The post-apocalyptic video game series Metro, based off Dimitri Glukhovsky’s bestselling trilogy, returns in 2019 in the form of Metro Exodus, a semi-open world shooter that takes our characters out to the surface.
In 2017, Ukrainian developer 4A Games unveiled the third entry in the fan-favorite Metro video games. Titled Metro Exodus, the game follows the adventures of Artyom, as he, with his wife Anna and a handful of Spartan Rangers leave the Metro and high-tail it to the East in search of a new life.
The gameplay shown at Microsoft’s E3 last year turned more than a few heads. Not only had Metro returned, it had moved away from the claustrophobic tunnels of Moscow Metro and ventured out into the surface, a place sparsely seen in its predecessors – perhaps a symbolic representation of Metro (read: Artyom) outgrowing its origin (read: Exhibition, but he already did that in Last Light) and leaving the safety of its home (read: D6).
This year, 4A returned to E3, bearing with them a lengthy and well-explained walkthrough of some of the new things we can expect to see in Exodus.
The first thing that struck me, like many others, is the environment. Gone are the close-quarters corridors of the Metro’s tunnels and stations. Now, the surface is your playground. The E3 demo for instance, which focused on a level on the Volga, is bigger than the biggest map of Last Light (which is really saying a lot, given how damn big the surface level was in Last Light).
Metro Exodus promises a “your game your way” type of experience, much like the previous entries, but on a scale far removed from either. The developers’ history with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is in full play here, and they’re clearly having fun with the game’s world.
The second thing, which is perhaps the most important change from the previous games, is weapon customization. While the previous entries had some level of customization, it was mostly limited to add-ons to existing weapons.
Metro Exodus takes customization to a whole new level, making it more akin to what we saw in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – except the customizations made are not permanent and can be done in the field. There is also no special menu required to customize weapons, much like Crysis. All you need do is open your backpack and choose what to do with your weapons.
Naturally, the customization extends to crafting filters and such life-savers, making exploration and scavenging all the more rewarding. As a guy who lives off scavenging in semi/open-world games, the prospect is simply too mouth-watering.
The third thing, which thankfully remains classic Metro, is the combat. Despite going out to the surface, the combat manages to retain the spirit that made Metro such an endearing game. It does not hold your hand like many other shooters, leading you from one set piece to another. No, it’s the trainer at the pool who throws you into the deep end and expects you to swim before you drown.
Speaking of story, this is the one thing we know little about, probably for a good reason. What we do know is Artyom and chums have winged it from the Metro and are going East. Another thing we know is that the game has a day-night cycle which affects gameplay depending on your play style. Oh, and the game takes place across an entire year, not just a few days or weeks. There’s deserts, there’s rivers and I do hope we return to the tunnels in the game. Also it looks like Pavel may have returned in the game, and that alone is worth 10 points from me. That man was the best thing about Last Light.
Metro 2033 was a story of a boy trying to prove himself a man. Last Light was the story of a man, broken by his deed, desperately looking for redemption. Metro Exodus, I hope, carries that storytelling trend and gives a welcome addition to the genre.
Metro Exodus hits the shelves and Steam on Feb 22, 2019.
I only have one gripe, though, how the heck did Miller get his legs back? Pretty sure they got blown off during the battle for D6 in Last Light.