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Last Light photo
Last Light

Metro: Last Light update allows FOV customization

Better performance on AMD cards as well
May 16
// Jordan Devore
The lack of a customizable field-of-view is understandably a sticking point for certain PC gamers. It was no surprise, then, to see a big release like Metro: Last Light take some heat for not having a FOV slider. Today, an up...

Review: Metro: Last Light

May 13 // Jim Sterling
Metro: Last Light (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: 4A GamesPublisher: Deep SilverReleased: May 14, 2013 (NA) / May 17, 2013 (EU)MSRP: $59.99Rig: Intel i7-3770K @3.50 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce Titan GPU Metro: Last Light thrusts players once more into the boots of Artyom, one of humanity's last survivors in the underground Metro tunnels of Russia. The narrative sees our hero dealing with the consequences of wiping out the surface-dwelling sentient creatures known as Dark Ones with a missile strike, while also working to suss out a plot involving three of the Metro's major factions: Polis, The Reds, and The Reich. Last Light goes deeper into the culture of the Metro than before, and indeed some of the game's best moments are those scenes of civilization between dangerous territories -- densely populated towns and settlements packed with completely ancillary surrounding characters with huge amounts of dialog that inattentive players could easily miss. The world feels more alive and considerably deeper than that of 2033. It's a world where there's just as much to be gained from simply wandering around or sitting down than rushing into the combat sequences. [embed]253546:48628:0[/embed] Though much of the game is thematically similar to the last, changes have been made to balance, A.I., and difficulty to create a very different experience. Where before, enemies almost always had the advantage over Artyom and stealth was a necessity, now there is plentiful ammunition and more powerful weaponry to the point where sneaking around is simply an option as opposed to a vital survival tactic. With a lot more ammo, weaker enemies, and boosted damage resistance on Artyom's side, combat can be a lot less frustrating, but also far less challenging. Weapon kickback has been reduced, while regular ammo is no longer weak enough to make spending "military grade" bullets tempting. Indeed, most sections can be completed more quickly by simply running in with an assault rifle and slaughtering the opposition. It's quicker to run and gun, but it's not necessarily more fun. Stealth might not be so crucial now, but it's still the most enjoyable way to play. Blowing out lamps and shooting lights to create a nocturnal killing field is as fun as ever, and slowly picking through the darkness, flinging knives at opponents, or sneaking up behind them for a one-hit blow can be both empowering and tense. Darkness does a far better job of concealing Artyom, and those enemies with lamps or night vision goggles are clearly defined, allowing for a better command of the combat zone. However, Last Light has again gone a little too far in its overhaul. Stealth, like combat, now gives Artyom a distinct advantage over his enemies. Throwing knives and silenced pistols are powerful to the point of being damn near game breakers, turning Artyom into something resembling a deadly CIA operative as opposed to a vulnerable and embattled survivalist. Enemies barely react when a light is shot out over their heads, and darkness renders you so invisible that you can sneak around practically under somebody's nose. These changes make for a game that is far more welcoming to newcomers but completely tosses all the survival horror ideas out the window. For those wanting a more familiar Metro 2033 experience, there is Ranger Mode, which reduces available ammunition, takes away the HUD, and generally makes things far more oppressive. Unfortunately, despite being labeled by 4A as "the way Metro was meant to be played," Ranger Mode is only available as a pre-order bonus or a piece of extra paid-for content. As such, it has not been reviewed here, as it is not part of the default experience. If you find yourself unwilling or unable to access Ranger Mode, your best bet is to up the difficulty level. It won't be the same, but it'll at least be a bit tougher. Although Last Light is a wholly different type of game, it's not necessarily bad. Indeed, with a far more interesting story, a gorgeous atmosphere, and a few moments of genuine terror, Last Light has a lot to offer. By far, those chapters taking place on the post-nuclear surface world are not only highlights of this game, they also provide some of the best action-horror sequences seen in games for a long time. The surface areas of Metro 2033 were interesting but often irritating sections, where the lack of ammo could be a truly damnable thing and enemies were more annoying than intimidating. Last Light's less claustrophobic environments are, by contrast, absolutely terrifying. Despite many of them