Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light

Producer: Deep Silver
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, PC
Rating: Mature
First-person shooter

Metro: Last Light

Terror Train
Written by Jesse Seilhan

The best apocalypse stories are not those that focus on the monsters created by nuclear fallout or mutated by chemicals, but the demons that live within the surviving humans. Facing the fear of men and women driven to the brink of death is always more frightening than an 80-foot beast, and Metro: Last Light understands this better than most games. Metro blends the supernatural and the mortal very well, offering a small look into the rugged lives of survivors before offering a wide variety of monsters to dispatch. The spiders are gross, the feral beasts are wicked, and the boss battles are large and ammo-depleting. The humans can be just as horrible, which is the strength of this game’s story. You fight the Nazis, the Communists, and a variety of other unhelpful sort on your way from the far ends of the underground Russian train system to your home base. Your character will change and grow as he faces Earth’s worst enemies and you will feel accomplished before the final credits roll.

You do not need to have played the original Metro 2033 before venturing into Last Light, as the characters and mission briefs before each chapter do a great job of summarizing the prior game. Even better, your character is of the non-speaking variety so others constantly expel information directly at your face whether you like it or not. Eventually the entire plot is spilled out before you as the narrative follows an extremely linear plot, which is good for comprehension but bad for exploration. Being able to traverse down various metro tunnels would be awesome, but not every game can unravel into a Fallout-type universe. There is not a multiplayer element here, so all of the time and effort was spent making sure that the main campaign was tight and without error. The shooting mechanics feel tight enough to get the job done, but the game is fairly easy on the default difficulty settings.

The weaponry is varied, from basic pistols and shotguns to pneumatic rifles and throwing knives. Stealth is a huge element of this game, as you can complete the whole thing without killing a single human, so sneaking up and knocking a guy out or stabbing him in the neck is a valid strategy. Lights can be turned off, destroyed, or even unscrewed if you are close enough. Enemies react to stray sounds and movements, but the blue display on your watch lets you know if you are in danger of being seen or not. That very same watch monitors how long you have left to breathe using your current gas mask filter, so keeping an eye on it is crucial to your survival in harsh situations. Wearing a gas mask when topside ensures you will live another day, but it can crack and get dirty while mowing down enemies, so changing it with a fresh one or wiping it off in order to regain visibility is an important mechanic. This all helps solidify the idea that your character is not Master Chief or any other number of random Rambo-inspired badasses: he is a fallible and ultimately human character that can make mistakes. It’s this focus on the frail and wicked nature of humanity that makes Metro remarkable. This is not a vapid Call of Duty storyline or a fantastical thrill ride like Halo. This is a series grounded in horror with an Eastern European supernatural flair, a combination that really makes for a fun and interesting game.

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