Still working my way through game pass and I kinda wanted to save this because I kinda knew it would either be the best or a massive disappointment and it didn’t disappoint but which didn’t it disappoint in being the best or being a disappointment hmm, how many times can I mispell disappointment not caring because of the auto correct?
For awhile I didn’t really give a shit about this game because there is a notable dip in quality in my opinion between Metro 2033 and Last light but I still played them both over and over and I liked them. But I was sort of put off of Exodus because of the lack of hype around it and the negative hype because of the epic store bullshit. Which I know was entirely deep silver’s fault, which is why publishers should be totally done away with and all games companies should self publish like CD projekt red does. No fat cat ceo middle man they need to appease, they just make their own games and handle the shipping and marketing themselves and it seems to be going gang busters for them, they’ve just gone from strength to strength (if you ignore throne breakers haha).
I can safely say, resoundingly, Metro Exodus is… the best in the series and the perfect capstone ending for the epic saga of Artyom.
I dunno, I guess I was really worried that it wouldn’t be what I hoped because I was so invested in the series. I love Metro, it’s one of my favourite games, I’ve literally played the first two games over and over on every difficulty. So when I saw this it kinda made me worry because it basically looked like it was copying Far Cry, trying to be an open world sandbox game.
Oh yeah this game unlike the first two is almost entirely on the surface because they find out the world isn’t entirely fucked and there are some liveable spots so Artyom et Al set off to find one.
And yes it’s sort of copying from Far Cry but thankfully it reminded me of Far Cry 2 otherwise known as ‘the only good one’ but with less dated mechanics and gun customisation the max.
Some notably Yahtzi shit on this game for ditching the trading system for a crafting system and yeah, I understand why. Crafting systems are in everything these days and Metro sort of had a unique take on trade since your best ammo is also your currency and you can literally exchange ammo.
This game basically busts that wide open because you can literally craft bullets now, you’re printing your own money haha. But I see why they did it and I think it works really well and makes much more sense for the series in terms of immersion. Because yes shock horror, you can make bullets, they don’t fall out of the sky like in Zardoz, they are manufactured by people. And because the game is open world there aren’t little hub worlds with traders so having a crafting system where you can dismantle and reassemble your guns just makes so much sense, I don’t understand how anyone can argue with it. Why wouldn’t you just want a system where you can take an attachment from one gun and put it on yours in real time?
That’s literally one of the best mods in Fallout 4 right there haha. Fallout 4 is another comparison you can make to this game, as well as borderlands but it beats out both with I wanna say stronger writing but it wins just because it feels like the devs give a shit.
Borderlands has always just been cringe, tryhard humour from the oughts that a 13 year old might find funny. Fallout goes for that dark wry humour but Metro plays it straight, there’s some humour to break up the misery but it’s the most realistic interpretation of the end of the world out of the bunch.
And with that shift in tone you get real characters and a grounded believable story about people trying to have more than the dark tunnels of the metro.
I was really worried about this game because open worlds don’t or can’t really have the level of atmosphere you get in the claustrophobic tunnels of metro 2033. But somehow the open worlds environments in Exodus are dripping with atmosphere, some parts are dark and brooding and scary, other parts lonely and sad but when you look out at it you get the sense that it was once alive and real. It’s really gripping. Whereas borderlands and fallout are just full of locations with various loot junk to collect. That’s another thing about the crafting it’s very simple and unobtrusive, it’s not like Fallout where you’re on the hunt for tape always. It’s not annoying, it doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.
It’s not actually an open world game, there were semi open world sections to explore in the previous games and this basically expands on that. So you don’t have one big map you move around, you have two big open world maps, a swamp and a desert and then there are more linear levels like classic metro and a level in a forest that’s sort of a blend of them both. It’s linear but it’s such a huge map it has a lot of exploration. And exploration is really what makes a game like Metro really good, this balance of wanting to explore but also being terrified by what could be potentially waiting for you inside.
Metro sets itself apart from other post apocalyptic games in that it’s mainly stealth and tactics focused when you fight people. It has a really good stealth system that isn’t like a numbers based one like in an rpg like fallout but relies on light and sound like Thief. So you’re mostly lurking in the darkness with night vision goggles taking people out silently with a gas powered ball bearing gun.
But then the game switches up completely when encountering mutants who can see in the dark and then it becomes like a fps survival horror as waves of these hideous creatures try to take a bite out of you in the pitch blackness. So it has this nice way of turning the tables on you and keeping the game fresh, one minute you’re the cat the next you’re the mouse. So the gameplay never gets stale because it’s constantly shifting.
