The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
Metro: Last Light was one of
those games that I was entirely unfamiliar with and up until a few days before
release, both skeptical and unexcited about. Something about another
apocalyptic set game, another primarily linear shooter, and almost every character
in the game possessing horrible Russian accents just didn't appeal to me. With
doubt in the back of my mind, I still, however, preordered Metro just a few
days before release. When the game finally released, and after I had taken off
the wrapping and savored the sweet new game aroma, I popped the disc into my
360 tray and discovered that my previous assumptions were true. It was another
nuclear apocalypse (although a bit unique due to it being from a Russian
viewpoint), another linear shooter, and horrible Russian accents abounded.
However, much to my confusion and delight, I loved it.
Forgot my boots........
Metro: Last Light's environment isn't really a new concept, but it
is an intriguing one nevertheless and is invaluably important to Metro: Last
light's experience. Those who had survived the nuclear strike had taken safe
haven in the Russian metro system. The metro system is a peculiar place to say
the least. Some parts have been populated into city type zones, while other
parts have completely rotted out and are populated by grotesque mutants.
Both human and mutant occupied zones effectively convey one simple message; the
age of man is over.
As one travels through human occupied zones, it is clear how much
the quality of life has decayed for humans. Everywhere one looks, there is a
soldier holding some type of weapon, always ready for some catastrophe to
occur. Normal civilians all live drearily. Some people walk around aimlessly,
just living for the sake of living; others drown their sorrows in booze and
indulge in prostitution amongst other indecencies, while still others run petty
little shops selling homemade ammo and other crude supplies. Everything simply
seems to be in a state of decay for people. One thing is made clear by all of
this, man is no longer thriving, it is scrounging to hold onto its very
The mutant occupied zones, on the other hand, are a completely
different tale. In this new apocalyptic world, mutants of all sizes are
thriving, even in the last human populated area, the metro. Some areas of the
metro are teeming with mutant life. Human ventures into those areas usually don't
end well for a reason after all. For instance, early on in the game one is
forced through a giant spider infested area. The area is unnervingly dark,
saturated with spider webbing, and festering with infuriated spiders. You are
in their territory, and they are not happy about it. The sounds of the spiders
crawling all around me through holes and crevices, and my inability to see them
sent shivers up mind spine. Frightening atmospheres like this are always prevalent
because of the excellent environment that Metro: Last Light has to offer.
Pavel: This is exactly what it looks like
What I find to be so special about this environment as opposed to
other apocalyptic safe haven environments is that the supposed "safe
havens" literally are next door to these hostile, mutant occupied zones,
yet those human zones are still considered to be the "safe" zones.
This gives the sense of just how fragile and always nearing death life is in
the metro. If at any point, the integrity of a safe zone were to weaken, it
could immediately be overrun by mutants. The metro is no longer just for
humans, it is uneasily shared with all surrounding species. That in of itself
gives players an uneasy feeling as they travel through any part of the
The metro is only half of the environment that Metro: Last
Light has to offer; the other is the equally dangerous, and even less
hospitable, world that was taken from humans when the missiles fell. The
surface is littered with structural and engineering ghosts, and not to mention
actual corpses, of the past. Bridges, cars, and buildings among other feats of
human achievement stand rotting while nature slowly consumes what is left. Erratic
weather patterns and air unfit to breath constantly remind the player that the
surface is no longer a place for humans. Nature is taking over and we are not
part of its plan. This effect of nature beginning to fully take over gives a
sense of pure hopelessness because it is apparent that life will never return
to normal for people. Nature is leaving us behind.
Metro: Last Light's story is one of the more criticized aspects of
the game, well at least later on it is. Most praised Last Light's story up
until a pivotal point in the plot, and after that point many criticized the
story for "losing steam." I, however, believe the story in its
entirety is excellent. During the highly praised part of the story, the metro
is at the brink of war. There are three main groups at the core of this
imposing conflict; the Fourth Reich (Nazis), the Red Line (Communists), and the
Spartan Rangers. As these groups near war, intel is revealed that a dark one,
an intelligent mutant species with strange, almost supernatural powers that was
thought to be eradicated in the events of Metro 2033, is still alive. Arytom is
tasked with finding this creature and bringing him back to the Spartan Rangers,
but of course, nothing is ever that easy.
Can you guess who's in charge?
conflicting groups in Last Light’s story is somewhat ironic to say the least.
