In a post apocalyptic not too distant future a year after the events of the first game, protagonist Artyom returns to face the consequences and fallout of the events of that game and it’s a more refined but equally as intense, dark, and immersive experience as Metro 2033 ever was.
For some reason there were concerns that this game was going to be “dumbed down for the Call of Duty crowd” and I am happy to report that is not the case.
If you loved the first game you will absolutely love this and you will also have one of the best looking PC games to date. Clearly a graphics benchmark and reference title if ever there was one.
If you didn’t care much for the first game for any number of reasons I can’t say there’s anything here that will change your mind. These games are definitely not for the Call of Duty run and gun crowd but they are for people that want a patient and immersive FPS adventure.
I view this game as the anti-Bioshock Infinite. Where that game was wide open, bright, and technicolor, this game is loosely on rails, dark, brooding, and all about gritty realism.
Here’s arguably the most important part of this review: http://steamcommunity.com/app/43160/discussions/0/810924134080116088/#p1
Thanks to a new patch, FOV is now adjustable with warnings and caveats straight from the developers.
The default FOV is “decent” but if you’re on a 16:10 monitor and you start going from 1920×1200 on up you’re going to have that urge to pull the camera back a little bit so experiment with that FOV value with conservative caution and take heed of their warnings.
You can also disable aim assist in that same user.cfg file which is virtually identical to Metro 2033’s. If you had certain tweaks and tricks you did for 2033 they should work here as well but experiment with care.
It’s vertical field of view. Which would be equivalent to ~79 horizontal (16:9, depends on aspect ratio).
You can use this to calculate the horizontal FOV.
Set it to 59 if you want a FOV of 90 for example. Be conservative and use care because it will glitch after a point.
If you have the hardware on your PC: Second to none. Reference title and benchmark all the way. This is one of those games that will make the upgraditis itch come out. Be warned!
To date, this might be the best looking game I’ve personally ever seen anywhere. This game is an excuse to upgrade hardware. The menus have all the options and sliders that a PC gamer could want.
I don’t say that lightly but if you have the hardware to run this game at max levels I defy you to not be very impressed with the graphics. My GTX 680 was put to work at 1920×1200. It cracked a little bit of a sweat. SSAA is a performance hog and I found 2 SSAA to be plenty fine for eye candy and keeping good performance vs maxing it out at 4. 2 will be a sweet spot for a lot of people with upper middle range and beyond rigs. If you’re running Titans or SLI or something like that then you can max it out and not feel it.
More than once I felt my jaw start to open involuntarily. The graphics and art design in this game are as good as it gets and are far and away this game’s crowing jewel.
Top caliber sound design with both English and Russian voices and subtitles depending on how you want to handle it. Weapon sound effects are good but there are other shooters where the weapons sound more satisfying and authentic. Music is largely forgettable but effective enough in game. Voice acting is the same as the first or the STALKER games where you have fairly solid Russian voice actors speaking in either Russian or English. At times it feels like you’re hearing the same three or four voices but it’s effective enough. Directional sound is excellent and the game definitely draws you in. As usual, I recommend high quality speakers or headphones for immersive games like these.
Gunplay is nothing to write home about in these games to be brutally honest. It’s good but it’s not “great” like a Battlefield 3 or some other shooters along those lines might be with really satisfying gunplay.
Like the first game, there’s efforts to shoot for realism. You will be hitting areas where you need to wear gas masks with cartridges that run out and need to be exchanged. You will need to have a steady supply of ammo (which doubles as currency) and med packs and you even need to regenerate your flashlight on occasion. These concepts have always been handled very well and are not onerous. I’m fairly picky about these types of gameplay devices and even I can’t complain.
The Metro games are close cousins of the STALKER games as far as I’m concerned. Some of the same assets, voice actors, and overall feel except the Metro games are also opposites in the sense that the STALKER games have you in wide open areas and these are on loose rails that do a very good job in keeping the player interested and motivated and most of the time unaware of said rails for the sake of narrative.
