Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Available on: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the Playstation 4. There may be differences between versions.
I don’t keep it much of a secret that one of my favorite games of the last generation was Metro 2033. A FPS set in post-apocalyptic Russia, Metro 2033 just oozed atmosphere and story, but also had the gameplay to back it up. Metro 2033 Redux is partial remake of Metro 2033, porting it to Metro: Last Light’s heavily improved engine and adding a few new features. Most importantly though it’s just as good as the original was.
One of the first changes you’ll notice when you select a new game, besides maybe the graphical boost, is that the game now has two sets of options that you can mix and match for difficulty. The most interesting is if you want to play the game on Survivor Mode or Spartan Mode. Survivor Mode plays like Metro 2033’s original release: everything has more health, less ammo, and the game becomes stealth focused. Spartan, which is closer to Metro: Last Light, sees things with less health, more ammo, and more of a biased towards shooting. It’s like picking if you want to play a survival horror game or an action FPS. You can also play either option on Ranger mode, which removes the hud and makes you keep track of everything yourself.
What hasn’t changed is Metro 2033’s story. You play as Artyom, a young Russian man who’s home station is under attack from some beings known as “The Dark Ones”. After a ranger named Hunter stops by he gives Artyom the task of going to and warning Polis station and asking them for support. Artyom must then journey across the Metro system, and team up with various other people to reach his destination. The plot is good, and figuring out each character’s motivations is fun. The metro has a long history and seeing what oddity comes next in it is also impressively entertaining. Metro 2033 Redux just oozes atmosphere and every environment you enter almost has its own little story to tell. My only real problem comes from the diary entries, and how poorly translated they are. Any interesting stuff they may contain gets lost in the occasional engrish or nonsense sentences (“I have no idea the clay did radiation molded these abominations out of”) which feels really sloppy in such a high profile release.
There also isn’t much difference in the basic gameplay, besides the selection between playing on Survivor or Spartan. The basics are all still there. You’ll find a variety of run-down clunked together weaponry that you’ll use to take on various mutant and human enemies. Stealth is important on either mode, as being able to clear an area without causing a alarm makes the fights easier to handle. In fact, there are times that stealth almost feels too effective: throwing knives are a great way to one hit kill enemies without getting caught. The real challenge there is avoiding running into cans or tripwires so you don’t alert people to your presence or get killed by a trap. Not that fighting is really bad though as a variety of interesting weapons manages to keep the game fresh. From shotgun revolvers to air powered assault rifles (that you actually need to pump) you’ll probably find something neat in the makeshift guns of the Metro.
If you need a power boost you can load your guns with military grade bullets instead. Yet this comes at a cost, almost literally. In the metro they use military grade bullets as currency, which means you are shooting money for extra damage. Late in the game, once you’ve passed any shops, it doesn’t really matter much, but earlier in you have to be careful in deciding if this power boost was actually worth it. Once you enter a station you’ll have some time to take in the sights and look around the metro some. It’s a nice break from the action, and there’s a bunch of little interactions that you can discover and enjoy. Just as a warning to people who insist on setting the game’s voice overs to Russian: a lot of the little lines aren’t subtitled so you’ll be missing some of the flavor of the game world by doing this.
I actually had to look around some to try and figure out what was completely new in Metro 2033 Redux. The most obvious change, besides the graphical update of course, comes in the form of safes. You can’t open these safes without finding the key, so both items require some exploration to find, which is a good idea as it encourages exploring the environment. Doing so gets you some nice rewards, including boatloads of bullets to the points where I’d argue it unbalanced the game a bit. Other changes seem to be minor at best: levels that were originally split into several sections have now been put together into full levels, though there’s still quite a few loading screens in the game. The dreaded “escort Miller through amoebas” section, while not cut like some people hoped, has been made much easier which is probably the best decision they could have made with that.
In the end, Metro 2033 Redux still has all the parts that made Metro 2033 fun. From the interesting post-apocalyptic story to the genuinely fun stealth and shooting scenarios, anyone looking for either a genuinely fun FPS for their new consoles or to relive one of the better games of the previous generation should look into Metro 2033 Redux