Metro: Last Light – Review

Metro

Metro: Last Light

“You humans killed all your people…cruel…foolish…evil.” – Dark One

Metro: Last Light is a must own. Plain and simple. While it does have its flaws, this is a game that has to be experienced. Will it be up for game of the year awards, maybe? It will be one of the last ones to get nominated. I doubt it will win anything but it should be considered at the least.

The game takes part in post post-apocalyptic Moscow. The majority of the story is play out through underground tunnels, small refugee camps and hideouts. There are some parts that allow you to traverse through the outside world. Be warned though. If you don’t have a Gas Mask, with enough filters, you won’t survive long.

The gameplay can be broken down into two parts. First part is your typical run and gun everyone down as quickly as possible. Use some ducking behind objects, standing up and firing, then popping back down to heal. Rinse and repeat type of gameplay.

The second part is where the game really shines, trying to be as stealth as possible. This is done by unscrewing light bulbs, turning off lamps, flipping circuit breakers and so forth. It adds a lot of intense moments to the game. It makes you think about your surrounding areas, where to hide at and how to get across the map without being seen or setting off an alarm. The bad part about this is the human enemies are pretty well blind. There have been a few instances where I snuck up to someone along their side, with a lamp shining on me and they never even noticed. There are also times when an enemy will walk right into you, while you are in the shadows, and never notice you are there. Those points take out the intensity of the game. Once you do get close to someone you have two options to perform. The first one is to kill them by slashing their throat with a knife, or you can simply knock them out by hitting them on the side of their head with the blunt metal end of your knife. No, they don’t ever wake back up after that point. The watch that you wear gives you an indication if you are visible or not. If the light is blue then you can be seen, if it is off then you are hidden.

The hardest setting the game has is known as Ranger Hardcore mode. The bad thing about this is it a DLC add-on. I was luckily enough to get one of the first printings of the game which included the DLC already on the disc, by getting the Limited Edition. If you can find this version, I highly recommend it. After all, this is how Metro should be experienced. There are some major differences between this version and the other difficulty levels the game gives you. The first thing you will notice is there is no HUD. You have no idea how much ammo you have left, no idea on grenades, total filter time and so forth. Even money is really scarce. Ammo is also very scarce around the world of Metro. You basically play blindfolded. In one of the moments in the game, while fighting one of the bosses, I had to restart the entire chapter simply because I didn’t have enough firepower to take him down. What I did was buy an automatic weapon from a merchant and enough ammo as possible.  The only time you get to see what you have in your inventory is when you come across a merchant. Other than that, you have to guess. This added a great deal of excitement and strategy as you have to make sure every shot counts.

There is a morality system built into the game. Depending on what you do, helps to decide what ending you get. Killing a lot of people will ultimately give you the bad ending, no matter what else you do throughout the entire game. I tried to be as nice as possible and still got the bad ending as I just ran through and gunned down everyone that wanted to kill me. To get the good ending requires a lot of things, only knocking out the enemies, giving money to beggars, allowing certain people to live, listening to conversations from the NPCs and listening to the Dark One, will give you the good ending, which I found to be the hardest ending to achieve. If you messed a few simple things up you will ultimately get the bad ending. After playing through the game four times, I only received the good ending once.

One of the worst parts the game handles is the hit detection. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I had to start over from the last check point because my character would magically just start climbing boxes, skids, tables and other objects, while crouching down. This resulted in spot lights hitting me along with the helmet flashlights that a lot of the human enemies wear. It got to a point that it was getting a little bit annoying. I really had to watch my environment around me and where I could walk to instead keeping an eye on everyone’s movement. Most of this could very well be attributed to the fact that my controller’s left joystick likes to hang up in the forward position, right before center, if I don’t manually center it. Still, the problem does arise if you are not careful.

There are also some technical problems with the game. The game locked up my PS3 a few times along the way. For whatever reason, most of them were on my fourth play through. The only way to restart the game was through a hard reset by using the power button on the console. The auto save points can also be a pain. The game can save at the wrong times. There are no manual saves. One of the auto saves reloaded right when I was hit into the swampy waters area of the game. Since it loaded me with low heath I would die each time in the water. I had to restart the chapter to get past this point. Another one was in a rail car while being shot at. It reloaded with me having hardly any health left. I had to quickly use a health pick and hope that I didn’t get shot for a few seconds while I healed. It took a few tries, with a little bit of luck, to get past this point.

In the end, Metro: Last Light is a very enjoyable experience, despite its flaws. If you can look past those mentioned above you will no doubt enjoy the game. The atmosphere is great, story is well done, and environments have an old worn and dirty look to them. There are parts when you could just stop and look at the city around you in ruin. Steel bars protruding out where concrete walls once stood, cars destroyed and so worth. You can see the time and small details that was put into the game to make it look the way it does. Gameplay takes about 10 – 15 hours to get through, depending on how you play the game.

Go and get the game if you haven’t already. If you can find the Limited Edition, grab that to save some money on the DLC pack. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the games that get overlooked this generation.

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