Metro: Last Light Review

[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”Metro: Last Light” developers=”4A Games” publishers=”Deep Silver” platforms=”PS3/360/PC” genres=”” release_date=”May 17th” version_played=”PS3″]

Editor’s note: recently the developers of Last Light (4A Games) have come under the spotlight from allegations that the staff were working in deplorable conditions and had a minimal budget to work with, along with constant power outages and less than ideal workspace. While this review will focus on the game solely, maybe you, the customer will regard the circumstances and acknowledge the hard work that 4A Games put into Metro and throw them a few well earned dollars their way, as lord knows they need it.

The story spins a dark depressing tale of a world ravaged by the nuclear apocalypse (makes Fallout 3 feel like child’s play in comparison) and is really good, when it focuses on Metro’s strengths. The broken alliances and factions and hostilities between them are absolutely fascinating and I would have LOVED to see the game focus entirely on that war, but instead we are given a progressively supernatural twist and further focus on the ‘Dark Ones’, which follows on from Metro 2033’s bad ending of nuking their entire homeland. It doesn’t get better from there. While the attempt to throw in supernatural elements is something of a mixed bag at best, the fragile alliances built and shattered between factions is so damn fascinating and interesting to participate in that I would have loved to see more focus on that, but what we’re given is still really good.

There IS a moral system in place, but it’s a very subtle one. In certain parts throughout the game you are given options to do bad things, or good things. Things like donating your money (in the form of bullets) or finding hidden sections shows your a brief flash of light to signify you’ve done something good, while stealing from people and the likes flashes dark, signifying bad. Most, if not all things, are entirely optional and you could ignore the moral system entirely. But it does pay off in the end. The system is something I enjoyed in 2033 and I’m glad it returns in Last Light. While the game trips over itself in attempting to focus on supernatural elements (pulling a ‘Fahrenheit’ or ‘Indigo Prophecy’, so to say), the story is solid and what works, works damn well.

Metro 2033 excelled in portraying a dark, depressing and deadly world and I’m glad to say Last Light improves on the presentation in every way. The graphics are brilliant and unlike many FPS’s that tend to overuse dark drab colours, Last Light manages to make even depressing grays look good. It’s all about building atmosphere and while 2033 did it well, Last Light does it even better. The dark tunnels, cobweb infested hallways and flickering lights look amazing, and a sense of dread and horror is built up so well throughout the game.

Overall the game really does the graphics well, and while I’m hardly one to judge a game based on the graphics, they really are remarkable and add a sense of atmosphere to the experience as a whole. While there a few graphical hiccups here and there, they don’t harm the game.

This version was played on the PS3. I’ve also played the PC version it is THE definitive version to play visually. In saying this, the console versions still look great

Oh and PS: if you have arachnophobia, I STRONGLY recommend not playing this, or playing it to conquer your fears. The amount of spiders in this game is ridiculous. Spiders infest dead bodies and crawl on your HUD when you roll them over, giant spiders are common as enemies, and spiders litter the tunnels in cobwebs and it’s absolutely horrific. Or fascinating, depending on who you are.

This review copy was not played on the Ranger Hardcore difficulty, the touted ‘best’ way to play the game. This optional DLC can be bought for a few dollars or free if you pre-ordered the game. Metro Last Light can be described accurately as: Metro 2033 with more polish. The gameplay has been tweaked quite a bit and it’s good. Really good, at least around the human enemies.

With the human AI you are given many options to tackle a combat situation, be it utilizing stealth to silently take down or headshot enemies, or just blasting your way through, or bypassing enemies completely. Last Light really improves on the stealth mechanics from it’s predecessor and really allows for a sense of freedom and creativity during it’s tense sections with the human enemies.

Unfortunately the cracks start appearing during the forced head on ‘action’ segments with Metro’s wild beasts and monsters. When pitted against the monstrous and vicious foes, Last Light forces you into painfully linear segments against glitchy beasts that seem to disappear and reappear in flashes in EVERY firefight I was in.

Speaking of glitches, there are a LOT of them. In one point I was forced to reload a chapter (thankfully not the entire game) as I had simultaneously opened a door and been attacked by a monster, causing me to become stuck in some sort of unmoveable position. Something similar had happened during a bossfight but I was trapped in an arena already that had started some linear event.

Speaking of linearity, the game has an annoying habit of pulling control away from the player to showcase an ‘exciting’ and ‘explosion filled’ event, like a railcar flipping over you, or you flipping off a railcar, or you generally flipping and falling off many things in general. It’s meant to invoke a sense of thrill and excitement, but it’s a well worn trope that got old when Modern Warfare did it (and I’m pretty sure that was the game that STARTED the trend) and it’s not exciting here.

Otherwise, the gunplay and stealth elements work hand in hand and is a huge improvement over 2033, and it’s only when you’re forced into full on firefights do the cracks start to show.

Metro Last Light is a solid, fun, atmospheric FPS and for a FPS you could do a LOT worse than this. While it lacks the surprise ‘sleeper hit’ that 2033 had, Last Light is definitely worth both your time and money, and 4A Games must be commended for creating such a fascinating and horrific world. I would definitely recommend looking into Last Light…..Unless you have arachnophobia, Seriously.