Liberaliter Reviews: Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Set in, around and above the Moscow metro tunnels, 20 years after nuclear war has ravaged humanity, Metro 2033 follows the story of Artyom, a young man from a Metro station under threat from a new type of being called the 'Dark Ones'. Taking it upon himself to travel to Polis, a large stronghold of humanity near the centre of the Metro due to an oath he swore to a ranger called Hunter, Artyom faces the new threats of a world where man is no longer the dominant species.

The premise and execution of Metro's story hits all the right spots, with a perfect narrative and flawless pacing underpinning the reality and grim political themes of Metro 2033's atmospheric world. Aided by a eerily beautiful graphical presentation, the homes and new habitats of man feel, look and sound very much alive. Artyom's journey to warn other stations of a new threat worse than the nuclear ravaged mutants that have become the norm, leads him through a varied and darkly off putting setting. Surprisingly enough for a game set in Metro tunnels, 2033 manages to stay fresh throughout. This is helped by bustling yet depressing centres of human live in the form of settlements across the various stations, the dark and untravelled tunnels full of creatures and predators and occasional trips to the surface, where the nuclear war has requited the use of gas masks to stay alive. If the game based on the eponymous novel was to do it's original work justice, then the narrative was required to be carried by the atmosphere of the games world, something managed brilliantly. Moscow in 2033 is a grim yet very real setting, and although the dangers and paranormal situations Artyom encounters are not fully explained, the presentation and follow through is well realised.

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It is one thing for a well told narrative, but a game is a game and must be complimented by the sufficient game play required to make the experience enjoyable for the player. As a first person shooter, gun play feels good. There is perhaps a lack of variety in the firearms at Artyom's disposal, but nonetheless what is provided fits in with the tale and guns can be customised and traded with ease. It all comes together nicely, treading cautiously through dark corridors, aiming you head lamp to guide the way results in an experience very real, where the weapons feel valuable - as indeed they are. Occasionally the brilliant feel of being alone and unsafe in Metro 2033, is more frustrating than need be due to a slightly off hit detection. Although the games combat is perfectly functional and far better than some games, it felt like it needed a bit more polish. Likewise other areas such as animation can often seem wonky. A monster leaping out the shadows jaws stretched wide can have slightly less impact when a few frames of animation appear to be missing.

The mechanics of this experience all work well, you are given very small amounts of freedom as the story progresses, yet somehow, it never manages to feel restrictive. You meet new faces and find comfort in friends and allies so that you are keen to push on. The game uses a system of ammo as a currency. This however doesn't work as well as it could have done, the finer ammo you find can be used to purchase new weapons, ammo and upgrades, but swapping this fine ammo out and exchanging it for more usable ammo is made not as easy as it could have been. Nevertheless it comes together to a point where you value your new gun. In other games you feel powerful, unstoppable and are capable of swapping out guns constantly. Here it is a different story, you will be relieved when you find a new, more powerful gun and terrified when you run low on ammo.

Although not outright presented as such, Metro 2033 contains many horror elements. Dark places, dangerous creatures stalking you, a lack of ammo and a light need near constant charging do well to benefit the games horror. But the experience is woven so well into the story that any horror elements do not feel forced. Instead they feel like a part of the world and truly come together to terrify. But it's not all monsters and snarling, you also fight human opponents. In a world where humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction, the opposing factions such as the Communists and Fascists struggle in war seem futile.

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But in Metro 2033's world, it all falls into place to watch humanity fight on, against themselves and the horrors of mutated creatures. Ultimately this results in a good variety of things to kill - but the AI of the human opponents can often be quite bad. Most the time you won't notice however, and when fighting creatures, they run at you with a blood lust so strong, any AI flaws cease.

Metro 2033 is a thrill ride indeed, but a slower paced one. It is not a roller coaster in the sense that Call of Duty is, it is heart pounding, varied and, in parts, downright scary. The narrative is enjoyable and it is quite possible that once you finish, you will want to jump right back into the world and play again. It is a lengthy adventure and well worth your money, it doesn't have multi player. But this only serves to aid the terrific single player experience, as it was meant to be. Metro 2033 certainly contains more than mindless shooting, it is thoughtful, sublime and most important of all, enjoyable.

