As a pair, both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light were surprise hits on the last gen, both sported great graphics, lighting and sound; whilst also encouraging its stealth and survival mechanics. They also told a great tale too, provided you were a little clued up on Dmitry Glukhovsky novels on which the games were based upon. Developers 4A Games have not only re-mastered both games, but also included all previous instances of DLC alongside rejigging some of the narrative aspects too. A lot of effort has clearly been put into this package, but has it paid off?
Simply put, yes! The Metro has never looked so ambivalently bleak yet gorgeous, if you think it looked atmospheric before, you’ll still be shocked. Metro 2033, originally released in 2010, was a great, if not flawed, survival stealth game. Unfortunately, some of the problems that plagued the original still persist here too. The pacing of the game still seems a little off at points, with some sections dragging on a little too much; the enemies still have an inordinate amount of health to exasperate the stress of ammo worries; the AI can have its ‘moments’ too of course.
All of these points are quickly glazed over however, as the game immediately draws you into its thick atmosphere; not relenting until you’ve prised the controller from your sweaty paws. Venturing outside was, and still is, a nerve-racking affair. Not only is there the inherent threat of a mutant swarm attack, but also the ever present gas mask timer being a constant dilemma of either spending time scavenging for items, or sprinting for the finish, hoping what you have in reserves is enough to carry you through.
4A Games newest iteration of their engine fortunately eliminates many of the issues present in the original too. The frame rate is silky smooth without compromising the aesthetics, leaving you to pan the camera around like a developer showcasing demo, savouring the darkness before it envelops you.
Whilst Metro 2033 was filled with survival horror elements, Metro: Last Light instead, focused on becoming more of a horror shooter. Ditching many, standardised HUD elements increased the level of atmosphere too, yet the game took a different route to ‘2033’ in that action took precedence. For those who felt that way, 4A Games have responded by letting you choose your desired playstyle. Upon starting the game, you can opt to play it in a more survival oriented way, where stealth and ammo conservation should be taken more into account. Or, in traditional shooter fashion, there’s Spartan mode, where you get to play with your toys and not worry so much about creeping in the dark. It’s a nice choice that lets players have a little more input in deciding how they wish to play the game.
With the addition of all the DLC crammed in, (such as the insanely useful firing range) you might have accepted that alone would have been enough to sell as a package. Yet once again, 4A Games have gone the extra mile; even extending areas and adding new sections of lore to help keep interest high as you explore the beautifully dystopian wastelands.
Whilst Metro: Last Light was only released last year, it’s also still benefited from the next gen brush considerably. A fresh lick of paint ensures it looks as good, if not better, than several games out at the minute, all whilst maintaining a healthy 1080p on PS4.
In all, these are two games that may easily have passed you by; despite Metro 2033 showing its age slightly with some occasionally wonky facial animations and such, it’s still a fantastic package. Due to the style of play each game encourages, it’ll likely be a fresh experience too; it’s certainly a far cry from some of the modern shooters we’ve all come to know. If you failed to grab these on their first passing’s, you owe it to your PS4 to pick Metro Redux up, not only are they more accessible than before, but they’ll hopefully pave the way to a sequel.