While you are out there scavenging for bullets, you will also need to be mindful of the environment too as your world is still suffering from the fallout of a nuclear war. The most important piece of equipment in your possession would be that of your gas mask… but be mindful that they require filters and you will need to monitor your filters and change them as necessary. The same thing can be said for your flashlight / headlamp too; the Metro is a dark and dreary place and you will need your trusty light in order to make it through. The lamp is battery operated though and will wear down over time, requiring you to recharge it with the use of a hand crank as the quality of its performance decreases. All of this sounds like it would be an annoyance to deal with over the course of the game and is honestly what I expected to consider it, but in the end it only served to heighten the experience and engulf me deeper into the world of Metro 2033.
You will experience all of these things while being presented a dark yet detailed world graphically. There are remnants of the world that existed before the disaster everywhere, as well as clues and hints of the promise that society can once again prosper. The environments may lack the ultra detailed texturing that other big budget titles do but they more than make up for it with the variety and character that is included. The Metro underworld can be a busy and bustling place, with children playing and rushing past you in the stations, to modern day bards sitting on the sides serenading the population with songs on an acoustic guitar. There is a ton to take in and the game actually encourages you to do so. You can get a lot from the game by just taking your time in each environment and looking around. This is where a bulk of the story can be obtained, just by surveying the world around you.
I also found it interesting, and quite effective that the developer chose to use an extremely limited soundtrack for the game. There is no background music per se, just the occasional singer in the Metro intersection(s). This effect only heightens the feelings of desolation that the game strives to provide. Instead, the sound of the game focuses on both the world around you and the world that once was. That sounds weird to hear, but I don’t want to delve into the story details too much as it would give a lot away. Being that the entire purpose of this game is to tell a story, it would be detrimental to your experience if I were to divulge the details.
All of these things have made Metro 2033 one of the hardest games that I have ever had to review. If I choose to focus on the gameplay and physical mechanics of the game, it will come across as a lackluster title that is not worth your time… but I consider the game to be far from that. Metro provides an extremely different experience than most other games in today’s market. The feeling that I get from the game is very similar to what I felt when playing through the first BioShock. Much like that game, the game is average at its mechanical core, but it is the world and the story that boost it up to the next level. The story, not the gameplay is where is player is supposed to draw their entertainment, which seems odd for a video game. As odd as it is, I think that it works well.
Metro 2033 is available for the Xbox 360 and PC platforms from 4A Games and THQ. A copy of the game was sent to us by the developer to be reviewed.
More On:Metro 2033
Metro 2033 is a smart and gritty game that relies more on its atmosphere and story than it does its gameplay. I consider that fact to be a gamble that ultimately paid off in the end. Gamers who understand and approach the game with that knowledge are in for a treat. Those expecting a non-stop bullet fest are going to be sadly disappointing. There is a lot to criticize here gameplay wise, but there is a ton more to love than just that, particularly in the incredible story telling within the title. In the end, Metro 2033 provides a solid package that I think a lot of gamers will enjoy if they give it a chance…
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