Metro: Last Light Review
by Null Ego
Our mute protagonist, Artyom, returns for Metro: Last Light, the sequel to Metro 2033. For anyone unfamiliar with the series, the game takes place in Russia, where a nuclear apocalypse has made the surface of Earth unlivable and forced the survivors to retreat underground to the ruins of the metro system. The fallout from missile strikes has mutated wildlife, turned the atmosphere unbreathable and spread deadly radiation. Despite all of this, humanity is still unable to coexist as the Nazi and Communist factions battle each other for what resources and territory are left.
Survival in this world is a challenge, and these games constantly remind the player of that fact.
Metro 2033 has two possible endings so Last Light's story picks up assuming that the player went with the 'Ranger' ending. Last Light puts more effort into storytelling than the original does, which creates more player investment in the fate of the metro. The original has a morality system that judges the player based on very subtle actions the player could take and gives them ending options based on that. This iteration of the game still has that same system, but it also has some large moral decisions where your choices are clear.
The core gameplay elements are the same as the original.
The game's basics will be familiar to anyone who plays First-Person Shooters, but the player also needs to worry about survival elements such as having a gas mask in good condition and filters to use with it. You need to make sure your flashlight stays bright by manually pumping a device used to charge the battery. The best quality ammo, military-grade rounds, doubles as the currency used to buy supplies--which presents you with the dilemma of deciding whether you want to shoot your money away. The game expects you to use stealth in a lot of your encounters because it is the best way to survive being outnumbered and it allows you to conserve ammunition.
In my playthrough I felt the difficulty and pacing could use some work.
I have to admit that I played the game on Original Mode with Normal difficulty but the reason I chose this was because the game told me that "if this is your first play-through Metro: Last Light we recommend you select Original Mode," and that Normal difficulty would mean that "you will need to closely watch your ammo and filter supplies, and approach every combat scenario with extreme caution." The wording led me to believe that my choice would be of similar to normal difficulty in Metro 2033, but I found it to be significantly easier in regards to the survival aspects of the game.
Ammo was plentiful enough that I never needed to fire military-grade rounds. The filter and gas mask resources were never on my mind. I would find a new gas mask every few minutes while above-ground and by the end of the game I had over 45 minutes of air time saved up from all the filters I had collected. Because of this, the surface did not feel as ominous as it did in the original. If you enjoyed the difficulty of the original, I strongly recommend playing on a harder difficulty.
Metro: Last Light is a worthy successor to the original and if you're a fan, you should definitely pick it up.
If you're new to the series, I also recommend playing it--however I suggest you play the original first. This will save you some money, catch you up on the story, and if you like Metro 2033, you will like the sequel.