Metro: Last Light Reviews

AuthorReview
Sashamorning
1,658,824 (1,004,735)
Sashamorning
TA Score for this game: 2,659
Posted on 23 May 13 at 14:09, Edited on 04 September 18 at 21:59
This review has 32 positive votes and 8 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Twenty years have passed since the nuclear holocaust forced the citizens of Moscow into the Metro, one of the largest rail systems in the world. Hiding in the dark, sinister depths of the Russian underground, the denizens of the rail lines have created a new society through which our hero, Artyom, must navigate in his quest to save the Metro and, perhaps, the last remaining bastion of humanity.

Dmitry Glukhovsky's novel earned its cult following through a balance of wit, suspense, terror and philosophy. Those elements were all present in Metro 2033, the predecessor to Last Light. This offering is a direct sequel to that game (not the novel Metro 2034, which moves in an entirely different direction) and, like its predecessor, is a refreshing breath of air as opposed to the countless cookie-cutter shooters that are constantly being fed to us.

Although you need not play the first game, I would recommend it for the back story. It has been a year since the events that unfolded at the end of 2033. Artyom is now a full-fledged Ranger, and rumors that a Dark One has been captured sends our friend on another quest through the Metro where he encounters more things that go bump in the night, and discovers that the more terrifying monsters in the new Moscow are not the mutants that live above the surface, but the ones who dwell in the shadows under the guise of humans. Politics and human interaction play a more important role this time around at the expense of the beasties, and this has both its advantages and disadvantages.

Metro: Last Light is very much of a story-driven experience, and this story makes for a compelling adventure. Unlike its predecessor, however, Last Light spends considerably more time with the interactions between the warring underground factions than survival on the surface. Gas masks and filters are still at a premium (although not as much as they were in the first game), and you can either choose to save your money or fire it in battle...literally. (For those who aren't familiar, currency in the game is in the form of higher-quality military-grade ammunition rounds.) And let's not forget the visions...

At this point, comparisons to the original Metro are inevitable. The game doesn't convey the same feelings of dread and abject terror that were present in the first game. I found that filters here were actually quite common, as were replacement masks. The masks also seem to be considerably more durable this time around. Having played through the game twice now, I have yet to fully lose a mask, where I found that a pack of nosalises could crush my mask in a heartbeat in the original, even on Easy. There aren't nearly as many claustrophobic tunnel moments in Last Light, and I honestly never felt that I was in absolute mortal danger. I don't mean this in a bad way; it's a true testament to the original that a game could instill such a sense of desperation that I still dread clanging bells.

On the other hand, Last Light truly stands on its own as a shining achievement of the blending of storytelling and gameplay. The story is front and center, and the atmosphere sets the tone for the narration. Your actions play a role in this game, just as in the last. Not only will you need to pay attention to conversations as in the first, but more importantly you will need to carefully consider who and what you kill--or don't kill. The factions dwelling in the Metro are moving inexorably toward conflict which, ironically, is what got them there in the first place. It's another case of history repeating...again.

Stealth is a main part of this game. One achievement is for going through the entire game without unnecessarily killing a single human, so you'll be sneaking around quite a bit. The AI is very forgiving in this aspect...perhaps too forgiving. The meter on Artyom's watch turns blue when he is visible, but even when he isn't it seems as if the enemies are completely blind. You can go within inches of some of them without them even realizing. How they survive with beasties roaming around is anyone's guess. However, once they find you, you're in trouble. Going through on a full stealth run can be frustrating, especially during two parts where you'll have this "you-mean-I'm-NOT-allowed-to-fire-back?!" thought running through your head.

In addition to the AI obliviousness, there are definitely some graphical issues, although nothing game breaking. I found myself being walked through by my companions at the beginning of the game as they went along their scripted path, and seeing just teeth and gums can be a little disconcerting. None of this affects the gameplay, though, except occasionally when you'll go to knock someone out (RIGHT next to them) and the game doesn't recognize it.

There are also some occasional hiccups with the dialogue. The subtitles don't always match up, sometimes you'll see subtitles from conversations two rooms down. These are mainly cosmetic, though. Again, nothing game breaking, just a bit of a lack of polish. (The voice acting is also a bit wooden, unfortunately.) Nevertheless, exploring the stations of the Metro is an adventure in and of itself. A lot of time was spent making the interactions compelling to the player, so that you'll find yourself wanting to explore every nook and cranny of each station (and not just because you're on a scavenger hunt). Some of these interactions are quite amusing, some titillating, and some are downright heartbreaking. The writers have done a fantastic job of immersing the player in the tale.

As far as achievements go, many cheeve hunters will be happy to know that you can work through a number of these using Chapter Select. The Diary at the menu lets you know what collectibles you've missed, although you'll need to keep track for the Musician achievement. There is no Explorer achievement here, which cuts out a lot of frustration!

In summary, Artyom's second run through the Metro is a terrific ride and, while not as terrifying as the first, still offers a great atmospheric post-apocalyptic thriller. I had high hopes for this game and, as was the case in Bioshock Infinite, found an experience that lived up to the high expectations set by its predecessor. No, this game isn't nearly as polished as Infinite, but nevertheless lightning has struck twice this year.

Very highly recommended. If you can, play 2033 first to provide some back story, although it isn't truly needed. 5 stars.
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Fatal x Blade
1,163,374 (755,522)
Fatal x Blade
TA Score for this game: 477
Posted on 21 May 13 at 20:04, Edited on 04 August 19 at 16:04
This review has 26 positive votes and 7 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Metro: Last Light Review

"A Story-Driven Atmospheric Adventure held back by a few technical flaws"

Video Review



Intro

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
+ Atomospheric
+ Immersive
+ High Production Value
+ Realistic touches

Con's

- Glitches
- Certain things lack polish
- Gameplay is hit and miss
- Enemy AI

Rating

8.8 / 10

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