- Game: Metro: Last Light
- Release Date: May 14, 2013
- Publisher: Deep Silver
- Developer: 4A Games
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
- Platform Chosen By Reviewer: PlayStation 3
Metro: Last Light takes place as a sequel to Metro: 2033, a video game based on the book of the same title by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The series takes place in a fictional reality in which nuclear war has destroyed most of the Earth’s population as well as rendered the planet’s surface uninhabitable, forcing survivors underground. Whatever land isn’t utterly destroyed is plagued by life threatening radiation levels. The Metro games take place in Russia and follow the story of Artyom, the game’s main character. Artyom was mere child when the nuclear war broke out and has lived most of his life down in the metro with the Rangers, one of the main factions of survivors. Other factions include the Red Line and the Nazis.
Artyom is given the task of finding and killing a Dark One that was spotted out on the surface. It is assumed to be the last of its kind and Artyom is the only person that can be around it without experiencing psychological issues that typically result in death like other people. The Dark Ones are a new lifeforms that evolved out of the radioactive wasteland, feared and hated due to the humans’ lack of knowledge on them. While on this mission Artyom is separated from his partner after finding the Dark One, who happens to be a child. He is then captured by the Nazis and must escape in order to free the Dark One and return home to complete his mission and save the Rangers.
The story develops rather nicely as the game proceeds with few dead zones, or sequences of uninteresting gameplay. The player attention should never falter throughout the game due to the addition of new characters and plot shifts as the game progresses. As secret alliances and betrayals are uncovered, Artyom and the player both learn of what is really going on down in the metro.
The gameplay in Metro: Last Light is brilliant. The game excels in its first-person shooter aspects, making for a very fluid gameplay experience. Players will have the option to choose three guns to take with them at all times and can switch these weapons out for new ones throughout the game. There is not much diversity in the weapons themselves however players can customize them to give them added effects and abilities. For example, players can choose to add a silencer to any of their guns to accommodate a stealth play style, they could also add different scopes and barrel upgrades. Weapons may be found on enemies with random customizations or purchased in stores throughout the game and customized manually.
Due to the extreme radiation levels left by the nuclear attacks on the planet’s surface, the main character as well as all non-playable characters must always wear a gas mask while above ground or in contaminated areas below. This creates a unique dynamic for the player as they must keep an eye on the time limit for each filter and how many filters they have. Each gas mask filter lasts for five minutes, if the filter is not changed then Artyom will die slowly. The gas mask also provides and interesting perspective for the player as the blood from your enemies, or even rain water, will splash onto the mask and must be manually wiped clean. The game also includes a karma system which ultimately affects the ending of the game for the player. Performing “good” actions and exploring the environment while taking as few lives as possible will earn the player positive karma, performing “bad” actions and killing everything and everyone will earn the player negative karma.
The in-game HUD is very detailed while still remaining easy to use and simplified. By simply pressing one of the triggers on the controller players can charge the batteries on their flashlight, turn the flashlight on or off, apply the night vision goggles, and put the gas mask on or take it off. Changing weapons is as easy as pressing one button on the controller, causing switching between inventory weapons to be a breeze. Holding down the weapon changing button allows you to pick your secondary weapon, such as throwing knives or grenades, as well as view all ammo you have and switch weapons manually. Overall, the gameplay is next to flawless. It has a very solid feel and the controls are responsive and appropriate for the genre.
Metro: Last Light features some very detailed graphics that are worthy of note. Small details such as blood stains on the wall or cobwebs on the ceiling stand out in stunning clarity. It creates a very realistic feel and gives the game an its surrounding areas substance. Human characters as well as non-human characters or enemies look amazingly detailed. Since the game mostly takes place underground, with occasional trips to the surface, many of the settings are redundant. Though, in all honesty, it’s done very well and is surprisingly less repetitive than one might think. Above ground is another story as the settings up there looks absolutely breathtaking and stylized to fit the situations at hand. Buildings are crumbled yet still give off the Russian architectural feel and nature reclamation is beginning to take place. It’s a beautiful yet saddening sight due to its vivid realism.
One of the main flaws in the presentation department is the voice acting and dialog. The dialog is extremely mediocre, non-playable characters will drone on and on about absolutely nothing and continue on this path even if they are talking over you or other, more important, characters. At times it can be very informative since characters tend to discuss their situation and information about where the player currently is. This informative nature of the conversation tends to change quickly to irritating and senseless though, possibly annoying players more than it should. Pair all of that with the sub-par voice acting and conversations can be downright monotonous and bland, bordering on unpleasant. Not a single character in the game conveys any kind of emotion which may easily be overlooked by some but is to be considered poor voice acting. The game’s audio is clean and sound effects are realistic. Metro: Last Light’s soundtrack is well done, though not particularly memorable or unique.
On a serious side note, this game does portray blatant sexism and the objectification of the female gender in-game. While I did not factor this into the scoring as much as I wanted to I still felt it was worthy of note considering it infuriated me on at least two occasions while playing the game. There is no way to discuss this without providing a small amount of spoilers, so I will not go into considerable detail but beware of spoilers in the next few sentences. In one instance the player is forced to push a stripper into a booth and hold a hand over her mouth while overhearing another character talking. After Artyom lets her go she simply says “Oh, that’s the way you like it?” and offers a topless lap dance. The lap dance is optional, but the fact that a woman doesn’t mind what would be considered to normal people as an attack and offers a sexual act in return is preposterous. In another sequence a woman comes in a room with her shirt half way off and asks Arytom to have sex with her. This seems forced since at this point the player barely knows the woman, i personally felt like I was being made to do something I neither wanted to do or agreed with. What makes this particularly negative is that the female character begins the game with a strong attitude and a dislike for Arytom, then flips it around for sex later on and becomes nothing more than an empty-minded, half-naked body to look at. There are more underlying sexist issues in this game than I care to talk about and I have added in this excerpt to simply explain part of my score and a flaw I found in the game.
- Story/Plot: 8
- Gameplay: 9.5
- Presentation: 8
- Length: 10 – 12 Hours
- Replayability: Moderate
- Entertainment Value: Moderate/High