Metro 2033 is set in a post apocalyptic Russia and it is a story about underground survival. This game is based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky and the novel is already a best seller in Russia. The development studio, 4A Games, is based in the Ukraine which definitely contributes to the unique feel of this title. You assume the role of Artyom and you have made a promise to someone that you need to fulfill. Along the way you will battle both human and mutant as you struggle to survive in a harsh environment. Keeping in line with the post apocalyptic setting everything is in short supply, especially highly sought after items such as ammunition and med kits.
There are two types of ammunition in this game which you must balance carefully because your ammunition also doubles as the world’s currency. There is the “dirty” ammunition as well as the “military grade” type as well. The “dirty” type is the ammunition made underground by the survivors. The “military grade” ammunition is the ammunition that was around before the apocalyptic events took place. This type of ammunition is incredibly rare and you will have to decide how to best utilize it. You can use them in your gun to take out enemies, however, if you do that you won’t be able to buy things you might need at a later point. If you are able to get through levels without using that type of ammo then you can use it at some markets that you will visit where you can buy “dirty” ammo or even new weapons. You will also be presented with the opportunity to help some people out. There is one guy in the beginning that needs some bullets so that he can buy medication for his sick daughter. Whether you choose to help him out or not is your decision and you will have to decide whether you can afford to do that. Another factor is that the “military grade” ammo is more powerful and it is a lot more reliable. The “dirty” ammo is made from parts laying around the underground and is not very reliable. As you progress through the game you will want to loot any bodies that you come across for additional ammunition. If you choose not to do so then you will run out quickly and all you will have left is your knife which isn’t going to do you much good if you are getting swarmed by a group of enemies.
There will be instances where you have to leave the underground and go up to the surface. During these times you will have to wear a gas mask. Each gas mask filter has a limited time of effectiveness. You will want to keep checking your watch to see how much time you have left before you need a new filter. As you run low, the mask will begin to frost up and your breathing will become more ragged. You can’t survive for long without a gas mask on the surface so in addition to your constant search for ammunition you will also need to pick up any new gas masks you come across, or at the very least, new filters. When you are in the heat of battle you will want to be careful as well because your mask can get damaged. It is very easy to tell when your gas mask is damaged as you can see cracks in the glass and it might even spider web, similar to what happens if you get a crack in the windshield of your car. As you navigate the environment you will also always want to be aware of your surroundings. The enemy has set up traps to alert them if anyone is closing in. As you walk down a dark hallway you will want to be careful not to walk over any broken glass or bump into any cans because they will instantly give you away. There are also trip wires that you won’t see if you aren’t paying attention and they can make your life a lot more difficult as well. Always be aware of your current situation and while it is a lot to take in all at once it helps to add to the overall atmosphere that the developers were striving for.
As you progress on your journey you will have a number of different tools at your disposal. You will have your weapons such as your guns, knives and explosives, however, you will also have some other unique items. In addition to the gas mask I mentioned above you will also have a journal that you can consult at any point. By pressing the back button you will get to use your compass which will point you in the general direction that you need to be headed to succeed in your current objective. It can be easy to get turned around in a dark tunnel and having something to point you in the right direction is a tremendous help. You also have some lights that you can use to help illuminate your path. If the lights start to fade then you can use the universal charger to power them.
Metro 2033 does have its share of interesting environments however it also has its shortcomings as well. There are going to be some people that really dislike how scarce ammo can be at times. I didn’t have too many problems with it as I was constantly searching for more ammo and didn’t have too much trouble finding it, however, I can definitely see some people disliking that aspect. The A.I. in this game can be pretty stupid at times as well. The A.I. of the partners that you periodically get could, and should, be a lot better. There are times when you have a group of enemies swarming around you and your partner is just standing there not doing much, leaving you to do all the heavy lifting, so to speak. In a game where ammo can be hard to come by at times this is unacceptable. Add that to the fact it takes far too many bullets to take down some enemies and if you aren’t managing your supplies carefully you could be in some serious trouble and have to restart at the last checkpoint.
Metro 2033 is a title that fans of the genre should definitely give a try. It does have some issues but I enjoyed my experience overall. It is a game where you have to spend some time searching the environments or the game could become exponentially harder. Even though the post apocalyptic setting has been done before I have never seen it done quite like this. During a lot of the game you are in underground tunnels and the development studio did a good job with the pacing so you don’t get bored. The game doesn’t feature any type of multiplayer which I am sure will be a turn off for some gamers, however, it does have an alternate ending which will be based on some decisions that you make. Even with the crowded release schedule be sure to give this game a chance.
Originally posted on Totally Gaming Network