Some Metro 2033 Gameplay
The game itself is based upon the novel of the same name from Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky and its protagonist Artyom. The game is played from his perspective, mostly underground in the metro tunnels where Artyom was raised (during the initial narrative you discover he was born just before the devastation) locked in a battle of sheer survival. Mutant rats, Bandits, Communists, Fascists and even an unknown supernatural force simply referred to as "The Dark Ones" are out to get you. However help is occasionally at hand, as you'll forge friendships, although some of these are forged unwillingly and put you unnecessarily into harms way so you have to keep your wits about you.
The game oozes atmosphere from every possible orifice, the closeness of the different metro communities, watching a father play with crudely crafted wooden toys with his son, the gathering around a fire with someone playing a guitar as the others listen intently. On the flip-side of this warmth you get the darkness of the metro tunnels, the eerie echoes and bone tingling screams of the mutants as they catch your scent and charge en-masse at you, forcing the decision to use what little ammunition you may have.
While on the subject of ammunition, the rare military grade rounds that you may find are the game's currency where you may purchase new weapons, armour and more ammunition, however you will have moments where you simply have to make the choice of dangerous melee combat or to keep a safe distance but use your currency in order to suppress your assailant(s).
While the game itself is relatively linear in it's progression, with a rare opportunity to wander off for a side mission or two, the pace of the game is so well laid out that you can forgive the developers for not giving you a massive expanse to wander in. It is meant to be a tale rather than a massive RPG after all. One could be forgiven in comparing the pace and style to that of Half-Life where sublime action packed set pieces intersect the games' time line with near surgical precision, making you never bored of the game at all.
Unlike conventional FPS title's you'll notice that Metro 2033, for the most part, has a lack of a HUD, preferring to rely on more your own eyes to check on your ammo levels as handily the first SMG you receive has a transparent magazine so you can physically see your remaining ammunition. Every subsequent weapon will have some form of visual indicator as to when your gun may need reloading so you do have to keep your wits about you while under fire.
When the time comes and you do have to venture out into the wastelands above the tunnels then you'll have to equip your gas mask, only your own breathing and your watch will be your indicators on when to change your filters over. There is also a nice effect on the gas mask itself when the filter is becoming non functional in that your mask actually starts to fog around the edges making it harder than what it already is to see out of it. Finally, make sure you take care of the mask as it will fracture and eventually shatter as you take hits in firefights.
Everything is wonderfully detailed and increases that immersion level for the player, additionally if you're lucky enough to have a DX11 capable card then it'll look even nicer, having said that, the game looks outstanding even in the ageing DX9 so there is plenty to ogle at for the eye candy aficionados. The character models are believable and have solid animation, the shadow effects are awesome, catching a glimpse of a fast moving shadow that's about three times the size of you gets the heart rate going and everything is so lovingly detailed that it makes me wonder what else these developers are capable of.
Ok, while the world above the metro tunnels does not look that wondrous you have to remember that it's been ravaged by nuclear weapons, you can only do so much with a wasteland and I think 4A have done an admirable job on their first outing together after splintering away from GSC Game World, developers of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, and it's a game I definitely recommend obtaining for your collection.
Overall Score: 8/10