Because of our small staff and the sheer number of new games that are constantly hitting the market, we undoubtedly miss a game or two whose brilliance should not be ignored. Metro 2033 for the PC is one of those games. And anyone who enjoys single player first person shooters, should not pass this one up.
Set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, the game is played from the perspective of Artym, a resident of the Metro. The surface has become overrun with mutants and radiation, and humans have retreated underground. Occasionally defending themselves from monsters and other humans, but constantly struggling to gain back what was lost. Artym’s mission is to seek help from outside metro stations, and ultimately, fight in a large battle in the greater war for humanity.
You team up with several different characters as you wind through tunnels, service areas and caves, and sporadically stop at friendly metro stations to trade in military-grade ammunition, the game’s currency, for supplies like better armor, more gas mask cartridges and improved weaponry.
The game is a linear experience. But we do not mean to use the word “linear” in a derogatory fashion. The environmental maps vary from wide-open above ground wastelands, to intentionally claustrophobic access tunnels. And it’s the environment that really sells Metro 2033. Each location feels “lived in.” From the crowded bars and markets of the metro stations, to the pitch black secret areas you worm your way through, Metro 2033‘s setting is the most believable and immersive that we’ve played in a first person shooter in a long time.
Enemies come in both the human and monster form. Monsters generally swarm and melee attack the players while other humans try to surround you and gun you down. Fallen monsters leave no rewards, but searching through the pockets of soldiers will help replenish ammunition, health packs and near-broken gas masks. Ammo, by the way is on the shorter side of supply. And your aim is affected by everything from lighting, to your personal movement, to the wind around you. So… choose your shots.
The game is a graphical masterpiece. The dynamic lighting not only adds to the immersion, but it also visually lets you know where you can safely hide and play as stealthily as possible. The same care that was put into the environments was also put into the mutants and monsters that appear throughout. If you want to put your hardware through the gauntlet, Metro 2033 is a good place to start. Knives thrown into enemies stay in place until you pick them up. Enemies receive bullet wounds. In short, this game is as much fun to look at as it is to play.
But the game does have a few flaws. The relatively small list of actors means you’ll be hearing the same voices over and over again. It’s noticeable and that’s truly the only reason we bring it up.
Metro 2033 also suffers from two gameplay flaws that may turn some people off entirely. The beginning few stages are on the slow side and it plays more like an interactive movie. But when the action ramps up or when you’re out exploring on your own, the payoff is much greater than the let down. Aside from that, there are a few sections where the difficulty ramps up entirely too quickly. And with the complete lack of a quicksave, players are forced to replay difficult sections of the game ad nauseam.
When you’re finished with the single player, you can retest your skills by playing in Ranger Mode. Ranger Mode has no HUD, ammunition is even more scarce, and the damage is increased so while you’re enemies die faster, so do you. To experience something more authentic, you’d have to time-travel into the future and blow up Moscow yourself.
So we are happy to say that 2033 for the PC is worth whatever price you find it at. If it was released this year, we’d recommend it at full retail value. But since it came out over one year ago, you’ll likely find it for much cheaper.
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Name: Metro 2033
Available on: PC, Xbox 360
Developed by: 4A Games
Published by: THQ
Release date: March 16, 2010
EG Score: 4 out of 5 / “Worth Buying”