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PC Game Review: Metro: Last Light

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Metro: Last Light is the sequel to the cult hit Metro 2033 which itself is based on a cult (at least in the West) Russian novel. Those who played the first game, which I did not, are saying this game corrects quite a few of the problems the first game had in terms of gameplay and mechanics while retaining the “gripping” story and atmosphere.

If that is the case, I am rather glad I didn’t play the first game because this one has lots of annoyances. But let’s cover some of the better points of the game.

The atmosphere and vibe of the game, even if you cannot run anywhere near to the ludicrous requirements for full bore graphics, are spot on. The immersion is quite complete and the claustrophobic nature of the tunnels of the decaying Russian metro are well represented. Some of the graphic effects are quite spectacular and I would say this might even trump Crysis 3 as a graphical tour de force. From water and blood on your gas-mask to the details of your kit (like a lighter, compass and a charger) they do go for bells and whistles.

The gunplay is quite satisfying despite the occasional graphical lag even with everything turned down. While weapons and upgrades are quite limited, using them gives enough feedback. There is enough variety to allow different sorts of gameplay and three weapons (plus knives and grenades) are sufficient to meet with all your needs. Sound-wise it delivers nicely, too, which is good considering there are times when that is your best clue of what is to come. But go with Russian and subtitles as the English voice-over is painfully bad.

Now to the gripes. First of all, there is no bloody save function, just checkpoints and chapters. No field of view slider in 2013 really? These can be incredibly annoying and ludicrous missteps on a PC. Another problem with this game is that it is rather short and incredibly linear. Throughout most of it there is hand-holding, with various companions getting in the way and preventing you from exploring. This game claims to be a survival horror and it isn’t by any means. There are a few jumps if you aren’t paying attention, but that is about it. There is a tiny bit of exploration for extra goodies but this is very limited by the tunnels inside and outside by the limited supply of cleaners for your gas-mask.

And the much touted storyline is predictable and too convenient. Considering all we hear about the factions being at war with each, other why would you get drunk with a Communist? The character is supposed to be an experienced hardened soldier of The Order not some wet behind the ears naif. This game has two complete sections where they take all your stuff and make you fight with what you can find. This tactic for making thing tense got old back in the ’90s.  Will game designers please knock it the hell off.

Oh yes, and the hardcore mode which all the fan-bois say is the “only” way to play is a same day DLC ($5) unless you choose to buy the Limited Edition hard copy. So the best way to play the game costs extra.

Overall, like Bioshock Infinite, it is a mixed bag that will probably be over-hyped and fawned over. Also like, BI I don’t see myself playing it again. But, now they have the engine sorted, maybe we could have complete, longer, and far less linear Metro game?

 

Metro: Last Light is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol. This game can also be found on: PS3 and Xbox 360.


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