Metro: Last Light Review – 8 GPPs
Metro: Last Light (formerly known as Metro: 2034) is the sequel to Metro: 2033 and is best described as a stealth FPS game. It is very story driven and is based on the books of Dmitry Glukhovsky, who guided the story of Last Light.
Here’s the synopsis taken from the official Metro website:
[quote]It is the year 2034. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, in the tunnels of the Metro, the remnants of mankind are besieged by deadly threats from outside – and within. Mutants stalk the catacombs beneath the desolate surface, and hunt amidst the poisoned skies above. But rather than stand united, the station-cities of the Metro are locked in a struggle for the ultimate power, a doomsday device from the military vaults of D6. A civil war is stirring that could wipe humanity from the face of the earth forever. As Artyom, burdened by guilt but driven by hope, you hold the key to our survival – the last light in our darkest hour…[/quote]
For a video game, the story is pretty good; like most set in a post-apocalyptic future, it shows that mutants and a poisonous sky may not be the only dangers to us in an event like this and in our struggle for survival we are likely to fight each other.
In Last Light, the people living in underground Moscow are split into several factions, and at times your character will meet, fight, pursue and escape opposing factions such as the Forth Reich (nazis) and the Red Line (communists). There are many characters who will aid you along your journey, but you are never with the same one for long. You really don’t learn much about them or get that attached and so if any of them die it doesn’t make that much of an impact on you.
The downside of playing a game which is so story-driven, is that the gameplay is often sacrificed in order to accommodate it. Don’t get me wrong, it plays well, but throughout e there are many points where you don’t do anything but follow a character around while they talk about the next objective and lead you to it. Other times you might just be eavesdropping on a conversation and you can move the camera but nothing else- they’re just like cutscenes but partially interactive and there’s a lot of them, so at times it may be frustrating for those who just want to go and kill something.
When you do get the chance to kill something, the combat is pretty good, and all weapons can be upgraded with various mods, such as night vision scopes and silencers, which can come in handy when sneaking through dark rooms. However, you probably won’t find yourself just blasting everything in sight as ammo is pretty scarce and needs to conserved, so a confrontational approach to enemies is not always advisable.
Stealth is the key here and I think it’s done pretty well; you need to stick to shadows, which sounds easy enough in a game consisting mainly of tunnels but there are a fair amount of lights. You can turn these off if you can get close enough to the bulb/lantern, or they can be shot out, but there is a risk of alerting the nearby guards. Your character wears a watch that turns blue if the spot you’re standing on is too well lit, which can be very helpful.
Killing all the lights will also affect your field of vision; you can use a torch but it has limited battery life and there is a risk that it will give your position away so if you have a night-vision scope attached, it is generally more advantageous. Taking out guards using the stealth method is definitely the safest option and conserves your ammo; when you’re greatly outnumbered, you’ll probably find it pretty tricky to take out all of the guards using guns before they can take you out, as they often surround you and seem to have unlimited ammo.
The AI isn’t bad but it’s not that great either; to be fair, it’s not that often that you will find amazing AI in most games. I think the biggest let down is the way that you can quite easily stealth kill a guard by creeping up to him while facing him- I know that it’s dark but they do have torches.
When it comes to facing mutants, stealth isn’t really an option and this is where you’ll use up a lot of ammo. I had to turn the difficulty setting down as in one area, there were so many of them and they don’t drop ammo when they die so I kept running out of it. Some can take a lot of hits before theygo down, others can be taken out pretty easily if you can manage to hit their weak points.
different creatures have different vulnerable spots and their attacks vary: some leap at you, others spit poison, winged creatures swoop down and others use a sonar blast. These add much more challenge to the game and they all look pretty cool too.
When traversing the poisonous wastelands above the Metro, breathing can be an issue, so a gas mask needs to be worn at all times when outside; this seam simple enough but the air filters don’t last for long so you will need to collect as many of these as you can find in order to survive. Also when attacked, your mask can crack, so it is vital to find a replacement as soon as possible if it does. This does make you much more careful when approaching mutants etc.
What really makes this game stand out from the rest, if anything, is the atmosphere created by the amazing lighting effects, aided by impressive visuals, the sound design and topped off with great attention to detail; The level of graphical quality is certainly above average and especially when in the surface levels, which look pretty stunning, even though you’re looking at a wasteland filled with abandoned vehicles and ruined buildings. The graphic effects for condensation, water, mud and damage on the gas mask look pretty amazing too.