There’s a lot to write home about when talking about the first two Metro games. Both 2033 and Last Light are profoundly exceptional examples of survival games that succeed at building a believable world in a science-fiction setting while crushing the player under the weight of an incredibly oppressive atmosphere. Exodus does infrequently recapture the magic in a handful of wonderful set pieces, but the game, unfortunately, crumbles under the weight of its own ambition too often during its runtime.
Where the game’s promotional trailer showcased Artyom’s nightmare, Exodus begins with a dream, so to speak. Artyom longs to leave the metro behind in hope of finding a better world out there, which sets the game’s events in motion. The Spartans of Moscow board the Aurora, a steam locomotive, and set off by rail in search of this brave new world, only to be set upon by countless terrors along the way. I won’t elaborate any further on the game’s wider narrative, though I will say Exodus doesn’t seem to unfold with the same impact of the first two. For a series that relies so strongly on unwavering atmosphere, the silent protagonist trope really betrays the mood of Metro, shattering the immersion. Exodus elaborates on the established lore in an unexpected and somewhat disappointing way. Characters intrinsically tied to the lore that I had hoped to see return didn’t, and the ones that did never get the chance to develop because their gums never stop flapping with exposition, which is a terrible shame.