Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Box Art(http://enterthemetro.com/us/‎)  Rated M by mature by ESRB.  If you’re looking for a dark, compelling, and post-apocalyptic story, Metro Last Light is going to be the perfect ending to your search. Metro Last Light is the sequel to Metro 2033, published a few years ago. This sequel follows “Artyom”, a ranger in Russia who has a special connection to “the Dark Ones”, which are mutated creatures that have risen from the ashes of a nuclear war in Russia. However, Artyom was ordered by the Rangers to fire a missile strike down upon the Dark Ones, to eliminate them as a threat. He carries out this command, but one year later he receives news that one Dark One has survived. Artyom wants to make a connection to this last Dark One, before the Germans or other Russian troops capture it, since he is the only one able to actually communicate with them. The Rangers are safe in D6, an abandoned military complex, but not for long. The other military groups–the Russians and Germans–want D6 to be their own, too, so a turf war is going to soon be on the Rangers’ hands.

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Box ArtMetro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Logo(http://enterthemetro.com/us/‎)  Rated M by mature by ESRB.  If you’re looking for a dark, compelling, and post-apocalyptic story, Metro Last Light is going to be the perfect ending to your search. Metro Last Light is the sequel to Metro 2033, published a few years ago. This sequel follows “Artyom”, a ranger in Russia who has a special connection to “the Dark Ones”, which are mutated creatures that have risen from the ashes of a nuclear war in Russia. However, Artyom was ordered by the Rangers to fire a missile strike down upon the Dark Ones, to eliminate them as a threat. He carries out this command, but one year later he receives news that one Dark One has survived. Artyom wants to make a connection to this last Dark One, before the Germans or other Russian troops capture it, since he is the only one able to actually communicate with them. The Rangers are safe in D6, an abandoned military complex, but not for long. The other military groups–the Russians and Germans–want D6 to be their own, too, so a turf war is going to soon be on the Rangers’ hands. 



Presentation:
Metro Last Light is not a happy game. The game carries a very dark tone throughout its story, which is made more menacing by its visuals, as well. Since humanity in Russia has been forced underground because of nuclear fallout, things are dark in both a literal and a figural sense. Artyom comments how he remembers being outside on the surface when he was a young boy. He remembers the grass; the ice cream; the sun–but can’t remember his mother’s face. This is just one of countless sad tales you’ll hear in Metro Last Night. When you’re venturing in the undergrounds and different safe zone communities, you’ll see families, children, soldiers, and many different interpersonal interactions. These are some of the best moments in Metro: the interactions among its various communities. You’ll hear children talking about how a shadow figure looks more like a mutant than a bird, because they don’t know what birds look like. You can sit in and enjoy a theatre show full of a variety of acts, yet never escape the gloom. The immersion into the Metro universe is utterly dark, realistic, and fantastic. Metro’s story follows Artyom’s journey to get in contact with the last Dark One, and his attempts to warn the Rangers of the incoming armies to capture D6. You’ll follow Artyom behind enemy lines, meet many comrades and enemies, and learn more about the world surrounding the Metro. It’s a simple story that can be much deeper if the player so chooses it to be, since the player has the option to read journals and listen to NPC discussions in towns. It’s simple on the surface, but much deeper below, like the Metro itself.

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots

Graphics:
Metro Last Light uses a specific graphics engine created by 4A. Last Light’s graphics are extremely impressive on the PC ports, but only moderate on the console ports. I had the privilege of playing a PS3 review copy, and must admit that the graphics were fairly decent. I wasn’t vastly impressed by the visual display, but from what I saw of the PC version, THAT is impressive visuals. The unique engine 4A created has some excellent physics and graphics on PC, but unfortunately, these visuals don’t look quite as impressive on PS3. The console versions still look play adequately, compared to the superior PC counter-part. Some of the textures get a bit pixilated up close, but generally the graphics are fine. What really impressed me was the lighting in Metro. The way the light reflects off of objects, and even the way the light is reflected off your watch and lighter, is pretty impressive stuff. When your lighter is out, there will be a sort of dim glow given off by it, in contrast with your head lamp, which will be much more bright and noticeable to guards. Another interesting part about Metro is the HUD. The HUD is very minimalistic. It doesn’t show your health or which direction to go–just your watch, your gun, and your ammo. When you press “select” it will bring up a navigation arrow to point you in the right direction. Press down, and it will bring up the notepad that has your objectives on it. Essentially everything in Metro feels very realistic; nothing seems so far into sci-fi to be implausible. While the graphics on consoles aren’t quite as detailed as the PC port, at least the lighting quality carried over.