The campaign averages in 10-12 hour department which is good for a game like this in this day and age and especially given how quickly we see compelling sales happen from outlets like Steam and GMG and the like. Fans of these games have already preordered it and haven’t looked back with any regrets and rightfully so.
Nits and complaints:
Some unfortunate technical issues plagued this game at launch and especially for the console folks. On the PC…and I may get into trouble for this comment but this is not unusual I’m sorry to say: AMD users really had some headaches in the early goings. I realize that games tend to come out “optimized” for one vendor over another but ultimately there’s no excuse and it’s up to both the GPU vendors AND the game developers to make sure the products work right across the boards and to have drivers out and ready on day one for that title if need be. More often than not, Nvidia seems to have less issues along these lines.
Certain aspects of the gameplay and narrative are inconsistent. I felt like stealth was more effective in this game than part one although I still had occasions where my best stealth efforts were in vain and it turns into the alarms and a mediocre run and gun situation that you’re best off finding an area to hide and let things die down. These games are at their poorest in run and gun type situations.
The game is at it’s least impressive when you get into situations like these, for example: During the course of a mission, you’re waiting for a river boat to come pick you up and you get onslaughted by a slew of monsters. It just isn’t that fun or impressive when these situations happen. Yes, it’s intense, and yes it’s life threatening but the gunplay isn’t quite up to par like a Battlefield 3 or some other game like that where you can go run and gun with great success. Run and gun isn’t what a Metro game is all about and yet they put you in occasional situations where you have no other choice. If there’s a third game in the series down the road I hope the developers consider allowing the player to have more freedom to either handle a situation with brains and stealth or run and gun at their own peril. This is where recent games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored have spoiled me. You can play those games and handle any situation just about any way you want.
These max numbers grind situations are intense but also show some of the gameplay’s weaknesses. The game is at it’s best during slower, more methodical, and stealth situations where the emphasis leans more back towards psychological tension.
As indicated in the opening of this review, a patch has given users the ability to edit the user.cfg to adjust FOV, disable aim assist, and experiment with caution and care. Make sure you back up this user.cfg before editing.
The plot is inconsistent especially towards the latter part and I found that it leaned more on “supernatural” type concepts and conventions vs the first game but it’s still a compelling yarn that fans of these games will not be disappointed with.
Some technical issues at launch, especially on AMD platforms, should be addressed with patches and drivers in a fairly short amount of time.
Like the first game, I’m going to say that replay value is suspect. There’s no multiplayer which is not a problem for me but may be for other FPS fans but the fact that this game is linear enough simply limits how many times people will feel compelled to play through it. A “your mile may vary” situation.
As stated in the opening, there’s nothing dumbed down about this game and I enjoyed it more than part one thanks to some subtle refinements to the gameplay. Thus far that seems to be the growing consensus out there amongst fans of this series and I hope there’s a part 3 or some kind of continuation of the concept.
People that want a mature, patient, first person shooter adventure and want something that gets under their skin need look no further than this series of fine games.
I want to give special kudos to 4A Games courtesy of this article:
4A games is the story of an underdog winning out. I’m happy to support them and hats off to them. Despite my nitpicks I want to emphasize overall that these Metro games are something special and the things they do right they do REALLY right.
People need to be aware of just how much 4A games has to stretch a penny and R&D to make something happen and they deserve ALL kinds of praise and kudos for doing things in these Metro games that the A studios could learn some lessons from.
I wanted to give this game four stars and ideally I’d give it a 3.5/4 with some of my nits but in this case I’m going to be leaning harshly “just because” it’s not a perfect game and it’s an acquired taste. If you’re not in the mood for something that requires patience and is admittedly a bit dark, depressing, and even plodding at times you’re not going to care for this.
If you want something fresh, different, and mature that does a lot of things REALLY well then here you go.
Metro: Last Light gets a three out of five: GOOD.
* A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.