If there is one thing that 4a-games completely nailed while designing ‘Metro: Last Last’, it is the utter hopelessness that one would encounter after a horrific incident sweeps the population.
Playing the title made me reflect on games that shared the same genre. While other titles might focuses on “scavenging,” or “exploring” this is a game that focuses on suffering. These aren’t just the lifeless ruins of Moscow, these are still crumbling, still eroding ruins of Moscow. You’re not living after the event, your still living through it and as small as they might seem, it makes a real difference in the gameplay.
[quote_right]The now reduced population clings to one-another in small tribes underground, pooling their resources and living under the idea that safety can be found in numbers.[/quote_right]The now reduced population clings to one-another in small tribes underground, pooling their resources and living under the idea that safety can be found in numbers. The game really has two forks in expanding the world. There is the story-path with it’s action-packed, largely cinematic displays of brilliance, and the exploratory path. The former plays out like the epilogue of prior events. Exploring, or not following the mission exactly is a continuation of the theme mostly. It’s informative and offers a deeper understanding of the world around you but nothing that absolutely pulls you away from the main focus.
[dropcap1]I[/dropcap1]n the game players will assume the role of Artyom (a traditional Russian name) who is part of a small group that settles disputes and issues within the metro. All peace in the Metro is temporary, the decay of the outside world is always present and the number of dead civilians is still on the rise. There was never a real sense of stability, or a feeling like a group had “moved on” since the incident. Everything I encountered felt like it could disappear in an instant all over again, and it created a great tension within the environment and myself.
You are constantly hindered while playing the game and are always dependent on some sort of tool just to survive. Your gas-mak needs to be cleaned regularly, you won’t last long on the surface world without it. You will also need to change the air-filters that it requires on a regular basis. In the tunnels and other areas where light is a luxury, you will need a flashlight (that must be recharged with a crank). This keeps you mindful and holds your attention at all times, but it never got to the point that I was outwardly cursing at the mechanic (this was not like ‘Naked Snake’ eating snakes and hotdogs every other minute) this was well designed. The environment is toxic and forbidding and everything about it is trying to kill you. That’s not even including the actual creatures and humans that actively hunting you down.
This is aslo one of the key moments of the game, the actual assaults and shooting. There’s less scavenging in the game, which made me feel like I was always trying to survive, rather than just poking around and “treasure hunting” or just being randomly attacked. When rival gangs and militas assault you, or an ambush in a bottle-neck suddenly appears, the fighting is fast and realistic. The majority of the game is surviving these competing factions, all the while a supernatural theme is what drives your quest. Fighting is a sudden explosion of activity and there was a real sense of urgency to kill everything as quickly as possible. The battles had an excellent rhythm, and because they were condensed and sporadic, the game had a better tone than other titles in its genre.
[quote_center]It’s informative and interesting when you journey off your purpose and even though most of it is optional, I would still recommend it.[/quote_center]
Weapons are well designed, and offer the same creative and functional inventions that other games in the series contained. There are weapons of all shapes and sizes, spanning from the weapons that are ment to shred enemy front-lines, to the stealthy and long-ranged rifles. Stealth is possible but not forced, I prefer the gameplay myself but one could easily practice the loud-but proven means of violently gunning down any and all targets. Stealth was really well designed though and there are a host of features and tools that you can use to really get into crawling about the tunnels without alerting the world to your exploration. The action in the game, the combat, and the resources, are only made better by the setting, pacing and tone of the game (and vice-versa). Each of these two larger components helps support the other. This is true in any story-telling medium but it’s very rare when a game accomplishes it so well.
I said that there was less scavenging but there is less “pointless exploration” as well. The title doesn’t pad-out gameplay with sprawling levels filled with trinkets and copy-and-pasted set designs. There’s a real focus on your specific needs, and the side-tracking that you can do is for information and only builds-up the city and the characters that live there. It’s informative and interesting when you journey off your purpose and even though most of it is optional, I would still recommend it.
Metro: Last Light is easily one of the better titles to come-out this year in the FPS genre. Added difficulty will most likely please the purist of the series, but I’m glad that there are options so more people can get into the franchise. The game was fantastically designed and it’s a perfect addition to one of the best ongoing stories in its genre.