majority of the game takes place. Honestly I assumed going in that this "metro" setting would get old. Surprisingly this wasn't the case. Traveling on a makeshift rail cart killing bandits, and saving people was actually quite enjoyable.
Plus the Metro has different well I suppose you could call them towns that are bustling with people trying to make a life out of this squalor. Weapons and ammunitions can be purchased in the market, which is the primary purpose of the town, but there are other things to do. Such as eavesdropping on all the different conversations going on, taking a go at the shooting range, rescuing a young childs teddy bear, and fulfilling mans primal needs at the local brothel. And for anyone curious yes you can pay for a lap-dance from a very well endowed nude young lady. Actually one of the better brothels I've seen in a game, and definitely the best lap-dance featured in one. Surprisingly the game has a decent amount of nudity for a first person shooter, even teases the player with the beginnings of a sex scene late into the games story.
Characters are what make the game feel believable. Aided with some solid voice-acting all around. And if the people fail to immerse you the world on the surface likely will. The different mutated creatures are well crafted, and might even give the player a fright or two. Graphics
As most First Person Shooter's this game is completely linear, split up into different chapters that can be replayed independently via a handy little chapter select feature on the main menu. The game mixes up real time cutscenes meaning dialogue going on whilst the player is still in control with your typical straight up cinematics. To further add to the story, and also to make load screens more enjoyable between each chapters Artyom recaps what transpired during the previous chapter and reflects on it.
It's hard not to be at least somewhat impressed with the game's graphics. Environments look gritty, realistic, and deadly. Character models look surprisingly good up close, which makes that lapdance I mentioned all the better. Lighting effects at times are dazzling, and monsters are quite detailed. What truly impressed me though was all the little things the developers did to add an extra sense of realism. Things like having to wipe the blood off your mask after shooting a shotgun blast at close range into your enemy. Or, seeing your mask becoming damaged causing your screen to have cracks and holes in it. Giving the player reason for trading out masks in order to get rid of the vision impairment. Also adding character animations in for interacting with almost every object was a nice touch. All of these things showcase the high production value put into the game.
Not all is good though the game suffers from some obvious glitches, the occasional texture pop-ins, along with some really bad looking rain effects which seemed out of place compared to the detail put into the environments. None of the glitches I encountered effected the gameplay negatively. They were of more a visual variety. Such as one particular glitch I suitably named "I dine alone" during which in the cinematic Artyom was having some drinks at a bar. The person talking to me was supposed to be sitting across from me in his chair. Instead he was sitting on well the air itself a good ways away from the table. Oddly enough whenever he took a drink the cup on the table would be lifted as if he was indeed across from me. Amusingly enough the cup appeared suspended by nothing. This is not the only glitch I encountered and while I said none of them broke the game, they did manage to draw me out of my immersion. Obviously further polishing should have been done to eliminate these glitches.Gameplay
All has pretty much been well and good for this game up until this point. This point bringing us to the actual gameplay. Which is where it falters a tad bit. Luckily it manages to hold itself together for the most part.
During my initial 8 hour playthrough I quickly realized that this game seems to put the story ahead of gameplay. I felt as if a lot of the time I didn't seem to have full reign to go about my business. Constantly during each chapter I was interrupted by scripted events. Trudging through areas in which I'd have to wait around for dialogue or story segments to come to pass. These constant interruptions are fine during the first playthrough for those who are engaged in the story, and want to invest their time in it. But, I imagine people who just want to run through a mission shooting things and could care less about the story may find these constant interruptions an annoyance. Especially when having to wait around for a companion to catch up and allow the game to continue. This also could cause subsequent playthroughs to be a bit of an annoyance seeing as the player already will have knowledge of the story, and just wants to play. At the same time though these scripted events are what help to immerse the player. What I'm trying to get at is to be aware of how story-driven this game actually is.
Mechanically the game handles quite well. Structurally it's a bit of a hit and miss. I felt it had some serious balancing issues between stealthiness and run and gun. Weighing much more heavily on the stealth. What I mean is even though the player is technically able to approach situations how they please it seems being stealthy is by far the way to go in almost every encounter. Which perhaps is what the developers intended, I honestly don't really know. I mean I have all these sick looking guns yet it seemed me resulting to my silent throwing knives produced the best results.
