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Metro: Last Light Written Review

Metro: Last light Redux is an amazing FPS game that combines multiple genres such as sci-fi, post-apocalypse, politics, paranormal, and horror to create an exciting and varied ride. To be more specific, Metro: Last Light Redux is the remastered sequel to Metro 2033 and while most people may feel unsure about sequels due to at times being of lower quality, you don’t have that problem with this because it’s an overall excellent game.  

MLLR involves the main character Artyom and his life as a military ranger in the post-apocalyptic Moscow subway tunnels. It’s almost an immediate continuation of Metro 2033 and it deals with the outcome of Artyom’s actions in that game. For the most part, the story in MLLR isn’t too complex, but in the end it pleasantly appears to be more than it initially is. This is due to the fact that you have to deal with the effects of struggles between different political ideologies. Primarily, your main goal in the game is to search for what you believe to be the one possible savior of humanity. In searching for this being, you encounter many situations that test your resolve in accomplishing your goal. These situations are quite varied and they lead to confronting nazis, communists, and my favorite, encounters with paranormal beings. 

The variety/difference of enemies is of importance because it greatly affects how you play through the game. I‘d even go so far as to say that the enemies you encounter in MLLR are more diverse than the ones in Metro 2033. This is a good thing because constantly killing the same enemies over and over again gets old fast. The game is also greatly affected by the difficulty setting that you choose. It has three options that range from easy to hard, but from the way they’re explained and how the game ends up being, you can tell that these different difficulty settings do in fact matter. A few examples would be finding less supplies, taking more damage, and having to pay higher prices for goods while playing at the highest difficulty level.  

Despite being an FPS, there are stealth elements in this game and they can primarily be utilized when dealing with human enemies. Stealth is of importance in this game due to how low supplies can be. You constantly have to scrounge through dead bodies to resupply and at times it’s better to completely avoid enemy encounters or simply make use of one of your silent weapons such as your knife or silenced revolver. Through the use of stealth, you are able to ensure that you don’t take damage and conserve ammunition for when you have to deal with the many mutants that roam the subway tunnels/surface of Moscow.  

Even though it is possible to avoid combat with many of the game’s enemies, that isn’t really possible when dealing with the game’s mutants. Encountering mutants almost entirely means combat and that requires a lot of ammunition. It’s especially hard to deal with due to the variety of mutants that you face. It’s a regular occurrence to have to run around through the game with ammo-less weapons due to how scarce ammo is and how much is needed to bring down mutant enemies. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing, but at times it can be a pain in the ass having to deal with one of the game’s few bosses with just grenades. 

On the subject of combat, MLLR doesn’t really stray too far away from what most FPS games offer. It’s fairly typical with occasional boss fights that are slightly more difficult than the general combat you encounter. One thing that is noteworthy is the amount of weapons that are offered and how much you can customize them. The customization isn’t too intricate, but it is enough that you can have it suit your preferred playstyle. The weapons also stand out due to how well designed they are, they look and sound great 

It may sound weird to say this about a video game, but the way the weapons are handled in game, it adds a sense of realism and contributes to a greater feeling of immersion. An example of this would be how fluid Artyom’s movements are when reloading and how your rifle’s clip shows ammo when it’s full while showing no ammo when it’s almost empty. This grabbed my attention because most FPS games don’t showcase this at all and the only way of realizing that you’re almost out of ammo is a numerical display on your HUD. 

Despite feeling that the weapons in MLLR were realistic due to how they were handled, there’s also enough action to remind you that this is a video game and not some sort of simulator. For the most part, the weapons offered are fairly standard, handguns, rifles, machine guns, explosives, and knivesThe weaponare typically encountered in other FPS, but these are different because most look homemade. The weapons you choose to use also affect how you approach the game. It’s possible to stick to long range weapons such as a bolt action sniper rifle or you can be up close and personal with one of the few shotguns offered. The automatic shotgun stood out because it was a complete beast with how much carnage you could dish out with it. The way it functioned against mutants instantly reminded me of Doom 2016 and it worked as a good outlier.  

For the most part, the game looks really good, but there are instances where the game’s performance suffers/looks sub-par. During cutscenes, especially throughout the intro, the FPS drops to around 30 and even in game there are moments where the FPS drops to around 40. I don’t know what it is about the game’s cutscenes, but they greatly differ from what is offered in game. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but at times the intro looked like PS2 era graphics. Maybe it’s because it‘s graphically demanding, but the game’s FPS ranged from around 40-70 

One thing that really stands out about MLLR and the Metro franchise in general is the grim and overall ominous atmosphere. Maybe it’s because the game is based on a book so the game developers have something to work with, but from what’s shown throughout the game you can’t help but feel as if there is no hope in this world. This is immediately noticed when the game begins. Not only is it done with the depressing music that’s played throughout, it’s done via the hellish and gray surface of Moscow. Everything is completely destroyed and almost devoid of all color as it is of emotion, the greyness consumes all.  

