Saturday, October 22, 2011

Metro 2033 Review: Overlooked Brilliance

Game: Metro 2033

Genre: FPS, Survival Horror

Console played on: PC

Rating: M

Every once in a while a game will come along with enough guts and balls big enough to slip past my guard and steal my heart from right under my nose, (Don’t ask why it was there, Trust me you don’t want to know.) Metro 2033 is the latest member of those thieves’ heart burglars.

Visuals: Graphics wise, Metro 2033 is fairly pretty looking game (With the exception of a few character models here and there, and the fact that all of the characters tend not to blink that often) but, its aesthetics are what really make it a beautiful game. Everything in the game feels like the apocalypse swept in not too long ago and left the world (or at least your part of it) in shambles. Everything from the environments you go though (like the dark, gloomy and decaying metro system you travel most of your way and the bitter, icy-cold, nuclear winter on the surface), to the people you see in the metro station, to the weapons and items you use, have the feel of an apocalyptic depression to them and not in a gray-brownish kind of way.

Story: Metro 2033 is based off of the Russian book of the same name and while that is cool (And I suddenly have a hankering to read said book) it does leave the game with a few holes in explaining thing. For instance the game doesn’t really explain what the mutated monsters were before the apocalypse or why there’s a war going on in the metro  between Communists and Nazis, or even how the Nazis got there all of which I’m guessing was explained in the book.

Gameplay: Starting off the gunplay is very solid; most of the guns in the game feel good to fire (With the exception of Pheumatic weapons which I found to be pretty useless) I did find that regular Iron sights a lot better than the scopes (though that could just be me.) Depending on what difficulty you play it will be either plentiful or not.
 The enemies consist of your basic human (I’m fairly sure you’ve heard of them) Opponent to a somewhat wide variety of mutated monsters (By “somewhat” I mean most of them are a grayish color but they form into a bunch of different shapes.)
In the future, this is what librarians look like.
In the game your main source of currency is military grade bullets. You read that right bullets=money… Well kind of. “High grade” ammo is your money; dirt ammo (Basically the crappy quality ammo) is what you use on most enemies. When you get to friendly metro stations you can spend your money ammo on items (gas mask filters, throwing knife, grenades and medkits), Dirt ammo and better weapons. This gives the game some light RPGs elements in a way. Will you spend money on more dirt ammo? Maybe some throwing knifes, a better gun perhaps? Maybe just save it up for the next station. Who knows maybe you’ll find a better weapon later on.

Throughout the game you will also find certain levels that can be completed in a more stealthy way (Most particularly during the “Front Line” mission) and there are routs past enemies but I felt like there’s nothing really to distinguish as the “Stealthy way” to complete said mission and I tended to only find them after I had already killed a bunch of guards.

One thing I absolutely loved was the well thought out items that you use throughout the game. For instance, you want to check your current objectives you press the objectives key and it brings out a note-book and lighter. By pressing the right mouse button/360 trigger you look at your current objectives and by pressing the left button/trigger you flip your lighter on in order to see it better.

Are you about to go to surface? Not without your trusty gasmask you won’t! During surface missions the gasmask provides some extra tension as you keep track of your gauge, filters and how much damage your gasmask takes. Now I never actually ran out of filters since there is always a dead body around I could loot for them and there’s usually a spare gasmask around to replace your damaged one but, I still had the feeling of “am I going to make it to the end?” whenever I went to the surface.

One item I especially liked was the watch. Your watch is kind of the Swiss army knife of the metro. When you put your gas mask on it tells you how much air you have (though I found this to be flawed since it always seemed to be in the red even when I put in new filters to my mask), It comes with three LED lights (Red, yellow and green) which act like the light crystal from Thief and tells you how hidden you are and Last but not least, it tells time. Not in game time but actually time (or you know what ever time you set your computer’s/360’s time to) seriously, it actually acts like a real watch!

Checkpoints could have, no,should have been done frequently. At times I would find myself begging for another one to appear before I got myself killed (Which I knew would be very soon). That’s one of my mains flaws against the game outside of it killing off most of the characters before I got to know them more.

Final Thoughts: Metro 2033 has impressed me, which, isn’t an entirely easy thing to do. The game has its flaws such as: it could do with some more frequent checkpoints and the main storyline had a few holes when it comes to explaining some things but it’s the best example, I’ve seen, of elements in game telling a much grander story than the story in game.


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