Metro Redux Review - weknowgamers

We return to the Apocalyptic world of Moscow for the PlayStation 4 in our Metro Redux review.


Having previously been released in 2010 and 2013 to generally favorable reviews, it’s understandable as to why gamers may have felt sceptical at the idea of playing through Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light again. Sure there’ll be obvious improvements visually, but is that really going to be enough to convince gamers to return to the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow?

Story

In case you are unfamiliar with the plot in the Metro franchise; both games are based on the Metro 2033 book by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Taking place in 2013 after Russia is hit by an atomic bomb, resulting in the remaining Russians moving underground to avoid radiation; you control Artyom, a survivor looking to protect his home station from not only other hostile stations, but also the mysterious ‘dark ones’.

What’s most unique when it comes to the plot is how the game manages to not only balance having both realistic and supernatural aspects, but also manages to have them intertwine. Despite being (for the most part) a silent protagonist, Artyom’s character develops in a very natural manner, feeling less mature at the start of 2033, and yet all that he experiences through both games leaves him an experienced and responsible human being. Your altercations with the soviets and fourth Reich also add to the realistic side of things, as you get the feeling that each side is willing to do whatever it takes to protect their people (just as we are used to seeing in post-apocalyptic scenarios).

Life for those in Russia has hit dark times
On the supernatural side of things, the ‘dark ones’ are at the heart of both games and will likely confuse players early on by both their appearance and their inclusion in a world already ridden by mutants, rival stations and factions. Admittedly interest in the ‘dark ones’ doesn’t build that much until late into 2033, which while a shame, isn’t as bad as you may think, as Last Light follows on from 2033 brilliantly, with the ‘dark ones’ having a more prominent role as Artyom deals with the aftermath of his actions in the previous game. By the time Last Light starts, you will be invested in finding out more about the ‘dark ones’.

What ties the realism and supernatural together is the games phenomenal atmosphere. Listening to civilians chat to each other about the lives they now have does an excellent job immersing you in the games world.

Gameplay

As a first time player of the Metro series, what surprised me very early on was how often you could use stealth to get by enemies. While using the solid selection of weapons to dispel enemies was fine, using stealth felt really great and I’d honestly put that down to the game having such an amazing atmosphere. Taking advantage of the dark atmospheric environments as you stalk enemies in the dark is consistently thrilling. Now while being the predator in those scenarios was a thrill, being the prey when it came to fighting mutants was a nerve-wracking kind of thrill with your ammo and air filters quickly depleting. It all manages to add to consistently engaging and intense action.

Weapons handle very well aside from one, the throwing knives. What should be a reliable and handy tool when quietly dispatching enemies’ ends up being inconsistent and frustrating, with enemies surviving knife throws that blatantly should have killed them. This ends up resulting in the enemy noticing you and your plans going up in smoke, which is one of the only real downsides when it comes to combat in Metro Redux.

A great addition made to Metro 2033 was making Metro Last Light’s Spartan play style available, which offers more action and resources to the player than 2033’s original survival mode. Both modes are well worth trying out, just to see how they differ from each other as both really do offer their own unique experiences.

There will be many moments where the darkness will be of great use to you
Another notable addition made with Redux is the utilisation of the dualshock 4, to help notify the player as to when they are in lit/dark areas, the DS4’s light will brighten or dim. While it wasn’t necessary as Artyom has a light on his wrist that notifies him of the same thing, it’s still a neat little inclusion that some may end up liking quite a bit.

You’ve got to really hand it to 4A Games; they really pride themselves in creating a fantastic atmosphere. One such feature that may seem small, but in fact really adds to the atmosphere is how the player’s gas mask is utilised. While being careful with filters, so that you are able to breathe when above ground is great, what really stood out to me as one of the most memorable parts of both games was just how much content can splatter onto Artyom’s mask. Dirt, blood, rain, spiders, flies and frost; all of which could be rubbed off, along with the crack’s that your gas mask could get helped to really immerse you in a world that’s been to hell and back.

Graphics/Sound

Right off the bat, you know what you are going to get when it comes to the visuals of Metro Redux. With the games originally looking great on 360/PS3, it’s no surprise that they look ridiculously good in 1080p and at 60 FPS. The gorgeous high resolution textures help to improve the quality of everything visually, with mutants looking real gruesome up close. Even more impressive is that it isn’t just the visuals that have been changed, but also the positions and movements of NPC’s, which have been completely altered to make them look more fluid and realistic.

When looking at both titles, what really is impressive is how the developers have managed to make both games look almost identical in terms of the visuals, not just during gameplay, but in cutscenes and on menus as well. As a result, playing 2033 and Last Light one after another doesn’t actually feel like a game and its sequel; rather it feels like one combined narrative, which I’m sure is what 4A Games were going for and quite frankly have pulled off really well.

A beautiful post-apocalyptic world
Now as great as the visuals are, there is an odd and somewhat scary side to them. When talking to NPC’s in 2033, characters often look like they don’t have any teeth due to the way in which their tongues stick upwards. As funny as it sounds, it looks ridiculous when you are staring at a character while they talk to you about a serious matter. Thankfully (and oddly) the problem didn’t seem to make its way onto Last Light.

Sound in Metro Redux is a bit of a mixed bag. The music matches the depressing tone of the world in a similar manner to other post-apocalyptic games (such as The Last of Us) and the sounds you hear from the different environments (again) help to pull you into the world. That’s all great stuff, but the problems come from the voice acting. Now I’m not saying all the voice acting is terrible, in fact some of it is very solid, but some of the characters come off sounding funny more than anything, with the worst offenders being the children (particularly in 2033), whose odd voices make them stand out among Metro’s characters in a bad way.

Final Verdict

I don’t think I can remember the last time I played an FPS that took so much care with its atmosphere in the manner Metro Redux has. Whether it is the story, gameplay, visuals or audio, 4A Games has literally done everything possible to try and pull you into the post-apocalyptic Russia that they have created. If you haven’t played either of the Metro games before, I would strongly advise you check Redux out…you’ll be in for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Story = 8.5/10
Gameplay = 8.5/10
Graphics/Sound = 8.8/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 8.6/10

Agree with what I said or do you have a different opinion? Let me know in the comments below or over on twitter -  @KingKicks

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