Post-apocalyptic games are all over the place these days. It seems like every time a new game is announced there is a high chance that it takes place some time after we’ve all been blown up, infected, or destroyed in some way. So, for a game to actually stand out among the sea of dark and gritty portrayals of humanity’s demise is a big feat. Amazingly Metro 2033 did just that when it was released back in 2010, and its sequel Metro: Last Light did it all over again last year. Now both titles have been combined into a single package with Metro Redux which enhances the visuals and gameplay of both games in an attempt to create the definitive version of the Metro experience.
Metro 2033 Redux
Based on the best-selling Russian novel of the same name, Metro 2033 introduced players to the world of the post-apocalyptic Russian Metro. The game immediately stands out among other first-person shooters by having an engaging and nuanced narrative that players can actually analyze beyond the simple good vs. evil that the genre usually leans toward. Weaving in multiple genres such as horror, sci-fi, and even a little fantasy, Metro 2033 will leave an indelible impression on players long after it is over.
The beauty of Metro 2033 is in the world it creates for players to explore
The story goes: in 2013 the human race was nearly wiped out as World War III ended with nuclear bombardments across the globe. In Russia the last remnant of humanity survives deep underground in the dark caverns of the Metro. For the last twenty years they have fought against the mutated animals that resulted from the wasteland our war created, but now a new threat has emerged that could topple what little is left of humanity. You play as Artyom as he sets out on a quest to save his home, and possibly the last surviving humans on the planet.
The beauty of Metro 2033 is in the world it creates for players to explore. Every characters and environment comes to life thanks to the small touches put in by the developer, 4A Games. As you wander a new station you might stumble upon a musician playing for a crowd of survivors, or a couple of guards talking about life before the bombs fell. During fights against humans and monsters your screen will get covered in water, dirt, and blood, or it might crack and shatter from the damage you have taken. These small touches create a sense of immersion that most games strive for, but few actually achieve. This was all true in the original release, and it is more so now with Metro Redux.
Out of the two games in Metro Redux, Metro 2033 received the most amount of changes and improvements. The entire game has been ported over to the newer engine featured in Metro: Last Light, allowing for better textures, more complex geometry, and a totally overhauled lighting engine. Some of the atmosphere is lost by making the game brighter and easier to see, but that is a small trade-off for the greater visual fidelity featured here. Animations have been completely redone as well, allowing for smoother and more enjoyable combat. The occasional animation glitch does pop up, such as a dead enemy simply freezing in place, but these are few and far between causing little damage to the player’s enjoyment.
Gameplay saw many enhancements as well, bringing over a few elements of the sequel that fans enjoyed. New difficulty settings allow fans to choose how their adventure will play out. Will you run through the game with a full stock of supplies and ammo with your guns blazing, or will you have to search every nook and cranny for necessary supplies while you creep through the shadows toward your goal. Even using easier settings Metro 2033 can still throw you a curve ball, leading to a lot of variety throughout the campaign. One minute you’ll be sneaking along, taking out enemies with stealth tactics, and the next you will be under siege from a horde of ravenous animals.
Simple things also create interesting strategy choices outside of combat. While on the surface you must keep your gas mask on and continuously change the filter to avoid choking on the noxious air left behind by the bombs. Do you possibly waste time in search of additional filters, or do you rush through the level and hope that you have enough supplies to last. Many times I found myself low on filters with a long trek ahead of me. It was frustrating to have to reload from a previous point, but gave the game the proper sense of challenge. I had not played through the level correctly, so I was punished. Few games have the confidence to do that to players, and even four years later it is still refreshing to see it in Metro 2033 Redux.
Metro: Last Light Redux
Metro: Last Light picks up a year after the events of Metro 2033. You continue Artyom’s journey as he seeks to finish the job from the conclusion of the last game. Metro: Last Light did what sequels are supposed to do, it took what was great about the original and made it better. The story continues to engage, and the world is still dark and depressing, but full of fascinating little touches that make it feel real. It takes some of the stories that were mere background noise from Metro 2033 and uses them to craft a fascinating tale of redemption and intrigue.
Metro: Last Light did what sequels are supposed to do, it took what was great about the original and made it better
Metro: Last Light saw fewer enhancements in its transition to Metro Redux. The graphics are largely the same, unless you are moving from a last-gen console to the PS4 or Xbox One, in which case it will now run at a solid 60 FPS, have higher resolution, and much better textures. Metro: Last Light Redux feels more like a “game of the year” release since it includes all of the DLC released. However, 4A Games also threw in a couple of extra enhancements, like an improved Ranger Mode and other difficulty settings to sweeten the pot.
The fantastic and varied gameplay is still there from the original, and what few changes were made make for a much more enjoyable experience. The additional DLC that has been included, such as Ranger Mode, and a few side quests greatly increase the value of Metro: Last Light Redux over the original. However, beyond combining all of the Metro: Last Light content and bumping up the visuals and framerate when compared to the last-gen release there is little incentive for past owners to move to the Metro: Last Light Redux. It is certainly the definitive version of the game, but only by a little bit.
Metro Redux is by far the best way to get into the series if you haven’t already, and is still worth a purchase if you own the games on anything but a high powered PC. Both games in Metro Redux are fantastic first-person shooters that present a compelling and memorable world and then fill it with interesting and varied gameplay opportunities. The amount of improvements made to Metro 2033 Redux alone feel like enough to justify the game, but having Metro: Last Light Redux creates a seamless experience between the two that fans should enjoy and newcomers will find truly wonderful.
- Available On: Xbox One, PlayStation 4
- Published By: Deep Silver
- Developed By: 4A Games
- Genre: Shooter
- US Release Date: August 26th, 2014
- Reviewed On: Xbox One
- Quote: "Metro Redux is the definitive way to play both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. New players should pick it up without any worry, but previous owners might have less incentive. The enhanced graphics and gameplay should be enough to please most fans though."