Metro: Last Light review

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia Featured

37 Comments 21 Votes 27786 Views 23/05/2013 Back to Reviews

I knew the industry had it in it, to make a first-person that isn’t drowning in cliche war rhetoric. Admittedly I’ll probably be one of the first people to stand behind a series like Call of Duty, but I can at least acknowledge the series’ downfalls. Yet a game like Metro: Last Light feels especially refreshing, even in light of BioShock: Infinite’s welcoming experience from earlier in the year. Most impressive about Last Light’s fascinating tale of post-apocalyptic survival is its pacing, despite how frustratingly slow the game starts. Yet just like its predecessor, it manages to slowly build its way up through its staggeringly atmospheric tension, immaculately moulded around a source material powered by themes of war and survival.

Last Light appears to be a game sternly held up by its source material and for the most part it is. What sets it apart more than anything is how it manages to balance the fallacies of a post-nuclear holocaust society with an experience seemingly afraid to tread the run-and-gun waters so commonly entrenched in the genre. Last Light doesn’t want you to remember it because of what it is -- a moving journey through a fractured world -- but rather what it isn’t: a shallow, cliche-riddled backwater of violence and mindless killing.

It’s in the deep, dirty confounds of Moscow’s metro system that Last Light sets off on its unique journey, and for the most part it successfully leads you to an experience brimming with subtle social commentary and emotional interaction. Somehow in between all of that is a modest shooter with a delicately-balanced array of weapons that coincide with the troubled world’s obsession with sustainability and survival.

Undoubtedly, Last Light’s most powerful punch comes from its tale: its supernatural themes and horrors are refined next to a dogged tale of corruption and human sacrifice, as underground factions battle for control of the metro. It’s not the terrifying battles with mysterious creatures that hold Last Light’s experience up: rather, it’s how the game manages to build tension -- through cutscenes and during gameplay -- as main character Artyom interacts with his comrades through damning environments with troubled pasts. You can tell that something terrible has happened before Last Light takes place, and the atmosphere tells a story without saying a word. That makes for a very emotionally-jarring experience, because you know the characters are merely at home with what is seemingly such a terrible time to be alive.

Interestingly, the game’s dying world is intertwined with Artyom’s interaction in different settings. Subtle mechanics like switching air filters on a gas mask initially seem tedious, but they add a distinctive sense of survival later on as the story progressively dims and the battles ramp up a notch. In the first hour you’re merely coming to terms with how the characters interact with this, but in its closing stages you realise just how tough they have it.

Combat, be it with mutant or human foe, is an engaging blend of stealth and action, bringing elements of darkness into the fold and encouraging multiple angles when approaching a potential enemy. I found firefights to be mostly challenging, which is certainly on par with the makeshift weapons the game introduces you to in the opening stanza. Last Light wants you to go all guns blazing, but only if you’re prepared to balance it out with some silent kills in the dark. Turning off a light lets Artyom use the darkness to his advantage, either with a sneaky kill from behind or a surprise cornering for a fast execution.

Never does the combat feel too easy: the weapons do incorporate a realistic sense of amateurism, as survivers make do with tools and weapons found in the metro and out in the radioactive world. Guns jam, shotguns take a year to reload, while the kick on your handgun will set you back long enough for an enemy to come charging back.

Last Light’s legacy will be in its story: it isn’t too obvious with its emotions, sometimes relying on silence to encourage your own interpretation of what Artyom’s looking at or engaging with. There’s some nastiness in the game’s world -- human or otherwise -- and it provides a rather unpleasant look at the unfortunate consequences of when our race is on the brink. It’s fascinating, if a little convoluted at times, but it’s at least successful in providing enough moral influence to drive the actions of its characters.

The Final Verdict

Metro: Last Light certainly improves on its solid predecessor, proving that shooters definitely don’t need to stick to the shoot-everything-in-sight mantra. It’s more Chronicles Of Riddick than anything in that sense, sticking to a powerful narrative that slowly but surely paces you into it’s jarring closing hours. If you’re looking for something a little deeper ahead of E3, Metro: Last Light should be your pick of the bunch.

Metro: Last Light

Platform: PS3 / Xbox / PC
 
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Metro: Last Light review Comments

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awesome review loved the game from start to finish, i would however give it a 9 out 10, one of the best shooters this year
Yes this is simply stunning, i think 8 is a tad low especially when compared to other games this year(bioshock) For me its 9.5/10

gammaray13 said: awesome review loved the game from start to finish, i would however give it a 9 out 10, one of the best shooters this year


every shooter is the best shooter of the year to you

Mealtime said:

gammaray13 said: awesome review loved the game from start to finish, i would however give it a 9 out 10, one of the best shooters this year


every shooter is the best shooter of the year to you



It is a good shooter though.

I imagine it would be better on PC.
Yay this review makes me happy, I feel the same way and those bastardos at good game gave it a six because they felt it was too sad, and involved naked lady bits.

