In the dark corners of the Moscow underground the remnants of mankind remain, cowering away from the horrors that dwell on the surface. A place that we once conquered, now transformed into a desolate shell of a city after a distant nuclear war. What’s left of the city is littered with mutant beasts that would tear you apart if you ever gave them the chance, as well as the mysterious dark ones a race of mutants that seems a lot more like us than we would like. This is the setting for the two games that make up Metro Redux, 2010s Metro 2033 and 2013s Metro: Last Light. Metro Redux brings both of these games to the new generation of consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well as PC with updated visuals and enhanced gameplay. Both of these titles came from Ukrainian based 4A Games and if you didn’t get to experience them back when they were released or you were looking for an excuse to dive back to into the horrifying Metro, Metro Redux is definitely worth a look.
Based on the post-apocalyptic novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky the Metro games have a rich, well-crafted universe in which they are set. With Moscow’s old metro stations now being occupied by a number of different factions such as the Soviet’s Red Line, the Fourth Reich and even a cult of cannibals that prays to a giant Great Worm, these factions are part of an ongoing struggle for power within the Metro. You play as Artyom, a young survivor that is tasked with a mission that will destroy the common enemy of man and save the Metro. During this you will make your way through a number of occupied stations, fighting human enemies below and mutants on the surface. As you explore these environments you are given the option to make your way through without a noise with some solid stealth mechanics or go loud and blast your way through countless enemies.
The two main aspects that have been improved are the graphics and gameplay. Straight off the bat you have a choice to either play the game in Survival Mode, which is for those that prefer to quietly make your way around the Metro, with limited resources and tougher enemies, or blast your way through the Metro with more ammo and a faster pace in Spartan Mode. Giving you the ability to pick your play style from the start is a nice touch.
When both of these games released on the last generation systems, in no way were they ugly to look at, they were admittedly some of the best looking games on the market. The attention to detail that 4A Games put into every dark corner of each station is incredible. Even though in this post-apocalyptic world everything seems gloomy and awful, the stations feel alive, they have people spilling out of their shack-like homes, getting involved in rich conversations with their neighbours and interacting with you as you pass by. These aspects have only improved on the new generation hardware and look better than ever.
When the original Metro 2033 came out it was almost a bit of a survival horror game. The dark Metro stations set a mood that was creepy, and the limited ammo required you to make your shots count. When playing on Spartan Mode a lot of this feeling is definitely stripped from the game and with the improved menus taken from Last Light and better shooting mechanics it seems a lot easier than it was before. I do really enjoy that the mechanics are still a bit slower than the modern day shooters. The guns feel as if they have a bit of weight about them and it is definitely a thrill when you have to pump your pneumatic weapon in real time as a number of mutants bound towards you.
The biggest upgrade that has been made is definitely the improved AI. One of the major problems in the original Metro 2033 was that the stealth mechanics were pretty broken, a missed knife throw or a found body would result in every guard in the area knowing your exact position. The improved AI has made stealth possible in Metro 2033 by adding in what made it so great in Last Light.
Along with the intense stealth situations and making your way through the human enemies you will also come up against a myriad of mutant foes. These battles are definitely not as intense as the human firefights and often result in countless of them running aimlessly at you and becoming cannon fodder. The improved lighting and character models does make these battles a pleasure to witness though.
Sadly some bugs do still plague the Metro games and most of these are present when encountering the most common of the mutant enemies. Often the mutants would clip through walls, or be running in mid-air. These bugs happened often during some intense firefights and strip away the immersive nature of the world that 4A Games built.
Due to Last Light only releasing last year it was Metro 2033 that needed more improvements by upgrading it to be more like Last Light. Despite Last Light not changing all that much it is a definite bonus that all of the DLC missions are included. These add some incentive for those that didn’t play through them last year and will add plenty more hours to your playtime. The highlight of these missions is the exceptional level, Kshatriya, which is an open level which you can explore at your own free will, collecting artifacts to take back to your home base to gain currency, in order to upgrade your weapons and gear.
Both of the Metro games are diverse first-person shooters. The miserable, murky and yet rich and thriving world that 4A games have created from Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro universe is a pleasure to adventure through. Upgrading the original Metro 2033 to play better and look even more gorgeous came at the expense of losing a bit of the mood that the original set. Having said that it is easily the best way to experience it and with the addition of all of Last Light’s DLC it makes this neat little package. It’s a great experience for new players to explore and a fantastic walk back through the metro for those that have played the games before.