The apocalypse came by our own making, with a single blinding flash, followed by a firestorm of sheer flame. It took just an hour and a half to wipe out 3.5 billion people and 10,000 years of civilization, plunging humanity into a hopeless Dark Age. In the aftermath, survivors in Moscow moved underground and slowly organized into small socially and politically independent tribes, clustered around the city’s deep, subway stations.
The young man, Artyom is among them. A member of the first generation of children raised in the subterranean world following the apocalypse, he has only the vaguest recollections of life above ground, and contact with other humans beyond those that inhabit his local station, “Exhibition,” but he will have to face new experiences with both if humanity is to survive. Mutated beasts known as “Dark Ones” are spreading throughout the isolated stations of the Metro, and Artyom has been chosen as the messenger to spread the news of the new peril.
Metro 2033 is a single player, FPS that also incorporates RPG elements. Action played out in the role of young Artyom, is mission-based and because the game is based on the Glukhovsky novel, the storyline veers away from the anti-Russian stance that is often seen in post-apocalyptic stories and video games. Here the Russian characters are humanity, and fight every day against the terrors that nuclear war has wrought. These terrors come mostly in the form of mutants known as “Homo Novus,” who have invaded the Underground, as well as frightening alien-like paranormal creatures that haunt the gameworld. The game hero, Artyom, has a certain immunity to the latter and a talent for dispatching the former, which together make him a very popular choice to be sent on missions. Combat throughout utilizes a mixture of improvised firearms and melee weapons.
Balancing the use of these two is important because in this world of violence and scarcity, ammunition plays the duel role of protection and commodity. Throughout the game players will use ammo as much to purchase items and upgrades at different stations visited, as they will use it in combat. In addition, the choices made by players throughout the game register as “Enlightenment Points,” or the lack of them. Accumulated totals of these register as a variety of constructs such as curiosity, kindness and prejudice resistance that can and will lead to alternative story endings. Together with its unique inventory management system, engrossing storyline and replay value based on morality, Metro 2033 is sure to be a game not to be missed by FPS and RPG players alike.