Stealth is handled fairly well considering this is a first person shooter. Sticking to the shadows eliminating enemies by executions or other long range silent attacks worked about as well as I figured it would. I mean the game is no Splinter Cell, but I've seen far worse implementations of stealth in games. Pretty much every light in the game can either be manually turned off or shot out, doing this is the key to success. Light is your absolute enemy in this game. Being in it will result in your detection and a fire fight you have a decent probability of losing. It helps that the enemy AI is extremely lenient on your being detected. There were plenty of instances where I was 3ft from an opponent and he was looking right at me, but since I was in a shadow he could not see me, yet other times I was seen far away for no apparent reason. Strangely bodies can be looted, but you are incapable of dragging the bodies into hiding which seemed silly considering the game focuses so heavily on stealth. Like I said every situation could be handled by a shootout, but I do not advise this for a couple reasons. One ammo is a scarcity in this game so shooting willy nilly will result in you being in a predicament when you actually need the ammo you so carelessly wasted. The other reason is shootouts against human AI can be slightly annoying because of slow character movements and not a lot of cover, which results in frustrating deaths. Not to mention these shoot outs bring about the realization that the enemy AI is not that great. Like one time I hid beneath the level in the sewers after being detected and simply killed every enemy one by one as they came single file around the corner. Also note that I was always playing this game on normal difficulty so I am unsure whether on easy running an gunning becomes more of a viable option. I don't want you to think that you can't run and gun your way through because during the first half of the game that is what I mostly did, but later on I began to realize just how advantageous stealth was to this game, and once I started using it more I died less.
Alright luckily there are instances where it is ideal to use your awesome looking weapons, which can be upgraded with different accessories like scopes at local shops. These instance where being loud is allowed (pun intended) happen mostly on the surface where your enemy is of the monster variety, and aren't capable of shooting back. I had no complaints against fighting the different monster types except when I was low on ammo. Nothing sucks more than being completely dry and having 12 wolf mutations surrounding you. For awhile I tried knifing the wolves, but I quickly realized how inconsistent and ineffective the knife really is when not using it for a stealth execution. So, I resulted in using the games drastic back up for situations such as these using my currency as ammo which conveniently in this game is extra effect ammo rounds. I also used this tactic on one of the bosses and obliterated him in seconds. Obviously its not exactly advised since you're literally buring away your money in doing so.
One thing that may annoy some and impress others is the consequence that comes with the radiation on the surface and areas in the Metro. This radiation can suffocate the player if filters are not collected and regularly switched out. Paying attention to the timer on your watch is important, fail to do so and you may find Artyom gasping for breath resulting in death after 30 seconds or so. Inventory management in this game really impressed me. Holding down "Y" brings up weapon management where players can swap out from 3 different primary weapons and a variety of different secondary weapons including Frags, Incendiaries, and throwing knives. On top of that holding down "LB" brings up equipment inventory allowing the player to swap filters, charge the battery on their headlamp, equip a mask, and do a variety of other things. The setup of all this was very smooth and fluid. Other games could learn a thing or two from this setup. Although the amount of things to manage and swap out was a bit daunting at the beginning.
Something to take note of going into this game is that your actions during certain key events along with the amount of times you kill opposed to knocking people out will affect what ending you receive Being a saint grants you the good ending and well I'm sure you know how you get the bad ending. I've seen both endings and while I find neither ending all that satisfying considering the abruptness of them along with how short they are. I found the bad ending to actually have a more powerful and sorrowful effect.Conclusion
Last Light is a very story driven game. Almost too much so seeing as at times it feels that the gameplay comes second. Resulting in a loss of replay value. The atmosphere of Metro is truly astounding and has a way of immersing the player. Stealth seems key in this game and aside from a few hiccups does its job. Straight up shooting could use a bit of fine tuning perhaps not the actual mechanics of it but the structure of the battles themselves. Enemy AI seem to lack strategy causing firefights to be annoying at times. Graphically the game looks quite good particularly some of the character models. Glitches are more abundant than I would like luckily I only encountered the cosmetic variety. The game is gritty and realistic not only visually, but also in the way it plays. I recommend Metro Last Light to any fan of the shooter genre, but particularly those fond of a engaging story. Here's hoping they make a sequel.Pro's
+ Good Story
+ High Production Value
+ Realistic touchesCon's
- Certain things lack polish
- Gameplay is hit and miss
- Enemy AIRating8.8 / 10