That’s right, I content that Metro Exodus is a survival horror game that occassionally becomes a shooter. I go over that in the beginning. But after, if I still have your attention, I have some nice tips for you if you plan on taking this incredible journey.
The Metro series of videogames are all based on a series of novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The book was originally released in 2005 and the videogame adaptation, Metro 2033 was released in 2010. Metro Last Light followed that up in 2013, and now we have Metro Exodus. It was developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. In this entry in the game, you leave the traditionally claustrophobic tunnels of the Moscow metro for the great outdoors. Your quest is simple, find a place to start a new settlement. It is a lot harder than it sounds. Many things go awry on your journey. This series is a mix between an FPS and survival horror, where you have to be more conservative with your ammo and resources, don’t have regenerating health, and have a lot of gadgets to fiddle around with. So, what’s the deal with this 3rd entry?
This review is based on the Xbox One X Enhanced version of the game.
On a technical level, the graphics are fantastic. You’re looking at some absolutely great lighting with a full night and day cycle that feels real. The contrast between the spacious open skies and the darkness of the tunnels is large. Animations are top notch, which is a big bonus for this game. There are a lot of in-engine scripted sections where people do a LOT of talking (more on that later). From just a purely visual perspective, everything looks as real as they can get. If I really had to go nitpicking, I would say that there are two locations in the game that look dull because they look so real. Yes. As in, the big open desert wasteland map was a big open desert wasteland. The snowy lake area is just a bunch of bright-ass snow. But I’m really reaching here, these visuals are off the hook.
This is also gonna sound more like a criticism than an accolade, but there is too much story in this game. The script for this game had to be massive, because every single character you encounter has a lot to say. Every enemy encounter is loaded with stuff. There’s a lot of stealth in the game so you have plenty of opportunities to eavesdrop on everyone. And those are just random encounters. The setpiece locations themselves are filled to the brim with story as well. They make an absolute masterpiece of world building based on what you see and hear. All of that is before I talk about the Train scenes. Good lord, there is a lot of dialogue on that train. The train serves as an exposition/character buffer between locations, and is rather amazing. You get to learn all about EVERYONE on this journey with you, and there are many tales to be told.
There is one scene on the train where you’re in the control car with 3 different pairs of people. And they are all in different corners of the head end, talking to each other.
Some may take issue with these bits. For one, the train sections are really LONG exposition dumps. 30 solid minutes of people talking to each other. I haven’t seen this much discussion in a half hour since the opening “speech” in Old World Blues from Fallout: New Vegas. Honestly, this game has a very slow pace. The talking is a great bit of respite after a stressful mission. The other point, which is a bit more annoying is that people very frequently talk over each other. But, this isn’t a bug, it’s intentional. There is one scene on the train where you’re in the control car with 3 different pairs of people. And they are all in different corners of the head end, talking to each other. You would have to replay these scenes multiple times to hear everyone properly. I personally didn’t think this was a problem either. It added to the realism.
Finally, the over-arching plot itself isn’t really much of a traditional story. The entire point of the game is simply finding a place to settle outside of the Metro. The hardships you encounter along the way compose the parts of this story, but every stop is more like an intrusion than a narrative. You walk into a weird cult, you reason with the cult, you leave. You encounter some… crazed survivalists in a bunker, and then you leave. Trying not to spoil here. It’s just a big series of literally crashing into the middle of other people’s stories that have nothing to do with you. Once again, I find this aspect refreshing. Not everything has to be about saving the world.
The OST was tolerable, but altogether not to outstanding. For all of the interesting monsters, their noises and growls don’t have the same impact they did in prior titles. There’s some faux-zombies in this title, and they sound like zombies. The guns are interesting but also don’t sound all that interesting. Most important is the voice acting. Despite being FULL of lore and story, the English voice cast still sound like a bunch of Americans faking a Russian accent. It’s charming in a way, but still objectively not too great. Many say to play the game with Russian audio on instead, but that would involve far too much reading. It is still competently put together and has its moments.
This game is hardcore, even on the easiest setting. You cannot expect to just run and shoot your way through the campaign. You will burn through resources and crafting tools so fast. I believe there could be a point where you can legitimately run entirely out of resources and have to start the chapter over, probably.
The gameplay loop is quite engaging. Each major stage after every train scene is a wide open map. Pleasantly, they aren’t gigantic, but actually very decently sized play areas with plenty to explore. It’s not easy to get from point A to point B. You can make waypoints, but the locations aren’t as simple as the map makes them out to be. You spend your time with a lot of gadgets on you, and you’ll need all of them. You have a lighter, the map, a backpack, headlight, battery charger, and a wrist gadget just to name a few. Your backpack serves as a mobile crafting station but you can’t craft the best gear on it. It’s good for getting you out of a bind if you have low health and know health packs. Your health doesn’t regenerate in this one, so you gotta take care of yourself.
