Metro: Redux Review
publisher: 4A Games
developer: 4A Games
|ESRB rating: RP
release date: Aug 08, 14
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The idea of a second chance or a ‘do over’ is appealing in many situations and in the world of gaming, it’s becoming more and more common. Frankly, if I put as much time, effort and money into a title as development houses do, I would want to try to recoup some of that investment. This gives gamers the chance to discover (or rediscover) titles they may have missed when they first came out and allows the developer a do overby tuning things up a bit, updating the graphics and engine performance and then adding an HD or similar phrase to the original title for the re-release. Keeping all this in mind, developer 4A Games and Publisher Deep Silver took their spooky, post-apocalyptic shooters, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light,(including all DLC) and gave them a tune up and an overhaul to the graphics along with the new name, Metro Redux with versions available for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. I of course, played the PC versions.
Surviving... wait, where are the women?
Ok, looking for women...
Gamers who might have missed the previous versions of Metro will be introduced to a grim, post war world based on the novel, Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Dreary, depressing and dangerous, the Metro, makes the world of Fallout look like a cherry Disney musical in comparison. Humanity is forced off the toxic surface to live the subway tunnels below old Moscow (or Metros as they are known outside of the U.S.) divided into little factions that sometimes war with each as they try to eke out a living. To make matters worse, horrible monsters, possibly mutants or demons, depending on who you talk to, constantly attack travelers and enclaves alike. Ammunition for firearms that are mostly cobbled together from spare parts, are used as currency for guns and the lifesaving gas masks worn when you venture to the surface to scavenge for materials. Bullets as money is an interesting mechanic as entering combat forces you to ensure every shot count or you will find yourself out ammo and broke. Too many times I had expended my ammunition on the hordes of beasties and found myself with no way to get vital upgrades or replace damaged equipment.
Players assume the role of Artyom, a young man who sets out to help his faction of humans on a simple trade run to another station only to be lead on a supernatural adventure above and below the ruined Russian landscape. The updates graphic engine means better visuals for characters, lighting and much better performance with streamlined lined loading of levels (in some cases this has been eliminated completely) which allows you to stay immersed in the creepy story and environment more easily. This is a welcomed update as I recall when I first played Metro 2033 years ago, the game brought my system to its knees and actually made the experience more of a chore than the sci fi escape it was intended to be. New areas and encounters have been added as well but I could not readily identify any of these as it’s been a while since I played the originals and my brain is like a sieve. However this additional content helps justify the cost of re-admission. The price point is pretty appealing too as both can be acquired for $49.99 on all platforms or purchased singularly on the PC via digital download for $24.99 each. Further discounts are available if you already own the games on Steam.
The interface has been updated to include the more streamlined version found in Metro: Last Light. This is not just a change to the HUD but also the menu and combat wheel which makes for more fluid navigation and reactions while in combat. The updated lighting makes it easier to maneuver through levels and plan your attacks on the enemywhen the opportunity presents itself, as most of the time flocks of slavering creatures come literally out of the walls to have you for lunch. Another feature that has been brought into Metro is the ability to play in Spartan mode (previously only available in Last Light) which lets players explore the environment in more familiar and forgiving run and gun style where the player can take more damage and ammo is easier to come by. This is a good thing as while playing the first game years ago, I remember feeling the main quest was a bit too much of a survival type gamefor my tastes. Yes this does mean I am a light weight.Ranger mode is still available in both games for the truly Hard Core who want to tackle the environment without a HUD and on a much more difficult setting.
Metro 2033 is much more focused on the story which highlights the plight of the humans that try to survive in a world that has been changed so drastically following the cataclysm. Frankly it’s depressing and that to me makes it even scarier. The graphical updates only further illustrates the bleak conditions and the supernatural elements take what little you do understand and throw that knowledge into disarray. Metro Last Light is geared more towards a traditional shooter more frantic segments and some boss fights so players who are not satisfied with the style and pacing of Metro 2033 might find themselves more at home in the sequel.
Even with reworking that the games have received I did encounter several issues with events not triggering at the correct time. While this never completely halted my progress, It did slow me down as I had to either reload my previous save and try again or figure out what I did to not kick the game to move into the next segment. Also I felt the same feeling of being forced down a particular path and not having very much control of being able to proceed the way I wanted to. For example when you first go up to the surface you get separated from your guide and have to make your way across a broken landscape with a small river dividing the map.
This is what happens when you look too much for women.
Aha!! You're a woman!
There were several points where I thought should have been passible but found invisible walls blocking my way. It was clear there was one way to get across that triggered cut scenes and I HAD to go that route. Figuring out that route was a bit of trail, error and reload as some of the paths I had to travel looked suspiciously like the others that were blocked to me. Also, your character, Artyom does not talk during the game so I felt like I had to endure the monologues from my companions as an inactive participant as the story progressed. Not a huge deal but it was distracting.
If you have never played any the Metro series, are looking to experience the stories again but with a lot of updates and some new content, or just need a post-apocalyptic fix , this might be the perfect opportunity for you. While the updates did not fix some of the little issues I had with the games, the performance and visual boost go a long way to help minimize them. Metro Redux is available today on all systems.
Tuned game engine performance mean faster and fewer level loading, updated graphics, dialog, character models and new game modes, low price point;
First game is still quite linear, several issues with event triggers, lack of player character dialog can be jarring at some points.
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