Metro: Exodus review — through hardship to the rails
Metro: Exodus review — through hardship to the rails ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
You can't call 4A Games 'the face of CIS gaming industry', that's for sure. Mobile gaming — okay, they're really good at it. But these folks make great world-class games. We are talking about masterpieces — the Metro games series, based on the universe of Dmitry Glukhovsky's books.
The previous two games were controversial. On the one hand, the beautiful Metro 2033 reflected the total hopelessness of people driven into the ground to survive — the world filled with that Great Russian Sadness and fantastically accurate culture. It was a global product that showed typical Slav's inner experiences mixed with a new-but-common unnatural alternate story of Russian society. S.T.A.L.K.E.R., yes, was released like a decade earlier, but there were local sub-cultural 'memes' and the protagonist-mercenary redemption arc, not much of a culture shock for the players. The first game has set a stereotype of the post-USSR part of humanity, it was good, it was true, it was made first of all for the Russians.
On the otherhand, Metro: Last Light — a simpler game that targeted the Western audience. We all worried about the third part — it could have lost all the national flavour. As it turned out, we shouldn't have.
The essence is there, accompanied by all the games' spirit, which many have been bothering about, although it came partially. Yes, the events of Metro: Exodus take place not only in the underground labyrinths but also on the surface. Let's talk about it all in details now.
Do we need to know the plot?
That would be great, but the game helps you if this is your first one. The intro briefly shows us the world's state and the storyline of the previous two games. If you listen closely to the characters in free time or browse through Artyom's records — you'll get everything needed.
Still, here's the short version.
It all began with a great explosion. A few explosions, to be fair. Atomic ones. The world was struck with a nuclear war in 2013, and of all Moscow citizens, only those who were below the ground have survived. Those who were in the Metro. The radiation made it impossible to live on the surface, and so the city itself was settled by mutants.
Metro: Exodus is a first-person shooter with a great story, so as not to spoil your play, we can only tell you about the beginning of Artyom's new path. So this is it: Artyom himself — a well-known protagonist of Metro games, — his wife Anna and a few Spartans journey through post-apocalyptic Russia on the train named Aurora.
It is truly amazing that the player would never know what will happen after the start of the game, as there were no story trailers at all, and even the video about Artyom's nightmares hadn't provided us with a tiny plot hint. The less you know — the deeper you get into it and the purer emotions you will feel.
The journey will take a whole year. Each season has its own locations — one, two, depends on the plot. Yes, it may sound like nothing useful, but the best we can tell is that the sceneries are amazingly picturesque. A decent image to fill your mind is the Aurora train — take a look at the pics made on the way to the better future.
Aurora, say hello
No winter photos, sorry. Want some — check some gameplay footage and the trailers, there's more than enough.
Each location and its characters are novel. And they're unbelievably beautiful. We have to stop praising level designers, they did an outstanding job. Landscapes, polygons, polished textures — decent work. The character design in the Metro series has also always been on top, as well as the magnificent work on world details. It all looks just awesome. In statics, the 4A Engine is fabulous, but in dynamics — not that good. Many animations are level to the previous parts, and the set of gestures is extremely small.
Melnik is sad about his partners' animation but feels proud for his high-textured face.
Even the authors three-year-old PC (GTX 1080, AMD Ryzen 5 1600, 16 GB RAM) runs the game on 'High' settings with rare FPS droppings below 60. The optimization is dope.
Metro series had always differed from other shooters — you need to use a bunch of active buttons in the game. Gas mask, flashlight, lighter, map, clock, night vision device... And now two more things have been added to this layout: inventory and craft.
Crafting here is like... Artyom stops, opens his bag, makes five first-aid kits in a second and immediately uses one intravenously. Fully prepared and ready to fight.
But seriously, one shouldn't be afraid of the crafting system. It is really comfortable and non-vital. In fact, you don't need to collect everything anymore and feel like a thrashcan — now you can craft stuff from the loot and be happy. 'Resources' are divided into two main categories: metals and chemistry. All items categories have appropriate icons. Also, you can make first-aid kits literally on the run — and the gas mask filters, throwing weapons, pneumatic gun ammo, etc. And change weapons' body kits and suit elements.
By the way, you can open your inventory right in the middle of the battle. Lack first-aid kits? Opponents are sitting behind cover and do not confront you? Time to get into the magic backpack (Skyrim flashbacks strike again).
Artyom feels completely functional at the crafting tables: you can produce all types of ammunition there.
Remember how you were happy about any new gun or a bunch of ammo-boxes in the previous parts? In Metro: Exodus you can modify your weapons through your inventory, craft ammunition with your bare hands and not worry about the things you could miss.
