Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Modern Classics: Metro 2033

Rock jumps in to share his love of Metro 2033. It's a shame that a lot of people decided to pass it by when it first came around! Well now that the sequel has been delayed until 2013, there's no better time than now to check out this absolute gem of a shooter!

I know what you're thinking, "Another post apocalyptic game, Rock? And a FPS to boot? Haven't there been like a thousand of these?" I know, trust me, I know. Between the new Fallout games, Rage, and the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series, you'd think that I'd have had enough of this stuff by now. But then you'd be wrong. So very wrong...

Set in the year, ahem...2033, Metro takes place in the subway tunnels beneath Moscow.  The world above was all but destroyed by nuclear war, though a few pockets of humanity took shelter in the subway where they scrape out a meager living in the dank, dark tunnels below ground. The world of the metro feels ancient and rickety. Little pockets of civilization have sprung up in the various subway stations, but the areas in between are often wild and filled with mutants or worse.

There are some crazy things happening down in the tunnels

The game has you playing as Artyom, as he treks through the metro in search of a weapon against powerful, unseen beings known as the Dark Ones. On your way you'll travel through haunted subway tunnels, battle across an ages old front line, sneak through enemy bases, and even travel to the surface. All of the game's locales are beautifully broken down, with your brief trips to the surface being the real stand outs. Up there in a world seemingly frozen in time, you get a marvelous look at the destruction wrought upon the world. Here, you're not only watching out for the usual mutant and human threats.  You must also protect yourself from poisonous air with your gas mask. Be careful! Because if you're mask is damaged or you run out of air filters, you're finished, Comrade!  These amazing segments can also be quite harrowing, making you long for the safety of a friendly human settlement.

Yes, the world is well and truly fucked

In those settlements, you'll get a good look at what the new human civilization looks like.  Here is a pretty realistic vision of what life might really be like should nuclear war ever occur. People struggle daily for food, and everyone looks depressed but determined.  Everything is useful.  Even the weapons seem like something that could have realistically been cobbled together by someone with the know how.  Bullets are your currency here, allowing you to trade for other ammo, buy new or upgraded weapons, and buy valuable supplies like medkits or those precious gas mask filters.

Play Free Bird, man!
Once into the action, the game plays a bit like if Call of Duty and Half-Life had a baby, and the result is spectacular. The shooting action feels nice and tight, and the occasional set pieces lend just the right amount of action-movie fun. You won't find any laser guns here, as all of your weapons are firmly rooted in reality.  Your usual weapons loadout might feature a tried and true AK assault rifle, double barreled shotgun, or one of a handful of weapons seemingly invented by skilled weaponsmiths. There are a handful of stealth segments that can be kind of frustrating due to their rage inducing structure. Really, there's only one right way to get through these sections, and you'll be dying and retrying over and over again until you figure out exactly what you're supposed to do. Or you could just shoot your way through it.


 Metro 2033 represents what is one of the more realistic post apocalyptic scenarios, where you aren't a superhuman and each of your resources is a  precious life-saver. There's absolutely incredible atmosphere just oozing everywhere! With a strong story, excellent shooting action, and a truly compelling world, you should definitely check it out!

*As a side note, I would strongly recommend playing Metro 2033 on Ranger Easy difficulty.  This is more of a "realism" mode, where everything only takes a few shots to go down and ammo conservation becomes crucial.  Playing on a lower difficulty strangely makes it so that enemies will routinely take half a magazine to kill.  Weird.

Rock suddenly wishes he lived closer to a subway....

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