Mutated creatures stalking the Metro Stations of Moscow. Humans living underground because the world around them is a wasteland. Ghosts roaming the subway tunnels, seemingly lost forever. This is the world created by Dmitry Glukhovsky, in a novel by the same name, and he has unleashed a horror unlike anything else seen in the video game world.
THQ and 4A Games brings gamers the tale of Metro 2033, a story of human survival and the struggles against a dark force from the shadows. If you’re claustrophobic, you may want to stay on the surface. What lurks beneath the tunnels is more than a regular FPS fan is used to. Fear the Future.
First a little back story for those of you not familiar with the game. In the year 2013, the world is struck by an apocalypse that leaves the Earth a complete wasteland. The remaining humans must live underground to survive the cruel surface. The inhabitants of Moscow have taken to the subway systems in what has become the next Dark Age. Metro 2033 takes place in, you guessed it, 2033. The life remaining on the surface has become mutated beyond recognition.
The Metro Stations have become the cities of the future. Some peaceful, some under Fascist rule, and some under the rule of Communism. Humans must ascend to the city above at night, as no Ozone level equals getting cooked in the sun, to look for ammunition and medicine. Such has become the life for mankind in the future that is Metro 2033.
The main character, and the one you play as, is named Artyom. He has lived all of his life in the ruined Metro stations under Moscow. His station has recently become under attack by an unknown force called the Dark Ones. The Dark Ones are a type of mutant not yet seen by the inhabitants of the underworld. They can kill by using their minds only. This has the people in Artyom’s station even more afraid then they were before. So Artyom must set out for the first time from his station to find his people help. He is joined by and meets many characters along the way. These characters help Artyom with his quest to make it to other stations and find assistance for his people.
The world of Metro 2033 is huge, with many levels and the usual 3 degrees of difficulty. The graphics, supported by the 4A-Engine and powered by nVidia PhysX technology, makes for great visuals and character motion, with a few glitches. Game play is mostly smooth and the AI is unusually accurate. This can actually lead to problems for gamers, as you frequently are up against more than one enemy. Stealth then becomes the greatest weapon, as you must try to sneak by enemies to keep yourself from being discovered. Gamers can do many things to accomplish this, such as staying away from objects that would make sound and give up the player’s location up and keeping your light turned off so enemies can’t see you coming. This whole concept makes the game even more interesting as you try to make your way deeper into the underworld. Your survival watch lets you know when you can be seen and when you can’t. Green light is good, yellow means partial, and red means get out of the way.
To survive in the underworld that is Metro 2033, you must find ammunition, gas masks, and med kits. These three items are critical to staying alive. Ammunition is probably the most important to most gamers and is in short supply throughout the game. Gamers must stay vigilant when looking for ammo and even loot dead bodies for it. Ammo is also very important because it is used as currency in the game as well. If you want to buy or upgrade items, ammo is what you need. Here are the types of ammo gamers will find in their quest of the darkness:
- PISTOL AMMO – works with any pistol
- DIRTY AUTOMATIC ROUNDS – works with any of the automatic weapons
- SHELLS – works with all shotguns
- BALL BEARINGS –works with the Tihar
- HARPOONS –works with the Helsing
Gas masks are essential as a lot of the environments you go through are contaminated with poisonous air. If you can’t breath then you can’t live. Game over. And the real kicker is gas masks can be damaged in battle and rendered useless. Gamers then must resort to finding gas masks on corpses or buying new ones in the stations. Air refills are part of the gas mask and must be found or bought also. Usually if a gamer can find a usable gas mask, they can find spare air cartridges nearby.
Med kits pretty much explain themselves. When Artyom is injured by bullets or creatures, he must use the med kits to heal his body. Healing can also occur over time, but this is very slow. It is recommended gamers find med kits and keep them close. Med kits are like the other items in the game, they can be found lying around, on corpses, and can be bought in the stations.
