Metro 2033 was one of the big hits from 2010, which combined a dark atmosphere with some pretty substantial action. When THQ met its demise in early 2013, the fate of the sequel seemed to be in jeopardy. But with Deep Silver taking the reins of publishing rights, the game proceeded with final stages of development and has now been released to an eager fanbase. Metro Last Light held the promise of improvements from the original formula that made for the previous game’s success.
This game is a first person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic Russia with bold visuals and a dark theme. It has a bit of a survival horror flavor to it, although the singleplayer campaign that lasts for about 10-12 hours may not as long as desired. The setting where this game takes place is very good at setting the tone of the story and gameplay, to say the least.
Based from the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky, the picture painted here is that of a post-apocalyptic Moscow, with people trying to survive the fallout of a nuclear war in the subways. The story follows Artyom, who is one of the desperate stragglers who shuffles through the underground network, who then joins the Rangers and fights his way through in pursuit of some semblance of freedom and hope.
Fans of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series will take to this game quite well, like with its predecessor. Russophiles who haven’t played all those games will also find this to be an interesting game that gives you a touch of how it is to be a Russian soldier in a bleak environment. The production value put into this game is pretty astounding as well, combining fitting presentation and captivating aesthetics with solid graphics and amazing environmental design. Combined with the size and scope of the in-game world, players have plenty of reasons to look around and explore the far reaches of the setting.
Some may complain that the cohesiveness of the storyline and gameplay aren’t as good as expected, even with how much the setting lends to them. It’s not exactly deep, but those who have played Metro 2033 and liked it should like it just fine. It’s not “hollow” or “empty” per se, but that’s the feeling you may get from this game due to the way the setting is presented, as well as the characters being shells of what they may have been. It’s that bleakness that gives the whole game its soul, if that actually does make sense.
It seems that action games have lately been suffering from sub-par AI, and Metro: Last Light isn’t an exception. While it’s not as bad as that of Aliens: Colonial Marines and the recent Star Trek game, it still leaves much to be desired. The technical issues that seem to be plentiful in the console versions may impede your gameplay, although not so much with the PC version. Most of the strength of this game is in the atmosphere and how it affects the gameplay mechanics, like in stealth and how you must pay attention to light and sound in order to get a good feel for the game. The fact that the graphics and sound design seem to have improved from the first game doesn’t hurt it either.
Despite with THQ going under, it’s great to know that the development for this game didn’t do the same thing. It’s good to know that the remnants of the once great game publisher are still able to churn out games, including ones like Relic Entertainment with Company of Heroes 2. Metro: Last Light seems to not have suffered from the rough transition period, although the Ranger Mode being a DLC option or pre-order bonus is rather sad. Making the mode that is supposed to be how the game should really be played into something you have to pay extra to have is pretty bad form on part of the game’s publisher Deep Silver.
In any case though, it’s still a pretty good game that follows up well to Metro 2033, which you may have played back in 2010 or gotten for free through a promo earlier after THQ’s demise. If possible, you should play this on the PC as everything just looks and feels better there. But even if you’re going for the console versions, you’ll still find it to be a pretty good singleplayer experience.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 7.5/10