Metro 2033 was a welcome new IP for me. It took a somewhat different approach to the ‘apocalyptic’ theme. I found the atmosphere and story to be immensely interesting as was the overall design. However, it fell short on the gameplay for me – the controls were too clumsy and the game wasn’t quite technically apt, ultimately frustrating my experience, while still capturing my attention. Metro: Last Light is stunning in the departments that the predecessor was – extremely interesting and immersive – but fortunately Last Light doesn’t stumble on the gameplay side of things, quite the contrary actually, making Last Light everything I wanted out of the series.
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Distributor: Apex Interactive
For fans of: Shooters, first-person shooters, survival horror
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: PC, Playstation 3 and Wii U
If we had to give it a numerical score: 8.5/10
What I liked
- Gun play
- Interesting narrative
- Memorable characters
- Script, dialogue and voice-acting
Not so much
- A few, very few texture loading issues
- Some muddy graphics
Gameplay and Features
4A went about creating a game in a crowded genre in exactly the way they should. Most first-person shooters, in my opinion, go about things in the same manner. Shoot this, snipe that one, clear this area etc. etc. Envelop that with loads of visual effects and some QTE’s and you have the typical first-person shooter. They are fun, but totally forgettable. Metro Last Light is again based on the Metro novels, and it seems to have been built around the story. The story takes place in Eastern Europe where the world has been devastated by an apocalyptic event that again sends survivor’s to inhabit the underground tunnels, away from the radiation above ground. For me the experience completely revolved around the narrative, the wonderful characters and the script, making it more meaningful that most.
However unlike the first game, the gameplay stands up to the best of the AAA titles. The all important first-person view is as dynamic as you will want and the gameplay is as solid as the best of them. Even though Last Light is a linear campaign and the gameplay doesn’t really offer anything new, it was well designed and because it is sound, the game flows, allowing you to be absorbed by the rich story and its intriguing cast.
Players can carry 3 guns and throwing knifes. You map out items and weapons to the D-Pad and the RB/ direction combos. Again, nothing new, but everything is pleasing and works well. I did love the new throwing knives aspect; it proves to be handy in the stealthy bits. Like the previous game, there is quite a bit of stealth involved, and again you can unscrew light bulbs to remain it the dark, but the knives mean you don’t only have the option of creeping up to foe to either kill or knock out, you can now take them down from a distance. Other than that element, I can’t think of anything new or particularly outstanding. The mask seems unchanged from the previous game – you need to time your oxygen use, replace filters and you need to keep wiping the lens to keep your vision clear. The mask wearing, like with the previous game, really adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere of the game. The gameplay, like is the case with BioShock Infinite, works well while not being ground-breaking. This is a good thing, because like with BioShock you can just get on with getting absorbed by the stunning story that is unfolding.
The weapons, albeit too few a selection, are some of the more interesting for me with shooters. This new post-apocalyptic race have taken guns and adapted them to be suited to their needs. So you end up with some almost ‘home-made’ like guns. Very interesting and satisfying guns – automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns. I just wish there was more of a selection.
I do firmly believe that if multiplayer is not viable, then leave it out rather than force it. Last Light is strictly a single player experience, but I actually think the gloomy tunnel system could be a worthy gaming world for multiplayer. And a survival horror game is always better with co-op mode. Still, the singleplayer campaign is all you get with various difficulty settings. There are three as standard and then the hardcore “Ranger” mode. I have yet to give Ranger Mode a bash, but I assume the ammo conservation becomes more predominant, as does the oxygen use for your trips to the ground and so forth.
Sound and Visuals
The look of the game is of a great quality. The first layer of objects i.e. the environments, are not the best I have seen, lacking a bit in detail, but still of a decent quality and well textured. There is definitely that feeling that the attention to detail was of importance. It’s just things like doors or walls are not totally vivid, a little muddy if anything, but not enough to deter from my overall opinion. I found quite a bit of overlapping objects and some slow-loading textures, but nothing game-breaking. The characters’ animations and visual effects however are pretty pleasing. There is a bit of QTE’s which were well put together and look great as do the cinematic sequences.
The highlight for me in the aesthetics department was the dialogue. The humour is not ridiculous; the various characters’ dialogue really stands out, making for some memorable moments. The great dialogue and voice-acting also meant I “bonded” with the different characters. It generally elevated the narrative for me – again I would like other reviewers compare it to BioShock Infinite in terms of quality. The sound effects quality, again, is of the highest quality. Importantly the sound effects add to the eerie, desperate mood of the narrative.
Overall, in terms of production, Metro: Last Light holds up to the ‘biggest of budget’ titles for the most parts. The game looks and sounds stylish, all importantly selling the theme of the narrative.
Metro: Last Light is everything a sequel should be – taking the pro’s from the series and smoothing out many of the issues I found with the previous game. Fortunately 4A did a stellar job with the gameplay mechanics with Last Light, and so my experience was a much less clumsy experience than it was with 2033. The immensely interesting narrative, the deeply immersing atmosphere is wonderfully complimented with the solid gameplay, making Last Light one of the [much] better first-person shooters I have played. I have no doubt it will remain one of the more memorable ones too.
Read about our ratings here.