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Metro: Last Light (PC, 2013)

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June 19th, 2013

Metro: Last Light, the sequel to Metro: 2033 is a Russian post apocalyptic horror survival game, set in the remains of the Moscow metro system. It’s a little like Fall Out 3 but isn’t open world and has a linear story.

In that year I was more involved playing Fall Out 3: New Vegas. I was eager to play Metro but kept postponing it when suddenly the news arrived there was going to be a new title in 2013. Which was a surprise because game studio THQ was already in trouble, and it’s supposed to be created MacGyver style. When it went broke last year, the title was taken over by Volition, a subsidiary of Koch Media. This studio brought it out under the Deep Silver label. So, delayed and transferred, it was finally released in May 2013.

metro6 It’s a real horror survival game. Playing Metro: Last Light provides a suffocating and smothering experience. Prepare for some lonely terror in this throat slashing stealth game with horrifying ammo scarcity. You have to keep track of every bullet and have to re-use your throwing knife as much as possible. Also, you must keep an easily cracking gas mask ready, filled with filters.

You’re Artyom, who’s from the 2033 episode, which is inspired by/ based on the book by Dmitry Glukhovsky. This is not Metro: 2034, but a spinoff of the first story, involving the author of the books!

Born in the war in 2013,  raised in the metro, you start out as a special scout because of your special bond with the Dark One, a mystic being coming forth from the spoils of war. The shadows are communicating with Artyom appearing as ghosts every now and then. When you’re not sure you saw that shade in the corner, it appears again right in front of you. It’s scary, it’s bloody and can be upright terrifying.

metro5I think the power of this game is that the outside is even more oppressive than the already damp and dangerous Moscow metro. Dead Moscow is a disaster area. Crashed planes, destroyed cars, abandoned buildings, poisonous air and mutated wild animals. Not the place to be. Dragon-like demons fly around and may take you to their nest for their babies to feast on you. Or dump your sorry ass in the swamps filled with hyperactive and super aggressive giant shrimps.

artyomsknifeThe stealth in this game works out pretty well. It motivates to distinguish lights, disorientate foes and then double head shoot two of them at once. Or stab them in the neck one by one. Your knife is your most important ally.


The AI of the mutants is very basic, they just jump at you and start slamming. The human foes provide a pretty decent AI. While being almost blind while you’re sneaking up on them, if detected, they’ll be cluttering the hallway in no time, sometimes with tough armor. They have pretty good tactical insights, and since Metro is a trial and error kind of game, you don’t mind retrying levels again to this time empty the level as silent as possible. Because of the good balance between action, suspense and setting, you’ll pretty much enjoy every step you take. Slicing their throats is most effective if you can manage to sneak up close to them. Detection equals death, unless you kill them first with painstaking accuracy. Ammo is scarce. Your overall weaponry is slow. In close combat, you must shoot/stab to kill, because too much reloading is the end of Artyom.

metro2Outside or in open pieces of metro, deformed animals are your greatest challenge. I play this game on a big HD screen with 5.1 DTS sound. The mutants howl before they attack you, but you can’t always see them yet. It’s a thrill, you can be lunged at out of nowhere and you have to try to kill them quickly because they come in whole packs. The bosses are also mutated creatures, very dangerous and deadly!

Artyom gets a variety of revolvers, pistols, machine guns, shotguns and rifles you can manually upgrade. Silencers, longer barrels, extensions and scopes are available. You have to choose and manage your stuff carefully. You can trade weapons in the rare places where humans still live (or better said drink vodka, pass out and day-dream about better times). These places are simply put a thing of beauty. How lively one can imagine an otherwise lifeless and empty tube! Hanging around other survivors who keep pigs (including hundreds of flies) and have small parties under the ground is so compelling you almost feel the need to settle there. The Russian setting literally tastes like a hangover after a night of slamming vodka.

metro4People clutter in factions, basically friends, foes or neutral parties. There’s a large group of neo-Nazis working to build the Fourth Reich again. They ended up in Moscow after the third world war ravaged the world in 2013. The evil factions give lots and lots of human foes to slay, fulfilling your urge to kill.

You’re carrying a lighter, night vision goggles, a flashlight and some other things to get you to survive the huge metro system beneath a desecrated Moscow.

Artyom can use railcars to travel the metro, encountering a lot of empty, cobweb filled places, dead bodies, gangs and random survivors. It’s not exactly free movement because of the rail system but it’s awesome because it feels a like a slow roller coaster horror show. You don’t know what’s next and sometimes you see eerie, empty spaces, where it’s in no way visible or clear if you really have to go in…

metro3One thing I don’t like about Metro: Last Light is the checkpoint system. I’m a little hyperactive, so I know I’m bound to hasten myself into death. While I can replay the levels as much as I want, the levels contain several missions. I want to restart the missions whenever I want. Now I’m obligated to re-run complete levels and I can’t choose my overall equipment. Earlier finished levels start with the set of stuff you have then based on the story.  Also, the 3D has numerous glitches but if we see that the developers didn’t have the time or luxury to super fine tune this game… It’s a thing easily forgiven in this otherwise unforgettable experience.

I recommend Metro: Last Light in the broadest sense. It’s an excellent game. You’ll feel locked up in a creepy environment which oddly feels as home as well. Gluhkovsky’s story makes it all feel complete. Very good game play accessibility and you don’t have to be a fan -or play Metro: 2033- to enjoy this game. I’m definitely going to play that if I can find it somewhere. Accompanied by the brilliant A4 engine, decent AI, a high level of bloodcurdling suspense, gorgeous design, a swell story, the heavy Russian accent and the gallons of vodka… This is a must play for everyone, hardcore gamer or casual gamer. Приветствия!







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  • Patrick Verhagen

    Nice read! I like your experience with this game. I have viewed a friend of mine playing this game for a few hours, and I noticed how much you get taken in by the game’s suspense. We also had this feeling of being “home” while we where underground. And when you get on the outside, you really want to get back underground where you feel it’s “safe” lol.
    Also the russian characters where so much fun to hang out with!

  • Kobus Kunneman

    Need. This.

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