Metro: Last Light Review – Into the Tunnels Again
In March 2010, Ukrainian developer 4A Games released Metro 2033. The game told the tale of Artyom, a 20-year-old Russian survivor of the nuclear war of 2013. As Artyom travels through the Metro stations, he learns more about himself and the world around him. Eventually, he is presented with the choice to either attack and destroy the “Dark Ones,” a group of beings believed to be mutated humans, or to let them live. Shortly after making this choice, Metro 2033 ends.
Metro: Last Light picks up where 2033 left off, only it improves on the formula in nearly every way. Even more so than its predecessor, it completely sells the idea that humanity’s existence is now a tenuous thing, which makes all of your actions to try to save the Metro seem that much more urgent. Humanity is in danger, and you’re the one who has to save it. You’ll be trying to save it in miles of perfectly rendered post-apocalyptic wastelands, both above and below the surface of Moscow.
Metro: Last Light
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Released: May 14, 2013
MSRP: $49.99 (PC), $59.99 (Console)
As Metro: Last Light begins, you’ll learn that the game assumes that you chose to destroy the Dark Ones at the end of Metro 2033. There’s no importing of saves, so regardless of how you ended the first game, you’ll be playing through the same story this time around. Surprisingly, this isn’t a deal-breaker. Sure, I’d rather find out how my choice to spare the Dark Ones changed the world, but the story that Last Light is telling is worth playing through regardless.
You’re once again cast as Artyom. Thanks to the prestige gained by your efforts in the first game, you’re now a Polis Ranger — a member of the group that’s dedicated to keeping the peace in the Metro by negotiating peaceful settlements to conflicts, and providing soldiers and aid to those in distress. You’re working as a Ranger when word comes in that there’s been a sighting of a survivor from the Dark Ones. Colonel Miller, the commander of the Rangers, sends you out to eliminate it. Meanwhile, your conscience (and some other people) are telling you that you should consider letting it live.
Last Light isn’t your typical post-apocalyptic game. In fact, it’s a departure from other games in the genre, specifically the Fallout series. Especially in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the refugees always seemed to have a hopeful mien, as if they were prepared to succeed in spite of their circumstances. Last Light gives off a totally different vibe. People seem to be surviving simply because that’s what people do. There’s little optimism, and everywhere you visit has a tenuous feel, as if it’s on its last legs. This, in large part, is the reason that Last Light works so well.