Metro: Last Light Review – Into the Tunnels Again
Last Light brings back the use of pre-war military grade bullets as currency. In a pinch, you can shoot these powerful rounds through your weapons (they do a lot more damage), but you’ll literally be shooting your money away. You’re much better served to trade those military rounds for Metro-manufactured rounds or gun upgrades. Some enemies are even nearly impossible to kill with bullets alone anyway, as they require a more reasoned approach, whether that’s incendiary grenades or other little tricks. For example, there’s a spider-like mutant that’s extremely tough to kill with bullets, but it can be damaged and eventually destroyed by directing a bright flashlight beam at it.
4A Games has improved combat from Metro 2033 pretty significantly. The shooting mechanics in the previous game felt stilted, as if something wasn’t quite right. Last Light eliminates all that, showing a lot of progress from the previous game. Animations are smooth, gunfire and reloads look and sound good, and the fluidity of combat is rarely disappointing. It’s a matter of polish, and Last Light has it in spades.
You’ll be able to get Metro: Last Light on both Playstation 3 and XBox 360, but I played the PC version (as you might expect). It’s a great experience, assuming that you have the rig to handle it. Fans of Metro 2033 will recall that it was a resource hog, and while Last Light seems more optimized, it’s still not a game you’ll be running on your 10-year-old gaming rig. The “minimum” video card is a GeForce 8800 GT, but I wouldn’t want to try to run Last Light on that. The recommended GTX 480 is much more realistic, and I’m still not sure you’d get an optimum experience from that card. In short, the more power you have to throw at it, the better your experience will be.
That said, if you do have the rig to play it on your PC, that’s the version you want. You don’t want to miss any of the detail that’s been packed into the tunnels, the uniforms, or the other characters. Outstanding use of light and darkness combine with a patina of age on everything to give you the feeling that the tunnels (and the characters in them) have been decaying for more than 20 years.
If you’re a fan of challenging first-person shooters, you absolutely must play Metro: Last Light. It brings together solid shooting mechanics, a good story and an outstanding atmosphere to create an experience that hardcore shooter fans won’t want to miss. 4A’s successful design transports to you a post-nuclear war life fraught with desperation and peril, and it’s not a pretty picture. Most importantly, Last Light incorporates a lot of lessons learned from the previous iteration. The big step up from Metro 2033 in design, gameplay and polish makes Last Light one of my favorite games of the year so far.
- Atmosphere – Last Light is jam packed with it, and it’s the game’s strongest feature.
- Great graphics, assuming you’ve got the PC version.
- Much more polished than its predecessor.
- Ranger mode offers a reason to play through a second time.
- Multiple ways to approach each section, whether stealthily or run-and-gun.
- Includes quick-time events.
- Scarcity of ammunition favors a stealthy playthrough.
- Predictable story that doesn’t reference choices from the first game.
Final Score: 85/100
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