In general, many things can be said of MLLR’s atmosphere and setting. This is one of the few games where almost everything feels active and alive, as strange as that may sound. This is primarily noticed when you’re travelling through the metro’s different stations. These train stations have more or less become tiny towns and that’s shown with how the NPCs interact with everything. You could spend a great deal of time simply eavesdropping in on the conversations going on around you or you could observe as the metro’s inhabitants go on with their daily lives. You feel that while you aren’t there these NPCs are actually doing something besides just waiting for you to interact with them. I feel that this is of great importance because it adds life in more ways than one to the metro and makes it seem like an additional character, while also contributing to feeling immersed in this game’s world. This is  something that’s not easy to accomplish and it adds life to something as mundane as a train system.  

 I have to emphasize how spectacular this game looks. Despite consisting of a fairly drab palette and some occasional flaws, the world of Metro stands out in very particular ways. The environments in general are probably what stood out to me the most due to how shiny/surprisingly well-lit some of them appeared to be. This is best noticed in areas with flowing water and glow in the dark mushrooms. It may sound strange, but the lighting contributes to this due to how at times it seems to envelop certain objects and makes it seem as if they have an aura. The light use is interesting due to how so much is done with so little. You’d think the lighting of a subway system would be dim, but in reality it illuminates its surroundings and also creates interesting shadows. 

It may come off as a disparaging remark, but MLLR is more or less a linear FPS. Despite being this way, it’s interesting just how much is offered in what is generally viewed as limiting sub-genre, there’s much to explore. You can easily go through the game without leaving “the main path”, but actively seeking things out results in many rewards. There’s nothing too extravagant, but it is interesting to be able to see more of the diverse environments that the metro and the barren surface has to offer. This exploration also results in finding much needed supplies or encounters that aren’t experienced elsewhere in the game. 

MLLR offers immersion in multiple ways and that’s great. Some of these things may sound silly or unimportant, but it allows you to feel as if you’re actually in the game. Two things in particular stood out, being able to change the language setting with different subtitles and being able to wipe off your gas mask. Seeing as how this is a FPS, you spend a great deal of time being up close and personal to the many enemies you encounter and your surrounding environments. As a result of this, your gas mask gets dirtied up with all sorts of things. While up on the surface your mask gets fogged up due to the polluted wasteland and when dealing with close enemy encounters, your mask gets bloodied up. Wiping your mask off could’ve easily been an automatic response, but allowing it to be done manually was great.  

The different languages offered are great not only because it allows you to experience the game in your preferred language, but because it feels real when you choose for the game to be in Russian. Seeing as how the game takes place in Russia and was written by a Russian, I felt that it was appropriate to play MLLR and Metro 2033 in Russian with English subtitles. Doing this adds a great sense of realism because playing the game in English forces you to listen to heavily accented English and that just feels fake. It’d be like watching a WW2 movie, but rather than having the Germans speak German, you have them speak English with a German accent. Maybe I’m just very particular with languages, but having this option allows you to fully experience what the game offers, it’s worth it. 

For the most part, I highly enjoyed what MLLR had to offer, but it’s not without its flaws, most of them graphical. Being that it’s a remastered game and it’s marketed for its next gen performance, this game requires a lot to run smoothly. I have an 8 gb MSI RX 480 that generally maxes out most of the games I play and it usually delivers a steady 60 FPS at ultra-settings. That isn’t entirely the case with MLLR. Something that I disliked were how weird/plastic the faces of characters looked when up close. Sometimes they were fine, but in certain instances this was very noticeable. This doesn’t ruin the game, but for how well the environments looked, you’d think the character’s faces would also reflect that.  

I also had a problem with how the game’s story was paced. For a great portion of the game nothing is really going on and while you’re attempting to accomplish something, the reason as to why you’re doing this doesn’t really feel fleshed out. I’m not saying the game’s story sucks, but I feel as if it would’ve been better if things had been spread out more equally. It’s not until you’re halfway through the game that things start to fall together and you feel as if you have a more worthwhile purpose.  

To be more specific, the game’s pacing is really screwed up in the beginning. Much like Metro 2033, the game is divided up into chapters/levels. The problem I had with this is that in the beginning these chapters don’t last very long and you’re constantly taken away from the gameplay to a loading screen that has Artyom explain what’s going. This was very frustrating because all I wanted to do was go on with the game, i didn’t need to be interrupted every 5-10 minutes to be told what’s going on. Thankfully, this problem is resolved later on as the length of these chapters increases and the loading explanations are few and far between. 

One of the reasons as to why the game’s plot begins to expand is because of the inclusion of naziscommunists, and the attempts to keep the peace between all of the metro’s inhabitants. Despite fleshing out the plot, I feel as if both games rely too much on these two political factions. Metro 2033 also consists of levels in which you have to deal with nazis and communists while navigating through their respective territories. I feel as if including that in the game is too repetitive and I’m sure the Metro lore has plenty of more different things that you can deal with.  

Overall, I greatly enjoyed MLLR despite its few flaws and it made me want to replay Metro 2033, despite my last playthrough of it having been six months ago. MLLR is an example of what more FPS games need to do, stick to the tried and true formula while at the same time expanding on it in unique ways. In MLLR’s case, it’s the fully fleshed out setting combined with the gameplay to create a fun and interesting experience. I definitely recommend this game and eagerly look forward to Metro: Exodus.

-Alejandro

About Unclenched Team

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Where do we even begin?? Shit we honestly have no idea. We all love video games and making people laugh. Why not use our skills to share our brand of humour and love for games with the world.

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