Metro: Last Light Mini Review


You’re in the metro system’s tunnels, somewhere in Moscow. The world above has been destroyed by nuclear war, leaving most of humanity dead and, other than a few factions of survivors underground, hideously mutated creatures crawling the surface. You’re sitting around a fire with three fellow Rangers, guarding the underground and then… They attack. You open fire on the mutants and they fall one by one. A mutant gets close and personal and, as you stab it in the neck with your knife, morphs back into one of your fellow Rangers. You have been tricked, and as you watch his blood drip from your hands, you notice The Dark One standing in front of you. Everything fades to white, and you wake up from your nightmare.

Metro: Last Light has you return as the protagonist Artyom. Although the storyline can be followed without playing the original Metro: 2033, the game assumes that have done so and chose to destroy The Dark Ones. Metro: Last Light is a post-apocalyptic survival horror game, and your mission is to seek out and destroy the last remaining Dark One, a creature thought to be immensely strong and unnaturally evil.

Darkness plays a vital role underground, as unlit rooms may contain ammunition or innocent victims held captive by rival factions. On the flip side, they may also contain mutants hell-bent on ending your life. One particular mutant takes the form of an overgrown tarantula and its only real weakness is light. Shining your torch causes them to scuttle away into a corner and eventually flip over, allowing you to shoot the vulnerable belly. Several of them in one room will have you dancing around, trying to corner one while at the same time avoiding the others.

Although the weapons at your disposal look and sound powerful, they are about as effective as a water-pistol when facing the hellish creatures scattered across the surface and occasionally down in the metro. The game follows a Japanese horror theme, playing endless mind games on the player. The cut-scenes are presented in a first-person format, keeping the personal connection with Artyom. At times, the game can be so immersing that one forgets it is just a game, and emotions can and will take over.

Note: Images are from the Redux Edition available on Steam – the original release is no longer available

Fear isn’t the only emotion evoked in the game, as many of your actions have consequences that you have to deal with. Artyom has a strong connection with The Dark Ones, often making him question whether they are really an enemy or a misunderstood but powerful ally. On one of the later levels, Artyom looks down into a room filled with corpses before dropping down. While disconcerting at the best of times, it is the corpse of a little boy that really throws you, leaving you filled with anger, resentment, despair.

The primary currency used for upgrading weapons in the metro is hard-to-come-by military-grade ammunition, but this isn’t the only problem you face. Standard ammunition is also scarce, especially on the harder difficulties. The majority of the surface is highly radioactive, requiring you to wear a gas mask with a disposable oxygen filter. Filters can be found scattered across the environment, but you will often find yourself torn between searching for more filters at the expense of the one in use or quickly making your way back to safety.

The mutant creatures on the surface are not the only enemy, and you may find that humans pose a bigger threat as betrayal runs rampant amongst humans seeking to further their own, selfish needs. Stealth can be a vital element in these situations, allowing you to save your precious ammunition for the unavoidable mutated creatures. Sticking to the shadows, unscrewing light-bulbs, and using silenced weapons are some tactics at your disposal. Should things go awry you could always resort to an all-out fire-fight, and this is one place where the AI falls apart.

Enemies are often incapable of finding you in the slightest of shadows, or get stuck behind a wall. Fortunately, the impressive visuals and gripping game-play means that these slip-ups go mostly unnoticed. As with Metro: 2033, Last Light is very heavy on system resources and will require quite a beastly computer to play with all eye candy turned up, however, the incredible atmosphere and immersion mean that you can still fully enjoy the game at a lower graphical setting.

The setting of Metro: Last Light may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you have any interest in a post-apocalyptic world, the supernatural or the Russian metro system it is definitely worth purchasing.