Good review man, I've never played the game myself but I have read the book

Stranger of Sorts:
Good review man, I've never played the game myself but I have read the book

Thanks, good to hear some praise about the book. I wasn't sure about reading the English translation but I should really pick it up. It would certainly make the whole experience better.

I don't think metro's weapons are too limited, considering you can always carry around 4 of them, usually filling all roles(knives for stealthing, pistol for sniping, automatic for close range combat and bb gun for being the predator. There's also options to mix things up with the option to get silenced and scoped assault rifles for a more tactical use of those as well as switching out the bb gun with an automatic shotgun with a 15 inch bayonet on top.

It's biggest flaws I think are the lack of scaling graphics and lackluster stealth mechanics. On the lowest, the game does look as ugly as the console version but doesn't actually run any faster and stealth could be less randomly broken for stupid reasons.

Throwing knife to the heart bounced of a (nearly invisible) spare magazine in breast pocket? That guy knows where you are now and so does the rest of the map.
Stepped on a pile of glass on the far side of a large station with nobody within 100 meters? Expect every single enemy to make a beeline to your position right now.
Double tap somebody with a silenced pistol? He survived the first shot, which puts him in combat mode, alerting the entire level.
Quickly take out 2 guys next to each other? The second one sounds the alarm before the first body hits the ground.
Sneak up on somebody with a knife? Your wild swing hits an object next to the target and alerts the whole station.
Sneak up on somebody with a knife? He smells you, turns around and instantly unloads a shotgun in your face.
Shoot somebody in the back of the head at the base of his skull with a VSS sniper rifle? Well that hockey mask is completely bulletproof and protects against ALL headshots so no silent takedown for you, here's 30 AK rounds of return fire.

That and the fucking librarians.

Stranger of Sorts:
Good review man, I've never played the game myself but I have read the book

The game follows the general plot, but differs at various points. The alternate endings work well in context.

Asehujiko:
I don't think metro's weapons are too limited, considering you can always carry around 4 of them, usually filling all roles(knives for stealthing, pistol for sniping, automatic for close range combat and bb gun for being the predator. There's also options to mix things up with the option to get silenced and scoped assault rifles for a more tactical use of those as well as switching out the bb gun with an automatic shotgun with a 15 inch bayonet on top.

It's biggest flaws I think are the lack of scaling graphics and lackluster stealth mechanics. On the lowest, the game does look as ugly as the console version but doesn't actually run any faster and stealth could be less randomly broken for stupid reasons.

Throwing knife to the heart bounced of a (nearly invisible) spare magazine in breast pocket? That guy knows where you are now and so does the rest of the map.
Stepped on a pile of glass on the far side of a large station with nobody within 100 meters? Expect every single enemy to make a beeline to your position right now.
Double tap somebody with a silenced pistol? He survived the first shot, which puts him in combat mode, alerting the entire level.
Quickly take out 2 guys next to each other? The second one sounds the alarm before the first body hits the ground.
Sneak up on somebody with a knife? Your wild swing hits an object next to the target and alerts the whole station.
Sneak up on somebody with a knife? He smells you, turns around and instantly unloads a shotgun in your face.
Shoot somebody in the back of the head at the base of his skull with a VSS sniper rifle? Well that hockey mask is completely bulletproof and protects against ALL headshots so no silent takedown for you, here's 30 AK rounds of return fire.

That and the fucking librarians.

I thought the Librarians were easy, even on the highest difficulty, but those were just bullet sponges.

Librarians arent that bad. I just hate those things that sing to alert their family. I find them creepy and scary while on the surface

Liberaliter:

Stranger of Sorts:
Good review man, I've never played the game myself but I have read the book

Thanks, good to hear some praise about the book. I wasn't sure about reading the English translation but I should really pick it up. It would certainly make the whole experience better.

I already read Metro 2034 and its awesome.

 

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