Metro 2033 Review
Strong atmosphere and smooth presentation help this dark underground shooter overcome most of its minor problems.
Metro 2033 is an interesting post apocalyptic first person shooter set in the Moscow underground train tunnels. The game focuses much of the action against mutated creatures that put the scattered human outposts under siege in a vast network of tunnels. The presentation and atmosphere qualities are very high throughout creating a rich immersive world. There are some impressive visuals tied directly to the lighting and smoke effects that really set the mood of otherwise sterile surrounds. At times the shooting can be impressive against a few different mutants and hostile Russian soldiers. Metro attempts to give you some brief stealth options to bypass or take down groups of mercenaries but the game feels much more at home shooting anything that moves. Although there are some neat elements shown Metro is a linear game and there isn’t much deviation from the designated path which does aid its graphical qualities.
Visually Metro is a great looking game, the textures are crisp and detailed and the animation is smooth and realistic. There are some really good lighting effects where headlamps and artificial lights have a real volume and texture to them. They shine through the sometimes dense smoke that increases during heavy gunfights. Dust particles float through your vision as you move between water puddles or train cars. During some story segments you lose control of your character and are shown a fully animated in game cut scene, these are usually impressively directed. The few city hubs that you come across are quite populated but there is not much interaction aside from buying supplies from the traders. Much of the tunnel system is very dark, night vision goggles and a rechargeable flashlight will guide you in the eerie interconnected tunnels alone or with companions.
Not all of the action in Metro is carried out on your own and many sections involve one or more characters, early on this serves as a natural tutorial for the dangers of the underground. It is perhaps because of this that the game is rarely scary on the level of similar shooters. There are some good sections but they lack the heightened tension when you have an ally by your side. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a few good scares to be had, just not nearly enough considering the effort made to make you feel a part of the world.
You occasionally venture to the surface of Moscow to observe the destruction and desolation, the cold of nuclear winter and the poisonous air requires the use of a gas mask. This gas mask will save your life on more than one occasion above and below the surface. If you take enough damage and stand in the cold the mask does become hard to see through. The gas mask also obstructs the faces of characters and this is often their only unique feature in a world of similar looking humans and mutants.
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