Human kind is on the brink of extinction and yet, as time has always proven,
they still fight with each other for resources or differing ideologies. This
aspect of Last Light's story shows humanity at its worst, and in all reality,
although grim, this is probably how human kind would behave if a world altering
event such as a nuclear apocalypse were to occur. This idea that conflict and
self preservation is in human nature no matter what the cost drives much of
Last Light's story and provides both a realistic and powerful outlook on an
humanity's behavior in the event of an apocalypse.
where many believe that Last Light's story falters is later on when the story
delves into more supernatural-ish concepts (although I'm sure they can be
described scientifically) concerning the dark ones. I, however, thoroughly
enjoyed this aspect of the story. By adding concepts about the dark ones that
are difficult to explain, I believe that this creates a bit more mystery
and suspense over the entire story. To me, this part of the story was meant to
show that although the apocalypse may have been the end of humanity, it was the
dawn of a new species. The mystery behind the dark ones' origins and abilities
reminds me of the mystery surrounding humanity's creation and our own
abilities. This is, I believe, simply a deeper meaning behind a story that
perhaps some failed to see.
Last Light's characters are perhaps where Last Light does
stumble a bit. The main character you play as is a newly appointed Spartan
Ranger named Arytom. In game, he is a silent protagonist and much of his
characterization is done through loading screens and journals. Through these
self monologues, Arytom does reach some interesting character arcs late game
and does come to some very insightful revelations, but when all is said and
done, Arytom is for the most part a faceless, unmemorable, stereotypical FPS
character. He simply does not reach the same memorability as other FPS
characters such as Booker Dewitt, Jason Brody, or Gordon Freeman; characters
such as the three mentioned have qualities about them that make them special,
Arytom fails in that regard.
Similarly, the rest of the character line up in Last Light
falls into the same generic category that Arytom falls into. There just wasn’t
anything special about any of the characters I met while playing Metro: Last
Light. Every character from Khan to General Korbut fits some type of very
generic character archetypes. To make matters even worse, facial animations and
voice acting are lacking to say the least.
Like Metro: Last Light's environment and story, Last Light's
gameplay shines. There is an ample amount of variety in weaponry and customization
which allows for great experimentation on approaching different combat
situations. Guns also sound appropriately powerful and provide unrestrained,
voluptuous entertainment when mowing down packs of mutants or soldiers. One of
my favorite aspects of the guns in Metro: Last Light was the jerry-rigged feel
of many of them such as the compressed air weapons. Throughout my multiple
playthroughs, there was always one weapon in particular that I carried with me:
the shambler. I always made sure to have a shambler on me with a long barrel
and laser sight. Something about the revolver style ammo loader and way the
hammer shot out to the side when shooting shells just seemed positively awesome
to me. Even later on when I obtained an automatic shotgun with 20 shell round
clip, I still stayed with my trusty shambler.
I don't always choose to be unstealthy, but when I do, I choose frag genades
Beside the gunplay, stealth in Metro: Last Light was surprisingly
well instituted into the game. Moving through the dark while turning off lights
and silently eliminating enemies worked seamlessly. To me, figuring out a way
to turn off the main lighting systems while remaining undetected by patrolling
soldiers felt almost puzzle like, and once the lights were finally turned off,
eliminating enemies felt that more satisfying. I, however, have two small
complaints about the stealth mechanics of Metro: Last Light. Throwing knifes
should not always be a one shot kill because for one; it makes stealth a bit
too easy at times; and for two, it just looks incredibly stupid when I throwing
knife someone in the foot and they instantly crumble to the ground.......dead.
The other complaint is an inability to carry bodies after I've incapacitated
them. Usually when I knock someone out in a game, I want to move them so that
their buddies don't stumble upon the body and sound the alarm. Overall, however, the stealth aspect of Metro: Last Light is still an excellent part of the game.
Breath mint needed.......
the enemy AI can be a bit buggy at times and there could possibly be a little
more variation in enemy type, they do still provide an adequate enough
challenge and make the experience enjoyable. Human enemies are your standard
armed soldiers and are really nothing out of the ordinary, but still get the
job done. Mutants on the other hand, are appropriately terrifying and vicious.
I really like that these mutants actually feel intimidating and are rightfully
so. There has been many times where I simply ran because a demon or giant
grasshopper was too much for me.
Lastly, details such as having an air timer while being on the
surface, wiping your mask off from dirt getting on it, having to charge one's
flashlight instead of it having an unlimited battery, or even simply Artyom
actually grabbing door handles to open doors make the experience more
realistic, and thus for me, that much more enjoyable. For after all, it is the
details that matter.
If only I had a couple more barrels....
All in all, Metro: Last Light’s positives far out way its
negatives. Albeit some flawed characters, it has an intense, grim environment;
a gripping story; and great overall gameplay. As I said before, I really did
not expect much out of Metro: Last Light, but now, I am thoroughly impressed
and delighted at the sheer entertainment I experienced playing this game. I
would suggest it to anyone who doesn’t mind fighting plenty of mutants and have
a great time doing it.
Final Verdict: 9/10
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