Metro Exodus Review: Finding Humanity In A Post-Nuclear Hell

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In Metro Exodusyou learn to appreciate silence. At first sight, it is disturbing the immobility of a landscape of post-nuclear hell. Soon you'll get there though, because silence means – for a brief moment, at least – nothing tries to kill you. Nobody shouts "He's over there!" And nobody shoots you. You are not threatened by brainless ghouls. The demons do not turn over you, they plunge your head to scratch you. You do not drown, do not catch fire, do not suffocate with toxic fumes or do not bleed on the sand.

Silence is synonymous with security. And in Metro Exodus security is a rare blessing, punctuated by the beep From your fortune motion detector pick up a new den of horrors.

Train of peace

In Metro ExodusSince the destruction of Moscow by the nuclear war, some 20 years ago, the few survivors have plunged the subterranean underground concrete subterranean. It's 20 years of infighting, dictatorships, seizures of territories and dwindling resources. And in 20 years, not one person has arrived outside the city. These few, those lucky enough to reach the subway, are the last representatives of the human race.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

Or at least, that's what the people of Moscow think. Artyom is not so sure though. Following the events of Metro last lightArtyom is convinced that there is life outside the city – if only you could reach it. Every day, he takes off above the earth, facing radiation and hostile animals to visit the ruined roofs of Moscow, where he listens to radio on the radio. Everyday, static.

Until the day when there are voices.

I will not spoil the circumstances that drove Artyom and the tattered remnants of the Spartan order to leave Moscow. Let's just say yes, and it's imposed on them rather than chosen. Be that as it may, it's up to Artyom, his future wife, Anna, and the rest, to find a new home, by train, by train, across vast expanses of the Russian countryside.

And I mean wide. Both Metro 2033 and The last light were linear affairs, corridor shooters at a time when we seldom saw corridor shooters. It was logical. After all, the first took place almost exclusively within the confines of the subway system. The latter ventured more often to the surface, but they still had to remain trapped in the labyrinthine ruins of Moscow.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

Exodus is on the exploration, both thematically and mechanically. During the year, you will spend most of your time in three gigantic environments: the Volga, the Caspian Desert and the Taiga. There are linear moments in the open world, mostly related to the story, but they only represent a fraction of the game. More often than not otherwise Exodus gives you a map, some points of interest, a gun and nothing else.

It feels like closing the loop here. After all, Metro developer 4A Games consists of a small part of the developers who worked on S.T.A.L.K.E.R., an iconic shooter of the world open at a time when open world games were still a novelty. For Metro to go to an open world, it's finally the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. spiritual successor, he did not look like he had before.

Exodus is more user friendly S.T.A.L.K.E.R. never been, to be fair. But it's also a free and refreshing form compared to the simple configuration of the action shooter The last light. After a short prologue section Exodus you loose on the frozen shores of the Volga, and it is only about you, a map and a rifle.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

Each segment of Exodus centers around a new crisis. The Volga, for example, sees Artyom's train fall into an ambush by local bandits, then forced to spend time with locals trying to cross the river. There are actually only three or four "missions" to note.

And yet, I spent maybe seven or eight hours (maybe more) on this map painfully scouring collapsed buildings for leftover supplies (to make more ammunition, health kits, knives, etc.) and improve their equipment. By the time I left the Volga, I had been able to get night vision goggles, more durable gas mask filters, a better battery for my flashlight and a multitude of attachments. Most of this was optional. You will get some improvements over the course of the story. It would be hard to miss these night vision goggles, for example. But most of it is hidden in random outposts, or monster ruins.

I realize it's overwhelming at first. We did two demos of Exodus before the release, one at E3 last year and another just a few weeks ago. In both cases, I had the same concern: that the open nature of Exodusthis lack of structure would seem aimless.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

But you quickly realize that there is a logic for the world. Of course, the Volga is littered with all kinds of sunken houses and cars crashed, and it's tempting to search them all. There are, however, specific landmarks and the game (in one of the few design choices that players can easily use) allows you to mark them on your map by browsing them with Artyom binoculars. The smallest of these places could be a single camp with some supplies and some enemies to clean.

