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Metro Exodus – Review

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.

 

 

3 Ring Samurai Part 2 Chapter 4 ‘Imaginary Folklore’

Yo,

I actually planned to and wrote a review for battlefield 1 for yesterday but it was so dull and pointless I just didn’t post it, insert rant about modern gaming haha. Basically sums up what I thought of it. It was ok, considering I paid nothing for it.

Good news just got back the second to last piece of Diana and the last piece is on it’s way, our baby gonna be whole and beautiful soon enough. Then I can make the final changes, get her looking good and get her ready to shake her ass for some literary agents which in all likelihood will be all be women haha. True fact about literary agents, the gatekeepers of the industry, most of them are women. But then again most book readers today are women I think.
Well that is you see a lot of books targeting women specifically. Mostly about sex with vampires or werewolves or handsome rich guys haha. Kinda makes me wonder why that is, when did our culture move away from men reading books? What am I talking about? I literally started this blog mentioning the reason, it’s fucking videogames of course and movies and tv obviously. Fucking videogames killed men’s desire to read, goddamn it haha.

Well maybe that was when videogame stories were half decent, now they’re either totally ass or non-existent. The non gamers are probably off watching netflix or sport. But the thing is for me, my love of books really cushioned the blow for shitty videogame stories. I never really expect much from a games story and don’t care if it doesn’t even have one, in fact I prefer it. Because if I want a good story, there’s one waiting for me in a book. In the same respect if I want to see shitty cgi and explosions I go watch a marvel movie haha.

If you go looking for good stories in a videogame you will be disappointed. Even so we see novelists working with games developers to make decent stories and captivating world like the guy that wrote the metro novels which spawned the awesome metro games and yes I will be preordering the next instalment haha. Probably, if I’m not broke still when it comes out. Spent the last of my money, i.e the banks money on the last round of editing for D. If I work all through christmas I might be able to eat sometime late january haha.

To a lesser extent the witcher, though I won’t get into that because I fucking hate the witcher books with a passion and the writer is such a jackass. The games are great, they really elevate his boring overrated writing but the asshat is still suing them for more money despite the fact he thought they would fail so didn’t opt in for royalties, he just took a cash lump sum I guess. But of course now it’s like the hottest game of the decade he’s all in wanting his cut. If you read any of his books you’d be utterly disgusted by this.

They turned his boring slog into a living world full of interesting folklore and action and memorable interesting characters and GWENT! Holy of holies. I just saw they released a gwent rpg card game and I had hold myself to resist buying it at full price.

In other news the Parker book I’m reading has got lit, it’s pretty good, like it’s all out war at this point where Parker enlisted an army of his old heist buddies to take this mob town apart. Just gutting it of money, they take like a quarter mil in one night which is awesome. But the heists are a little too easy honestly, it’s nice but the hard stuff is coming and I can’t wait.

Anyhoo, gotta get back to work, got a new piece of my lovely lady Diana to clean up and I have to prioritise that obviously.

See you…

A dry morning wind lashed at the dusty emptiness of the wasteland as the sounds of muted activity echoed over all the stark nothing. The ambience of a frail egg shell headache, a morn after the night before, everyone tip toeing around busily packing up their lives. Still cool and dank but the sun bright and blinding coming up over another centuries old pile of garbage in the distance.

A slight figure blotted out that bright sun and cast an angular shadow on the side of a circus tent. One of the boys taking it down turned his scruffy dirty face in the direction of the shadow maker. He squinted with his hand attempting to block out the sun, a strange blinking collar around his neck.

“Mornin’” The young carny said as if it were a phrase buttoned to his tattered coveralls. He squinted harder trying to make out the figure. Rubbing his eyes as strange images of malformed birds filled his mind and he saw a grotesque heron mask. “Oh lady Hero, I didn’t know it-“

“The Ringmaster, where is he?”

“Oh, the boss, he’s-he’s still up in the big top, they’re getting ready to pull it next.”

“Thank you” Heron said flatly, slowly walking in the direction the boy gesticulated to.

The boy nervously returned to his tinkering, loosening the ties on the tent and scratching under his bomb collar.

Heron walked in between the stalls, more carny’s tinkering away to dismantle and pack away games and rides. All so they could move on to the next town, she could feel them they trying not to look directly at her.

“Hows tricks bird girl?” A voice mocked.

Heron looked coldly out of the corner of her eye, the voice came from a tall gaunt figure leaning out the window of his icecream van. He laughed and stared with his sharp dagger like beady eyes as he smoked from the corner of his mouth letting ash hit the counter without a care.

She turned her head to the front and continued saying nothing.

The Icecream man laughed and watched her go tapping ash out the window.

