In “Metro: Last Light,” we return to the post-apocalyptic Moscow subway system from 2010's “Metro 2033” to help save the remaining civilization of humans from the outside mutant threat and from each other. The “Metro” series is a first-person shooter based on a novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, and the first game from Ukrainian developer 4A Games. The original “Metro 2033” was praised for its impressive visuals, immersive game world, and story superior to most shooters.
Deep in the underground metro tunnels of Moscow, the last remaining humans have created a life for themselves after they are forced underground because of the radiation left behind from the nuclear war of 2013. The people and animals that where left behind on the surface mutated from radiation exposure into creatures known as the Dark Ones, but they are not the only threat; there are also hostile humans that want to take your precious resources for themselves.
The metro is the not the ideal place to live; it is overcrowded, food is scarce, people mourn the world they lost, and the atmosphere is quite bleak and oppressive, which serves the game very well by making it feel very rich and alive. It feels like it could be a real world that draws you in and ratchets up the tension and drama.
The first “Metro's” gameplay did have its flaws, though; the A.I. was not great and the shooting was troublesome. “Metro: Last Light” fixes most of the flaws of “2033” while improving on its strengths, delivering gameplay that matches the exceptional story.
In “Metro: Last Light,” players still play as Artyom, the main protagonist of “2033.” Artyom is a 20-something survivor and one of the first-born children of the metro. Artyom and his friends find themselves in the middle of several warring human factions and the mutants that live in the tunnels and on the surface. One of the most interesting things about the game world is the politics behind the different factions, and ths does a lot to keep the story interesting.
The game is quite linear, but there are several settlements to explore. Gathering as many bullets and recourses as you can, each outpost feels very alive and helps to expand the fiction, making the game world feel very big. Searching each of these areas is essential for gathering equipment and survival gear. Survival isn't easy, and it comes down to having the right inventory. You have to change your gasmask filters and even keep track of water supplies. Finding different areas is not the only way you will want to explore; there are tons of people to meet and have conversations with, really fleshing out the story of the game. There are also journal entries to find that will also extend the fiction.
If you play first-person shooters for nonstop action, this might not be the game for you. There is some action, but it is mostly about stealth, exploration, and story. This is more like a stealth game than an action shooter; in order to survive, you have to sneak because ammo is limited. You have to outmaneuver and outsmart your foes to proceed. Stealth doesn't work well against mutants, however, so sometimes there is a necessity for gun-blazing action.
My favorite part of the game is the upgrade system; you have to trade things that you find, such as bullets and gear, for better equipment. The currency is actually bullets. It's not necessary to do this to complete the game, but I had fun trying to acquire the things I needed for certain upgrades, and they certainly can be very helpful things to purchase. ญญ
One bit of warning: if you are a PS3 owner, you might have trouble with this game. There are some frustrating technical problems, such as graphical hiccups and game freezing, but if you save often, you can get through it.
Overall, “Metro: Last Light” is an interesting post-apocalyptic shooter with an immersive, living, breathing game world filled with political intrigue and a great cast of characters. It's not a perfect experience because of some technical glitches, but I did have fun with it. If you are sick of the standard FPS games on the market, this one deserves some attention. If you are looking for a bombastic frag-fest, then this game is not for you.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]