Metro Exodus Review
Reviewed by @steve2theizzO
The year is 2036 in post apocalyptic Russia, warring factions and mutants roam the the harsh wasteland. The world was ravaged by nuclear war 23 years ago, causing whatever life that remained to morph into terrifying creatures. Families escaped the radiation by fleeing to the metro system, where they built communities, but it wasn’t long before rival factions formed – looking to capitalise on the chaos and bring about a new world order.
Set two years after Metro : Last Light, players again take on the role of the hero Artyom in this first person shooter game from developer 4A games. Now a battle-hardened ranger and married to Anna, he cannot stop searching for other survivors on the outside. This quest leads you on an epic journey beyond the Metro with your friends aboard the massive train called Aurora. A yearlong adventure spanning the four seasons shows off the immerse and excellent weather system, for which you start off in the harsh winter.
Metro Exodus places a strong emphasis on the story so there is a lot of dialogue, narration, and even quick-time events that take control of action from the player. Fortunately, it is not that big of a deal because the story is pretty good and will keep you engaged with its plot twists. The characters will quickly grow closer as you spend time with them, and character development is given special attention with some good writing (based on the books by Dmitry Glukhovsky) albeit some questionable voice acting.
In terms of gameplay it is very much your standard FPS with some open world sandbox elements, which to players of the older Metro games will be a welcome addition. With the previous games there was the claustrophobic metro tunnels to explore, however in a very linear way which made the game quite repetitive in parts. This time around there a real feel of proper exploration and challenge, and while you will go through many linear segments as well, the open-approach to mission design makes the game world feel more alive. It also adds to the survival horror elements where you are not sure where to go and feel a sense of dread due to the unknown nature of what lies ahead.
Metro Exodus is more of a survival game than a shooter. Ammo is scarce and you need to constantly scavenge for parts and equipment. Your weapons and equipment can be upgraded using items salvaged in the field. Every shot counts. Areas are often better cleared by taking out the lights and picking off enemies one-by-one using stealth attacks rather than risking a full-on gun-fight.
A large focus on survival means you have to scavenge for supplies including parts and chemicals to keep your weapons clean and maintained, craft medi-kits and filters for your gas mask and make other items to help you in the wastelands. The HUD is mostly hidden which adds to the immersive presentation of the game, a quick press of a button though and you can change filters, select weapons and take some medicine.
The game is challenging and tense and even seasoned players will die often as you run out of bullets or your weapon jams at the point you are overwhelmed by monsters. Sometimes the stealth approach is the best thing to make your way around an area, however the A.I at times can be baffling and not consistent.
A couple of frustrations in the game are the long loading screens at times, which are narrated nicely by Artyom giving you a short recap of the story so far. However this is the only time he speaks, meaning any interactions you have with other characters are one dimensional and limit the story telling. Often you have your new wife Anna pouring her heart out to you, only for Artyom to give her the full on silent treatment, which Anna ignores completely.
Probably the worst thing I had encountered was cut scenes not triggering leaving me wandering around aimlessly not knowing what to do next. I spent a good 20 mins at one point searching for Anna’s dad, even though I knew where he was and repeatedly went to him pressing all the buttons in frustration only for the game to do nothing. The game auto saves at fairly decent points however so a quick load only took me back a short distance to try again.
Metro Exodus is a challenging but worthwhile experience, although I personally found it a bit slow to start and the lack of proper interaction between player and NPCs didn’t help move the games story on. That being said the game is great to play and visually both beautiful and horrible with each area full of detail and dread of what lies round the corner. There are genuine frights and scares and the monsters are. Scavenging and crafting is essential to survival as are the choices you have to make along the way. It has some elements of a Fallout type game but does well to stand up as its own game without feeling like a copy of another.
GoG Rating: 7.5/10