Metro: Last Light
The nuclear apocalypse that I was taught to fear as a child growing up in England, happened late in 2013, and for the purpose of this game, the only known survivors are those who sought refuge in Moscow’s Metro system. Metro 2033 was based on the book of the same name by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, and Metro: Last Light follows on from the end of both the book and the game, though it does not follow the plot of Glukhovsky’s follow up novel, Metro 2034, which incidentally never got an english language release. Glukhovsky however, is rumoured to have worked with developer 4A Games on the storyline, and a novel based on the game is schedualed to be released in time for Christmas this year.
If you played the original Metro 2033 and loved it, you will love Metro: Last Light. If you’re new to the franchise, let me tell you about the experience that awaits you.
And when I say experience, I do mean experience, because that’s what Metro is. The game draws you in and makes you believe you are a survivor in a dystopian world full of mutated terrors and lacking in and decent amount of hope.
The world that you now live in is dark, bleak and unforgiving. But as dangerous as the radiation and mutations are, it’s the people you have to fear as much as the creatures. Like the world of Fallout, there are various factions fighting for control of the Metro system, and survival. You reprise the role of Artyom, who is now a member of a peace keeping group tasked with, well keeping the peace. But other factions, that surprisingly include Nazis and not surprisingly, Communists, see you as nothing more than an enemy faction.
Unlike Fallout however, Metro: Last Light is a relatively linear first person shooter. I say relatively, as you do have to follow a pre-destined story-line though the subterranean landscape – with occasional forays to the surface – but along the way you have the chance to forage for equipment and ammo, and kill nefarious humans and creatures.
And just because the path is pre-determined, doesn’t mean you have to walk it the same way as everyone else. Ammo and guns seem more plentiful than in the original Metro, giving you the option to shoot your way through any situation. But shooting is only one option, with stealth being the other. Turning lights off manually, or shooting them out from a distance, makes for a nice opportunity to creep through some levels, and the beauty of it, is the stealth feels like you’ve achieved something rather than being forced into doing it.
The other thing with the linear story-line, is that the experience isn’t one of non-stop combat, rather like any good thriller, the tension is ratcheted up through continuing down the path and having sporadic fire-fights that make the fire-fights you do participate in, feel necessary, rather than just formulaic.
Graphically the game has been given an overhaul and the visuals are damn nice, with the lighting – and the need to have a fully charged torch – adding to the atmosphere of the game. The little touches like having to wipe your visor from time to time all add up to make Metro: Last Light a game that you have to experience to understand.
Sure, it’s a post-apocalyptic first person shooter, but in reality it’s a portal into a world that hopefully none of us will ever have to experience in real life, and whilst it might not be the best game I’ll play this year, it’ll certainly be one of my favourite games of the year.