And there is no more currency. The outer world doesn't need your rounds. Post-apocalyptic Russia is almost empty — and those who survived do not want to trade. Now you can craft anything or find it while progressing.
Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are truly great corridor shooters. They put pressure on your enclosed space feeling with cramped and dark tunnels, but at the same time, there is a lot of space to act and choices to make. We were afraid that this feeling would fade because of the open world, but the problem turned out to be different.
Well, this is not a real open world at all in Metro: Exodus. In fact, we have a bunch of very wide corridors. Like, very wide and very big. But still corridors. The thing is that the game tries to do what it is best at: make you fight in closed quarters. And all the world around these battles is just a bloody big corridor between the arenas. You can cut ways by using a boat (and it's quite a clumsy thing to ride, Jesus).
You can also travel by car in Caspian Desert — and that's not a spoiler, take a look at the official gameplay footage right here. The whole game, to be fair, feels familiar to Uncharted 4.
Days Gone is good (erm, or the Mad Max?)
But most of the time you have to travel on foot — and it will begin to annoy you.
You can find at least two approaches to almost any important point on the location, and the corridors themselves can often be passed in two different ways. In practice, if there is nowhere to rush, Artyom acts as a vacuum cleaner, collecting everything that is lying on the ground.
It is impossible not to speak about Artyom's and Co mobile home. The Aurora's steam engine is a hub where you can safely spend time talking to companions, listening to the radio, and looking at the views (and they are amazing).
She's pretty, isn't she? The train, of course
Some frequencies can successfully catch music or messages from survivors.
Cigarette break? If you smoke — it's a great opportunity to spend time with your favourite bad habit (WePlay! is against this kind of action), and the non-smokers can do only one try, just for the role-play, and carefully listen to the stories accompanied by the noise of the train wheels and the views passing by. By the way, the scenery repeats itself, but each cycle lasts 5 minutes — too much time to see enough of them and take some landscape pictures.
Russian abusive language
It's your f(reac)king fault that the country is messed up
You won't really learn a lot of Russian bad-words, because such phrases as above appear very, very rarely. The characters only swore like five or so times through the whole game and due to extremely critical situations. To be honest, Russians don't often use abusive language in games, literature, movies or TV-shows, but don't you dare anger them in real life... Still, Metro: Exodus is politically correct. PewDiePie's trend on Russian culture may seem cool, but this game is a serious one with a lot of drama.
Every action has a reaction, Mr Newton said so. You can try playing with a neutral morality, but it looks a bit strange: in one location you kill all the people, in other — not a single creature harmed. It's easier to choose a role for the whole game and play it. After all, this directly affects the final, and even location inhabitants will appreciate the friendly Artyom, reflecting it in phrases and actions. All in all, it's up to you.
Another reason to choose a peaceful path are awful shooting mechanics. It is obvious that bullets have ballistics and flight time. But how bad the firing feels at a distance of more than 50 meters... Alas, Metro Exodus is a FPS with bad shooting. Whether we have to blame the textures or maybe the author is blind and oblique, but it's always much easier to quietly go and knock out the opponents than to meditatively shoot precious rounds right at the bandit's face and watch the ammo disappearing somewhere along the way.
And the close fire combat is not so good too: weapons have practically no impact. Shotgun hits do not look like a real ragdoll, and sticky opponents don't react at all to the huge kinetic energy charges crashed into their bodies.
A bit about the composition
Artyom's journey on the Aurora train goes right on the plot rails. It would seem that 4A Games are well aware of it, and they have even made the best they could have got from huge locations — big non-linear corridors. A trend is a trend, of course, but at a certain point of the game, the story becomes almost totally lined — starting with the forest location, which is still a true wide corridor. The next destination is even more linear. And at this moment the game occurs completely overturned: cutscenes come across more often, level design becomes more sophisticated.
Metro: Exodus, after a lengthy start, returns to where the series began, and that's great. Sometimes it is worth going against the trends. Even though the plot is getting straighter the further Artyom proceeds, the storyline itself is so good that it will make you shudder with overflowing emotions at the end.
4A Games can now go on a well-deserved vacation — Metro: Exodus turned out to be a nice and pleasant game. Nice looking but not transcendental graphics, well-designed and interesting characters, a wonderful storyline with various endings, a bit clumsy — but there is only one Hideo Kojima to make undeniably brilliant games without complaints. We loved Metro: Exodus.
Is this a GOTY contender? Or it's overhyped? Tell us in the comments below what do you think of this game.