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Review | Metro: 2033 Redux (PS4)

Review | Metro: 2033 Redux (PS4)

by September 29, 2014 0 comments

 

In mother Russia, nuclear post-apocalypse comes to PS4. Cubed3 minds the gap for the Metro: 2033 Redux review.

Metro: 2033 is based from a novel penned by Dmitry Glukhovsky. The player assumes the role of Artyom, a survivor from when the nuclear bombs dropped on Moscow and now society has retreated to the underground subway stations and railways where different ideologies (Soviets and Neo Nazis) clash and mutants run amok. The Redux version comes with new technical improvements over the vanilla Metro: 2033 such as some load screens are removed entirely, tweaked AI, updated character models, more dynamic lighting and an action centric “Spartan” mode.

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What 4A Games managed to build with such limited resources is staggering. About half the budget of what most AAA games get, the absolute worst working conditions in a city that was rioting and no electricity (computers powered by gas generators) it is a thin-air miracle that these talented and devoted artists and engineers managed to make this game at all, least of all it being pretty great. Metro: 2033 Redux is a first person action game with plenty of stealth options and while it dances around in the survival-horror genre, but it doesn’t fully commits to it.

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The stealth play style is well implemented enough but sometimes enemies will have weird AI hiccups and will cause very bizarre animation convulsions. It all plays out fairly naturally and in ranger mode, Artyom’s animations are slowed down a bit to more realistically reflect human motion. Ranger mode is by far the definitive mode to play Metro: 2033 Redux, it is balanced so that while Artyom dies extremely fast, so does the enemy. This creates a great feeling of tension and struggle to survive while scurrying about in the dark while enemy forces are unaware while Artyom can line his sight to snipe a stray Soviet.

While ammo is scare, it is the military grade rounds that serve as currency and can also be switched into some weapons as a more powered up ammo- needles to say that this is a great feature for a survival game like this where options are weighed and can mean life or death now or maybe later. Even though death comes at a much faster rate, thankfully the load times in Metro: 2033 Redux are extremely fast, this was great for the pacing and creating as little friction as possible so the player can feel less punished for experimenting and daring more crazy feats like sneaking past a group of mutants feeding as apposed to assaulting them head on. However, given the design and structure of Metro: 2033 Redux, there are some scripted moments where Artyom has no choice but to engage in direct combat with multiple enemies or monsters. Moments like this illustrate the strengths of Metro: 2033 Redux and how it is best played when players are given freedom to choose and not when they are at the whims of the designers forcing players to play a way the game has left as an option until now.

Playing Metro: 2033 Redux in Spartan mode makes the game a kinda ho-hum affair. Larger ammo capacities and more health for Artyom and the enemies as well as more ammo pick ups make the game into a more frenzied action game like that of popular military shooters today. When the scripted action sequences happen in Spartan mode, the evens become very easy to the point they aren’t very interesting or engaging. With the larger health boost and all the extra military grade ammo, these sequences feel more like filler and really bog the game’s pacing down. It should be noted that Metro: 2033 Redux has quite a few scripted sequences and not all of them are action. Many times the scripted events are story related and force Artyom to a sluggish walking pace and players must wait while the NPCs go through their motions to allow the story to continue. This type of story telling in first person action games have diminishing returns and are only cool the first time the player experiences them. It is especially egregious on subsequent playthroughs since they are always unskippable and can take quite some time to get through them.

The 4A Games artists really have their work cut out for them. Dmitry Glukhovsky’s world is beautifully realized in Metro: 2033 Redux. Such finely textured lush environments that feel lived in with a palpable atmosphere that you can almost smell the grime and corpses of the Metro. While there is some contention over the visuals in the Redux version’s particle effects being more restrained compared to the vanilla Metro: 2033 on Xbox 360, the 4A Games manages to have the PS4 version run at a buttery 60 fps, running on 1080p and it is a sumptuous sight to behold. Varying Color temperatures and cool shadows create a distinct and visually striking game that takes place mostly underground, incredibly it never gets stale or tiring. When Artyom ventures to the surface of Moscow, Metro: 2033 Redux shines even greater. The hot zones and bombed-out Russian city is a haunting and brutal environment that welcomes no man and will slowly kill Artyom should he run out of resources. Some of Metro: 2033 Redux finest gameplay moments are on the surface as Artyom can explore abandoned shelters to frantically find a fresh air filter in hopes of lasting one more minute before suffocation kicks in. The mutants that roam the wasteland behave naturally, sometimes ignoring Artyom but other times it will look right at him. Then there is a terrible high-pitched screaming, screen turns red despite all the pounding and hollering, it just rip him to pieces. It is a harsh and uncaring terrain that is only a reminder of the futility of man’s achievements.

