Five Reasons: Metro: Last Light

Photo courtesy hypeup.net
Photo courtesy hypeup.net

When [amazon_link id=”B002V16T0Q” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Metro 2033[/amazon_link] was released two years ago, there was almost no marketing behind it, save for a lackluster “Fear the Future” slogan that isn’t really representative of the game. It would have passed completely under my radar if not for Erich Wildgrube, but that’s a story for a later post.

The important part is that I did eventually play it, and was floored; so floored, in fact, that I am more excited about the release of Metro: Last Light next week than I was for BioShock: Infinite. In case that sounds like crazy-talk, let me shed some hand-crank-battery-powered light on the subject.

1. The Atmosphere

We’ve all played those games that draw you in, that really make you feel like you’re in another reality, but 2033 took this to new levels, and Last Light looks to follow suit. I’m not just talking about the creepy parts, either; the most immersive moments look to be the ones spent in the populated stations, watching people go about their daily lives in this world gone sour.

2. The Gameplay Mechanics

This may come off sounding like it belongs in the last paragraph, but there are untold little touches in how these games play that really sell the experience. There’s the aforementioned need to hand-crank the battery that runs your flashlight; you check your map and objectives by holding a flickering lighter up to your journal; and new to Last Light, it appears that moisture and steam can obscure your gas-mask visor, so that Artyom must resort to running his palm across it to try and keep it clear.

3. The Story

I don’t know that I would say Metro tells a completely original kind of story: Young man must brave a post-apocalyptic world in order to save his loved ones from forces they don’t understand. What it does manage, however, is to tell that story in a way that completely engrosses you; you understand that Artyom both is and isn’t in control of the much larger events going on around him.

I would also like to squeeze “Characters” in at this point; and by “Characters” I mean “The Rangers”; and by “The Rangers” I of course mean Khan.

http://metrovideogame.wikia.com/wiki/Khan

4. The Inhabitants

http://metrovideogame.wikia.com/wiki/Mutants

I had to catch myself typing “enemies” in that heading, as anyone who plays the games will soon understand. Metro takes place in a world filled with creatures and beings that go beyond Artyom’s understanding: the violent, animalistic nosalis; the disturbingly intelligent librarians; the unusual, almost playful anomalies; and finally, the mysterious Dark Ones, whose unknown motivations are the driving force of the series.

5. The Morality System

Hidden within this post-apoc shooter is a morality system so complex that no one has yet to perfectly pin down exactly what actions beget what outcomes. Most people didn’t realize 2033 had two possible endings until they checked the achievements, and the developers have remained tight-lipped about the system as well.

What I do know is that these games don’t go in for the whole black-or-white idea of morality, but rather take into account your actions as a player – actions such as stopping to listen to someone play the guitar around a campfire – and how these little things might alter Artyom’s mindset.

And as always, if my words aren’t enough to convince you, maybe pretty pictures and cool sound effects will:


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