Metro 2033

Icon - Calendar Released: 26 Aug 2014
Icon - Edited Reviewed: 15 Sep 2021
Platform: PC

Metro 2033 redux

I played this once and didn't really enjoy it, so dropped the series. Recently I wanted to give it another go, and enjoyed it more than the first time, so I'm updating this review. Metro 2033 is a linear FPS; more like Half Life than Fallout. You work your way through the Metro following the story of Artyom, meeting various characters and factions, being introduced to the horrors of the underground and the overworld. You're nearly always accompanied by an NPC, which is good - because the solo combat is awful. It's an old game, which shows - but the Redux version has helped a lot. The atmosphere is fantastic, and the the story was interesting enough to keep me playing, despite the mechanics.

Pros

  • The atmosphere is excellent. Wiping your gas mask, changing filters, charging your flashlight etc is all very immersive. You know, until the game crashes or a scripted event bugs out (again)
  • Really good voice acting (except the children, which sound like an adult doing a bad impression of a child)
  • Intriguing story. It's not complicated, I just really wanted to find out what the Dark Ones were. That question wasn't really ever answered though
  • Most of the combat can be left to your NPC companions, as they have infinite health and ammo
  • The remaster (Redux) made the game look really good - and it still holds up even though it's now 7 years old
  • There's a new "Spartan" option which makes resources like gas masks and ammo a lot more common. Given how much I disliked like the combat, I especially didn't like combat without having enough bullets, so this is a really welcome addition
  • Despite there being quite a number of negatives below, I still felt like the game was very memorable and enjoyed it
  • The guns generally feel pretty good. There's basically two sets; the early game guns, and the good ones towards the end
  • You can burn away cobwebs with your lighter

Cons

  • The combat is straight up terrible. The mutants / monsters just run straight at you and melee you, and there's no way to avoid them other than walking about very slowly. Really the combat should be the highlight of a game like this, so it being bad is a pretty big negative. Thankfully, most of it can be skipped either by hiding in a corner while the NPCs kill everything, or stealthing past. Human combat works well, it's just the monsters that are bad.
  • The scripted events are fairly buggy. I had to do several of them again because they didn't work properly, didn't trigger or randomly killed me
  • It's difficult to know when it's safe to take your gas mask off. I used so many minutes when I didn't need to because there's no indication of when you can take it off (other than choking when you do take it off)
  • Even though all the NPCs are well voiced, Artyom (the main character) isn't voiced at all and never talks, much like Gordon Freeman. It's weird.
  • Although the Redux versions support ultra-widescreen, it doesn't support not playing in widescreen if it's plugged into an ultrawide monitor. This means widescreens force you to play in widescreen rather than 16:9. It's old though, so I'll give it a pass
  • Enabling "advanced physics" crashes the game every 5 minutes
  • There's a checkpoint save system, and no quick-save
  • When you find weapons lying around, it doesn't tell you what the mods actually are, it just highlights installed mods in orange. It also doesn't tell you what the base gun is, which can be difficult to tell sometimes
  • The final section of the game (the labyrinth) is tedious and badly designed. It's unfortunate that this is the last section you play because I remember it annoying me the first time I played the game too. You're put in a situation where it's not clear what you're meant to do, and making the wrong choice gets you killed and you have to do it again. I died about a dozen times before I randomly did the right things and finished the game.
  • There's one of those hidden moral point systems in the game where you gain or lose moral points based on random actions. At the end of the game, if you were good, you get a good ending. Apparently I missed too many of the hidden points and was forced to take the 'bad' ending

I never did find out who the Dark Ones were after playing it all the way through. Guess I'll play the next one and find out!

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