Review: Metro Redux
When it comes to survival horror, a game’s atmosphere is one of the key components. You can have enemies pop out at you from out of nowhere, giving you scripted moments of terror. But a great atmosphere keeps you on edge and filled with terror and unease throughout the entirety of the game’s duration. And that’s what Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light do, both included in the remastered Redux edition for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
The Metro games combine first-person shooter mechanics with survival horror elements nicely, providing set-piece moments you’d expect from big shooters, along with quieter moments filled with dread as you take on the role of Artyom, one of the survivors of the nuclear holocaust which has decimated the game’s setting. His goal in the first game is to exterminate the Dark Ones, whereas in the sequel you find yourself at war with another faction, all tied together by some intriguing supernatural elements. Both games shines the most in their quiet moments, where you walk around civilizations formed in Russia’s subway tunnels, listening to the conversations of broken survivors who’ve lost everything and seeing how they and their children are now forced to live. It’s here where you get to see the crippling effects a nuclear holocaust has on people. And it’s above the tunnels where you get to see the monstrous results of such an event.
The outside world is filled with mutated creatures that will stop at nothing to tear you apart limb from limb. And to make matters worse, not only is ammunition and health supplies a concern, but you also have to worry about not suffocating to death breathing the radiated air outside, making seeking out filters for your gas mask a necessity. This lends itself nicely to a traditional survival horror experience, where players have to really keep a close eye on their inventory and not just what threats lie in front of them. I did find myself frustrated at the whole filter system initially, though. I would be in the middle of heated battles with monsters and then see that I was out of filters, making me run around in hopes of finding one nearby. Another issue I sometimes had was with the enemy AI, which could be pretty dumb at times. But don’t be fooled, both games, especially 2033, do provide some pretty intense and difficult moments.
Both games’ brutal and somber underground setting is brought to life beautifully, made even better now with the updated graphics. Though the color palette may get a bit repetitive at times, the subway tunnels are a joy to explore, and make for a wonderful and memorable horror setting that rivals the likes of Rapture. Metro 2033 in particular has received the most significant visual upgrade, now being powered by the same engine as Last Light. But the enhancements to both games don’t just end in the visual department.
Redux offers both games in 60 framers per second on consoles, stripping away that sluggish feel from 2033’s initial release. And the frame-rate was pretty steady throughout, only hitting me with some rare moments of slowdown during a couple of heated firefights. Redux also gives players new modes to tackle like Survivor and Spartan. The former gives the game an even stronger survival horror feel (making ammo even more scarce) while the latter will benefit those more into straight-up running and gunning, which also turns 2033 into more of a shooter, stripping away the need for resource management. Then, for those who want an even bigger challenge than what Survivor offers, there’s also Ranger mode, which strips away the HUD and crosshairs. Last Light’s gameplay changes have also been applied to 2033, like weapon customization. Lastly, all DLC is included in the game as well, including gun packs, challenges and extra missions.
We live in a time where first-person shooters flood the market. Especially ones with a strong focus on cooperative and competitive play. So it’s really refreshing to see games like Metro 2033 and Last Light. 4A put all their attention and efforts into bringing Dmitry Glukhovsky’s post-apocalyptic world to life by adapting his novels into amazing single-player only experiences, with no concern at all for any multiplayer mode whatsoever.
It’s all about tight gameplay, story and atmosphere here, resulting in great current-gen survival horror games that rank up there with Outlast and the recent remastered edition of The Last of Us. Redux is the best way to experience both of these games. 4A Games has put in a lot of effort in not just upping the textures and including all existing DLC, but also completely updating 2033, putting it on par with Last Light on a gameplay and visual level. If you haven’t experienced this series yet, you owe it to yourself to pick up this edition.