taking place in daylight (or the grey misery that constitutes daylight in Metro's world) and featuring large, open arenas, surface sections are littered with debris, monsters lurking in grass or water, and haunting sounds. Several areas are also infused with ghosts of the past, inflicting flashbacks on Artyom that one could only describe as downright harrowing. This is where Last Light truly shines -- not in the underground tunnels that made Metro 2033 what it was, but in the blasted wasteland populated by harsh acid rain, mutated animals, and disturbing echoes of the past. Once again, some of the terror is undermined by the fact that filters for Artyom's gas mask are far more plentiful, but the intimidating atmosphere is such that it works wonders in demolishing any sense of safety or complacence. Here is where I got a lot of that old feeling back, that creeping sensation of vulnerability and fear. Another early highlight is a chapter involving spider-like beasts that hate the light. Making their home in dark and abandoned sections of the Metro, these creatures must be driven back with Artyom's flashlight and have a nasty habit of sneaking up from behind. Once again, these sections exploit the player's paranoia and feelings of exposure with a level of devilish expertise. It should also be said that, while Metro 2033 fans might not have wanted it to be so useful, the combat is pretty damn good. Enemy movements are sensible this time, and while they're easier to take out, cutting down twisted Nazi and Communist descendants rarely fails to satisfy. There's also a terrific sense of variety in a game that could so easily have just gone through the regular motions. Those moments of wonderful downtime, intense combat sequences, sections of travel by boat or rail car -- the game's structure and sense of pacing are worthy of praise. Hammering home the game's crucially intense atmosphere is a commitment to gorgeous graphics. Running at high settings on my PC, this is a game so good-looking it easily gives Crytek's efforts a run for their money, with some utterly lovely lighting effects and bustling, densely populated areas full of motion and eye-catching scenery. The graphics would mean nothing without solid design backing it up, however, and this is where Last Light truly capitalizes on the technology powering it. Few games can pull off grey and brown in a way that manages to feel unique, especially in a generation famously scorned for such color schemes, but this is one of those releases that make a harsh, bleak world look fresh and even stunning. Chapters taking place during heavy surface world rainstorms are particularly pulchritudinous, and simply take one's breath away, despite taking place in a world so depressing and blighted. And of course, the soundtrack is a fitting accompaniment, as baleful as it is beauteous, while the voice talent, naturally running thick with Russian accents, is top-notch stuff. The sound design is married perfectly to the visuals, creating a rare example of total cohesion in aesthetic that you don't see done so well in many other games. Despite looking and sounding beautiful, a few grievous bugs threaten to tarnish otherwise polished package. At various points, Artyom will be accompanied by an ally who is required to open certain doors and lead the way. At one point, I had to restart an entire chapter because a checkpoint saved after one of these allies decided to stop moving. He was needed to lead me to a door and trigger an event, but he wouldn't do so no matter how many times I reloaded the checkpoint. Fortunately, individual chapters aren't especially long, but it was still quite inconvenient. My PC copy was also subject to a number of crashes, including one in the very final battle of the game. Overall, I crashed to the desktop three times during the course of the eight-hour adventure -- not an unplayable number of times, but enough to merit a stern mention. Metro: Last Light is a disappointment in several respects. That simply has to be said. Its design painstakingly addresses criticisms of Metro 2033 to such an overzealous degree that it actually undoes many of the things 2033 was praised for. The fact you have to pre-order or pay to access a game closer to the original's heart is also damn near inexcusable, and again I emphasize that I will not review a mode that has been tacked on in such a fashion. However -- and it's a big however -- Last Light is also a fine game on its own, and if we're to judge it without the shadow of 2033 looming overhead, we can say it's a game packed with structurally sound combat, a rewardingly fluid narrative, and an atmosphere that runs the gamut from intriguing to chilling.  As a default experience, Metro: Last Light is a good game that forgets why Metro 2033 was a great one.
Metro: Last Light review photo
Tunnel vision
Metro 2033 is a game so good, Destructoid reviewed it a year and a half after its release, finally giving it a scored assessment after the original reviewer made it to chapter three and gave up. The claustrophobic Ukrain...


