My first full blog review in a very long time. This happened because when I went to copy & paste this review from Google Docs into the Steam recommendation box, I found the character limit. Said limit for a Steam recommendation is somewhere around 1,428 words or 7,982 characters. So, this is now the longest Steam review I have ever done! Well, the only thing I could do was convert it into a blog review, with pics and everything! So, here goes nothing.
- Genre: First Person Linear Shooter with Horror and Stealth Mechanics.
- Developed and Published by: 4A Games and Deep Silver.
- Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux and Consoles.
- Business Model: Base Game
- Redux Edition purchased by myself
Full Disclosure: This game was purchased on Steam by myself for 50% off for both Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light in a combo bundle.
I got about 12 hours of playtime into Metro: Last Light and a couple of hours into the Redux edition. As I feel the differences between the original and Redux are pretty negligible, I’m confident that my opinion fits for both editions. This was going to be a double review for both editions but the original edition of Last Light was pulled from Steam recently so I decided to combine it into one review. With all of that out in the open, let’s talk about Metro: Last Light and get straight into the settings and bugs this game has.
Settings and Optimizations:
The game comes off as an overpriced Game-of-the-Year edition with a patch to fix some, but not all, of the problems the original game had. Really, it’s kind of insulting how many bugs and glitches survived to this re-release of Last Light. For myself, I ran into a game-crashing bug during the walk with Khan in the level “Quarantine”. I was heading over to the gun merchant when the game suddenly freezes and crashes. There wasn’t any indication of what caused it. The only way to get around it was to load the chapter itself, not the auto-save. There was also animation, texture oddities and mutant attack issues that you could notice from time to time. I would also notice characters speaking over each other. There are also numerous reports on the Steam forums of bugs and crashes so this is definitely a touchy game.
Optimization wise, the game is about the same as Metro 2033 Redux. Which isn’t all that surprising considering they’re on the same engine. Its pretty good for me, but there are plenty of reports to the contrary. There is yet another quality slider but thankfully we can change a few more settings such as V-sync, Tessellation, SSAA and Texture Filtering now. Field-of-view has to be changed in a user.cfg file. You can look up the instructions here on PCGamingWiki: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Metro:_Last_Light_Redux. It’s a few steps forward but more fine-tuned control would have been appreciated. Let’s get onto the systems in the game.
Gameplay Thoughts & Criticisms:
The stealth system. It basically boils down to: stay in the shadows, don’t run and use silenced weapons/takedowns. Unless you really screw up or get impatient, the AI will never pick up that you were/are there. Even if you are standing five inches away from their face. The stealth system is two-dimensional and about as deep as a puddle. It is slightly better balanced than the Redux edition of Metro 2033 but I think that’s because the entire game was made with this stealth system in mind rather than tacked on later. So, there’s plenty of dark shadows to sit in that come extremely close to patrols. The AI doesn’t do as many wonky things like run straight up to you even when in darkness like it does in the other redux. But, its ultimately lacking because you do a lot of repetitious actions and nothing ever changes with the stealth system, just the levels you have to sneak through. What I really dislike is that it doesn’t really give you a reward for stealthiness. Even the one level that has you trying to save some women and children from bandits doesn’t give you any rewards, other than a moral bonus. You don’t even get to talk to those you saved, they just run off and you go on your merry way.
Combat system isn’t quite as bad as Metro 2033 Redux’s but it isn’t that much better. A lot of enemies are bullet sponges and there are a lot of them. I don’t like the Ranger-setting restricting you to two weapons only but that’s a personal preference. Considering there are a lot of interesting weapons in the game, you really don’t get a lot of chance to hold and keep them as you’ll need silenced weapons on some levels and then fully-automatic weapons at other levels. Secondary weapons like knives are still handled poorly with the “press shift then move your mouse in the direction of the weapon you want” design. Far too many times, I would select what I thought were anti-personnel mines only to press the secondary weapon button and throw a knife. Cute. Keys 6-9 still exist Metro devs and they work wonders over your current implementation. Hitboxes still feel wonky but it’s hard to place why.
