Metro: Last Light - PC Review

First, I want to thank everyone for the kind birthday wishes. Secondly, I hope you have a great holiday weekend if you get to celebrate it where you are. Lastly - I will be a bit light on posts over the next week or two while my dad is up visiting and with my extended Memorial Day Weekend. Hope you enjoy the review below, and take care!

Metro is a first-person shooter, but it is miles away from being another Battlefield or Call of Duty. If you played the first game in the series, Metro 2033, you got to experience an interesting premise and story, with good atmosphere but somewhat rough gaming mechanics. It was a bundle of good ideas that felt a little like loose ends that never really got connected.

Metro: Last Light does a very good job of tying things together, but still leaves a few things feeling unpolished. The setting is a post-nuclear Moscow, where people live underground to escape the radiation on the surface that has created mutated monsters. Life below the surface is far from safe as well, as many survivors exemplify the worst in human behavior as well. It is a dark, terrifying world where ammunition is currency and visiting the surface is a tense affair.

Graphics -10:

This is a really, really pretty game. Textures are detailed and the environments, though often a bit dark, are generally interesting to look at. Light plays a big part in the game, not just from an aesthetics standpoint, but also as a gameplay mechanic. Turn off a light and slink into the shadows and you have a better chance of success using stealth tactics. Characters felt a little stiff at times in their animations however. I have also read that some people with non-Nvidia cards have some problems playing the game - I however was fortunate enough to have a very solid Nvidia and the visuals are standout.

Sound & Music - 7:

Good, not great really describes everything the audio has to offer. Music here and there catches the ear, but it was never particularly memorable for me. Voice acting has feeling behind it, but sometimes the accents (and I am no master of Russian accents, so it could just be my personal perception) seemed off to me at times. There is a pretty good variety of guns and they pack a decent audio punch. Monsters sound appropriately fierce as well, but the dialog that characters have was of particular interest to me. You can listen to various things happening all around you, and they can be quite interesting to eavesdrop in on.

Gameplay - 7:

The shooting mechanics are decent. They are certainly better than Metro 2033 in my mind. They are not amazingly tightly, though they get the job done. Enemy AI is also a nagging concern. Human enemies are often dumb as bricks - there just is no other way around it. That is unfortunate, because the stealth mechanics are neat in concept, but often unnecessary in execution because of the poor AI. There are monsters in the game as well, and they are not nearly so thick - but they are annoying in their own right at times. While the human enemies are generally oblivious to your existence, creatures hone right in on you and crowd you, making combat a bit messy during those circumstances. The inventory management system was a little clunky for my tastes as well.

That said, I do like the option of sneaking around or being able to enter into a firefight. Some will complain about the linear approach to gameplay, as you have some immediate surroundings you can take in, but this is not a game all about open world exploration either. I appreciated the tight narrative though, as the game played out.

Intangibles - 9:

I already mentioned that the story was of interest to me, and really way the game unfolds. The linear gameplay will remind some of Bioshock Infinite, as will the roughly dozen hours of gameplay that Metro: Last Light provides. As long as the game is fun to play, I really do not mind. There is no extra padding in there just to stretch the game's duration out a few extra hours. Everything feels focused, whether it is the nerve-wracking journeys to the surface, or having to barter for new weapons or supplies. There is a large assortment of weapons, and even these interactions remind me a bit of another game - Fallout 3 - with the use of caps for currency. Though here, the currency is a lot more serious. You can collect ammunition, and at times you will acquire military-grade ammo. This ammo can be used as currency, further selling the tale of desperate times.

Overall - 8.25:

Metro: Last Light provides tons of creepy, tense atmosphere. I feel as though the Bioshock series succeeds because it is a FPS that tries to do a few new things, and on that front Metro: Last Light succeeds as well. This is all about a single player experience, beautifully realized in an interesting post-apocalyptic world that I would gladly revisit again.

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