The lights are on
Despite the fact that Metro: Last Light garnered record-breaking
sales for the series, most fans have moved on to other shooters (not surprising, considering the game came out back in May). While it may no
longer be at the forefront of gamers' minds, I think Metro: Last List has
earned a spot on our Top 50 list.
I wasn't a big fan of Metro 2033; I felt the gameplay was
punitively difficult and that many of the survival mechanics – while certainly
unique – made the game less fun to play than it should have been. Metro: Last
Light not only fixed those problems, it also improved upon the series' main
strengths: its story and atmosphere.
4A Games really tightened up the series' shooting mechanics,
putting the gunplay on par with most modern shooters. For some fans of the
original game, that's a backhanded compliment – but improving the controls and
balancing the difficulty doesn't transform Last Light into a run-and-gun
shooter by any stretch of the imagination.
Last Light deftly accommodates both action and stealth play styles,
a feat that even the most popular series and acclaimed developers struggle with. Much of the stealth
and strategy revolves around light; individual light bulbs can be shot out or
unscrewed, shrouding areas in darkness (and showing off 4A Games' custom
graphics engine, which goes above and beyond most engines in how it handles
While I found Last Light's gameplay a lot more engaging than
its predecessor, the setting and story are still what stick with me the most.
Metro is based on a series of Russian novels, and it shows; the plot contains
more interesting themes and introspection than your average shooter. These
themes play out in the various underground metro stations that you visit, each
of which has adopted a different political system. You also meet plenty of
interesting characters along the way, who defy the common stereotypes we expect
from shooters. The result is a more nuanced post-apocalyptic story, where the
real threat isn't the monsters lurking in the shadows (although they're
certainly a problem), but rather the desperate human tribes that ascribe to
conflicting ideologies. There are some obvious twists along the way, but also
some well-handled moments.
Last Light sticks out in my mind as one of the most
atmospheric games of the year, and any shooter that can shake up the
conventions of the genre and present players with a more intellectually
stimulating story deserves a spot on our Top 50 list.
The Top 50 ChallengeMost of the FPS fans in the office seemed to enjoy Metro:
Last Light to some degree, but it's still unclear whether that will be enough
to make the Top 50 list. When I brought the game up at our feature meeting,
Matt Helgeson expressed interest in playing it, and I think he's a great
choice. Matt isn't the biggest FPS fan in the office, but he has an
appreciation for games that try to do something different, and he enjoys a good
story. I'm interested in hearing if Last Light's gameplay clicks with him, and
if he finds the atmosphere and story as compelling as I remember them to be.
Matt was given one day to play
Metro: Last Light. Come back tomorrow at 4 PM CT to read his impressions and
see if it'll get his support for Game Informer's Top 50 Games of the Year.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.