And it’s even more so in this game because the levels have such variety. In the first one you’re being hunted by a weird religious cult that hates technology and worships a giant catfish that will eat you if you cross it’s path on the water. The next you’re in a mad max desert fighting slavers, there’s also a linear level that was almost like a haunted house ride in this bunker. Then you’re in a forest fighting pirates and a giant bear then the game pulls you back to the frozen tunnels of another metro.
I keep making these comparisons to Fallout and Farcry but really I think the best comparison would be putting it side by side with Red dead redemption 2. That might sound weird but I do that because it’s as if everything red dead tried and failed, Metro succeeded at.
Red dead wants to create this kind of close nit family vibe for the gang where you stay at the camp getting to know everyone and then fall in love with them and go on missions. But the game design and the writing just make that impossible because there are too many characters really and the camp is kind of boring and pointless and they wont let you run for some reason and all the characters aren’t very likeable.
In contrast in Metro you get these interludes between levels where you’re on the train and people basically talk at you because you’re a silent protagonist even though Artyom has a voice actor because he talks over the loading screens. But it’s just how all the other games went for the sake of immersion, Metro is all about immersion, you can play it entirely hudless unlike red dead where you literally need the minimap to complete missions just to know where the game wants you to stand.
On the train when it’s moving it’s just so atmospheric with the sound of the train and the wind and the scenery outside and then the characters tell you about themselves, their hopes and dreams and you just can’t help fall in love with them because they feel real and relatable and likeable.
John’s son is a character you can interact with in red dead 2 but I never felt like he was a real kid, I never really gave a shit about him or thought he was real. But there’s this little girl you meet on the first level who comes with you and her mother called Nastya and she has to be the sweetest child character in any game ever. I literally fell in love with her, she was adorable and when she asked me to get her teddy bear I didn’t even think about it as the fetch quest it was I was just going to get Nastya’s teddy bear because I liked her and she called me ‘Uncle Artyom’.
The characters are just so endearing and strong even though they live in hell and they could die at any moment. The characters in red dead are two dimensional and unlikeable and the tone can’t decide whether it wants to be serious or tongue in cheek rockstar style and it just falls apart because you don’t like the characters and can’t take them seriously.
Another thing to point out is neither game really has villains, red dead 2 kind of has the pinkerton guy but he was so forgettable, dutch and the blonde guy kinda. But in Metro they try to steer clear of having generic villains because it’s trying to be like the real world. So although you encounter a crazy cult leader, he’s not wholey evil and his followers are just lost, you feel justified letting them live, you don’t want to kill them, I actually felt bad when I had to gun two down instead of knock them out.
And there are these nice points in the game, once I encountered these two cultists, a father and son talking about the cult and when they saw me they both drew their weapons and metro is the kind of game where getting shot at that range will kill you in a few hits so instinctively I should have gunned them down but I hesitated and so did they and then they lowered their weapons and talked to me instead and then we parted ways. It’s just amazing a game like this can have that nuance where you can lower your weapon and disengage. There was another point later on where you’re in the forest being hunted by these weird forest people and I snuck up on one of them in this field and he turned around and I saw he was unarmed and he asked me to lower my weapon and I did and it turns out he was just a farmer with a rake I almost beaned in the melon. And because I showed him I wasn’t a threat he helped me out by showing me a way through his village without having to hurt anyone and I did that.
It’s a game that succeeds in not only making you care about your companions but about the npcs in general and it makes them seem so much more real as a result.
It also ties into the ending you get whether you’re just murdering people indiscriminately. Which I wont spoil but it’s great and I got the good ending and it was just the perfect ending to the series, I wouldn’t dream of getting another ending, I won’t even look it up on youtube haha. It just sucks you in and by the end of it you’re just begging that everyone lives and has a happy life where they can be free and not get gnawed on by mutants.
It’s also the most beautiful metro game, which is not surprising because there wasn’t a lot of competition until now haha. I could literally just sit and stare out of the train window in this game for hours, the scenery is so great. Hauntingly beautiful.
Looking at the Metacritic scores now and red dead 2 is way higher and all the negative reviews are about this game having bugs haha. Seriously this world deserves climate change haha.
This is not some shitty game crunched out by interns as an excuse to make another online game to shill microstransactions, Metro has never had multiplayer, I don’t think you even need to be online to play it. It’s a lovingly crafted single player game made by people that obviously love the series greatly and it shows.
One thing I would recommend though for full immersion and I do this with all the metro games, change the language to russian, you’ll thank me. There’s nothing less immersive in my opinion than hearing americans doing shitty russian accents. Steve Blum couldn’t even be bothered to do one for the whole game so there’s just a random american character in the order haha. Change it to russian so you don’t need to hear him phone it in haha.
Two thousand words jesus, ok you get it, I liked it, there, go play it, I definitely will be doing so many more times, it’s a gaming epic.