I am running through a mutant-spider infested metro tunnel. The only thing that is keeping these man sized arachnids at bay is my shotgun, which does little to no damage to them, and my flashlight. I find an unlit lantern on the ground and light it so I can get a moment to compose myself and charge my dead battery with a hand operated battery charger. The lantern illuminated the spiderweb filled tunnel and a giant spider that has been stalking me falls from the ceiling. I panic. I fire my shotgun at the overturned spider, spraying guts all over my gas mask but the buckshot also hits the lantern, causing it to explode. I’m left in the dark with a dead battery and an empty shotgun. I can hear the spiders and scorpions skittering along the ceiling and walls. I pull out my charger and desperately start priming it as the skittering noises are now directly over me.
Metro: Last Light is freaking intense.
I’ve spent 14 hours in the post-apocalyptic of a war-ravaged Russia. I’ve dealt with communists and the Fourth Reich Nazis. I hunted bandits that preyed on refugees and became the hunted by deadly mutants. The world of Metro is equal parts beautiful and deadly, but the sum of both parts is how awesome this game is. I like to think that I spent my time with Metro: Last Light playing the game the way it was meant to be played. I finished the game with the Shadow Ranger achievement, meaning I killed no human beings unless being forced to. I also played the game with above optimal settings on my PC, the game is breathtaking to say the least.
In Metro: Last Light you once again take the role of Artyom, the Ranger now known as the savior of the Metro. At the start of the game Khan shows up and informs Artyom that scouts have encountered a Dark One near the Botanical Gardens. This is concerning as Artyom believes they were wiped out in the missile strike that he orchestrated and has felt guild over. While Khan believes that Artyom needs to reach out and contact the Dark One, his superiors would rather see a bullet in it’s head and give the order to Artyom himself to make sure it happens. From there, a wild ride that includes betrayal, duty and humanity takes off that will decide the fate of the Metro as we know it.
Numerous times, while playing the game, I needed to stop and admire the beauty of the environment around me. Be it above ground, in a ruined city, or underground, among the remains of the Metro system, there seems to always be something worth stopping to look at. The world seems to have a story to tell, every character, every room, every corpse and every piece of equipment seems to have it’s own background. Even though it is a first person shooter, your enemies are finite and each has their own story. After I was done playing, most had concussions as well.
While the game boasted some of the best visuals that I have seen on my PC, I couldn’t help but find myself continually pulled into this world. While I strived to make sure Artyom did not take any lives, I also did my best to make sure any and all innocents were safe as well. While cruising along in my rail-car, I heard a cry for help from a woman that was about to be raped. I jumped out of the car and ran into a room to see the woman and her attackers, I snuck up behind them and dispatched them, but not fast enough before for a third man to spot my car and decide to see what his buddies were up to. The woman was inconsolable, so I had to leave her, but I made sure that this third man was at least unconscious before I left. I couldn’t help but hope that somewhere in the game’s code, she is programmed to run back to the safety of the rest of the refugees. Metro: Last Light elicits some seriously strong emotions. There is a massive betrayal that happens early in the game, when the time comes for revenge, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of guilt as well. Literally an “I’m sorry that it had to come to this” moment.
Metro: Last Light is at it’s core a first person shooter with some pretty awesome optional stealth mechanics. While stealth may not be the way people want to play, you can also Call of Duty your way through the game and give any opposing people bullet sandwiches, but ammo and weapons are slightly limited so running around with weapons blazing isn’t going to do much more than let every person in the Metro know where you are. After spending a long period of time playing Last Light, I found myself quite aware of lights on in my house and ALMOST killed the lights in each room before I entered them. Doing so in Metro is quite beneficial. The game also features some of the coolest cinematic action sequences I have seen in video games. There is an escape from trouble that ends up rivaling the “Stand” moment in the Medal of Honor reboot. ‘Boss’ fights are nerve racking and absolutely make you feel nearly hopeless whenever you are thrown into a situation where the odds are not in your favor.
While a great game (go buy it, seriously), there are a few things that I ended up a little disappointed with. First off, every stealth kill/knockout it exactly the same. I don’t really understand why I have to punch every person in the face to knock them out, I can’t punch them in the back of the head, pistol whip or asphyxiate them? There are also a few moments that are ‘trial-by-error’ which if you have been reading reviews and stories around here, you know I dislike quite a bit. On top of that, while playing PC there were a few inexplicable moments where I had slow down. These moments didn’t happen to during moments where a ton was going on, and at least a few times during empty hallways. These were not gameplay breaking moments, but were slight inconveniences and the game ran phenomenally outside of those moments. The most aggravating thing in the game has to be the fact that I have to hit X to knock someone out but if my gun has any empty bullets, a reload takes priority over a stealth knockout. This lead to quite a few moments where I snuck up behind someone and proceeded alarm them by noisily reloading my weapon. I had to reload way too many times because of this.
Metro 2033 was considered a fantastic game by most standards but Metro: Last Light takes the base concept and ups the beauty, intensity, fear and fun. I enjoyed the hell out of my time playing the game and will absolutely find myself playing through the game multiple times to try to unlock all the other achievements in the game. Metro: Last Light easily features one of the best single player first person shooter campaigns within it’s genre. Are you looking for some chills and thrills? Check this one out.
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