Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: 15 February 2019
Price: $59.99 (Consoles) / $49.99 (PC) USD, $99.95 (Consoles) / $89.95 (PC) AUD – Available Here
Artyom is finally leaving the Moscow Metro as he leads a train caravan of survivors deep into Russia. The new setting opens Metro Exodus to new open world maps complimented by claustrophobic linear levels the Metro franchise is known for. Additionally, the firearm system has been completely overhauled in Metro Exodus, offering players more flexibility than ever before thanks to Artyom’s backpack and the many workbenches scattered around the world.
Metro Exodus is inspired by Dimtry Glukhovsky’s novel Metro 2035 and picks up after the events of Metro: Last Light. For new comers to the series, Metro Exodus’ story works well as a self-contained tale. The plot is enjoyable ride, though not particularly deep. Each of the factions try to explore some heavy themes like faith and slavery, but the game never sticks around in one area long enough to examine the topic with any depth. The main character’s lines are very good, with only a few duds scattered throughout. The lines for random NPCs, on the other hand, are pretty bad, with plenty of uncreative and repetitive uses of swearing that makes little sense at times.
I am disappointed that Artyom is completely mute in game ala Gordon Freeman of Half-Life. It doesn’t work well for Metro Exodus as conversations often feel one sided. The decision for a mute Artyom is all the more confusing as he narrates during loading screen.
Metro Exodus’ level design continues to be excellent. While the open world maps are not nearly as big as true open world games, they are big enough to provide some opportunity for exploration and side quests. Both the outposts and linear levels are well crafted, offering multiple paths and lots of dark corners for stealth. The linear levels offer a more intense experience. Levels are generally claustrophobic and have a lot of great jump scares. The bunker with the spiders was one of the best levels as it turned Metro’s concept of light is dangerous on its head as mutated spiders would attack as soon as they were in the shadows.
The gun mechanics in Metro Exodus is great. The number of weapons has been cut down compared to Metro: Last Light, but the mod system has been expanded significantly to compensate. Almost every gun in the game can be modified to fit any playstyle, whether players prefer close combat with plenty of firepower or sniping at the enemies from a distance. Guns become dirty with time and exposure to harsh conditions. Built up grime kills accuracy and causes guns to jam, so players must maintain their weapons at a workbench. Metro Exodus gets the rate of decay right, as its enough to encourage regular maintenance without being a complete nuisance.
The stealth gameplay is strong for the most part. Light is the major mechanic, so players have a small light on their watch that signals if they are in enough light to be visible. Since Metro Exodus introduces a day and night cycle to the game, players can sneak into enemy bases at night to do their deeds undetected. Enemy AI tend to have a pretty short hearing range, but their line of sight can be a little ridiculous at times as they can spot players clearly through wooden fences or similar materials with some holes in them.
Since there are no more vendors, everything must be crafted or looted. The developers keep the crafting system simple with only two types of raw materials. Finding materials was a bit tough in the beginning as lootable objects are not very distinct. The metal detector mod for the armguard made the game a lot easier. The high cost of health packs and the high level of damage does encourage players to take a more careful, if not stealthy approach.
The PC port of Metro Exodus is decent. The game ran well on my test system and is one of the early adopters of ray tracing. On the other hand, there is no proper support for borderless window mode and changing the FOV requires tinkering with the config files. Key binding is brutal. It’s clear the menus were designed for a controller. Some actions are insanely picky about what key the action can be bound to. It’s not possible to overwrite an existing key binding, and there are a few invisible binds that locks out certain keys until they are manually removed in the config file. Worst of all, none of the key bindings carry over to the menu. So if you’re not a WASD user, you’ll still have to fall back to WASD to navigate certain menus.
Metro Exodus is a fantastic looking game. The artists do an excellent job of creating a world that looks like it’s being held together with duct tape and ingenuity. The game’s new setting offers a lot more environmental variety too, from the traditional grimy metro tunnels to the lush forests of the taiga.
The audio experience has its ups and downs. The soundtrack is excellent, subtly building tension without being distracting. The sound effects are great. The guns pack the right amount of punch based on their size, from the small pop of the Takhar air rifle the booms of the shotguns. The game’s soundstage is excellent due to the implementation of Dolby Atmos.
The voice acting in Metro Exodus is the weakest part of the audio experience as the quality of voice acting struggles at times. Main characters like Anna and Miller generally have higher quality voice actors, while the minor characters tend to range from passable to downright horrible. Only a small handful of characters can maintain a Russian accent. Anna and some of the minor characters struggle with the accent, often falling back on American pronunciations.
Metro Exodus isn’t a perfect game, but it’s a refreshing update to the franchise. The story is strong overall, although some of the less important line and voice acting can be cringe inducing. The level design, firearm mechanics, stealth, and art style are all well executed. The PC port isn’t quite up to expectations, but the game is still very playable on PC and will do well on consoles as it was clearly designed with controllers in mind.
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.