Metro 2033 Review
Could’ve been better had it watched the first step.
Since the success and universal acclaim that Doom achieved, First-Person Shooters have become the most popular genre on both PC and consoles. While great shooting-mechanics, polished visuals and a well-implemented multiplayer will guarantee success these days; there is, like everything else in life, more than one path to success. 4A games, aiming for originality, took one of the other routes.
Metro 2033 attempts to provide a cinematic experience, alongside all the shooting of course. Being based on a best-selling novel, that would seem to be the sensible thing to do.
It’s the year 2033, and the city of Moscow has been decimated by a nuclear explosion. The surviving population has been forced underground, into the subway. Hence the name, Metro 2033. Escaping from the inhospitable surface, things underground aren’t going well either….. out of the frying pan and into the fire. People have split into communities, are warring over territory and when they aren’t dying of hunger, they’re being shot by Communists or Nazis. Just when you thought things can’t get any worse, you have the usual radioactive slime-monsters and some other mutated oddities coming over for tea.
This is where you come in. Taking control of the character Artyom, who’s village has been threatened by the Dark Ones, you set out on a mission to warn the others and gain some protection for your home at the same time. Your adventure takes you along the whole subway, one long straight line, with the occasional ventures onto the surface.
Despite an emphasis on story, the gameplay holds a lot of importance. Metro 2033′s gameplay is best compared to Half-Life. There is more emphasis on the surrounding world than the actual gun-play. Despite this, the gun-play is not too bad. The auto-aiming makes it easier, and there is little need of finding vantage points. At the same time, weapons cause ridiculously low damage e.g needing 10 shotgun shells to put down one Neo-Nazi.
Considering the unique system that 4A have decided to implement, this flaw can be quite frustrating. This is the ability to use ammo as currency to spend on weapon upgrades and new weapons; having to spend whole clips on one enemy won’t do your bank-balance too much good. On the plus side, this forces the player to scavenge and search every single corpse they come across, it also stops your from needlessly spreeing bullets.
The fact that supplies are scarce, increases the tension and adds a survival-horror feel to it. Thankfully, 4A gives you the option of using stealth instead. Your watch has a visibility meter and you can use suppressed pistols to shoot light-bulbs. You’ll also come across booby traps like hanging drink cans and broken glass, these will make sneaking an even harder task. As the game progresses, and your supplies get depleted further, you will begin to appreciate the stealthy approach.
The best part of the game is the pace it goes along at. Though the game is only a dozen hours long, you’ll always be discovering something new. Whether it’s something else that wants to eat you or another community or a type of objective that you haven’t come across before; this ensures that a feeling of monotony never settles in and keeps you guessing at whats coming next. This is complemented by the unique set-pieces that break up the gameplay.
All this is aided by the incredible sound effects. The sound of your own heartbeat and breath alongside the distant screams and clanging, build up an atmosphere that has you looking over your shoulder every 10 seconds. 4A also tried to make the experience more authentic by using local voice-actors, but this backfired due to some very bland dialogues that don’t go along with the rest of the game at all.
Along with your ears, your eyes are given a treat as well. The game doesn’t let itself down by boasting some of the best visuals of recent times; though there are moments, especially above the surface, where the textures can be quite poor.
All in all, this game is a must-buy. Not for it’s shooting-mechanics, not because it’s challenger to Modern Warfare 2; but because it’s totally different, for the dark tension-filled atmosphere it will immerse you in. Though it lacks multiplayer, the single player more than makes up for it.
|Some flaws undermine an otherwise well thought-out game.||
|One of the best-looking games around, though there are some flaws.|
|4A uses sound as well as possible to create an incredible atmosphere.||
|Due to the lack of multiplayer, there isn't much you can do after you're done with the single player.|
|The survival-horror feel and the tension hook the player till the very end.||
|The idea behind the game was brilliant, the implementation could've been better.|
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