Release Date: March 6th, 2010
Systems: PC, Xbox 360
Developer: 4A Games
Metacrtic Score: 81
“Metro 2033” is a game I wish I liked a lot more that I do. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the game a good deal, but at the end of the day the glaring problems and overall lack of polish has me pining more something more. I look at this game and I see the potential to be the next great game, the next “Half-Life” or “Far Cry 3” or what I like to call “Thinking Man’s Shooters”. In the end the game simply as good as I had wished it was going to be, but I still think you should check it out. Why? Read on and find out.
You play as, a man born is Moscow shortly before the world was devastated by nuclear war. He and the rest of the survivors live in the old Metro tunnels beneath the city to escape the toxic air, nuclear winter and the mutants that live on the surface. When a mysterious man comes to Artyoms home station with news that a new breed of mutants, called The Dark Ones, are on the move and could easily overwhelm and whip out the station Artyom is tasked with going for help from one of the other Metro stations. This journey will take him through a war zone between Communist and Nazi’s, tunnels filled with mutants or with the ghost of those who died in the war, and even the frozen wast land above.
While the plot and storytelling are nothing to write home about, what really sells this game is the atmosphere. The Metro is an ugly, cramped and believably lived in. However, all is not lost. People have lives; children entertain themselves with whatever is around, even bothering their parents to buy them sweets, a guitar player plays for those willing to listen and so on. 4A Games had a brilliant idea in setting this game so far after the bombings and making our main point of view some one who only remembers the Metro as home. This really gives Artyoms quest some real weight. Not only are you trying to save your home, but the homes of every one you can see.
Then there are the times you go out into the beautiful yet oppressive frozen wast that was once Moscow. The frozen wast land feels like a place that was once home to many people and you really can scene just how devastating the war must have been. Adding to the sullen atmosphere is the bodies of your fellow Metro citizens who froze or chocked on the toxic air. This gives the devastation a more immediate impact, as you are reminded that at any time you can become just another corps for another traveler to pic clean or ammo and gas mask filters.
In the end, The story here wont really impress you, but if you are one of the people who love walking down the foggy streets of Silent Hill, or war torn Dubai in “Speck Ops: The Line” then you should give this a look.
Speaking of “Speck Ops: The Line”, I find that to be the most obvious comparison for this game. Like that game, while the story and atmosphere really make the game worth while, the game play just isn’t as tight as a Triple A game should be. There are three main issues here, hit detection, enemy A.I. and lack of proper tutorials.
The first too me the longest too figure out, as at first I simply thought every enemy was a bullet spung, a disision that would have annoyed me, but would have added something to the whole “fighting fore your life” motif the game is working with. But then I noticed that I was killing some monsters with one round, and others i’d empty an entire clip on. Now, maybe I was missing, but I find it hard to miss when i’m armed with a shotgun and my target is within arms reach of me. It was right about then that I started to look for any kind of reaction out of the people and monsters I was fighting and noticed how often they didn’t seem to do anything when shot. It then became clear that a lot of shots simply weren’t hitting the targets when they should have.
This becomes even more annoying when you are tasked with being stealthy, witch is a lot, and the issues with the games A.I. become clear. Early on you find some ridiculously over powered throwing knives that can stealth kill most enemies. However, miss once, or have an issue with the hit detection casing a throw you did perfectly 100 times to suddenly not kill the target, and then every one in the Metro will know where you are, even is you are covered in pitch black darkness and a few hundred miles away. With those two things combined the game can test your patients as you try to sneak away from attackers only to step one some glass a few feet to the right of you only to end up looking like swish cheese.
The last issue is how poorly the game explains itself. Fir example, I had gotten a pair of Night-vision goggles only for them to soon run out of power. I then spent the next few hours looking for another pair, only to learn I could charge the ones I had. When you combine that with the overwhelming amount of commands the game has, you may find yourself looking to forums to under stand all the games mechanics. And while i’m thankful to all the helpful people who helped me understand what I was doing, that is the developers job and they failed miserably at it.
In the end, while I did have some rage-quite moments due to frustration, I never wanted to just stop playing and move on to the next game. I was eager to see what happened next, and I did have far less issues once someone explained everything too me.
Game Play: 2.5/5
Music and Sound:
Play. This. In. Russian. While the English voice cast is far from unlistenable, the Russian cast is simple superior in every way. This is most noticeable when it comes to the actor for Artyom. While the character doesn’t speak much, the two performances could not be farther apart. In English he comes across as frail and week, were as in Russian he sounds like a grown man who you could see taking up the challenge before him. Both of these are good, and they both endow Artyom with some character, I simply prefer the Russian soundtrack over the English. That’s really the only thing of note in the sound department. The guns all sound good but wont blow your socks off, the monsters all have a well sound like monsters, but they also sound like they came out of a pre-packaged “build your own monster” kit. In the end, there’s not a lot to criticizes but then there is just as little to praise.
Music and Sound: 2.5/5
Overall Score: 2.6/5
Who is this Game For:
This is for people who want to get lost in a game instead of simply playing it. This is for those who can over look some game play issues to experience something truly unique. If that sounds like you, then you should think about checking this out. One thing to keep in mind before buying, this was re-released with the sequel, “Metro: Last Light” as “Metro Redux”. I played the origional game and don’t know for sure if the re-release changes any of the issues I had with the game.