PS3
Recommended
3.5 stars
Amazon
16.98
In Stock. Buy Now»
Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Game Itself
4 Stars
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
3.5 Stars
The Audio: Rating the Sound
4.5 Stars
Replay Factor
2.5 Stars
Bottom Line
Recommended

Metro: Last Light

Street Date:
May 14th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
May 14th, 2013
Game Release Year:
2013
Platform:
PS3
Publisher:
Deep Silver
Developer:
4A Games
ESRB Rating:
M (Mature)

Introduction

Built off THQ's atmospheric, but somewhat imperfect FPS Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light picks up one year after the events of the original game. If you haven't played the first game , don't worry. There's definitely enough back story in the first 25 percent of the game to fill you in on what's happened in the last twelve months. Heavy on the narrative, the protagonist of the game, Artyom, is once again tossed into a quest to pursue the Dark Ones, at least the last surviving member of the Dark Ones. Fraught with danger from various factions of made up of communists and neo-nazi's, Artyom's new journey through post apocalyptic Russia is just as terrifying and desperate as the original game.

The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

One of the largest improvements between the two games is how combat and gunplay is handled. In Metro 2033, attempting to fire off a few shots to save yourself from a gruesome death was often a pattern of trial and error due to the shoddy gunplay mechanics. Alternatively, Metro: Last Light feels much more polished and significantly more like a first person shooter. Even with all the crazy creatures in the Russian wilderness, Metro: Last Light feels survivable, much more so than Metro 2033.

Admittedly, there's quite a bit of fun to be had fun sneaking around levels quietly slitting the throats of the enemy and staying hidden away in the darkness. Due to the minimal HUD, stealth is handled with a light gauge strapped to the character's wrist and an "ah-ha" trumpet sound effect when discovered or killing. In order to stay hidden in the dark, the player can unscrew light bulbs in the area.

Unfortunately, the way the game's A.I. is handled, most human characters are fairly stupid about how they pursue the player or search the area. In many cases, the enemy is in the middle of a conversation when the player stumbles across them and the player only has to wait until they break apart and go to a fixed position elsewhere in the level. It simply a waiting game until the player can sneak past enemies or simple knife them from behind. Enemies can't even see a couple feet in front of them and it's far too easy to zip away into the darkness in order to allude. Frankly, the A.I. of the mutated creatures is vastly more dangerous. At least they are smart enough to swarm the player.

Some of the more interesting moments of the game are actually away from the core story. Listening to stories within the small, heavily populated areas or breaking away from the action to give aid to someone calling out for help. I also appreciated the guise of exploration freedom within levels. While the game is fairly linear by design, there are some open levels that could be compared to Bioshock Infinite in terms or space to explore.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Visually, the developers have created a very claustrophobic world, almost prison-like by design. It's really depressing seeing how these humans live and even more when you see what they would have to deal with on the surface. It was really interesting to see how the developer tied some of the games visual effects to the gameplay. For instance, you frequently have to wipe off your mask when outdoors in order to see through the blood spatter.

However, Metro: Last Light is not without its share of technical issues. Several times, the game simply locked up while I was playing it requiring a console reboot. In addition, I noticed several texture issues in the game as well as some occasional screen tearing. It's really surprising seeing a game this late in the development cycle of the PS3 to have this many issues. There are also freezing issues on occasion, typically when automatic saves kick in. Beyond technical issues, facial animations are pretty terrible, specifically the general lack of emotion.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

Overall, the main cast does an admirable job with the voice work. There are some suspect lines within the supporting characters, but it's not terribly distracting from the main narrative. I absolutely loved the directional audio in the game. It does a fantastic job of selling the creepy atmosphere of both living underground and surviving the outdoors. Music is used sparingly with delightful subtlety, also playing into the survival horror vibe of the game.

Replay Factor

Be aware that here's no multiplayer component within Metro: Last Light. After you finish the 10 hour campaign, that's pretty much it. However, there is a hidden morality system within the game that will influence the outcome of the narrative. So if you decide to play through the game taking the route of a crazed killing machine and overall bad dude, you can play through the game again to take the road less traveled.

For instance, killing humans or stealing will trigger a loss of morality points. Alternatively, sneaking through specific levels, rescuing women and children, sparing surrendering soldiers, playing musical instruments, toss a few bullets to beggars and generally following the instructions of NPCs will help you earn morality points back. If you see a slight flash of white light, that means you are on the right track. You really need to stick to non lethal takedowns during the game in order to earn the good ending.

Final Thoughts

Metro: Last Light reminded me of an extreme version of Fallout, specifically designed to freak you out with insane mutated creatures and supernatural elements. The story is fairly strong all the way through, although I can see how some players may not appreciate Artyom's direction during the last act. That being said, the strong story, improved gunplay and stealth options offer up some serious entertainment. Is it worth the full MSRP? Probably not due to the game's relatively average length, frustrating technical issues and lack of multiplayer modes. However, think about picking up Metro: Last Light when it hits the $20 to $30 range.

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 720p

Audio Formats

  • Dolby Digital 5.1

Motion Controls

  • No

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.

Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.

Amazon
16.98
In Stock. Buy Now»