DoubleTake: Making the Metro Run On Time
Down beneath the once great city of Moscow lies a remnant of human civilization, carving out a terrifying and bleak existence in the Metro. After donning their gas masks and checking their oxygen and ammunition, EGM’s Blake Morse and Ray Carsillo set off to brave this harsh reality to bring us this report on Metro: Last Light.
Ray Carsillo, Reviews Editor: So, Blake, we had both played Metro 2033 and had enjoyed a lot of things that game tried to bring to the table. And I know for me at least, I was cautiously optimistic after seeing last year’s E3 demo for that game’s sequel, Metro: Last Light. But what can happen in a year! I was utterly blown away by our demo this year and this game has jumped way up there on my list of anticipated titles. There are going to be a lot of games out there jealous of what this game does in terms of immersing the player due to its intense, haunting atmosphere and crisp gunplay from what I saw.
Blake Morse, Contributing Editor: For real, Ray. It was nice to see the more horror-based aspects of the game. The creepy atmosphere and sense of vulnerability I got as we watched the player step out of the Metro and head into a world of acid rain and packs of mutants was the same sensation I got from the original. I love how the game play has the fine details of Fallout 3 and the suspense of the old school Resident Evil series. And that scene where you’re searching the plane crash wreckage was a truly crap your pants moment.
Ray: And speaking of the game play, we saw a lot of new elements brought in like replacing your oxygen filters on a regular basis, keeping track of the time you could use your gas mask via a watch, charging your headlamp up with a small generator, and wiping blood, slime, and whatever other garbage you may have to wade through from your mask in order to see clearly really helps drive home that sense of struggling to survive. The only thing I worry about with that though is it may be a bit much for people to keep track of on top of shooting down massive flying mutants. If they can strike a good balance between those elements though, this could be one of the more memorable action games we’ve seen in a while.
Blake: I think that’s the major appeal of Metro though. It presents a real challenge. It’s easy to play through a game when every enemy drops useful little items and there’s plenty of spots to reload ammo. Players having to be frugal with their supplies is something that you just don’t see that much anymore. And as far as having to keep track of these things while in battle, that may be half the fun. Forgetting to charge your battery before heading into a dark room will teach you not to forget next time. I’ll admit, it might not work for gamers who are looking for a quick run and gun experience may buckle under the pressure. I like how much this is a gamers’ game though.
Ray: Very true. Few games provide this kind of challenge nowadays. I also liked the definitive upgrade in terms of the game’s look, and that’s saying something considering how great the lighting was for the first game. But the mutants you fight now get up close and personal with you and you can see all the gnarled teeth in their mouths and the sporadic patches of fur around their bodies as you wrestle with them. And the most telling thing I saw was when you shotgun blasted one that had knocked you to the ground and the blood splatter hit the ceiling and slowly dripped down on the floor. That is attention to detail you just don’t see anywhere else. I also love that the flying mutants now can swoop in and pick you up and you have to wrestle with them in mid-air and seeing the landscape from that point of view was shockingly beautiful.
Blake: I agree that there’s been a dramatic increase in the amount of nuanced details, such as lightning flashes that show the shadows of ground zero victims last moments against decaying walls, but there is one thing that was glaringly noticeable: There was sooooooooo much gray everywhere. Every single post-apocalyptic game out there seems to suffer from Fallout-itis. It drives me crazy. I get that it’s a bleak future, but the lack of color tends to make everything around it bland. I’m not saying I need Sonic the Hedgehog level flashiness from it. I get that this is a spooky game, but c’mon. Give those fancy pants graphics a little more flash.
Ray: I hear ya, but I’m curious if we’ll actually see more color inside the actual Metro. Most of what we saw was on the surface world in terms of the demo and yes, that was very dull in terms of the whites and grays, but a more colorful or vibrant Metro, at least where people congregate, could really drive home the point of how devastated everything is on the surface so I’m taking a ‘wait and see’ approach on that. So, before we say ‘dosvedanya’, is there anything else about Metro: Last Light you saw that really stood out or want to say?
Blake: I’ve always got more to say, but I’ll leave it at this: It looks like Last Light is going to improve upon many of the facets that made the first game so much fun. As long as they don’t stray from that formula too much, with too many battles like the one we saw at last years E3, this is going to be a title that sneaks up and bites everyone in the ass out of nowhere.
Ray: I couldn’t have said it better myself partner. This could be a sleeper hit in 2013 and considering you don’t really need to have played the first game to jump right into this one, I think it would be in the best interest of a lot of gamers to check this one out if they get the chance.