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Metro: Last Light Review

Metro Last Light Review

Developer: 4AGames
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
UK Price: £24
US Price: $53

Metro: Last Light contains a button mapped specifically for the sole purpose of wiping your face. If you’re wearing a mask and it’s coated in rain, mud or splatters of blood launched back after a close range shotgun blast you’ll have impaired vision until you remove it. That mask also has an air filter, one you’ve got to change every five minutes when you’re outdoors lest you die from breathing in toxic air. Often it’s dark and you won’t be able to see clearly without a flashlight which has to be charged manually. You have to scavenge the environment for every bullet you fire. Some of these bullets are military grade and can be used when bartering for other things you’ll need, if you run out of normal ammunition the only way you’ll be able to attack is by using your money. Some weapons are pneumatic and need to be pumped before firing, but can’t be over-pumped because that sacrifices accuracy.

Metro: Last Light Review Metro Last Light Review
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Metro: Last Light expects you to be constantly vigilant and prepared for the worst. If you slip up and forget, you’re dead. If you manage to keep yourself together, you’re still stuck living in the underground train tunnels of a post-apocalyptic Moscow. Congratulations.

It’s the follow up to the cult hit Metro 2033, which contained all of the above concerns, but in a far less streamlined form. Whether or not the concessions that have been made for a newer audience will bother you probably depends mostly on purism. It’s now easier to perform all of these caretaking actions (mapped to radial menus on a gamepad) and they’re still as important, but you’ll be granted such better indication when you need to stop and perform your upkeep that much of the tension of forgetting can be lost.

Metro: Last Light Review Metro Last Light Review
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That tension should be key to Metro thematically, especially since there aren’t many games that convey the same tone and that’s almost its niche; so massive in scale but so overwhelmingly bleak, such a guided experience, but one that contains such room for emergence through tough mechanics.

Metro: Last Light Review Metro Last Light Review
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The story’s set in the near future, the world ravaged by a nuclear event that’ll never be explained. The circumstances that brought thousands of people down into the underground railroad aren’t important, what’s important is the current hostile political climate, which is being overrun by extremism from both sides of the spectrum. In the previous game your character stumbled on a bunker housing materials that could sustain humanity far better. It’s been maintained by your faction, The Order, but being lobbied for by Communists who intend to have it provide for everyone (a very limited understanding of “everyone”) and Nazis who want the contents to only support their definition of human perfection.