E3 ’11: Metro Last Light Preview
An FPS to look out for
Shuffling into the THQ booth at E3, I slinked into the line for a preview of Metro: Last Light, which was funnily enough being held in a mock metro carriage. The show had been littered with FPS games, and I was keen to see what THQ were bringing to the table to set Metro: Last Light apart from the other games on show.
Metro: Last Light is a follow on from Metro: 2033, a game that unfortunately slipped under the radar due to other FPS games crowding the market. The demo kicked off and we were brought back to the ruined city of Moscow – a city now abandoned with cars clogging the roads and the surviving population hiding in the tunnels below. All that remains on the surface are mutants that roam the wastelands, but that really is the least of your problems. Deep underground, a civil war is breaking out among the population, and it’s up to you to try and quell the commotion before it’s too late.
Playing as the title character Artyom, the demo started off with us descending into a tunnel system that was both bleak and begging to be explored. The important thing to remember is to always stay in the shadows, so Artyom unscrews a nearby lightbulb to plunge the tunnel into near-darkness. Ahead a heavy door slides open, and two guards with flashlights head towards the camera. When their back is turned, Artyom quickly dives forwards and silences them both. Proceeding further down the tunnel we come to a makeshift camp, where in keeping with the game’s theme of staying in the shadows, Artyom shoots a small bucket suspended over a campfire, which spills onto the embers below and puts out the flames. It’s these subtle points that help build the atmosphere and tension in the game, and it carries through as you explore the rest of the level.
Eventually we rendezvous with a contact by the name of Khan who informs us of a rally that is taking place nearby, and so we follow him to a crowd of rebels being addressed by their leader. The subtly in which you move through the crowd is awesome, even if it is scripted movement. Then, in a split second the leader is attacked and all hell breaks loose – you and Khan flee through the chaos to a nearby rail cart, where you engage in a spectacular parallel gunfight with the rebels, ending with a spectacular reveal of one of the game’s bigger beasts.
Metro: Last Light is certainly very pretty, and has all the makings of a stellar FPS. With the game set to release next year, THQ has quite a long way to go, but I was certainly impressed by what was shown. Who knows, maybe the game will turn out to be the surprise hit of 2012.