The biggest are Metro Full-fledged levels, however, sprawling dungeons with a short story to tell – be they explicit or, more often, involved in the environment. Here, a ruined church full of followers who banned electricity as a result of the apocalypse. There, the remains engulfed a train depot with a shrine to a mutant whale god. Later, a loner congratulates you for overcoming the nightmares invaded by the spiders and scorpions that live under his home, a feat that the soldiers who pursued him could not succeed.

It's always MetroThe fort, the atmosphere of everything. This is what raises Metro above so many other shooters of the open world, the fact that his world is realistic and heavy. And freed from the limits of Moscow, there is nothing more than to experiment in Exoduswhether it be the rusted carcass of a stranded ship turned prison, or caves cluttered with improvised houses, petrol geysers lighting periodic flames, or a railroad threatening to collapse into the lake, or a shed collapsed with the dusty remains of helicopters in the interior. It is incredibly picturesque and diverse, this post-apocalypse, which deserves to be explored.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

Not that Exodus is without problems. Like most open world games, Exodus is struggling to find a balance between the player who explores every nook and cranny of those who want to make their way through history. If you're meticulous like me and you control the throwing knives to keep ammunition, you'll get an absurd number of materials, eliminating much of the danger Metro. Why worry then that you can still have more ammunition, health kits and gas mask filters? The crisis of resource management, a trademark of Metro since the original and unique system, which is also your trading currency, is virtually absent.

And it's also full of jank. A particularly heinous bug caused me to lose two hours of progress very early, which broke my backup and forced me to resume the game. At the time of writing, 4A could not tell me what the cause of the problem was or if it was corrected to release it. That sucks.

A myriad of other bugs abound. I saw people floating in the air after alerting their camp. My companions hit me constantly and then push me out of the cover or into a hallway. I was shot through a door and into a black void, and then saved later in the same scene by writing a script that sent my character back to the room to accept an object from the outstretched hand of one. character, thank God. Do not start talking about the characters themselves, with models much older and less worked than environments, or constant breaks between each line of dialogue, or almost constant animation problems.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

See if you can spot the floating man.

The enemy behavior can also be wild. It is often impossible to say whether alerting an enemy will alert the entire base, and reloading a scenario can lead to totally different results. In addition, it is difficult to take demons seriously (flying mutant bats) when their AI is thwarted by literally stealing anything. Not very threatening.

But none of this should surprise long Metro Fans. 2033 and The last light I loved the games despite the jank, and Exodus is not different. Of course, it's a buggy, but nothing but Metro.

People always claim Half-Life 3, or a spiritual successor to the sinister realism of Far Cry 2. For my money MetroThe closest we came in the recent past to any of these hypotheticals, and in particular Exodus. His commitment to anchoring the player in his world, to force everything into the eyes of Artyom, is implacable. In broad strokes, Exodus is the same story "Find a new home" that we have seen many times, especially in post-apocalypse contexts. But it is filled with insightful commentary on social and political systems, on demagogues, on how religion and other doctrines can be used to control a vulnerable population and, more importantly, how these ideas are relate to society before l & # 39; Apocalypse.

Metro Exodus IDG / Hayden Dingman

MetroNuclear war is more than a convenient installation. It's the heart of the whole worldview, a common thread that goes from 2033 at The last light at Exodus. Wherever Artyom goes, he finds the same little tyrants who dominate the same insignificant fiefdoms and offer the same excuses, which proves that even if the majority of the human population died at the time of the fall of the nuclear weapons, the most important instincts low of humanity are alive and are doing well.

Dark, no? And yet, Artyom still rides on the rooftops every day and turns on the radio.

Bottom line

I've already said: I'll take imperfect but interesting defects on polite but generic objects Everytime, and Metro has long summarized this belief for me. Sure, Metro Exodus is rough around the edges, there is no need to say. I was bored of having to replay those first two hours, and there are countless ways I think Exodus could be improved, including the organization of the dialogue. It's still a B-tier series in some ways, and this is seen mostly in character performance.

And yet, it's so exciting when everything lines up, when you crawl at night in the undergrowth, get around a patrol, then crawl through the rusty sheet of a collapsed shed to look for a new telescope or some assault cartridges … just you, a map, a gun and a prayer.

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