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While Metro: 2033 Redux can be purchased solo on PSN or XBL, it is also available as part of the Metro Redux compilation which also includes Metro: Last Light Redux. Metro: 2033 Reduxis a fine game and is definitely worth the price on PSN and XBL, however it is best played with its sequel for they are very different games and there is a better value getting both together especially since Metro: 2033 Redux has no multiplayer modes or new game plus. It does have an alternate ending that can be triggered by some well hidden in game actions the player can perform.

 

Check out the Score

GAMEPLAY

 Metro: 2033 Redux is a very competent and pretty first person stealth-action game. While it does have some of the trappings of survival-horror, the game never commits to the concepts established in the survival-horror genre. Yes there are monsters and creepy mutants, but they are no more unsettling than any other monster in other action games. The weapons are varied and unique- all handle well enough and really drive home the idea that there is a real struggle to survive in the Metro. The scripted action set pieces that encourage more stealthy player to play against their preferred play style are a bit of a drag and are just plain filler in Spartan mode. Scripted story sequences are frustratingly unskippable. There are a few quick time events, but are largely pointless and easy since they always require the same button prompt- these don’t hurt the game but they don’t improve it.

GRAPHICS

For the most part, Metro: 2033 Redux is a gorgeous game but has some dents in its otherwise glossy veneer. Noticeable clipping and some unnatural character animations distract and when AI in some monsters bug out, they tend to get stuck in animation cycles. Excellent particle and soft focus effects help make the textured models feel tangible and real. Child character models look very creepy and would make for the most horrifying enemy in the game if they weren’t so uselessly relegated to the laid-back story centric chapters.

SOUND

Metro: 2033 Redux sounds as good as it looks. There is a wonderfully diverse amount of Russian accents and dialects for the English dub track; Artyom’s English narration is an especially strong performance. The inclusion of the original Russian language track is also included for players who aim to have the definitive Metro experience for the atmosphere that Dmitry Glukhovsky and 4A Games intended. The sound design is mostly what one would expect from a post-apocalyptic Moscow. Firearms have an appropriate rattle to them giving them a very used and worn in feel.

Value

Metro: 2033 Redux has no multilayer or new game plus to speak of. As a single player stealth-action game it can hold its own with the likes of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Metro: 2033 Redux does have a hidden alternate ending and has varied enough gameplay to warrant enjoyable subsequent playthoughs. 4A Games managed to make a detailed enough world than finding something new will happen to every player. Getting both Metro games together is a worthy consideration for those who want the definitive Metro compilation.

Final Score

FINAL SCORE

Metro: 2033 Redux is one of the better single player first person action games to come out. Its got some flaws and some questionable pacing choices, most egregiously the often times tedious scripted story sequences that pepper the game to a fault. The core gameplay and mechanics are realized well enough when the game lets the player play around and explore its possibilities. It is no mistake that Metro: 2033 Redux’s best chapters are the ones where the player has the most agency over the action. While a scripted sequence isn’t a bad idea per say, they are too frequent and too many in Metro: 2033 Redux which is already not a long game. This game is best described as the companion to Metro: Last Light Redux, where users are better off getting the retail compilation. The amount of visual fidelity and craftsmanship displayed in this game is unparalleled considering the lack of

budget and absurd working conditions the crew had to endure during its development. It is a testament to the work of 4A Games and visionary, Dmitry Glukhovsky.        Cyber Leaf Version 3 [Bronze] Numbered 250x250       

 

 

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