Metro 2033 is a dark and gritty story of the underground survivors in Moscow twenty years after an apocalyptic event devastated the world.
This is a fully immersive story based on the book by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky and brought to digital by the Ukranian development team at 4A Games. This game review is of their original Metro 2033 game, and not the reworked Metro 2033: Redux with improved graphics and engine tweaks.
The dark and morbid post-apocalyptic story always appeals to me, but Metro 2033 really sucked me in with its fully immersive environment, where you are just one man trying to survive and not some super-hero everyone looks to in order to save the world. There are many survivors living in the expansive metro stations under Moscow, and different stations have evolved differently over the years, from Communists to Nazis to bandits and scavengers. There is some communication and trade between them and sometimes fighting, but the main threat is from the mutated creatures that hunt above ground and now encroach through the darkened metro stations. Daily life is a struggle for the survivors to find food, weapons and ammo to defend their heavily guarded metro stations.
Your story is that of Artyom, really just another scavenger living below the surface that finds himself thrown in the midst of a background story that takes priority over all else. There are many cut scenes and the progress is mostly slow going with highlights of sheer terror when the shit hits the fan. Unlike other shooters with constant run and gun action, Metro 2033 is a scary stumble through the dark with possible danger lurking around every corner. The metro environment gives the game a feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia.
There are of course the standard array of weapons to use, hit points to lose and a few other things. For instance, to survive long on the toxic surface you’ll need a gas mask with replaceable filters. As your filter gets spent you start breathing heavier and your mask fogs up, making it hard to see. It’s a bit surreal and creepy, which adds to the game immersion. You’ll find there are no “super-weapons” – actually some of the weapons will be hand-made contraptions made from spare parts such as the cool electromagnetic volt driver. In higher difficulties ammo, gas masks and the like are really scarce, adding to a higher challenge.
I especially like how the damage in Metro 2033 feels more realistic – a few well placed shots will take most anything out and you don’t have to shoot things 100s of times like in other shooter games. It’s getting the few well placed shots that’s the challenge. 🙂 Combat will come down to whoever gets shot first dies. And with ammo so very rare you better not just shoot fast, you better not miss. Played like this, you feel like you really are a survivor.
Some people have issue with the graphics being so dark and gritty, but I love it. Often you’ll have a hard time seeing approaching danger because of the shadows, but it doesn’t feel like ‘cheating’ it feels like it would be ‘in real life’ if that makes sense. When above ground there is so much danger you feel rushed to find ‘safety’ back inside or underground. The AI is really good, both for the mutated creatures and the human foes you’ll face. Don’t underestimate them, and always watch your back.
Atmospheric, captivating, exciting and thought provoking all at the same time, Metro 2033 is one of the best single player FPS games I have played in years. Metro’s narration is rock solid for an unashamedly linear shooter which it represents, and does not disappoint. Not a bit.