An immersive first-person shooter that is both bleak and chilling
While games based on films are common, it’s rare to find games with any kind of literary connection, with the exception of Tom Clancy-branded titles. Metro 2033 is therefore a unique prospect, as its story and setting are both taken directly from the novel of the same name by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky.
Events take place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, or more accurately, in the grim, labyrinthine tunnels that make up the Russian capital’s underground network, which has become home to what is left of the human race.
The outside world has become an uninhabitable scrapheap, but things are hardly rosy in the subway either, as various mutants and radioactive hazards make life harder for its inhabitants. But life continues, and in this environment metro stations have flourished as a series of interconnected hubs, with communities, trading outposts and so on.
Players assume the role of a character called Artyom and, through a series of quests, explore both the dank claustrophobic underworld and, occasionally, some harsh surface environments with the aid of a gas mask. Along the way, Artyom is set on a path to uncover the truth behind the mysterious ‘Dark Ones’ who plague Moscow’s desperate survivors.
The game is an immersive first-person shooter that is both bleak and chilling in equal measures. It’s big on plot and atmosphere, and also fairly challenging, as enemies take quite a beating even on the easier difficulty settings. Ammunition is also in short supply and pre-war ammo is scarcer still, which is used as an in-game currency for purchasing weapons and upgrades.
This scarcity creates a real sense of apprehension and oppression. The detailed visuals and excellent use of sound and lighting further add to the eerie ambiance.
There is no multi-player mode, which is surprising, since the ruined underground rail system could have provided the perfect setting for tense one-on-one combat. Instead, the developer’s efforts were spent on creating a brilliant single-player game.
Some game developers try to include everything they can think of, but manage none well. Metro 2033 is purely focused on traditional storytelling and the result is an offbeat and unusually thought-provoking shooter, as well as a dark, disturbing vision of the future.
PEGI age rating: 16+
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If you prefer the slower pace of single-player games, Metro 2033 will have you hooked from start to finish. Good Points Unusual setting, atmospheric and immersive plot Bad Points Lacks a multiplayer mode
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