When the original Metro 2033 came out in 2009 it was somewhat of a benchmark for high-end gaming rigs, so naturally I gave it a go to see how it would run. What I didn’t expect is that I would get so engrossed with the game that I would ultimately end up finishing it. I loved almost every minute of it. I didn’t get a chance to play the sequel Metro: Last Light, so hearing about the release of Metro Redux, developed by 4A Games, got me very excited to jump back into the decaying metro tunnels.
Metro Redux comes packaged with both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, and both games have been upgraded to bring it into the new generation of games. As the title suggests the Metro tunnel system is where most of the games takes place, as humans are forced into the underground tunnel network after a nuclear war breaks out in Russia. The surface is riddled with mutants and fallout, and there is a super natural force in the form of The Dark One’s that are plaguing the mind of the lead character – Artyom. Artyom is a young Ranger that is doing his best to fend of the Dark Ones while maintaining his sanity. If that wasn’t hard enough he also has to contest with a faction of Soviet soldiers that will shoot anything in sight, and then there is still the harsh environmental conditions to deal with (post apocalyptic Russia is a fun place – bring the kids!).
The Metro series prides itself in bringing a post apocalyptic world to life that is dripping with atmosphere. There are some very memorable visual moments throughout the game such as watching a hellish surface storm move through the broken city, to exploring a nest of spiders in the tunnels that will get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up. With the power of the new consoles all the environmental details can shine through, and it is especially noticeable in Metro 2033 that now runs on the same improved engine that Last Light does, and looks almost as good. Metro 2033 now also uses Last Light’s control UI which is a big improvement over the original UI, and tasks like swopping out a gas mask filter mid-battle is relatively quick and easy. Other new features in Metro Redux include deciding whether to start the game in Survival mode or Spartan mode, which will offer the player some choice in terms of the gameplay experience.
The original Metro 2033 was by no means just a run-and-gun affair. It required some very tactical thinking. This also made the game very difficult, especially with the small amount of ammo you find. The new Survival mode option is true to the originals difficulty, and you will have to spend lots of time in the shadows to make it through certain sections, and patience is absolutely key. This could obviously be off-putting for some gamers that prefer to take a more direct approach with bullets flying, and that’s why the Spartan mode option has been added. I took the Spartan mode route this time, and was surprised to see that although you do pick up ammo often, it still pays to sneak around with a silenced weapon as much as you can.
The reason for this is that the AI is certainly not stupid, and if you slip up they will hunt you down, and believe you me, they will find you. You will have to plan each encounter carefully, and in terms of stealth mechanic’s Metro Redux does a better job than most stealth focused games such as the recent Thief. Sticking to the shadows is not only easier, but it means you have to shoot less, and in a world where the currency is in fact ammunition, well you do the math. You get two different ammunition types, standard ammo for when you need it and military grade ammunition for when you really need it. The military grade ammunition does more damage and is accepted as currency down in the metro tunnels, so every time you pull the trigger using it you will be out of necessity as you are literally burning money.
Developers 4A Games have done a great job improving texture details on characters and keeping the framerate at 60 FPS. There are also great new lighting effects that are very noticeable, especially in Metro 2033. It all comes together to create a very depressing world, where you always feel uneasy. You often have to use a flash light, that needs to be cranked up to recharge, and you have to change the filters on your gas mask if they run low. You will even have to wipe your visor if too much blood or dirt gets on it during a fire fight. All these little game mechanics come together perfectly to create a sense of panic and desperation as you work your way through the Metro tunnels and mutant plagued surface areas. There is no multiplayer in Metro Redux, just as there wasn’t in the original games but both Metro games are certainly meaty offerings in terms of playthough time, and there is always the option to go back and start a new game with a different mode, or even the ultra hard HUD-free Ranger mode, that is now available in both games for an increased challenge.
Metro Redux brings some of the best stealth gameplay and one of the most gritty and detailed worlds to the new consoles, and having them both on one disc as well as all the DLC from both games to sweeten the deal. There is plenty of content here for the asking price, so if you have been looking for a shooter that requires you think about every shot instead of just spraying lead all over the room, then Metro Redux will be a breath of fresh air.