Even if you have a lot of ammo, it will still get you killed if you charge in guns blazing. Stealth is almost mandatory when you deal with human enemies.
Combat is slow and deliberate too. Even if you have a lot of ammo, it will still get you killed if you charge in guns blazing. Stealth is almost mandatory when you deal with human enemies. As for monsters? Well… good luck. You’ll need it. Here’s a testament to the immersion of the gameplay. After I finished this game, I started playing Far Cry New Dawn. There were many times where I found myself pushing buttons that are supposed to bring out my lighter or flashlight. I kept forgetting I wasn’t playing Metro anymore. That’s right, the game is so engaging it will actively ruin other FPS’s for you. Maybe play a fighting game afterwards.
The fun you can have in this game is widely subjective to your tastes. I got what I wanted out of this. A tough as nails survival horror game masquerading as an FPS. I’ve had friends tell me they absolutely hate the game and get annoyed by it the whole way through. And there’s people who loved it. And people who liked it but didn’t think it was Metro enough. That’s my opinion, it’s good but at the same time it does seem a bit out of its element compared to the other titles. There’s that, and the game has its fair share of some truly frustrating moments. Despite this, I pressed on and on, even when the game got maddeningly hard.
Pick this up if you like horror and shooters. Just keep in mind that its a very nuanced experience.
Every year gamers from all around the globe collect themselves for the, debatably, biggest event in gaming, E3. It comes once a year and usually brings amazing surprises and gifts for the family. Just looking back, there have been many times lives have been changed over announcements made at E3. E3 2018 was no different. Although lacking in surprises because on the internet, no not that internet this internet, it still kept its promise to deliver a great gaming expo experience.
However, every year some people think they’re too good for E3. Some people get the invitation to the party and throw it away. Sure some people forget but in this case, it’s super unlikely. So I’m going to take this opportunity to call out a few people who were missing. And I’m going to rate them on how willing I am to forgive them.
Rocksteady (Batman Arkham Series)
One of the most beloved studios by comic book fans is undeniably Rocksteady, home of the best Batman games ever made. I don’t like Batman, so I’m a little more upset they didn’t show up than I normally would be. Reason? Well, there are way too many rumors that their next project is either a Superman game or a Justice League game. I love Superman. I like Justice League. Is this making sense yet? Good. BI will give them a pass though because they addressed hey didn’t feel ready to show their next project off yet. I can appreciate waiting for some high-quality masterpiece.
THQ Nordic (Darksiders Series, Biomutant, Metro Series)
I always knew Soccer had the largest following in the world of sports. Yet still, I was shocked beyond belief when I saw that these guys were giving up their invitation to E3 to watch the World Cup! Really, that’s a thing that happened. These guys just made an announcement in which almost their entire stable of games was delayed. Biomutant, Darksiders 3, and Metro Exodus all delayed and all we get is a release date for one of them? But as hurt as I am, you gentlemen and women have lives. Enjoy the World Cup, I secretly hope your favorite teams lose. Kidding best of luck.
Tekken X Street Fighter (Namco Bandai)
I don’t even know where to start with this one. I am a huge fan of the Tekken series but not so much of Street Fighter. Regardless I love the characters and stories from both universes. So when the two crossover games were announced I was 100% sold. Even got the collector’s edition of Street Fighter X Tekken. That was the street fighter version and I enjoyed it but not as much as I love Tekken. And yet here we are. My support was for naught. I still anxiously await the Tekken version of this crossover spectacular we were promised. I have hopes it’s still around the corner considering the addition of Akuma and other Capcom and SNK characters in Tekken 7. With Soul Calibur 6 around the corner, however, it might be a while.
Borderlands 3 (Gearbox)
This is the reason Rage 2 exist. I love what Rage 2 looks like it’s going to be. Being brutally honest though, Borderlands 3 is what fans of that type of game are really waiting for. It was one of the games in the same Walmart Canada leak that outed Rage 2. So maybe it’s real and good old Randy was just annoyed that his surprise was ruined. I totally understand his perspective. I hate when people ruin my surprises too. If that’s what happening Randy, I feel your pain and I’m hoping, after the time passes, the official reveal will be out of this world. I have zero doubts it won’t be. I remember reading Game Informer when the first Borderlands was announced. Bring me back to that first high. I need it.
Mortal Kombat 11 (Netherrealm)
Returning to the fighting game world there is a big question for the gruesome champions of parent offending fighting games. The last Mortal Kombat game was released a few years back and while Injustice 2 has been an amazing filler, we need gore. What appeared to be the last batch of DLC came to Injustice 2 a few months back so what have you guys been doing. I expect much more from one of my favorite development studios of all time. Much more dammit! You teased it, Boon!
