The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
the ill-fated survivors in Metro 2033's rundown subway system, players had to
work to enjoy 4A Games' inaugural shooter. Enjoying the superior story and
atmosphere meant overlooking some bad AI and loose gunplay. Metro: Last Light fixes
most of its predecessor's flaws while also improving upon its strengths,
delivering gameplay that lives up to the exceptional storytelling.
myriad improvements 4A introduces in Last Light transform the series' punishing
survival experience into an engaging – albeit appropriately grim – adventure. The
heavy toll of life in post-apocalyptic Russia is still readily apparent in
every dreary inhabitant you meet and corpse-ridden tunnel you explore, but the
minute-to-minute burdens of replacing mask filters and charging batteries have
been toned down, allowing players to soak in the atmosphere and narrative with
Light continues the story of Artyom's attempt to save the few remaining human
colonies living in Russia's underground metro system. The narrative revolves
around Artyom's quest to find a surviving Dark One – a supernatural species
capable of living on Moscow's radioactive surface. The real threat to mankind's
survival, however, comes from the various armed factions inhabiting the railway
stations, which are poised for all-out war over the Metro. Artyom's skirmishes
with these local militias comprise the majority of Last Light, providing a
satisfying balance between action and stealth.
enemies exhibit improved AI as they patrol areas and investigate noises.
They're particularly deadly in groups and are quick to call for reinforcements,
providing a formidable threat and incentive to remain unseen. Monsters are much
less interesting, as most just charge in and swarm you with cheap melee
attacks. A few scripted combat scenarios and boss battles also fall flat. While
these moments are frustrating, they are quickly forgotten once you're over the
hurdle and back to the meat of the game.
Light features tighter controls and improved sound design for its arsenal,
which now puts the gunplay on par with most triple-A shooters. However, I was
more enthralled by the upgraded stealth mechanics. A light meter on your watch
indicates your visibility, while dynamic music cues alert you when enemies are
actively searching for you. Despite still being a linear affair, most of the
underground environments are designed around light and shadow, a visual feature
A4's custom engine excels at. You can stalk and pick off patrolling enemies in
the order and style of your choosing. Sneaking my way through storage
facilities and engine rooms swarming with Red Line soldiers provided a tense
and satisfying game of cat-and-mouse, as I flipped circuit breakers and unscrewed
light bulbs to create extra cover. After dispatching all of the patrolling
guards with a combination of throwing knives and silent, distant headshots, I
sneaked out of the station undetected. Other stations I blasted through with
little care for stealth. I even
managed to slink my way across a monster-infested bridge without firing a
single shot – a testament to Last Light's accommodation of multiple play
Light packs a powerful one-two combination of story and atmosphere. A nice
visual upgrade is accompanied by a little more color and variety in the subway station
communities, and a massive amount of exposition and ambient conversations flesh
out the world and Artyom's evolving perspective on mankind's post-apocalyptic existence.
Character animations can be a little wooden and the voice-acting crew features
more than a few bad Russian accents, but in a genre where most titles don't try
half this hard to tell a compelling story, Last Light pulled me into its world
and kept me engaged.
sequel plays more like a shooter than its predecessor, but doesn't sacrifice
its intricate narrative or creative vision in the process. Masochistic fans will
appreciate the harder difficulties that recreate the grueling experience of the
original, but no matter how you approach it, exploring Last Light's absorbing world
is wholly entertaining.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.