In all my years of gaming, I have always been a big story-driven gamer. The more story, lore, and emotional connection I can have with the game, the better. I connected with the Metro Series instantly because it was not your run-of-the-mill “Post Apocalyptic” game. Instead, it tells the tale of survival, love, compassion, action, horror, and more! Now, we arrive at the last stop on this emotional journey, Metro Exodus, and man is it a ride. Here is our review…
ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE
The story in Metro Exodus is by far the best in the series. Artyom, Anna, Colonel Miller, and the Spartan Order are working their way out of Moscow to make a better life for themselves, but as always the group is met with more challenges than ever before. There were a lot of times during the story I was met with really sad moments that actually made me think of my own family and how tomorrow is not promised.
The struggles Artyom and his crew go through made me appreciate Dmitry Glukhovsky, author and creator of the Metro Universe, and 4A Games much more. They are not just going for an emotional reaction, they are also trying to grasp the players in a multitude of ways. There were times I was sad, there were times my heart was pounding from an action-packed firefight, hell there were times I felt like I was playing a survival horror game too! I have never had such a roller coaster experience in a game and I really enjoyed every moment.
As you move on from Moscow, you see the group affected by the emotional stress this “Nuclear Winter” placed on their shoulders. We also see the glimmer of hope that leaving Moscow has given them. In Metro Exodus, players not only get to explore a city outside of Moscow, but you also get to explore multiple different regions within Russia. When leaving Moscow, the Spartan Order finds the Aurora, a post-war train engine they use to carry them across the Russian wasteland.
You and your crew travel on the Aurora for over a year, you see Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Each change of season brings the player a new level, with new weapons, creatures, enemies, and environmental challenges. The decision to move from a more on-the-rails map design to a semi-opened sandbox world is one of the best decisions 4A Games has made in the series. That is when you really start to see the graphical power of this game.
TAKE MY BREATH AWAY
The overall visual representation of the game, as you progress through the story, is stunning. I'm not just talking about graphics, I am speaking on how the level and art design really help paint the picture that the dev team is trying to showcase in Metro Exodus. I was blown away by the detail 4A Games put into this installment of the series. When you go from games that were mainly underground, frozen and limited on color, to one of the most dynamic visual experiences in the First-Person Shooting Genre I have ever seen, it is very shocking.
This really goes to show how much the team cares for their fans and wanted to give the game the best possible send-off they could. Another thing that has been really improved are the creatures in the world. Some creatures like Demons and Watchmen return to the series, but we also get new additions like Spiders, Shrimp, Humanimals, and large mutated boss battles! This is where the horror side of the game kicks in to play.
Due to the fact that I was mainly playing in the late evenings, when the in-game time of day would change to night, I'm not going to lie, I turned into a big baby. The dark tunnels, frozen tundras at night, and lonely, creepy boat rides had me on the edge of my seat. It got even worse when I ran into creatures or even hordes of creatures, with barely any weapons ammo and health packs. The heart-palpitations were real. This game took my breath away visually, but it made me scream in fear more than ever before. This is when I realized this isn't just a first-person shooter, this is a survival horror shooter that I couldn't put down!
With this game being more of a survival shooter, that means a lot of times you will find yourself low on munitions, filters, and more. As is common with the series, as you traverse through the levels you can loot areas and use what you find to create in-game essentials and customize weapons. Metro Exodus is the first game of the series to introduce on-the-go customization. This helps you create munitions, grenades, and filters as you are exploring the world. You can also customize weapons with new attachments found in the world or change your attachments at any time. I found this to be very helpful too, as I am someone that is very indecisive when it comes to what weapons I want to use in the game.
THIS IS A REAL SHOOTER
There are a lot of times that shooters get over-deluded with the addition of extra modes, unnecessary add-ons, and over-the-top gameplay like wall-running. This is not the case in Metro Exodus, the game has stayed true to its roots and because of that, this is one of the best story-driven shooters I have ever played. The game really makes you feel like you are in this world, barely clinging to the hope that one day, you will live a normal life.
With that said, the game sticks to its roots for sure, but that isn't always a good thing. While playing the game I found glitches you would usually find in this type of genre like ragdoll glitches, but what got me the most was the stiff controls on the console version of the game. I reviewed this on a PS4 Pro and felt sometimes the controller was only half-way working. I actually switched out the controller twice because I thought the sticks on the said controller were maybe getting stuck, but I found out it was indeed the game. Now, this obviously didn't ruin my experience with the game, but it did make me feel that the controls in-game haven't been updated in some time.
My time with Metro Exodus was truly something special, yes the game has a few technical hiccups but what I really took away from this was the story and emotional experience. 4A Games and Deep Silver should be very proud of the title they have created here. This title really gave me hope that story modes in video games are not fading away. I can say with a clear mind that this title is what story-driven, first-person shooter fans have been asking for. Please do yourself a favor and buy this game!