Metro: Last Light is the follow up to 4A Games’ first hit Metro 2033. Based on the novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro thrusts you into post-apocalyptic Moscow, where after a nuclear war; survivors are forced to live in the city’s’ metro system due to the uninhabitable surface.
Last Light picks up where 2033 left us, a conflict is about to hit full swing between the three warring factions of Moscow’s underground; the fascist Interchange Station, the communist Red Line and the neutral Spartan Order. You’re sent to the surface in order to kill off a mutant, when all of a sudden everything goes wrong. After waking up in a prison, the story is set up so that you are to escape and get back to your section of the metro. It’s a pretty linear shooter, but its genius lies in its atmosphere.
And Last Light is full to the brim of it. From the dank claustrophobic tunnels, to the hustle and bustle of underground townships, to the bleak and eerie surfaces of the world above, Metro really pulls you into its universe and you will find yourself fully immersed. The sound doubles the visual impact, crawling through an isolated run down station, you can hear the scratching of mutant rats and spiders as they stalk you from behind the walls. The howling winds as you hit the surface and the screech of the unknown over the horizon.
Shooting in the game feels sound, makeshift guns are scattered about, more regularly than the games currency, which is ammo, and this leaves you with the tough decision of whether to melee, run or use precious ammunition that could be spend on upgrades. Most enemies are simple enough due to mediocre AI, but there are those that require certain strategies to take down such as detaching their armour or shining a light on them to reveal weak spots. Again the AI is pretty basic and you can use a number of cheap tricks to make light work of your foes.
The second main mechanic of the game is stealth. An indicator on your wristwatch shows you if you are visible to the naked eye or not. As you can imagine, it’s dark underground. Really dark, and you must use your wits to outsmart enemies. Unscrewing bulbs, shooting lights out or even finding the main switch panel and shutting all the electricity down can help you through heavily guarded areas. It works pretty well and in the later levels you can find some brilliant ways to get through tightly defended spots.
The story has its ups and downs and the end of the game can leave you a little disappointed as some of your choices earlier in the game are not even acknowledged. But the world below is brought to life dazzlingly by 4A Games, akin to the likes of BioShock or Assassins Creeds. You feel for the people and their struggle to survive in this underground hell. The game can be a little buggy in some places but not enough to stop you finishing the game. There are two endings as well so there is reason to go back to the start.
All together it’s a neat enough package that I would recommend at least a rental of. Keep in mind however that this game comes with on-disc DLC that comes with new copies. This is for Ranger Mode, similar to the Hardcore Mode in Fallout: New Vegas. While not essential, 4A Games do state that this is the way the game was intended to be played, but I had fun just playing through on normal mode. It’s not perfect, but it’s a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by modern military games.
Game rented and played to completion by reviewer