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Which title will be the 2018 Game of the Year?

Red Dead Redemption 2
God of War
Forza Horizon 4
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Game Profile
Xbox One
Deep Silver
4A Games
GENRE: Shooter
February 15, 2019
Metro Redux

Metro 2034

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

 Written by Stephen Varner  on February 17, 2019

Reviews: Metro Exodus changes things up with some open world ideas while maintaining the close and claustrophobic in other areas.


Metro Exodus is the third game in the series by 4A Games based on the novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky. By lifting the setting from the dark and dank setting of the Moscow Metro, the third game promises to expand on the visual palate, fiction and gameplay ideas of 2033 and Last Light.

Part first-person shooter and part survival horror game the Metro series has never shied away from making life difficult for the player. That stays true in Exodus as even on the normal difficulty there is a choke hold on the number of supplies and materials available for you to gather. Combat is difficult and dangerous and will require you to take your shots carefully and make them count. Utilizing silent melee takedowns and suppressed headshots will keep you from burning through all of your supplies in a drawn-out firefight. Metro is as much a stealth game as it is a shooter and the stealth mechanics are effective as they are simple. An LED light on your wrist will indicate whether you are in a spot that is well lit enough for nearby enemies to see you and the game is littered with light sources that you can switch on or off if you want to stealth through. Be wary though as I definitely had some encounters where snuffing out a candle actually alerted nearby guards to my presence and killed my stealth strategy. Most major encounters will have an area nearby that you can stop and rest in a bed in order to change the time of day. I found nighttime raids of an enemy encampment to be far more successful in terms of the number of supplies I would burn getting to the other side of a fight. The good news is that with five difficulty levels available the range of options should satisfy everybody from hardcore challenge junkies to folks that just want to experience the story with minimal roadblocks in terms of combat and inventory management. You can also change the difficulty at any time and with no difficulty achievements or trophies to worry about missing you can adjust it until you find the one that is right for you at any time. The only caveat being the hardest difficulty which will require you to start a new game.

When it comes to crafting and inventory management more is less. Everything breaks down to two types of materials represented by a total numerical count of each. You can get chemicals and components by looting enemy bodies, breaking down found enemy weapons or those that you find in the environment as well as finding them throughout the environment. Once in your inventory, you can use these materials to craft medkits, radiation filters, distraction items, grenades and ammo for your pneumatic rifle once you get it. You can do all of this from your backpack no matter where you are in the game. In a game where resources and available items are scarce, it's nice to be able to craft what you really need when you really need it if you've got the materials. The only time you need one of the dedicated workbenches is when you need to craft regular ammo for your standard weapons or when you need to clean weapons and gear to maintain them in working order. Guns will get dirty and jam up over time. Wearing your radiation mask in a firefight can lead to it getting damaged or breached and you'll have to patch it. There's a fair amount of maintenance involved keeping your gear in tip-top shape but keeping the needed materials simple eliminates a lot of the bloat compared to other games with crafting mechanics. If the stress of maintaining your gear isn't your thing then dropping the difficulty to easy or reader will ensure that materials are plentiful enough that it'll never really be an issue. There's also a fair amount of weapons mods available that can ensure you can take something simple like a revolver and turn it into a suppressed sniper rifle. While there's not a great number of weapons this actually plays to your advantage as there are fewer ammo types to have to worry about finding or making and the weapons are modular enough that you can swap some parts out for different situations. The freedom to do this at will rather than restricting you to finding a workbench is a smart and convenient solution that eliminates a lot of the tedium without sacrificing the challenge of managing your materials and available inventory and in fact allows you to make smarter decisions about how you use your inventory on a moment to moment basis.

On a technical level Metro Exodus is one of the most impressive looking games I've played in a while, particularly on the Xbox One X. Framerate seems to hover at right about 30 and though I've seen some occasional hitching it stays pretty close to that mark much of the time. The lighting and use of HDR are especially impressive in the darkest areas of the game but also shine in the daylight on the surface areas. While there is plenty of daylight to be seen in Metro Exodus longtime fans needn't worry, there are still areas that make maximum use of its excellent atmosphere that can range from dark and creepy to truly disturbing. Areas that are wet practically drip off the screen, fires flicker in stark contrast to the darkness around them an practically every surface pops in a way that makes me feel like I can just reach out and touch it. Sound design is a little more uneven with voice acting that sometimes feels stilted and superficial which is a shame because the material they're working with is generally very compelling.


The story itself is probably the factor that has kept me the most engaged with Metro Exodus. There's certainly no shortage of post-apocalypse tropes but the journey these characters undertake due to circumstances that unfold over the first hour has kept me locked into their journey and the twists and turns that happen along the way. Most antagonist characters and especially the ones early on don't get a ton of screen time but are fairly memorable for the scenes that they get. Non-combat areas and the train you and your team are using to cross the Russian wasteland will have characters that have conversations with you and with each other and while none of it is mission critical it does help give your team some personality. The game's structure will swap between decent sized open world maps to tighter more linear corridor segments that are combat heavy and it changes things up often enough that by the time one gameplay segment begins to get a little dry things get shaken up in terms of narrative and gameplay focus that it manages to stay fresh throughout the experience. Play time will vary wildly based on how much time you spend trying the stealth certain sections of the game and on what difficulty you play on but being a single player only narrative focused game there's a good amount of time that can be dumped into doing the sidequests and fulfilling requests from your teammates. Outside of some collectibles though there's not much reason to return to Metro Exodus unless you just want to challenge yourself on a higher difficulty or run through the story again.

Metro Exodus is a game of some great highs marred only slightly by controls that can at times feel a little too heavy or a little too cumbersome, even if that's by design. While there's not a ton of reason to stick around once you've seen the story through it's a great experience right from the very opening minutes all the way through. The narrative is compelling and would be almost enough to carry it as a worthwhile experience even if the rest of the game was sub-par. Thankfully this is not the case and Exodus structures it's gameplay in ways that are different enough from other games in the first person shooter space that it's worth your time to check it out.

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