Metro 2033 was one of the best video game experiences I’ve ever had, an anomaly that despite tepid reviews I got around to checking out. Draped in a thick atmosphere with a refreshingly foreign flavour, the under the radar game (with disastrously poor stealth) had the benefit of no hype and came across as a nice surprise/ cult success. Three years later, Last Light arrives to try and recapture the experience.
When you consider the dark detailed environments rendered by 4A, and compare them to the real life working conditions surrounding the team as they struggled to develop their vision, it becomes an appropriate analogy. In an earlier article, I wrote what makes a game great is a direct connection between gameplay and story. In this sense there’s a direct connection between development and game, and the result is an inspired personal project that is worth playing through.
If you’ve played BioShock 2, (assuming you’ve played the first one) you’ll know the feeling I get from this game. There is a slightly scaled down spin-off feeling that can’t be shook, despite the implication of raised stakes and improved game mechanics, a stale sense of been there done that permeates through the air of ‘Metro’, but oh what a smell. It’s nostalgic for its own kind, and its not enough to elevate the game above its predecessor.
Going into Last Light I don’t know what I was expecting. I found the story not to be as enticing as the first and the same tricks being pulled felt worn out. One could argue the game did too good of a job of tying the player and character together as I felt like I had slogged and survived the game rather than played it, but unlike protagonist Artyom I was aware of the illusion filled haunted house I was riding through. It felt rote to me, but that’s only because my first trip through the Metro simulated being on an old dangerous roller coaster; I’ve never been on a roller coaster before. and a newer safer shinier one doesn’t quite evoke the same thrill.
Developer: 4A Games (on a proprietary engine)
Publisher: (THQ R.I.P.), Deep Silver/ Koch Media
Creative Director: Andrew Prokhorov
* Metro Last Light is available on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3/ its predecessor is available on Xbox 360 and PC. In both cases like all games PC is probably the best version.