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots

Sounds:
Wandering around the Metro underground can be very creepy, especially with the soundtrack provided in Metro Last Night. As you creep through the forgotten tunnels of the Metro, you’ll hear the wind blowing, rats squeaking, and the sound of far-off voices if people are nearby. Some of my best memories of Metro Last Light are the times spent alone, either in the tunnels, or on the surface with no one around. You can really take in the sights, and see untold stories just from the corpses and journals scattered throughout. The voice acting in Metro Last Light is well executed, and a nice match to the graphics. The Russian and German accents all sound quite real and convincing. Since there’s a large amount of side conversation, it’s important that the voice acting be high quality, as it is. The only awkward part about the voice acting is that the main character, Artyom, only speaks during loading screens when he is writing in his journal. He won’t actually speak when characters are talking to him during cutscenes and whatnot. This makes some of his interactions kind of awkward, which is a shame since his narration during loading screens is very well done.

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots

Gameplay:
Metro Last Light is a purely single player experience, with no multiplayer whatsoever. However, the story that Last Light tells is a great one. It makes sense that 4A decided not to add in a multiplayer component, since the story and atmosphere are both so well composed and pleasing. Last Light is a very linear first person shooter. The levels do have some other rooms or pathways to explore, but nothing too far off the path the game leads you down. There are some slight RPG elements in weapon customization. Atryom can only carry three main guns at a time, as well as a good array of side weapons. I personally found the throwing knife to be my favorite stealth kill weapon, since you could retrieve it from the bodies of the enemies that you’ve killed. As far as gun customization goes, you are able to customize the sights, barrels, grips, and stocks. You can purchase these add-ons, or ammo, and secondary items in the towns you’ll come to, or you can obtain them from dead enemies, or hidden cases and boxes in the levels. If you’re playing on the harder difficulty (which I highly recommend since the game is a bit easy on normal) ammo for certain guns can be scarce at times, so you’ll have to get creative with kills, or get ready to use the enemy’s weapons. The AI is improved from the first game, but still not too spectacular. There were some instances where I could sneak past enemies and be about two feet away in the darkness and they would not notice me one bit. However, the AI in combat is really well done. The armored enemies will be much more direct in their attacks, while those who are more vulnerable take cover and move around much more. You’ll also have to strategize about which guns to use on armored and non-armored enemies, since rifle shots only work well on non-armored areas, and shotgun shells are more effective at taking off enemy armor. Last Light will have many scripted sequences throughout the campaign, but this is only done to put the player in Artyom’s shoes, and live the compelling story presented from the Metro atmosphere. Story and atmosphere are each a huge part of Metro Last Light, and are pretty much the foundation of what the gameplay itself is built upon. That being said, the gameplay mechanics in Last Light, with the sneaking, the stealth attacks, and the gunplay, are all very fun and enjoyable. The gameplay is built entirely around first person shooter mechanics, but makes it seem convincingly real and believable, thanks to the immersive setting and design work done by the 4A team. As I said before, some of the best parts in Metro are spent when nobody is around, and it’s just you, the environment, and the Metro.

Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots   Metro Last Light (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) Screenshots

Innovation:
Metro Last Light does what few games can successfully do today, which is to tell a story, and be compelling from start to finish. Sometimes, games dilute the stories with lots of shooting action sequences, or plots that don’t really make sense. Metro Last Light is a dark tale from start to finish, and offers no silver linings in its dark clouds. It does, however, give the players memorable sequences and characters along Artoym’s journey through the Metro.

Conclusion:
Metro Last Light is about a 10 -15 hour game, depending on the level of difficulty you play it on. If you’re an experienced FPS player, and enjoy a challenge, I’d suggest playing on hard—otherwise, Metro may feel like a walk through the park. There are optional events for Artoym to take part in at the towns or checkpoints in Metro, such as listening to stories from families or soldiers, or simply taking in the sights the town has to offer. I really enjoyed just absorbing the atmosphere and stories of Metro: It’s an easy atmosphere to get sucked into, and a very dark and grim one at that. Metro Last Light is a great game, not excellent, but great. I mainly say this because there were many parts when I wished the game would let me explore more of my surroundings. Also, the fact that Artoym wouldn’t speak during in game sequences bugged me a bit too, but that’s just me. Overall I would recommend Metro Last Light to anyone who is a fan of dark stories, and fun and solid FPS mechanics. 

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