'Metro 2033' invades Moscow with its post-apocalyptic story of human struggle. In the shell of a FPS, 'Metro 2033' does its best to make you emphasize with the state of humanity while you try to shine a ray of hope on this dark catacomb of existence.
'Metro 2033' is a familiar, yet fresh take on the post-apocalyptic setting that has seen a recent spike in popularity. This time around developer '4A Games' takes us into the underground of Moscow to tell its tale of human survival after the apocalypse. As you can expect, your role puts you in the shoes of the one person who can make a difference, 'Artyom,' a young budding adventurer. Becoming 'Artyom' you set out to discover the wasteland and the horrors that walk its surface. 'Metro 2033' is dark, foreboding, and surprisingly interesting.
The source material has been adapted from Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel, penned under the same name. The year is 2033 (no surprise there) and the world is in rubble after the affects of a nuclear war. Ridden with radiation that nearly kills the worlds population, the remaining percentage of our population is forced underground (12 Monkeys-- anyone?). The underground communities that have retreated to the subway stations and other underground structures live their lifes in the narrow cemented hallways of public transit. The setting underground is just as harsh as above-- minus the mutants. In this world, humanity clings to life with a heightened sense of survival, and as you can like guess, 'Metro 2033' doesn't have the most pleasant atmosphere. Glukhovsky's outlook is as dark as the come, and even those hardened from the 'Capital Wasteland' might be startled as you walk through the livestock filled markets of 'Moscow Metro.'
On the surface 'Metro 2033' looks like your "A-Typical" shooter. However, 'Metro 2033' is not really a shooter at heart. 'Metro 2033' plays out more like a first-person survival/horror adventure with shooting elements-- rather than a straight up shooter. In actuality, the shooter mechanics are one of the weakest aspects of the game, as they can be a little wonky to be compared to the vast majority of other shooters. The other elements like the stealthy gameplay, and survival aspects pulls 'Metro 2033' together as a strong package, even with its sub-par shooting. In comparison, 'Metro 2033' feels like an alternative shooter in the vein of 'Condemned', or even something akin to 'Dead Space'.
'Metro 2033' keeps the setting dark and filled with tension like those titles with a spotlight on survival. The way 'Metro' amps up the tension is with a low ammo counts, over-sized monsters, and a host of dark and creepy locals. For most of the game you will have your flashlight equipped and turned on, along with your essential gas mask to protect you from the poisonous gasses on the surface. Having a small light shinning in a darkened room with the muffed breathes coming from your mask is easily enough to build up tension..., and that is without the music, the plot-drama, and the monsters.
Keeping it Real
The atmosphere, weapon design and clothing all have a vintage-rustic vibe, with several primitive technologies all thrown together to make alternatives to your standards. The weapons design really show some life, and you will probably wonder why other games haven't been as creative with their "look." There is not a huge selection of weapons in 'Metro,' however, you can swap them with improved versions which makes a difference. I absolutely loved the look of the primitive shotgun, and moded revolvers. The only issue I had with the weapon selection was the lack of statistics attached to the weapons. Half the time I was switching out my weapon based on looks alone. Since you never know if one weapon deals more damage than another, you will have to eye it out and experiment a little.
Like the weapon design, everything in 'Metro' is tightly knit lore that holds everything together. This includes a strong sense of reality. The importance of survival is hit home even further with the idealism to use ammo as a currency in the game. Ammunition, which is divided into three different varieties, can be used to barter and purchase new items within 'Metro.' This gets a little more interesting because you have to decided to use the ammo as currency, or simply ammo for your weapons. Do you want to cash your best ammunition in for a new weapon? or use it the better and stronger ammo against the enemies? It is an interesting take that seems realistic in this world, and one that will likely have you pondering for a moment as you stand at a merchants table.
A Little Help from My Friends
While a majority of your time in 'Metro' is spent underground. Either wandering through spooky tunnels, or in the makeshift towns. You will also venture outside to the surface to explore the outside world, however, its secrets are kept to a minimum. Guiding you through the game are several NPCs that keep you close to their hip. Following the NPCs lead makes 'Metro 2033' is extremely linear, which might be the games biggest frown. In a world as richly detailed as 'Metro', you really want to explore it without being tied to a leash. The few times you are let free to travel on your own, the world becomes a lot scarier as you creep along at a significantly slower pace. Along with the instant sensation of anxiety, 'Metro' pulls a little from 'Monolith Productions F.E.A.R.' by using cleverly placed mind-bending flashbacks to twist reality. These supernatural undertones only adds to the eerie ambiance that is already created and makes for some cool moments within the game.
The spot where 'Metro 2033' starts to fail is in the actual mechanics of shooting — something invaluable to a FPS. The core mechanics of the shooting are very sloppy while feeling unattached to the world. The only weapon that I felt an impact with was the shotgun. With the other weapons, I felt like each shot was not targeting properly, with headshots not even phasing the enemies. No question, the gunplay here is jumbled up. I have to question the accuracy of weapons because even in short distances the shots seemed inaccurate. I understand a certain tilt can be given because of the style of the weapons, but it's a little too unforgiving. It is too bad 'Metro' didn't have a stronger system in play, if the gunplay was tightened up a bit, it would have made a world of difference.
Xbox 360 Achievements
An interesting touch to 'Metro 2033' is how the developer handled the Xbox 360’s achievements. The 360’s achievements are a little tougher than expected, unless you know how they are delegated. Several achievements are tied to completing a hidden objective like “Exorcist” (20) – Complete levels “Ghost” and “Anomaly” without dying—or “Invisible Man” (40) – Complete “Frontline” level without killing anyone. Having this hidden achievements did a number on my gamerscore, and I only had the easier ones to my name like “Kill (X-Number) Enemies with (X-Weapon)” 'Metro 2033' will reward the gamers who can pick through the achievements ahead of time, and try to match them in game. The only problem with this fact is that it takes you out of the experience if you are hunting for extra “Ranger Stashes” and so on. So if you're hunting a game for a quick 1'000 GP, you won't find them here.
'Metro 2033' will spark the interest of the gamers who are looking for a post-apocalyptic alternative to the blasting agility of 'Borderlands', or the open-endedness of 'Fallout'. 'Metro 2033' might be billed as a FPS; but , it has more in common with survival horror games-- or hybrid horror shooters like 'F.E.A.R.' or 'Condemned.' 'Metro 2033' is a suspenseful and intriguing addition to the shooter market that holds its own. The only real downside in 'Metro 2033' is the spotty shooting mechanics and the lack of freedom during the game. 'Metro 2033' holds your hand for the most part, but when it lets go, you will know the difference. All in all, 'Metro 2033' a strong single player survival shooter that should draw you in for the duration. You might want to leave the lights on for this one.
Gameplay:7.8, Graphics:7.5, Sound:8.0, Innovation:7.6, Mojo:8.0 Final: 7.8 / 10
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 04.05.10
- Tightly knit claustrophobic gameplay
- Design is detailed, rich, and interesting
- Graphics and audio design build an excellent atmosphere
- Intriguing storyline with believable characters
- A new take on the overused post-apocalyptic setting
- Nice balance between suspense, action, and storytelling
- Too Linear-- Needed to give more freedom to the player
- Could have used some minor RPG elements
- A.I. isn’t anything special
- Better without light-- some graphics glitches
- Shooting mechanics are sloppy
- No multiplayer component
Similar Games: Singularity (7.7) | F.E.A.R. 2 (8.5) | Condemned 2: Bloodshot (8.6) | Fallout 3 (9.0)