Metro: Last Light

8.5 Overall Score

Great atmosphere, fun gameplay, technically and aesthetically beautiful

Framerate hitches in some spots, difficulty/balance issues

Written by on May 14, 2013 in [, , , ]

Metro: Last Light is a sequel to 2010′s critically acclaimed Metro 2033 in pretty much every sense of the word. You’re still wandering around the Russian wasteland scrounging supplies, trading bullets for…other bullets, and shooting a variety of mutants and other dudes. The good part about this is Metro is just as atmospheric, weird, and compelling as it was previously. The even better part is most of the issues with the first game have been fixed, making an experience that’s polished while retaining the quirkiness of the original.

In the first game these guys would be jittery or upside-down or something. Totally not the case now.

Regardless of how enjoyable the experience was, the original Metro was…well, kind of busted. The stealth system didn’t work, hit detection felt weird, and a whole host of technical issues could grind the experience to a halt. Given this it’s refreshing to note that Metro is almost completely free of this. The game isn’t perfect; various outdoor weather sequences woud tank the framerate in incredibly noticable ways, and I did run into a couple crash issues, but nothing that stopped my enjoyment of things (note, I was running a quad-core i5 with a higher end Radeon card; Nvidia machines seem to have fewer issues).

Metro Looks Pretty Good

Occasional problems aside, Metro is a beautiful game that runs pretty nicely on the PC. Lighting effects look nice, and everything animates beautifully, which is weird to say given how grim and ugly the gameworld is. Swamps are murky and generally menacing, rust and mold covers everything, and there’s a significant tactical advantage to following the harsh glare of flashlights in the dark. Metro looks great and plays better.

Perhaps the best thing I could say about Metro: Last Light is that it’s mechanically fantastic. Given the problems the first game had, saying that this plays much like a modern shooter is amazing praise. Controls are comfortable (I played through the game using a 360 gamepad, which does fine) and everything just moves well. Moving through Metro’s bleak gameworld feels great, and that makes the atmosphere all the better. I’m not sure what else to say about it, so I’ll show you some before moving on:

The atmosphere is really why you’ll play Metro. While I went back to try some sections in English, playing through the game in Russian with English subtitles is still kind of haunting, and what I consider the only real way to play the game. Metro’s world is grim and dark and sublime in fantastic ways, and perhaps the praise I have for the core mechanics of Metro is that they deliver that experience well. While the shooting feels great, and sneaking up to ambush a group of stalkers in a dark tunnel is incredibly satisfying, the real pleasure in Last Light is seeing the world around the wasteland. The property attached to this game is dark, dreary, imaginative, and almost wholly unique in its realization. From the giant crazy crank generator you run around with, to the shotgun that looks bolted together from parts, Metro is its own crazy animal, and immensely entertaining to play around in.

You’ll probably finish the core of Metro in about ten hours, but there’s a substantial amount of sidequests to keep things going, and some backstory scattered about in the game’s ubiquitous collectibles. I’d suggest playing on the harder difficulties; normal made for a very easy first run of the game. The functionality of the shooting and usefulness of some items (throwing knives in particular seem almost too good). Hard and the later Ranger difficulty seem like they’ll offer a bit more in terms of challenge, and the former is probably worth starting the game on.

There’s a lot going on in Metro. Like this guy.

With all this said, Metro: Last Light is just enough unlike other games that it’s worth playing. That the game plays pretty well is really just gravy on the atmosphere of this occasionally creepy, always entertaining shooter. While there’s no zombie campaign or multiplayer in Metro: Last Light, there is a whole lot to like. You could do much worse things with the beginning of your summer.

A copy of Metro: Last Light was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards.

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