Posted 3 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Eastern Europe is quickly becoming a hot-bed for gaming, especially FPS genre games, with titles like Crysis: Warhead and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. coming to mind. The latest release to hit stores from the former Eastern Bloc is 4A Games and THQ’s Metro 2033, a post-apocalyptic first person shooter with surivial horror elements. This interesting but flawed first outing has its moments but might only appeal to a small group of gamers.
Based on the book of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky, you play as young man named Artyom who has lived his entire life in the underground Metro System of Moscow. Between now and the events of the game, WWIII happened and those who managed to survive it now call the various Metro Stations home.
As you would expect in any post-nuclear scenario, the world above has become decrepit. Animals were effected and have ’evolved’ into something else entirely. Because of this, only those brave or stupid enough are willing to walk above-ground for any reason. Artyom’s part of the Metro is slowly becoming overrun by the mutated creatures and also a mysterious force called the ’Dark Ones’. These things seem to be able to possess the minds of people and essentially destroy them from the inside. Artyom is surprisingly immune to their powers so he his tasked to travel to the main Metro Station of Polis and seek the aid of anyone who can help.
Your journey as Artyom will have trek both below and above ground, helping people and seeking them out in the hopes of stopping the Metro from being overrun.You will do battle with wave after wave of mutant creatures but you will also have to fight it out with human enemies as well. This is where the survival in survival horror comes in. Since the world is in shambles, fundamentalists in the forms of Nazis and Communists have also taken to the underground and neither think much of you.
These aspects really convey a strong sense of danger as you progress. Mutant enemies are extremely vicious and strong and level structures often put you in positions where death feels almost certain.This structure works and fails in different parts of the game. The world of the Metro works heavily on an Ammo based currency and the weapons available to you are not exactly of Grade A material. Because of this, you will often save your quality ammo as money and dispense your weaker supply during combat.
While earlier previews of the game highlighted serious issues with ammo availability, this has been addressed, though you will still run through a lot of it as you play. Every mutant takes a ton of ammo to take down, often an entire clip for just one foe.
Another issue with the game is the AI of teammates and foes. There will be times when you need to work with a partner to progress but their actions never seem to make any sense. In one particular area where the logical action would be to run like heck, your buddy decides to walk slowly, making him a prime target for the explosive foes. In another situation, if you decide to take matters into your own hands and move ahead, you will most certainly die as the game wants you to play that section in a different way.
Metro 2033’s story is by far the best selling point for the game. From start to finish, you want to see where Artyom’s journey takes him. Even the cast of characters each offer something interesting and help to move the story along. The only problem with the story, which also seems connected to issues with the AI, is that they want you to play it exactly as it was written.
Being forced to play the game in a specific way had me thinking I was constantly being killed by a sniper. Every time I attempted to walk to a certain area of a level, I was dying from what I thought was sniper fire. The moment I took a different route, however, the sniper disappeared.
Lastly, the controls for Metro 2033 may also cause some frustration. When you start the game for the first time, you’re required to update it, which is meant to give you more control options but they still take some time to get used to. For example, the Y button, when tapped, is supposed to quickly switch your weapon to a knife but often times it just doesn’t. The RB button is used for reloading but if you hold it for too long you may accidentally load your ammo currency instead.
Graphics and Sound
In the underground, Metro 2033 is a treat to look at. The world of the Metro is fantastic and fully functional. Early on especially, you will pass by people doing what would seem like everyday tasks and it really immerses you in the story. Character animations are fair but some have awkward eyes that make them look more like zombies than regular folk.
While the underground looks great, the above ground sections don’t have the same amount of detail. Areas of snow seem generic and walls and doors don’t look as detailed as they do underground.
One interesting aspect to the graphics comes in the form of your hub and specifically your perspective. In sections where you have to wear a Gas-mask, when you experience damage, the screen has clearly marked cracks and slashes. If you are in a cold area, condensation will appear. Also, your wrist-watch acts as both a Geiger counter and timer for your filter.
When you get stuck, and you will get stuck, you can quickly bring up a clipboard to read your objectives which has a compass that leads you towards the general vicinity of your next goal. One problem I noticed here was that the graphics took a second to load on the compass which looked really weird at times. It’s not awful but it is very noticeable.
On the sound end of things, your enjoyment will completely factor into how you decide to play the game. Mutant sounds and the general ambiance is done really well. The mutants will growl, howl and make plenty of creepy noises to shake you up. General sounds in the metro are also done really well. You will hear plenty of small talk between people, classic Russian tunes played in the background and other things that add to the environment.
The strongest selling point in the sound department is the option to play the game in a number of different languages, specifically Russian. If you decide to play the game English, you will be ’treated’ to some really stereotypical Russian-American accents that sound pretty bad at times. On the other hand, if you decide to play it in Russian, you are treated to some excellent voice work and, in my opinion, the full experience of the game. The only downside to playing it in Russian, if that is not a language you understand, is that all ’non-essential’ dialogue is not subtitled. Because of this, you will potentially miss out on some key story elements.
Metro 2033 will take you roughly 9-11 hours to complete. Although the story is fairly linear, the game can end differently depending on your actions, so a second play through is warranted. Also, THQ has recently announced some DLC which might entice you to take to the underground a second or third time.
If you are looking for a game with a great story, Metro 2033 delivers. On the other hand, if you are hoping for a great experience from top to bottom, then it fails to deliver on all of its potential. I would strongly recommend fans of the novel or those who enjoy suspense driven games to try this out. For those with only a passive interest, you may be better off renting it first.
+ Great Underground World
+ Playing the game in Russian helps with the immersion
- Controls take time to adjust to
- Weird Objectives
- Noticeable Graphical Issues
- English Voice-over work is a joke
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Release Date : 2010/03/16
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : THQ
Developer : 4A Games
Category : Shooter
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
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