Get some salvation in this Metro: Last Light trailer

Trouble in the tunnels
Mar 19
// Jim Sterling
Here's a new trailer for 4A Games' Metro: Last Light. It's called "Salvation" and it's all about the forces struggling for dominance in Russia's post-nuke subterranean tunnels. Expect some plot hints and lots of images of men in masks shooting other men.  The game's out May 14, under its new publisher Deep Silver, and I'm quite looking forward to giving it a go.

Metro: Last Light Limited Edition announced

Includes hardcore "Ranger Mode" difficulty
Dec 14
// Jim Sterling
Those who enjoyed the challenging "Ranger Mode" setting in Metro 2033 will have to get Metro: Last Light's Limited Edition -- announced today -- to get it in the sequel. The good news is that it's not one of those extrav...

The DTOID Show's 400th Episode Spectacular!

(It's just a regular episode)
Dec 12
// Max Scoville
Here's today's Destructoid Show, which is the 400th episode. According to the folder we keep on the server, which also contains a bunch of E3 videos, so technically it's not the 400th episode. But we wore sombreros anyway.&nb...

THQ backtracks on Wii U 'horrible CPU' comments

Blames other people for a man saying a thing
Nov 22
// Jim Sterling
THQ global communications manager Huw Beynon is in damage control mode after a Metro: Last Light developer was quoted as saying the Wii U has a, "Horrible, slow CPU." Rather than take any responsibility, Beynon has of co...

Metro: Last Light developer hates Wii U's 'horrible' CPU

No Metro sequel on Nintendo's hardware anytime soon
Nov 20
// Jim Sterling
Hoping to get Metro: Last Light on the Wii U? Keep dreaming, because according to 4A's chief technical officer, Nintendo's system is no good. Criticizing its slow CPU, Oles Shishkovtsov said the Wii U could be a detrimen...

Metro: Last Light scraps multiplayer, focusing on story

Disposable mode is disposable
Oct 13
// Jim Sterling
Metro: Last Light will be abandoning the multiplayer aspect of its game, taking out the frankly unnecessary mode to concentrate on a polished single-player campaign. 4A Games admitted on its blog that the announcement was pro...

Here's 13 minutes of Metro: Last Light gameplay

Jul 19
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Remember my preview of Metro: Last Light from E3? Well here it is in video form straight from developer 4A Games. Here's a summary of what you can expect from the video: Lots of f*cked up things. Seriously. Monsters, ghosts, planes falling out of the sky -- I'm going to have so many nightmares while playing this game.

Preview: Metro: Last Light will give you nightmares

May 29 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
[embed]227730:43760[/embed] Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, PC)Developer: 4A GamesPublisher: THQTo be released: 2013 Huw Beynon feels like players are getting jaded towards first-person shooters. 4A Games intends to combat this "shooter fatigue" by crafting something players will remember vividly and "talk about for years to come." This isn't just a straight up FPS, as it will mix up action, survival horror, stealth, and even some light role-playing elements to the mix. Huw also stressed that this isn't going to be a relentless shooting game; every moment will be unique and extraordinary for the player. With that, 4A Games started playing through a level where main protagonist, Artyom, and his partner Pavel, had to make their way to the Theatre Station. The underground tunnel had caved in, so the pair have to make their way above ground and deal with the horrors of the post-apocalyptic Moscow. As this was a guided demo, they stuck to a straight forward path but told us there are plenty of secret areas and things to find for those players that like to explore. Exploring will be a necessity as every resource you can find is a precious commodity. The duo first emerged from an underground shelter into a shack, where they rummaged for whatever they could. The main item they both got were air filters for their gas masks, as the air outside being far from safe to breath due to the nuclear fallout. The main player has a wristwatch that will countdown how much clean air there is remaining, and finding new air filters in the world will increase how much time one can remain outside. The skies are clear and sunny, but that doesn't last long as a crazy lightning storm emerges almost from out of nowhere. The pair don't want to stay out in the wide open space due to the storm and other dangers, and make their way into another building where they find more goodies for themselves. At one point, Artyom finds a shotgun, only to immediately get attacked by some kind of large mutant creature. It's quickly dispatched thanks to the newly acquired shotgun. The player gets back up, wipes the blood off of his gas mask screen, and heads back out to head to a downed airplane. Pavel warns that the plane is haunted due to all the souls trapped aboard the plane, but they have to move in through it as it's blocking the path to the Theatre Station. As they enter the plane, they start to see flashes of images and hear horrifying screams. Pavel is talking to you, but you can barely make him out due to other noises. Once the two finally make their way towards the cockpit, a flashback sequence kicks in depicting the final moments of the plane. As the plane is flying towards Moscow, you see a mushroom cloud form in the distance, with the electromagnetic pulse shutting off all the electronics on the plane. The passengers are all screaming as the plane is hurdling towards the ground, with the sequence stopping short of the deadly impact. This moment was absolutely horrifying, and it really did send a chill down my spine. It helped that THQ had the audio at near deafening levels, with the gameplay displayed on a gigantic three screened projector setup. Nevertheless, they drove home the point that this game will induce some nightmares. The flashback wasn't just for the player's sake, as both characters are obviously shaken up. Pavel is found on the ground convulsing with his gas mask off in fact. Artyom helps him put the mask back on, and they head out of the airplane. Things aren't quiet for long as a flying dragon-like demon grabs the main player and takes off into the air. Artyom shoots at the creature a few times, before getting thrown back onto the ground. The danger is from from over, though, as a pack of large mutant rat dog things attack the pair in multiple waves. Luckily for the two of them, they're at the Theatre Station by this point, and slowly make their way toward the entrance of the underground. The door is shut tight, but eventually opens up with some allies coming through and lighting up the remaining creatures with flamethrowers, ending the demo. I wasn't all that convinced last year, but now I know for sure I want Metro: Last Light. The game is looking great visually, the audio design sounds amazing and it all looks scary as hell.

