Metro: Last Light is dark, adult, and confident in its goals (Plus: the shooting doesn’t suck now!)
Metro: Last Light
We don’t really know what it’s going to be like when, or if, an alien intelligence tries to communicate with us. Maybe they speak through scents, and we don’t have fine enough sense organs to understand. Maybe they speak by exhaling microbes that attack our bodies, and what they see as singing a song, we perceive as a biological attack. We may have a violent reaction to a civilization that is merely trying to ask how we’re doing.
Metro: Last Light begins by putting you behind the eyes of a man who may have made the wrong decision in this area.
And now he has the chance to, in some small way, make it right.
Fight the future
Metro 2033 was an amazingly atmospheric game marred by terrible shooting, and the sequel has fixed most of those problems. Guns now actually feel like guns, while they maintained the hacked together appearance that makes sense for this world. You can shoot someone in the head and they go down. You have a watch that tells you whether you’re in the cover of darkness or visible to others. The game feels tight and complete in a way the prequel didn’t, and I found myself having fun sneaking around the shadows, turning off the lights, and then knifing the bad guys one by one.
This is life after a nuclear holocaust, where men, women, and children struggle to survive in the underground Metro systems in Moscow. This isn’t Tomb Raider, where you wonder how you can kill dozens of people without blinking. Artyom, the game’s protagonist, has spent years fighting for survival and is well trained to take care of himself. Violence comes with ease in this world, and you’ll often explore dark places filled with those who didn’t make it.
No matter what your fear, Last Light will find a way to disturb you. The sense of menace is oppressive, and you’ll often fight from behind a gas mask; there is a key to wipe away the mud and grit that blocks your view. Your watch counts down the usable time on each filter, and the glass can break, leaving you gasping for air. Metro: 2033 was already an uncomfortable game, but matched with the improved fighting and all-new engine, everything is even harder to take.
I'll write up a more complete look at the game once I've finished the story, but I'm very happy with what I've played so far. The game tickles the same parts of your brain that responded to the Walking Dead adventure game; things can be so dark you'll wonder if you're having fun, or just putting yourself through psychic pain just for the fun of it. I enjoyed reading The Road, but it's not exactly a story I want to role-play, if you catch my drift. At least now you can take up arms against the darkness, and if you put your cross hairs in the right place you can be sure the bullet will go where it needs to.