Review by Ryan
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“He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
In Metro Last Light, a single player-only adventure, you play as Artyom, who struggles with survival between hell on earth, and something worse underground. Based on a series of post-apocalyptic novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky, but not directly ported from, Metro: Last Light is a dark, chilling, and atmospheric tale of how one man holds the key to the saving of the many souls.
Spoiler alert: there be monsters, Captain
While fighting through the reign of fire, you experience an open, but limited field to its game play, rich context, and strikingly beautiful environments. I haven’t felt a comparable journey since the pacing of Half Life 2. Minor gripes appear rarely, but are overshadowed by a great story. Metro: Last Light is a thrill ride all game developers need to be jealous of, and any gaming enthusiast needs to play.
It’s easy to feel immersed in the level design, and to build an immediate connection with the narrative woven throughout the world. Explore the radioactive surface of a war-torn Russia, finding filters to survive, but turn around only to see two mutants staring at you, drooling with hunger. Have a guard stumble upon your wheels, and kill him upon surprise with a knife to the head. Take on new enemy types as you progress through catacombs, swamps, and a moving train. And all the while making moral choices, and understanding your world, to decide the fate of the Metro.
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On normal difficulty, Last Light offers a few glimpses of real scarcity in its survival with more than enough filters to breathe. Luckily, more difficulty options exist for those who like a more challenging experience. There are off-the-beaten-track moments of chilling horror with mysterious happenings that, in retrospect, appear cliché and out of place underneath the reign of fire atmosphere. Forgivable interfaces for purchasing weapon customizations are forgotten as well once you return to the action.
And that action is usually of your choice. Choose to be a pacifist, a panther, or a hunter. For me it was satisfying to try as many different approaches as possible to liven up the game play as it did have moments of repetition – necessary as they may have been for the story to stay on rails. On first play, those choices were leading me to an uncertain conclusion as to what ending I would achieve.
Replay value exists in the form of choosing different styles, and in exploring any moral choices you may have missed. Attention to the world around you is key, and determines your final choice. The more engaged you are in the story, the more you care about what people say, the more difficult your final decision will become. While there is no real physical reward for playing the game to its full potential, there is potentially a more rewarding outcome after completing the main single player campaign.
Despite some flaws here and there, this is an incredible experience during first play through. There is a lack of motivation to instantly pick it back up and play it over again. However, it is one of those games you will want to keep installed, because once you get on board, it doesn’t stop.
Yet, there is one thing that is certain. Last Light, like its predecessor, is always going to be on sale for a great price during Steam Sales. And that is a steal for what you get in return. Everything about this game communicates a front-to-back care for the finest of details. Personally, this is a game that sets the bar high for the first person shooter genre, and must be a call to action to studios. Envy this, and try to do better. Metro: Last Light is one hell of a ride.