|System: Xbox One, PS4, PC*|
|Dev: 4A Games|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: August 19, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
When I first started up Metro 2033 Redux, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. The opening cinematics look like something out of a game that is 10 years old. The graphics are grainy, the models were terrible, and the environment felt animated and not at all dark and gritty as the game promised it would be. “This is supposed to be the grand remake that changes how I view the Metro series?” I thought to myself, as I sighed heavily at the fact that all the opening cinematics could not be skipped. Where was the awesome looking game I saw at this year’s E3?
Well, it turns out that 4A games must be humongous trolls, because the entire opening sequence of Metro 2033 Redux is basically a huge bit of misdirection. As soon as you get to the title screen you realize that this isn’t the same old Metro 2033 that you played before. Graphically, everything looks different. I’m not talking about a quick texture upgrade and model redo different. I’m talking about the kind of different that you see when you compare the original Halo to its remake. I’m talking about legitimately, 100%, remade from the ground up, enough that you would barely recognize this as the original. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the sound and voice acting, and frankly that’s OK.
That’s the feeling I got as I plunged deeper and deeper into Metro 2033 Redux. I realized over and over again that this isn’t the same game I played before. I usually look at remakes fairly poorly, as there is little new content to offer someone who has played the original. Metro 2033 Redux is much the same, in that it doesn’t really offer new content (in terms of new stages or story that is) but the game plays differently enough that it doesn’t matter.
For example, the game has two modes that you can choose from: survival and Spartan. At first glance, these two modes appear to be difficulty modes. Survival mode says that it will make ammo and supplies sparse, making you twitch and flinch at every trigger pull, while Spartan says that ammo and supplies will be plentiful and will give you a more action like experience. Obviously not wanting to have too difficult of a time, I chose Spartan mode.
But boy was I wrong. These two modes weren’t difficulty modes at all. Instead, they were complete remixes of the game and its elements. For example, in Spartan mode, even though ammo and supplies are more readily plentiful, enemies come at you in waves. The tutorial battle at the very beginning of Metro 2033 put me up against like seven enemies at once. Every time I thought I killed the last one another one came at me! Not only that, but I had to pump each one full of tons and tons of rounds before they went down. It was something more akin to Gears of War than the original Metro.
I went back to try things on Survival difficulty and things changed quite a bit. Now I was only encountering one or two enemies where before I encountered a whole horde. These enemies were also a lot more fragile, going down in just a few well-placed bullets. However, I was just a fragile, going down in only a few successful enemy strikes. Not only that, but bullet management became a thing very, very quickly. When they said ammo was going to be sparse, they weren’t kidding. In fact, the game becomes barely a shooter at all, and instead becomes something of a stealth experience.
The developers said that Survival mode is more like Metro 2033 and that Spartan mode is more like Metro: Last Light, and that’s somewhat accurate. Honestly, Survival mode and Spartan mode feel even more exaggerated than their Metro counterparts. The upgraded A.I. actually plays into this a lot. The A.I. in the original Metro 2033 was exploitable in many different ways. Enemy A.I. here is much smarter, able to trace you and track you down even if you are in hiding. This actually makes the game a little bit more forgiving on Spartan mode, where stealth is less of a main gameplay mechanic.
Perhaps the coolest part about Metro 2033, is the fact that there are fewer loading screens. The action doesn’t break up nearly as much. This makes the whole game just feel a lot more cinematic than before.
Speaking of cinematics, it’s also worth mentioning the new lighting system. Overall, the game seems brighter, but not in a more upbeat sort of way. It would be more accurate to say the game is “clearer” with more details being shown in every locale. The desolate surface is where you see this the most, as dynamic lightning turns what was kind of a canned environment into something that feels like a post-apocalyptic wreck. The new lighting system makes it easier to notice movement as well, so enemies become easier to spot.