Impressions: Metro 2033

Metro 2033 seems to be a game that flew by without a great deal of fanfare.  It has all the signs of being just yet another post-apocalyptic themed-first person shooter.  In other words, nothing special in a genre with the likes of Fallout, Half-Life, or Gears of War.    That hasn’t stopped it from being successful though.  Metro feels more like a survival horror game.  You aren’t given reason to feel confident about your combat abilities, and are constantly finding yourself in lethal scenarios with things the player can’t explain.  The game itself is trying to make you uncomfortable with taking the next step, and not encouraging you to explore it’s world.  This isn’t Call of Duty, where when then action heats up, the guitar riffs are unleashed.  Instead you’re only given the sound of monsters gnashing in the darkness in front of you, and the sound of tired survivors with crying children behind you.  Metro 2033 isn’t about the highs of battle, but its moody aesthetic and the lows of despair.  It’s world is fleshed out and believable, and its plot unfolds both as cut scenes and through well written narration that subtly gives depth and texture to levels as they load.  You are constantly at odds with the unknown: dark subway tunnels, supernatural phenomenon, mutants, and the total lack of modern methods of communication.

Here’s another reason that Metro feels like a survival horror game: the combat can become incredibly clunky.   I never quite feel like I’m placing shots on target, or that I’m even on target in the first place.  By the time I am, I might as well be blind-firing because the target is already on top of me.  The levels of the game that puts human opponents in your way can be the worst.  The combat was geared towards fighting monsters, giving you enough time to shoot them down as they closed in on you, but when they did you weren’t going to last very long.  Unfortunately, human opponents don’t close in on you, and can take cover.  But they can still kill you very quickly.  The experience of being shot becomes a little too real to be enjoyable in a game.  It’s something that I can look past when thinking of this as a survival horror game.  And thankfully I was able to turn down the difficulty before it became entirely unplayable for me.  I’m able to, perhaps irrationally, look past the game’s faults in the same manner I had with Nier.  I’m glad to hear that it has sold well and will definitely be keeping an eye on 4A Games‘ future projects.  If you haven’t given this game a closer look, and you’re a fan of the survival horror genre, then this might be right up your alley.  It has some rough edges, but a strong presentation that makes it unique in a sea of post apocalyptic video games.


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