Do you think you know Metro? You haven’t seen anything yet!
Your first impression of Metro is usually a linear but satisfying story with unique, challenging enemies and flawless level design. The levels allow the player to have complete freedom to approach each situation as they please. The newest entry to the series has changed drastically from its predecessors by introducing the player to new challenges in the post-apocalyptic land of Russia.
The world of Metro has always been the game’s strongest ally. Players venture into a dark, unforgiving but beautiful world of the underground Metro Stations with a vast and empty world above. The atmosphere of the crumbling world around you makes you feel helpless and alone. When traversing the surface, players are filled with dread and wonder whilst horrific monsters, toxic air, and pre-war illusions make you feel that there is a constant struggle to survive. However, eventually, the time we spend in the world seems wasted as the Metro series has always been predominantly linear by keeping the player on the path to the end goal. There is little room to get the most out of the world. Metro Exodus answers all my prayers as we are offered several interesting locations, from cold, dark environments of post-apocalyptic Moscow to fresh locations of unforgiving deserts and gorgeous tree-filled valleys. I love the amount of care and detail the developers put into these locations. Enemies and wildlife personalise each area. This is a welcomed change that I hope stays in future titles.
Metro Exodus world is perfect in illustrating the people’s need to survive by salvaging materials and arming themselves with whatever they can get their hands on. The crafting backpack is a welcome addition and adds a whole new layer of strategy to the game. You will need to make choices such as: do you charge in with a long barrel and extended mag? Or do you take the silent approach and craft throwing knives and a silencer? It gives you the feeling that you are in complete control of every fight you get into and the game is always as challenging as you want to make it. Furthermore, the backpack allows you to craft ammo, utilities and switch out weapon attachments at any time with no punishment. Exploration is therefore vital; hidden amongst the horrors are chemicals and scrap that you will need to craft important items you need. On a harder difficulty, the challenge increases as materials are less frequent and crafting benches are limited.
ICYMI: Here’s our Metro Exodus Review
One of my favourite parts of Metro Exodus is its element of choice. The game has the power to praise or punish you upon making hard and sometimes emotional decisions. Unlike other games where the choices you make doesn’t always affect the rest of the game in a significant way. Metro breaks this completely. The world changes around you, even if you do something as little as ambushing enemies by car. No spoilers… but 3 missions particularly create big changes to the gameplay and environment. The ending also relies heavily on choice thus giving the game an element of replay-ability. More importantly, it leaves questions about the impact of the story.
As you would have imagined, the world of Metro has a huge variety of monsters and beasts for you to fight. Each one having its own unique design, play style and weaknesses. This adds to the unpredictability and means that it doesn’t matter how geared you are or how well you think you know the rules of the game, you will never be prepared. A perfect example of this is the humanoid enemies that roam the surface in huge packs. Although not very strong and relatively easy to kill you can’t go in guns blazing as very quickly you will be overrun and out of ammo. I personally love this aspect of the game because even enemies like these you will punish you for not thinking things through carefully.
My final point is something that is overlooked in most games of this genre. The sound design in Metro is amazing, so much so, it makes the world feel alive and constantly moving around you. From bubbles popping in the water to the ambient noise that echoes through the haunting tunnels of the metro, I found myself immersed into the world around me and would sometimes pause to simply listen to all the tiny details and sounds the game had to offer. Such a tiny detail in some peoples eyes but very much appreciated in Metro Exodus.