The Metro series is one that I have a deep appreciation for. My first experience with the series came from Metro: Last Light. There weren’t many games like it. It had this incredibly creepy atmosphere that I would say was on the level of something like the original F.E.A.R.. The amount of detailing that 4A put into these games is pretty surreal. It’s something to appreciate with all of their games, Metro Exodus included. Admittedly, I had a struggle to get into Exodus. I wasn’t particularly sold on the open world aspect. I felt that the game truly shined in the enclosed environments. However, I don’t want to take away from anything here. The game is still good, it’s just that I think I was expecting more.
In Metro Exodus, you play as the recurring main protagonist Artyom. The premise of the story is that Artyom is searching for a new place to call home. After events in the beginning of the game, Artyom and his wife, Anna, discover that there is more to the world than just the Metro. This begins their journey, as they eventually take control of a train (the Aurora) that they use to search for a new place to live. Over the course of the game, you come across other groups of people who had been surviving in the apocalypse. It shows off how much of a dystopia the world has become. I actually found the story to be one of the more positive points in the game. There is something deep about the connection between the members aboard the Aurora. It starts to feel like one big family, as they are all looking out for each other’s well-being.
The gameplay of Metro Exodus isn’t much different from its’ predecessors. The biggest change is the shift from the mostly linear style of the previous games to a bigger focus on open areas. This gives you a lot more to explore. Additionally, exploring is also a way to find upgrades for Artyom. You can find different items that can help you throughout the world. This essentially makes it easier to survive. It becomes especially helpful when playing on the harder difficulties. There is a bigger focus in the game on customization as well. You can find many parts for guns throughout the game. This can be done by either picking up the weapon or taking the attachments from it. The amount of customization with the weapons is huge. It gives the player a good amount of choice in playstyle. You’re given many guns to play with. So, this gives you even more options to find something that you are more comfortable with.
It’s also worth mentioning that the game has a small crafting system. You can either do this by finding a workbench, or using Artyom’s backpack. This allows you to craft ammunition, and other helpful things like medkits and filters. Before crafting, however, you do need to find materials. These can be found by looting. All the more reason why exploring is a good thing. It is worth noting that there is a limit on the amount of crafting materials that you can hold at once. As far as I could tell, the game doesn’t really inform you that this is even a thing. You’ll eventually notice it when you start looting something while you are full and no longer see the indicator like you are gaining resources.
Moving on to the combat in Metro Exodus. Again, it’s Metro. There is a very tight feeling to the combat. The game promotes stealth, but this isn’t completely necessary. You have loads of different weapons that you come across throughout the game, with a few items that you are able to throw as well. It’s worth noting that, over time, your guns will eventually become grimy and dirty. This will cause them to jam and overheat. You can fix this by going to a workbench to clean your guns. It’s worth maintaining your weapons and gas mask (which can also get damaged). Apart from that there isn’t really anything new. Some weapons do have an extra type of ammunition, but it didn’t seem all that necessary to use. Overall, I think that the combat could have used a little more refining. The loose feeling takes getting used to.
Aesthetically, Metro Exodus still retains the creepy vibe from the previous games. Though there is less emphasis on this, the linear portions of the game still provide you with those dark claustrophobic moments. This is where I feel that the game truly stood out. The tight dark tunnels in the game feel so tense. It’s like 4A had perfected designing narrow corridors. On the flip side, the open world is just so unremarkable. It just makes the game feel slow and repetitive. Sure, there is a lot to explore, but it just doesn’t feel like you are rewarded enough for doing so. I think that the game could have stood to have more content on the open levels. I didn’t expect it to be Far Cry, but, I think that it needed more here. Apart from all of that, the sounds and voice acting in Metro Exodus, are yet another highlight. Everyone’s voice acting performance is top-notch. The sounds of everything in the game can come off as pretty creepy as well. The guns and everything sound great. There is something that I found to be very satisfying about the way certain guns sounded. All I can say is that, well…well done here.
In terms of technical things, I have had a few issues. I was playing on the Xbox One, so, any problems from the other platforms I’m not sure. I had a few moments of very long loading screens, sometimes even infinite loading. The only fix for this was restarting my game. Outside of that, there was also a few times where I had gotten stuck in random things. This usually seemed to happen after sprinting and then trying to climb over something. It happened a few times. The only fix that I was able to find for it was just reloading a previous checkpoint. Lastly, I did have a couple of odd moments where my character was in firefights and then just lock up completely. I assumed that this was just me dying and the game not recognizing that I had died. I noticed it because the enemies would stop shooting at me and just kind of sit there like nothing is going on anymore. The only fix that I had for this was, again, reloading a previous checkpoint. I kind of expected this game to not be perfect on the technical side, but, it’s still worth mentioning to potential buyers that the game doesn’t exactly feel very clean on the bugs front.
In closing, I honestly like Metro Exodus a lot, but, I’m not sure where I would place it in my own personal Metro ranking. I’ve seen a lot of people say that it’s the best one in the series, I’m not so sure about saying that. I think that the enclosed environments are where the game does shine, however, I think that the open world aspects feel incredibly weak and dull. I think that I expected a lot more going on here. It does promote exploration to a certain point, which I do appreciate, but I think that there needed to be some more content to these areas. It literally took me around 12 hours to complete the game on my first run. This was doing what I felt was thorough searching of the world too. I had gone through it a second time, just because I didn’t feel that I had gotten enough from my first run. I feel that the game does promote multiple playthroughs with the extra difficulties, but if you are playing for story alone then you are probably only going to see around 12-15 hours. Not to completely take away from the game either, the open world is probably the only real nitpick thing that I personally had. I found the story and the characters to be very interesting. It was fun to go to new areas as well. My personal favorite level was the Dead City. I feel that it showcases how much 4A has evolved as a developer. The level was designed so perfectly. So, as for my final thoughts, well…I can recommend the game. If you’ve played the previous two Metro games, then I think that you’ll find an appreciate for Exodus. If you’re someone new to the series, I don’t think that you really have to play the previous games, but it might give you more context to the world. Overall, if you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic first-person shooter to play then Exodus is definitely a choice. I liked the game, I had problems with it, sure, but I think it’s still a fine addition to the Metro series.