lil review: Metro 2033

  • Platform: PC, Xbox 360
  • Developer: 4A Games
  • Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: March 16, 2010
  • Price: $19.99
  • Official: Metro 

“Wake up and smell the ashes”

Humanity has been all but lost. The planet’s surface has been destroyed, the remnants but a radiated uninhabitable wasteland with the few remaining survivors clutching desperately to life underground in old dark and wet subway tunnels. Dozens of people live huddled together wondering where they’re next meal may come from and if they will ever see the light of day again. And while this vestige of humanity worry about their futures, the creatures in the darkness just outside their line of sight sit and wait. Waiting to attack, waiting to snuff out the bleak existence these lone survivors so desperately cling to. You are one of these survivors. This is your life. Welcome to the Metro.

Metro 2033 is based on a book of the same name from Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky telling the story of young Artyom as he starts off on a journey that will take him through the dark trenches of the apocalyptic hell he inhabits. Metro is closer to first-person survival horror than it is straight up shooter. The game is all about atmosphere and making you feel as if you are truly in Artyom’s shoes. Your view never leaves that of his eyes so you are always in the thick of it. Allowing you to inhabit this role. This mechanic is used brilliantly in the moments when you must take detours out of the subway tunnels and onto the radiated surface above. These treks are tense somber experiences where all you hear is your own breathing through your gas mask. As you brave the world you once knew you must carefully monitor your oxygen level and take care not to be surprised by a creature around the next corner, for they may crack your headpiece with a swipe of their claws, leaving you ripping its broken visor from your face and frantically looking for another before you pass out.

The world Metro creates is brutal and unsettling in its realism. The underground stations that house humanity are dark and disgusting, but somehow do feel like home. The small spaces are littered with photos, beds and small toys, as the kids and parents sit solemnly nearby. Crowds circle men playing the guitar and most soldiers sit at the bar drinking the memories away. This place is bleak and captivating and one of Metro’s strongest elements.

For currency the people mostly use bullets, a commodity they have plenty of in this new age. This system too is well done, as older original shells made before the bombings deal out more damage but also go for more on the marketplace, while newer crafted rounds deal less damage but cost drastically less. Do you hold onto the few older bullets that will allow you to take down the stronger creatures in less shots? Or do you hoard newer less valuable rounds that are easier to come by? This system fits perfectly into the world created and serves as a useful tool as well, more realistic and unsettling than some bottle caps in that other apocalyptic game.

All is not perfect in Metro however as the gameplay, while fine, never really breaks into greatness. The shooting is decent but not perfect, and the stealth portions are serviceable but slightly frustrating. Enemies seem to find you too easily in the dark undergrounds of the Metro. But though things could be improved in several areas, it all blends so well, as if this slightly off-putting gameplay was done so on purpose, to match the awfulness surrounding it.

Visually Metro still looks good today, especially on PC where it features DirectX11 effects. The textures are solid and the sound effects unsettling, voice work is well delivered as well, with thick heavy accents and a solemness that carries you through the experience. There is no doubt you will be sucked into this world from the first moments, and will be intrigued until the journeys end and while you may not enjoy every aspect of the title, Metro is a game that should be played by more before its sequel, Metro Last Light, arrives in stores in March 2013, as it is probably a game that will stick with you long after its credits roll. -Chuck

The lil Rundown

  • + Terrific atmosphere
  • + Good lighting and voice work
  • – Gameplay while good, could be polished
  • – Can be slow at times
  • – Stealth slightly clunky

Final Score

7.5 / 10

“Good”

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