It’s time to burst free from the toxic hell-hole of post-apocalyptic Moscow and into into the equally toxic and radioactive wilds of Russia in the latest in the Metro series.
Metro Exodus, the third game in the series inspired by Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro trilogy, takes Artyom out of the from the tunnels he calls home and out to discover what happened to the rest of the world outside of the Russian capital.
With small band of Spartans, Metro Exodus will take you on-board the Aurora as you seek to explore what’s happened to the rest of your country following the nuclear war that devastated the world 25 years earlier.
No corner of the country you explore is untouched by the devastation of the war, with small bands of civilians struggling to make a life in the countryside controlled by mutated creatures, disfigured monsters and violent bandits holding up in the ruins of Civilization.
So it’s time to dust off your gas mask, grab your geiger counter and head back into post-apocalyptic wildlands – and as the Russians say, Удачи. (Good Luck!)
Metro Exodus moves away from the claustrophobic, cramped confines of Moscow’s underground and instead takes you out in the wilds of post-apocalypic Russia.
The Aurora – an armoured steam train – serves as your semi-mobile base as you move through the countryside battling to survive. Every stop of the train not only helps progress the story, but also acts as a central hub for exploration of the individual zones you come across.
These large zones feel much bigger than anything previously seen in a Metro game, the well-crafted, well-designed environments are different and enticing, populated with a mix of radioactive mutants, ferocious wildlife, unforgiving radiation zones, crazy civilians and vicious bandits. Players are able – and actively encouraged – to explore the zones in depth with smaller optional side quests giving an added reason to explore the far corners of the map.
Hidden throughout each of the zones are small secure bases which act as a home away from the train, with workbench for crafting and bed to progress the day/night cycle which can change the flow of a mission.
As you progress through the game, set over the course of an entire calendar year, the seasons and environments change, moving from winter to spring and beyond, with the dynamic weather adding an extra challenge as you battle through blizzards, thunderstorms and mist.
Other locations in the wilderness include small villages, bandit camps and ruined bunkers full of Humanimals and other beasts. Whether you choose to attack these at day or night can have a fundamental affect in the way you approach them. Typically there’s more mutants around at night, but you have the added benefit of being able to hide in the shadow’s easier.
Quiet or loud – it’s your choice
The design of Metro Exodus means there’s a real choice between taking an area by stealth, slowly but methodically taking out enemies quietly on your way, or going loud with gunfire and grenades to clear an encampment. Not only will the potential outcome change, with rescuing certain hostages allowing earlier access to some items, but your decisions are reflected in the games dialogue.
Even if you do opt for a full all-out assault on a base, the designers have created the structures in such a way you can skulk in the shadows to plan your move. Regardless of how you approach it, exploration is key to providing vital crafting components to improve your guns, construct ammo and replenish your stocks of medkits.
And while the radiation and toxic air is, for the most part gone, there’s still areas where the iconic Metro gas mask is needed – and keeping it in good nick and stocked with filters is vital for those moments.
It’s this crafting element that really allows you to personalise your experience of Metro Exodus. Each weapon has countless different possible variations, with the ability to modify pretty much every every aspect of your gun and armour to suit your own play style.
Crafting and exploration is key to Metro Exodus, here’s a few a spoiler-free tips from us.
- Explore Explore Explore, take advantage of the stunning zones and visit the huts, rundown buildings and underground tunnels hunting for crafting materials and people that might help you in the future
- Craft! If you find a workbench, take a moment to stop restock your ammo, medkits and repair your gas mask.
- Keep it Clean – Those workbenches allow you to clean your weapons, this will stop them jamming up during at a crucial point.
- Customise Your Gun – Fit a silencer, extended magazine, iron sights or long scope, tailor each of your guns to your own play style.
- Take a Risk – Making a new quick save is as simple as pausing the game and hitting the button. So if you’re not sure how to tackle a scenario, make a save and give it a go.
- But Take It Slow – Use your binoculars to scout an area, work out were the any mutants or bandits are hiding and use stealth to avoid a fight you can’t win.
Metro Exodus builds upon the success of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, incorporating the key features while bringing a whole new element in the non-linear open world sections.
The balance between making the game feel new and fresh, and very clearly still a Metro game and continuing Artyom’s story is very well done. The five years 4A games spent making it have been very well used.
The level design, use of day/night cycles and weather has resulted in a very attractive game with clear elements designed to encourage exploration, but never shoe-horning you into a specific play style.
That great level design is accompanied by fantastic immersive audio which is never more apparent while your sneaking your way through the sewers dodging mutants, and staying out of flicking candlelight while you sneak up on a vigilant guard.
For fans of the series this is going to be a must pick up follow-up when it launches later this week, for those new to the series i’m going to recommend picking up the remastered double pack first to familiarise yourself with the story. Saying that, gamers who love the horror/action combo are going to be a big fan of the very brilliant Metro Exodus.
Metro Exodus is out Friday on Xbox, PS4 and PC, RRP: £49.99
Our review is based on the console version of Metro Exodus played on an Xbox One X.