At the foot of the big top the dogfaced boy sat sullenly falling in and out of consciousness.

Upon seeing her he decided to be awake and quickly bound over to her.

“Ya bring me anything?” He said.

“Not this time, the big man in here?” Heron said.

“Yeah, he and Tanner are arguing about how the mutant sea lions are kept again, it’s really boring.”

“I see” She said as she patted him on the head and went on through into the big top.

Inside it was even cooler without the sun, the smell was so familiar; woodchips and blood and vomit and piss. Death and life, love and hate, there was nothing that wasn’t under this big top.

Heron looked up at the rigging, staring at it without knowing why, for a moment she couldn’t take her eyes off the tightrope.

Then remembering her purpose she pushed on into the ring.

As she was fortold the Ringleader was having a heated discussion with Tanner the animal tamer.

The Ringleader was a large man with a round belly but without hint of sagging. His roundness was almost perfect and complete, spherical and tightly packed, as if he were a baseball that could tuck in his arms and legs and roll away. But attached to the baseball were strong ropey arms and legs and a head he used to hold an oversized black top hat. His face always carrying the merest hint of a jovial smile betraying a wicked set of eyes which poked into every corner. He stroked and twirled his vaudeville mustache as he gestured wildly with his free hand.

“My good man, you realise these ‘creatures’ of yours cost an arm and a leg to feed, quite literally. I simply cannot afford any more lavish accomodations for them and certainly can’t spare the water to give them a dipping pool.”

“But you don’t understand, the heat is worse than ever this year, they’re going crazy, they need a way to cool off.” Tanner said as he stooped. Tanner was a large man with soft eyes, a lover of animals and wildly homicidally protective the particular species he’d trained from birth.

A rather unusual species of sea dwelling creatures that had with the drying of the oceans evolved to live on land. Undoubtedly with the help of the rampant radioactive fallout after the first war. One of the creatures playfully practised a routine where it would stand to attention on a podium. Then accused criminals would be dropped from the rigging for him to catch and eat. In this instance a side of beef or some other indistinguishable meat was dropped. The huge thing lumbered into position on the podium wobbling back and forth comically.

The creatures were huge twice maybe three times the size of a human. Scaly shiney skin but rough and course like sand paper. They had huge heads with large teeth and tusks but oddly reptilian features, with clawed hands ridged flippers for digging in the sand.

The ringmaster looked the creature over. The creature almost seemed to be trained to beg and look as cute as a giant reptilian mutant man eater could.

The meat was dropped and in an instant the creature timed it’s movements perfectly and snapped the meat out of the air with it’s ferocious jaws. The power of the bite bisecting the meat without need of sharp teeth, just the power of the jaw was enough to rip anything apart.

It moved with so much power, all those large muscles moving at once, spurred by instinct and training, the ground seemed to quake, the air shifting. The amount of power necessary to move that bulk would astound any crowd. The amount will to train the beast even more so.

Heron stared at the Ringmaster and he turned and noticed her out of the corner of his eye. He turned back to Tanner to dismiss him. “I’ll see what I can do”.

“Very well” Tanner said also having noticed Heron waiting. He left abruptly without saying anything more. Exiting through a large opening in the back. The creature bounded after him flopping around comically dragging it’s large finned tail.

“Yes?” The Ringmaster said crossing his hands behind his back he tilted his head as if he were talking to a child “Do you have something to say?”

“They’re all dead”

The Ringmaster showed no great surprise in his stoney features, he only let out a long disappointed sigh “I see”. He turned to walk up the steps towards his ‘throne’ on the edge of the big top. It was a monstrosity made of collected pieces of wood and metal. Different discarded weapons of the long dead clans that came before. The scattered remnants now making up most of the circus a generation or so on.

He sat and waited for her to say more “Is there more?”

“The ronin clown Pookie lives” She said flat.

He hid it well but at the corner of his eyes, wrinkles started to appear. “And why didn’t you stop him?”

Heron stood not moving, expressionless behind her mask. “That was not my mission”

“Your mission was to bring back a body, so where is it?” He gestured spreading out the fingers of one hand.

Heron said nothing.

The Ringmaster tutted “Forgive me, you’ve lost your friends and I’ve lost a headline act” He paused and thought about the implications. “I want his head atop my throne by this afternoon”

“Yes Ringmaster.” Heron said.

“Wait, I changed my mind!” He tapped his lips with a long finger “I want you to shadow him for me. Report to me on his movements through carrier pidgeon” He sighed deep in thought. “More information is necessary.” He said to himself. The ringmaster straightened his moustache and tugged at it a little more before he noticed Heron was still standing there. “You’re dismissed.”

“Yes Ringmaster”.

Read the rest on inkitt Imaginary folklore

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