The Metro Stations themselves are a great way to interact with the people of the underworld. Many are filled with very colorful characters and players can find an assortment of items they need while out in the tunnels. Guns, ammo, med kits, gas masks, air cartridges, and upgrades on attire can be found for sale in the many marketplaces. However, it is noted that many of the items are very expensive, so finding them out of the stations are usually the best way to go. Other characters in the game will provide Artyom with the items he needs at certain points, so don’t get discouraged.
Weapons are homemade and available for sale in the marketplaces. Gamers can also switch weapons with fallen enemies at any time. There are 4 classes of weapons in Metro 2033. Here is a list and description of each weapons class:
PISTOL CLASS: The Pistol is a high-powered 6 shot weapon and is available with 4 upgrades.
- Silencer – reduces the power of the shot, but allows gamers to execute stealth kills
- Extended Barrel – increases the range and accuracy of your shots
- Optics – adds a sniper scope for long range kills
- Stock – reduces recoil and increases accuracy
- Bastard Gun – Hand made in the armory/Fully automatic, slow reload, and high recoil/Can use Silencer
- Kalash –a pre-apocalypse classic/high powered and automatic/can be equipped with a Scope
- VSV – SMG with fast reload but low clip size/red dot sight/can be equipped with Silencer and Optics
- Kalash 2012 – automatic SMG with large clip size/can be fitted with a Silencer and Scope
- Shotgun – powerful in close range/reload every 2 shots/fire left and right barrel/can reload one shell at a time
- Automatic Shotgun – faster fire rate/larger capacity/load 6 shells/optional bayonet
- TIHAR –hand made pneumatic-powered/fires ball bearings/can be fitted with Scope and comes Silenced
- Helsing – pneumatic powered harpoon gun/can equip a scope and naturally silenced
- Throwing Knife – silent one hit kills/can be picked up and reused
- Grenade – player can prime fuse
- Sticky – works like grenade but sticks to surface thrown at
Other items used in the game and that are important to your survival are the journal, compass, and lighter which can be used by pressing the select button. Pull the left trigger to light your lighter and pull the right trigger to bring up your journal. Your journal lets you know the objectives for the level and the compass on the cover gives gamers a hint of the way they should go. The survival watch which was mentioned earlier also lets gamers know how much time remains on their gas cartridges.
The universal charger is important for gamers. The lights and infrared goggles are both powered by this item, so it would be wise to use it often. Night vision goggles can be purchased or found. They are important when Artyom wants to stay concealed but still know where his enemies are. The Stealth Suit is pretty self explanatory. It helps Artyom walk quietly. Beware it is expensive and for sale in the Armory. The Heavy Suit is another item which helps Artyom withstand more damage than he previously could. The Heavy Suit is available in the Armory and is, again, very expensive.
One of the most interesting parts of Metro 2033 is the alternate ending. All of the decisions that have been made throughout the game have determined what ending Artyom might encounter. 4A Games made Metro 2033 to take even the smallest decisions into account and make them have an effect on your ending. You won’t have any idea what is going to happen until the end, so choose wisely. Playing the game twice might add to your experience, as I did, unless of course you are happy with the ending you get.
Metro 2033 is a game that might catch many by surprise. If your FPS doesn’t have the name Modern Warfare or Bad Company in it these days then you don’t hear a lot about it. Metro 2033 takes a great story and turns it into one of the freshest games I have played in awhile. The story keeps you into the game and the added horror aspect really makes for a great gaming experience. With the environment almost always dark, you get the feeling that something is watching you the whole time. And you would probably be right. As I mentioned it before, I played through this game twice before writing this review. It was well worth the experience, not that I’m saying you have to do this to enjoy it. I would highly recommend picking up a copy of this game. And if you are familiar with the book, you might be in for a surprise or two.
- Title: Metro 2033
- Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
- Developer: 4A Games
- Publisher: THQ
- Available For: Xbox 360 and PC
- Release Date: Available Now
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this title was provided by the publisher to DualShockers Inc. for reviewing purposes