Solo Gamer Reviews

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Solo Gamer Review: Metro Exodus - Page 2

GAMEPLAY (cont'd)

Metro Exodus
The boating sections can go straight to aд

The desert level includes a vehicle, which does its job to cut through an area beset by multiple mutants that will quickly exhaust your ammo reserves if you try to walk from place to place. It's not exactly a game-changer, but it can be fun to plow through zombie-like "humanimals" as they try to ambush you on the road. What doesn't do its job, however, is the boating mechanic. Several times in multiple levels, Artyom will be tasked with rowing a boat through an area, and it's infuriatingly difficult. Navigation is cumbersome, speed is slow, and it takes far too long to switch from paddling to standing up and shooting, so that, if Artyom's being attacked on open water, your best bet is to power through it and hope there are enough health packs to survive the journey. The first time the game asks you to do this, it also decides to throw in a giant fish monster that will instantly kill you if you get too close, and later in the game, there's a stealth section involving a canoe that is all but impossible to execute properly.

There are places, especially near the end, where survival horror makes a triumphant return, though it isn't the predominant tone of the game. Even the sandbox levels have areas that feel claustrophobic and dark and could be heavily irradiated. Familiar monsters can be found everywhere, and you will always wish you had more ammunition. It's also a bit more difficult than Metro: Last Light, even on the standard difficulty level. On the whole, gameplay-wise, Metro Exodus still has everything that made its predecessors good, but it also adds a ton of new mechanics to help it adapt to a more open world focus. Some mechanics work better than others, but given the wide variety of player choices thrown into the mix, none of them are broken. 4A Games shows a ton of ambition, but also an unwillingness to sacrifice the elements that have always worked for the series in the past.

[Gameplay: 9 - Fans will be pleased by how little has really changed in the core experience, and the many additions work relatively well for the sandbox-style chapters.]


Metro Exodus
Watching the scenery from the Aurora never gets old

This is easily the best looking Metro game to date--with a lot of love shown to making every setting look crisp and beautiful in both day and night--but it's a bit average for a high-budget, current generation title. There are unfortunate draw distance hiccups and blatant texture pop-ins, with flashing peripheral pop-in being the most frequent and ugly distraction, often giving you the impression of an enemy turning a light towards you when it's actually just a water texture blanking out or something. Particle effects, though, are notably awesome, whether it be the dust of an abandoned room being stirred up for the first time in decades, the rush of sand plowing into your face during a sandstorm, or the flashes of radiation against your gas mask. Lighting is also excellent--probably the best graphical feature of the game--but unfortunately, some surface textures look really muddy up close, which is why things almost always look better in the dark.

The sound design and music fare a bit better, especially the former, and one of the series' strongest elements, the voice acting, is as excellent as ever, with a few incredible performances worthy of attention. (I'm thinking primarily of the voice actors for Colonel Miller, Anna, and Damir.) There are a lot of intimate moments in the game, with whole chapters dedicated to simply walking around the Aurora and listening to the crew banter or scouring the radio frequencies to hear random survivors talking to each other. You could skip these chapters, if you're so inclined, and get straight to the action, but you'd be missing one of the game's best highlights.

There aren't any real extras to speak of, the load times are occasionally horrible (on PS4, at least), and the save system is frustratingly limited, but with DLC on the horizon, the sandbox levels having far more variety than you could ever find in the Metro, and the ability to restart any chapter at will, these flaws can be accepted, if not totally forgiven.

[Presentation: 8 - It won't blow your socks off, but great voice acting, beautiful art design, and an admirable variety of environments improve upon what would otherwise be fairly average.]


Metro Exodus
"Neither the air nor the drugs we found along the way are of any help now..."

Let me be real for a moment. When I first heard about Metro Exodus, a Metro game set outside the Moscow Metro, I was skeptical to say the least. I mean, I was excited a new Metro game was being made--I actually assumed Metro: Last Light would be the capper of the franchise--but at the same time, the concept made no sense to me. From a narrative standpoint, I'm still not convinced that taking away the uniquely fascinating setting was the best option for the series moving forward, but having played the game now, most of my fears have thankfully been quashed. This is still a Metro game, even though it's lacking in the actual Metro.

From a pure preference standpoint, it doesn't beat out Metro: Last Light for me, but as a game on its own merits, it is far more ambitious, with an aesthetic that is sure to please a wider variety of players than its predecessor could. (And okay, I'll admit it, that amazing ending was intense and emotional enough to make me tear up a bit.) 4A Games, with their new Malta studio, have shown a growing level of skill and maturity that proves they can keep up with this industry without sacrificing the single-player experience and without being predictable. I don't know if they have plans to continue the franchise, but no matter what they do next, players would be wise to pay attention.



Metro Exodus is an incredibly ambitious addition to the franchise that will please a wider audience while still satisfying its fans. It changes course, but by not losing sight of what the series does best, it never slips the rails.

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-e. magill 2/28/2019

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