It's been a full year since we last saw anything of Metro: Last Light. And unfortunately, just like last time, developer 4A Games only showed off a new section of gameplay rather than letting us go hands-on. While it is worri...


It's been way too long since we've last seen anything of Metro: Last Light. So isn't it great how THQ and developer 4AM Games have come out of hiding by trying to scare the ever living sh*t out of us?! This live-action short...


Metro: Last Light delayed to 2013

Feb 03
// Jim Sterling
Metro: Last Light has slipped to a 2013 release date, according to THQ's latest release schedule. The Metro 2033 sequel is slated for first quarter -- sometime between the beginning of January and the end of March.  With...

Here are some new Metro: Last Light screens

Sep 16
// Jim Sterling
THQ has offered up a neat little bundle of Metro: Last Light screenshots for your amusement. Just like the last game, this thing looks utterly gorgeous, so make sure to check it out if you're one of those sultry graphics whor...

Metro: Last Light gets third and final E3 gameplay video

Aug 10
// Jim Sterling
Here is the last part of that Metro: Last Light gameplay footage I got to see (and cream over) at E3. You can watch parts one and two if you've missed them.  In this video, Artyom and his pal concludes their escape from...

New Destructoid Episode: The 3DS did what now?!

Jul 29
// Tara Long
Greetings, faithful viewers of the Destructoid show! Max and I are back with a honey nut cluster of video game news for you this evening, starting with Ubisoft claiming that their little DRM fiasco effectively solved pirac...

Metro: Last Light gets second gameplay video

Jul 28
// Jim Sterling
Here's the second part of that Metro: Last Light gameplay footage released a while back. In this video, Artyom and Kahn must infiltrate a Nazi encampment. Metro's twisted take on the Third Reich was only hinted at in 2033, a...