Mealtime said:

gammaray13 said: awesome review loved the game from start to finish, i would however give it a 9 out 10, one of the best shooters this year


every shooter is the best shooter of the year to you


read properly son, i said one of the best this year -_-
Argeed with the good game review. Looks amazing on pc thou.
I'll give it 7/10


Just post a comment on this page -- include Xbox 360 or PS3 in brackets (but the comment needs more than just that) -- and you're in the running to win!
Well my laptop sounds like a chainsaw when playing Metro, but it still runs pretty smoothly anyway. I'm assuming if I even try to play Last Light, it'll just go BOOOOOM.
Oh well, solid effort anyway laptop :P

But great review, can't wait to see more of Last Light.
something about this game? BOOOOOOOOOBS!!!!! and guns, and more BOOOOOOOOOOBS!!!!!!!!, and monsters n shit, and also BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBS!!!!!!!, and like, underground stuff, oh and also GUUUUUUUUUUUNS!!!!!!!!! though i wish i could experience it all on PS3 ;)
Love the review. It has convinced me that I really want this game. (PS3)
Pretty solid and accurate review. I definately think that the got the atmosphere in this game down 100% And I hope that there is another Metro game sometime in the future even if I have to wait 5 years. (360)
not bad but getting harder to come up with better games this is okay 7/10 xbox 360 please i would play everyone loves being a hero
Awesome review, cant wait to get my hands on this game, I give it an 8/10. (Xbox 360)
Great review. I might even im and buy the game.
Looks incredible to be perfectly honest; 2033 was a pretty fantastic game (although it required such ridiculous system specs, if you play on pc). I'm hoping for just as much out of Last Light; the idea of combining nicely designed concepts and an interesting horror theme with a non-horrifying gameplay seems right down my personal alley. From what I've played of it on PC, I'd have to say 8.5/10 as one of my favourite horror/first person shooters so far this year [PS3]
Great review - its awesome how its not just about the horror of the mutant creatures, but also the horror of people too. Dad rented it out and I watched him play...sadly I didn't get a chance to play :( but looks even better than the last one.
Possible spoiler...not really though.... particularly funny when I was watching him play and he interacted with the exotic dancer and was like "Whats happening? I'm trying to leave"....sure you were.... whatever [Shifty] (Xbox360)

Loved it! I have an Alienware and the lighting effects just added that extra feel to the game, the sounds of the environment, the stories of the people around, it was just an amazing game and really an upgrade from the last one. Definitely one of the best games I've played all year 10/10 from me. I'd like to see how it's like on ps3 though so...

(PS3) please
wouldn't hate to play this on ps3
Top Review. Found the comparison to Chronicles Of Riddick very interesting. Nothing worse than a shoot it if it moves and shoot it even if it doesn't style game - no challenges so hopefully Metro: Last Light should be a much improved game with skill and play
X Box 360
RSOP
+
(PS3) After seeing this preview a little over a year ago I was actually pleased to see a game which didn't just involve just shooting objects but had a great story to go with it.

Games these days need to focus more on story rather than play time. Yes you will still get people complain about how short that game was but how amazing it was to play it.



cant wait to play it ;)
Metro 2033 blew up my laptop, lets hope last light doesn't blow up my (PS3)
I still have Metro 2033 to play. I remember uninstalling it on my crappy computer as people were posting about how good it looked(which it didn't on that computer). I really want to play this so I'll fast-track finishing 2033 so I can get this.
(360).
One of the games I have been hanging out for all year... (360)
Its sah good
The game looks great I love the drakness of it, Has some great ambiant sounds and the voice's of the npc's fit in to the setting great, The guns sound and looke great and when you are above ground you are on the edge of your seat at all times you don't know when you will be attacked by enemy's over all this is a great game and can't wait to play it. (PS3)
Played through Metro 2033 after my friend told me about the book. Thought it was such an amazing immerse environment. All i wanted from it was more story. And here is the game that will let me sleep at night (or keep me up all night). (360)
Before reading this you had my curiosity, now you've got my attention. (Xbox 360 please [Derp])
metro never peaked my curiosity but after that review i actually want to give it a chance now and play it. hopefully it will give me some new light :) (PS3)
I played through the first one when it came out and loved it. Been waiting for this one since it was announced. Hoping it's as good as I think it will be. Sad that THQ couldn't survive long enough to get it out under their own banner.
(PS3)
Trailer was pretty good. Played metro 2023 and I loved it! Hope that lastlight is even better! Big fan! THQ has done a good job. Shame they went down :'(
(xbox360)
Looks like a great game. Since I don't have enough money at the moment , I decided to start playing Metro 2033 again ( Hardcore difficulty , of course! )

Would be very nice if you guys sent me a PS3 copy though , I don't think the price is going down anytime soon :(
Glad the combat might require a little more strategy than Infinite, seeing as a fair bit of that was just shoot the crap out of everything :P Overall, looks awesome! Super keen!!! :D

( Thanks for the comp guys! PS3 :D )
Haven't played any Metro yet but after reading this Metro: Last Light review, I have seen the light and will give it a go. (360)
I never get tired of first-person shooters and a non-military one is all for the better (xbox)
Interesting review, you've convinced me it's a first-person shooter worth checking out despite the dozens of titles I already have - PS3
I thaught this game looked really good and now I know it is. oh and i liked the comment about RIDDICK, I thaught i was the onley person on earth who remembered Him. Maybee when the new movie comes out we will get another RIDDICK game :)

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