Why Metro Exodus’ Train Reminds Us Of Mass Effect’s Normandy
Metro Exodus takes players on a journey away from the Moscow underground and across the Russian countryside. Artyom and the rest of the Spartan collective primarily make this trek through mountains, forests, and even deserts along the railroad tracks. But their primary mode of transportation – an armored locomotive named the Aurora – is a lot more than a means to get from one end of the irradiated wasteland to the other. It plays a critical role throughout the game that players continually visit.
Similar to the Normandy in Mass Effect, the Aurora operates as a moving settlement Artyom calls home. When the train arrives in one of the new sandbox spaces in Exodus, the train hits the breaks and the Spartans set up their base of operations around it. A lot of things can happen – both good and bad – during a cross-country expedition. Expect that to be reflected at your home base throughout the story. "The Aurora will be constantly changing along the journey with more cars, different types of cars, and people that join you," says creative director Andriy Prokhorov. "Before in Metro you had different stations, and now the Aurora acts as your station."
Just like one of the subway stations in the tunnels of Moscow, the Aurora offers a respite from the harsh conditions of the nuclear wasteland. Between excursions, while at the train you can mingle with the survivors, use the workbench to improve your gear, stash weapons in your arsenal, and even drum up conversations to that could lead to a new adventure with one of your companions.
During our walkthrough of an early archipelago region in the game, we saw Artyom reinforce the train with a handful of people willing to join their cause. First, he saved a mother and daughter from imprisonment at a bombed-out church that served as the headquarters for a religious cult that deems anyone who uses modern technology a heretic. They proved to be valuable additions by providing intel on the fortifications around a lift bridge the Spartans need to lower to keep chugging down the train tracks. Later, Artyom recruited an invaluable engineer to help with the train repairs.
Artyom isn't the only soldier tasked with venturing into the wilderness; several other Spartans have important roles to fill as well, and you may run into them during the course of your exploration. The radiated wastelands are tough to navigate, so not everyone may come back to the Aurora unharmed. When we ask Prokhorov whether you may miss out on adding crew members by skipping past side content in these sandbox spaces, he says: "Actually, it's probably more the other way around."
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