Metro Last Light is a really interesting take on the FPS game genre. There’s a lot to love about this game, but, at the same time, there’s a lot that disappoints. It’s a real shame, but with one hand it gives and with the other, it takes away. In the world of the FPS, new games have a lot to contend with. Developers like EA, Infinity Ward and Treyarch have an incredibly successful backlog of games to their names, so it’s no wonder that the genre gets pretty competitive. Some developers try to emulate the success of their rivals with, for example, the Medal of Honour series trying its hardest to match up to Call of Duty and Battlefield – but with little success. 4A Games, however, have attempted something different with Metro Last Light. In essence, it’s a survival horror FPS, but in reality it ends up being much more than that.
Last Light is the second installment to the Metro game series, based on the novel of Russian author, Dmitry Glukhovsky. The story sees you following Artyom, the hero of Metro 2033, one year after he had sent the missiles to destroy the ‘Dark Ones’ – paranormal, mutated humans. In the year 2013, the world had been destroyed by nuclear holocaust, and survivors in Russia had retreated to the sewers and the underground metro system. By 2033, the post-apocalyptic underground world had been torn apart by civil war between various small states – Neo-Nazis and the New Soviet Union. Even after the destruction of the Dark Ones the war between the states raged on and in Metro Last Light, Artyom is faced with the certain demise of humanity. Yet, of course, there is always hope, and the rumours of a surviving Dark One could well prove to be a sign of humanities salvation. In searching for the Dark One, Artyom must unite with unlikely enemies to scour the Metro system, the destroyed urban areas and parks of Moscow and the sewer systems below in his mission to save the decaying human race. The story is short but complicated and interesting enough to keep your attention through its 10 hour campaign. But it’s not the storyline that stands out for this game.
It’s the look of the game that jumps to the forefront for Metro Last Stand. This game has been incredibly well designed – the Metro system is full of life, but dead at the same time. It highlights the suffering of humanity as well as our resilience to survive. But the wreckage that was once Moscow is just as visually stunning. Even amongst the destroyed grey buildings, the grey sky and the muddy ground, Metro Last Stand still delivers an incredibly realistic, and somehow beautiful, environment. It manages to hit the nail on the head between haunting passage ways and beautiful cityscapes – an achievement in itself, I think.
But the gameplay lets it down. The FPS element is basic at best, controls often feel unresponsive, the AI is ridiculously stupid and slow and there really is very little challenge to 10 hours of campaign. On normal difficulty you will walk through this game, hard may throw a few curve balls your way, but nothing compared to the hair pulling frustration of, say, veteran difficulty on Call of Duty. In essence, it tries to do too much. It can’t compete with the gameplay of titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield and, to be honest, even Medal of Honour and it can’t compare to the ‘post-apocalyptic survival’ gameplay of Fallout – it could have been a fantastic hybrid of them all, but instead it ends up falling short of its true potential.
Still, that’s not to say that this isn’t a fun game. If you have a spare bit of cash to splash, or the opportunity to rent or borrow Metro Last Light, then I’d truly recommend it. For a short game, there’s a lot there. The ability to explore the Metro and the various other levels adds a lot to the story. Everything from story extracts to Intel will allow you to build a fantastic depth to the game. It’s just unfortunate that the game is far too easy, with very replay value.