Story, Characters & Plot:
The story. It has questionable writing in it. I’m not even sure where to begin with Anna, one of the main protagonists in the game. At the beginning, she constantly belittles Artyom like he doesn’t know anything or has ever survived in the Metro before. As if he’s had a silver spoon in his mouth this entire time. Considering she’s talking to one of the founders of D6 and the destroyer of “The Dark Ones”, it doesn’t make any sense. As though Anna wasn’t told anything about Artyom on purpose just to make a fool of her. Later on in the story, she becomes a completely different person who apologies for being an ass. All because he did what he has done before, survive in the Metro. After you save her from her kidnapping, she up and has sex with you. Even though neither of you have had a meaningful conversation to justify this “intimate” romance. (No, the apology part doesn’t count). I guess one could say she was just using him for his body but it all comes out of nowhere. Then, after they have sex, she disappears for the rest of the game. One of the end cutscenes has Anna talking to her son about how brave Artyom was. That’s all she adds to this game and its very disappointing.
I really don’t understand why Artyom is a mute character all the time outside of the loading screens. It makes his conversations with the NPCs really awkward at times. I can’t help but wonder if the 4A devs were trying to have their Half Life cake and eat it too. It makes even less sense when you play the DLC missions and the different characters you’re playing as talk and interact with the other NPCs. Did I just miss something in the story that said Artyom was a mute? Considering you don’t get a lot of ownership of your character, outside of whether you’ll choose to be stealthy or combat focused, I would have preferred that they had given a voice to Artyom outside of the loading screens to keep him consistent and less of a boob.
Speaking of boobs: gratuitous boobs are gratuitous. The couple of scenes that have them feel completely unnecessary. Why? Well, because I can’t tell you anything about the women outside of their nakedness. That’s just poor character design no matter how you look at it. They’re there to provide background dressing, probably designed to show off how dystopian this world is. Or to show off what the 4A engine can do with human bodies. Or to appeal to the male demographic. I’m not really convinced it’s the last part but…I could be wrong. Either or neither, it’s largely unnecessary as it comes out of left field and didn’t enhance the experience to have strippers dancing at me. I guess I wouldn’t be so bothered by it had Anna been a better written character but she wasn’t.
As for the rest of the story and characters, most are two dimensional archetypes that you’ve probably seen before and not all that interesting to learn about. The story is mostly showing how bad people can be during an apocalypse. The lone Dark One you’re trying to catch/follow doesn’t even really reveal much about his race and is rarely in danger so its hard to get invested into that character. Even getting a sense of justice/outrage from stopping generic Nazis or Reds is an old and tired trope of videogames. The big “plot twist” at the end was about as surprising as yearly Steam winter sales. Basically, the reveal is that the Red guy in charge killed his own brother after being manipulated by another Red guy. See, the story is so generic I can’t even remember their names. It’s not an interesting story, it’s simply there to give you a reason to journey through the Metro. That said….
Overall Gameplay Impressions:
The journey itself through the Metro is still very immersive. The game is focused on presenting and enveloping you in the atmosphere of the Russian Metro in a post-apocalyptic future. Which, they pull of to a fantastic degree. I really have to give them kudos on this part because this was what kept me going through the game. Everything from wiping the swamp water or blood off your gas mask to the howling winds on the surface to the slowed progress you make through thick spiderwebs (that can be burned with your lighter). There’s a lot of world detail in this game and this part simply oozes polish. Even the recharging of certain weapons and your power for the flashlight and/or night vision, which would normally seem pointless otherwise, fits so well in this type of game. Credit given where it’s due, this game executes the world’s atmosphere excellently.
Gameplay wise, I still feel like LL is a step backwards for the series. Where 2033 original edition was an arduous trek, uphill, through 50miles of survival lava, Last Light comes off as a more action-packed FPS game that just happens to have survival and horror elements. I guess to use my rollercoaster analogy I used last review, this game feels like a Disney ride, you’ll always get to the end and enjoy the ride. But, there is almost zero chances for the vehicle to come off the tracks permanently.
I can’t recommend Metro: Last Light Redux for new or returning players. Additionally, if you already have the original edition of Last Light, play it instead. Otherwise, you’re basically paying for an overpriced patch. To be frank, I feel cheated for having bought the Redux editions when compared to the original editions that I own. After all, it seems like they didn’t even take the time to make sure all of the bugs and glitches of the original were fixed. Worse still, is that the Mac and Linux versions haven’t been released yet. Granted, we’re still within the stated release date of “later this year” but we’re getting into November now. Combine all of those issues with the issue that is Metro 2033 Redux version and its not hard to imagine why I feel cheated.
*UPDATE* The Linux version was released at the very end of 2014. I haven’t personally tested it. The MacOSX edition remains nowhere to be seen.
*Final Update* Both the Linux version and Mac version were finally released. I haven’t tested either nor heard anything about either of them.
Places to Buy Metro: Last Light Redux:
Thanks for reading this review of Metro: Last Light Redux. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. Until next time…