Sony’s 11 Other Studios
I think that one is pretty obvious. The reality is that Sony is most likely moving their major presentation to PSX. I mean why wouldn’t they. At thins went they cater to the fans and investors and make it all about them. So it makes we didn’t hear much about them but in all honesty the way the cycles are right now we won’t hear from them for a while. I’m sure Guerrilla Games, London, Japan, Polyphony, Bend, Foster, San Diego, Pixel Opus, and Project siren have something fancy coming our way. Just wait and see. I’m all still not entirely sure if Media Molecule’s Dreams was or wasn’t on display. So it might be 10 studios missing.
If you were paying attention you’ll notice all of these absences have been forgiven. These people who make our favorite games are just that, People. At the end of it all, they need a break. They need some time to enjoy the things they enjoy (hopefully video games) and escape from work. I appreciate all the Hardworking individuals in the industry keeping it alive. As much I want to indulge in all these fascinating ideas, I want you to indulge in life. Thanks.
P.S. Miss the next one and you’re not getting another f*cking invite. Bye Bye.
E3 is around the corner so you know how antsy I’m getting. I’m sure you’re feeling it just as much. I’m here today to hit you with all the bad news this week. It sucks but it is what it is. This one is going to be short so don’t miss it flying by. Behold the most negative LGR to date:
1. Shenmue 3 delayed to 2019!
I think it’s fair to say that I warned everyone reading that this was going to be more of an UnLucky recap. Rip the band-aid off quick and tell you out the gate, Shenmue 3 has been delayed. It was originally planned to come out fall of this year but given the lack of marketing and development progress you would be a fool to be surprised by this. Honestly, I have my doubts that it will even make it to release next year. Call me a pessimist (actually please don’t) but Shenmue 3 is quite a long way out. Good news; we are still getting the remastered versions of 1 and 2 this year.
2. Metro Exodus delayed to 2019.
This delay on the other hand is super unexpected. If you don’t recall, Metro Exodus was the first game to show us a zombie bear in action at E3. It was terrifying. The game looked incredible and I’m pretty sure it had a playable demo as well. THQ Nordic bought Deep Silver which means this delay is most likely to make sure the marketing is labeled and handled properly. In this case I feel like this is more of a winning situation for fans of the series. You know, cause Red Dead Redemption is going to outshine everything this fall.
By now some of you have realized that all these delays come from the same company. If you didn’t, it’s pretty clear now. THQ Nordic buying Deep Silver has put a big shift on the way the game release schedules are working. So the interesting new IP, Bio-Mutant, and the revival of an IP that should never have died, Darksiders 3, are both under revision for release. Fear not, this doesn’t mean these games are going bye bye, it just means they gotta cook in the oven a little longer. Still thinking this is good thing. Also thinking, news about THQ in 2018? Man if I could time travel, the old me would be all messed up.
4. Skull and Bones delayed to at least 2019-2020
Not all dogs go to heaven and not all delays come from THQ. Sometimes they come from ridiculously incredible publishers with a ton of great IP’s. In this case the culprit is Ubisoft. And as much as I love to entertain the idea that this delay is to make room for the more exciting return of Splinter Cell, that’s probably not true. Skull and Bones is essentially the boat parts of Assassin’s Creed. Ubisoft saw how terrible Sea of Thieves release was and they said “Uh oh, maybe we need more.” Boom and that’s how games are delayed, next question. Damn! 2020 though?
5. Okami HD Comes to Switch.
Because we are a small team and I’m terrible at finishing video games we had to pass on reviewing this when it released late last year. It’s okay though, now that it’s officially releasing on Nintendo Switch, Chet can experience with fresh eyes what I played on PS2. This is light news, but it does a little making up for all the delays right? Right? Please, just say yes. Oh and I just remembered a version of Okami came to Wii as well. Look at that. And Okami HD comes to Switch August 9th.
6. Stalking will be cool again starting 2021.
Well, stalking has never actually been cool. It had a brief moment when the classic survival series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, last title was released in 2009. That didn’t stop the announcement of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 from happening. Well technically happening again because the game was previously announced and then canceled in 2011. When this game releases it’ll officially have been a full decade since the last title. The funny thing about it is, that seems to be working for games pretty well lately. Examples include: Final Fantasy 15 & Last Guardian but not Duke Nukem. Absolutely not Duke Nukem.
7. The Kingdom holding your heart will be yours, soon.
I couldn’t be a complete ass and give you only bad news. Here I saved the best for last. Only the greatest news makes it to the end this week. Are you still with me? Alright here we go. Kingdom Hearts 3 will be officially arriving next month to tell you when it will be releasing for your gaming pleasure. That was fun. Yea so Square decided to indulge in the hype of this game by teasing a day they would provide a release date. Pay attention though folks, this month is May which means next month is June. June is E3. Half-Life 3 confirmed.