Review: Metro 2033

Jan 30 // Jim Sterling
Metro 2033 (Xbox 360, PC [reviewed])Developer: 4A GamesPublisher: THQReleased: March 16, 2010MSRP: $59.99 Metro 2033 is a unique game, despite how its gritty, post-apocalyptic visuals and first-person-shooter design may make it appear. As Artyom, a young Russian man born in the underground home of Moscow's post-nuclear survivors, players must navigate the Metro, a sprawling network of train tunnels and stations-turned-cities that house communists, Nazis, and brigands. Oh, and the occasional person who isn't an asshole.  Strangely, for a game based on a novel, Metro 2033's story isn't all that detailed. A narrative is there, and it's quite a decent one, but nothing really feels fleshed out. The idea of a world where conflicting ideologies have been taken out of context by the survivors of nuclear war is a powerful and intriguing one, but it's never explored at more than a surface level (which is a criticism I have heard of the book as well). I'd love for the unique and genuinely interesting world of Metro 2033 to be given more flesh, but you only ever get a taste of the story, never a full bite.   On the surface, Metro 2033 is a first-person-shooter, but it has also been quite rightly described as a survival horror and it is perhaps one of the most traditional survival horrors to be seen in years. Enemies are dangerous, to the point where absolutely any encounter in the game is capable of killing the player. Hideous monsters are fast and resilient, while human opponents are heavily armed and often armored. Meanwhile, the player's supplies are consistently low. In fact, the enemy nearly always has the advantage over Artyom, and wits are the way to win, not superior firepower. What this leads to is a game that is perhaps one of the most stressful I've played in a long time. That's not a bad thing, either. Metro 2033 is oppressive, where every battle is escaped by the skin of one's teeth and every step forward could lead the player into a trap or a death-dealing ambush. If you're in the wrong frame of mind, Metro 2033 is not fun at all. It's downright horrible. If you let it "click" with you, however, it becomes obsessively engrossing.  There are definite balance issues. It should not require three consecutive, close-range shotgun blasts in order to kill a human being, especially when Artyom himself is incapable of taking even half that much damage. Likewise, headshots against enemies are only sometimes rewarded with an instant kill. Most enemies wear helmets, which seem to require upwards of three headshots. The sniper rifle, for instance, seems like a waste of time, since a headshot rarely succeeds in killing an enemy, and once the entire opposing force is on alert status, you'll never get another chance to pick your target without getting chewed by opposing gunfire. Likewise, the game's attempt to create a cat-and-mouse combat situation doesn't entirely succeed. You can see what 4A Games was going for -- you can blow out lights to create darkness, there are multiple paths in any combat zone to allow outflanking, and you have to avoid broken glass or alarm systems to move and kill silently. Sadly, the enemy AI is not quite equipped to handle this. Enemies always see you in the dark, despite the game telling you otherwise, and your attempts to outflank usually end up with the enemy simply spotting you regardless of your position.  These issues make it feel like 4A was cheating in order to make the game more tense, and I think that does a disservice to what the game does right. Metro 2033 didn't need to cheat with its damage ratios and AI in order to create a tense game. Artyom's endurance is low and he is always outmatched regardless. If he is shot, it almost always reduces him to a sliver of life, which can take up to twenty seconds to regenerate, unless you have a quick-heal medkit. The game does not want you to get shot, and if you do, death is more than likely to follow. To any run-and-gun shooter fan, this sounds horrible. If you're in the right frame of mind, however, this approach to combat -- where you need to concentrate on survival more than murder -- is intensely satisfying, and every escape from death is a relief while every victory is cause for elation.  The most obvious survival horror elements are to be found with the weapons and ammo. Like all good horror games, your resources are far from plentiful. Even more troubling, weapons are often unreliable, with weak bullets, inaccurate sights and plenty of kickback. As you progress through the game, you can acquire better weapons, but even the best upgrades feel improvised, like tinpot creations from people who have done their best to make a gun that won't fall apart.  As far as ammo goes, every bullet feels precious. This is typified by the "military grade" bullets you can find littered throughout the game. Military ammo is more deadly than regular, factory-made ammo, but they're also highly valued because of it. As such, military bullets have become the currency of the Metro, and if you choose to use them in combat, you're effectively shooting money at enemies. Without your military bullets, you can't buy supplies or weapon upgrades.  Fortunately (and this may be the result of a patch), there's always just enough normal ammunition to get the job done if you're a thorough looter. Enemy corpses usually have all sorts of bullets strapped to their bodies, and there are various caches littered around any level. The satisfying loot-grabbing of a roleplaying game is evoked in Metro 2033's gameplay, except unlike an RPG, you're not getting cool gear that might boost your stats or look pretty -- everything you loot is vital to survival.  Even exploring less dangerous areas challenges your resolve. Your flashlight, for example, needs regular recharging by pulling out a battery pack and pumping it up to generate more power. There are various excursions to the blasted surface of Moscow, which requires the use of a gas mask. As with everything in this game, you're required to survive on essential supplies, scavenging filters to keep the air in your mask fresh. Every second spent on the surface feels like a step closer to potential death, and it's glorious, in a peculiarly nerve-wracking way.  Metro 2033 gives you enough to survive, but it only ever gives you the bare minimum. The feeling of "making do" permeates the entire experience, and it all adds to the incredible atmosphere that's been set up. Whether you're fighting neo-Nazis or mutated mole monsters, this is an intense and pretty scary game. You can never guarantee that your next action won't kill you, and even early fights against bottom-feeding bandits can take a very long time to win as you constantly change position and attempt to get the upper hand on an entrenched foe.  This atmosphere bleeds into the non-combat portions as well. Throughout the game's linear story, you'll encounter various metro stations, which have formed their own societies and ideals. You can shop for new supplies, advance the story, or just listen to the impressive amount of conversations that NPCs engage in, fleshing out this miserable, pitiless world. The Metro stations really feel like they're bristling with life, albeit life that's desperately hanging on by a thread. It can be difficult to really nail immersion, and few games do it so flawlessly as Metro 2033.  It helps that the game looks pretty stunning, too. On PC, there are some widespread framerate issues that can't be resolved using the in-game options (but are fixable, if you root around), and character animation leaves a little to be desired, but the environments are gorgeously detailed and the enemy monsters are particularly loathsome and disturbing. I love the voice acting, too, with genuine Russian accents that do a great job of communicating a grounded sense of character. Use of music is rare, but when it does, it's almost always evocative and poignant.  Your enjoyment of Metro 2033 hinges on your willingness to let a game batter you into submission. It wants to be played in a certain way, and if you're unwilling to meet the demands, you'll be thrown out on your ass. More than any other shooter, you're not playing as a powerful hero. You're a young man, unarmored and barely armed, who is constantly, unrelentingly, fresh out of luck.  Such a game is most certainly not for everybody. Those that can get into it, however, will really get into it. 

Metro 2033 was released on March 16, 2010. As I write this, it is May 30, 2011. You might be asking yourself why there's a review for Metro 2033 over a year after its launch.  Well, Destructoid never officially revi...

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