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    dkirschner's Metro 2033 (PC)

    [October 17, 2012 06:42:39 AM]
    I had rather low expectations for this game, mostly since it didn't get stellar reviews, sounded like a knockoff of Stalker, and came in a THQ publisher bundle that I wanted for other games. But I admit it when I am wrong about something, and I'm happy to say here that my assumptions about Metro 2033's mediocrity were unfounded.

    What is Metro 2033? It's a post-nuclear apocalypse survival/horror FPS set in the Moscow metro system and surrounding above-ground wasteland. It IS like Stalker in many ways, but it comes into its own after the beginning. That said, the beginning of Metro 2033 is unimpressive. It's most reminiscent here of Stalker, and it's definitely the most boring and perplexing part. There are many human settlements in the metro system, and you've got to leave yours and travel to take a message to someone in another one. All the settlements are under attack by mutants and the "Dark Ones," some spooky sentient creatures. There are, of course, plenty of mutants in Stalker. The Dark Ones have some kind of psychic connection, similar to the weird goings-ons in Stalker. There are also the Anomalies, which, like the Anomalies in Stalker, are beings (?) or phenomena that just shred anything that gets near them. They even talk about people who leave the metro to go above ground and collect things, or who even live temporarily above ground, as Stalkers...just like in Stalker. And the AI and people in the camps behave oddly similar to how they behaved guessed it, Stalker. There are plenty of guitar-playing metro dwellers just like the omnipresent guitarists in Stalker. And the same bizarre choice of language that some of the human AI enemies yell at you is also found in Metro 2033. But thank god no one called me 'bro' in this game.

    After the beginning, I was ready to just wait for the game to crash and burn, but it picked itself off the ground and assembled into a kickass horror shooter. As I said, you travel from place to place through the tunnels. One thing I liked about the pacing and story is that you would expect everything to go wrong, right? But it doesn't! You safely arrive here and there with the action in between, but you always meet someone and need to go just a little farther. And as you go farther through the metro system, you encounter weirder and weirder stuff, and the tunnels become scarier and scarier, the mutants deadlier and deadlier. The game has some phenomenal set pieces. I remember the first one I noted where you have to ride a rail car from point A to point B and man the machine gun as mutants swarm the car. It was terrifying. They jump onto the car and you frantically shoot them off. They kill one of your allies. They kill another. There are more of them on the car, too many to shoot off. Finally the car overturns and almost crushes you, but everyone you were riding with are dead. It was very exciting. There are numerous set pieces like this that are absolutely adrenaline-pumping, not just for the action, but for the genuine fear, both of dying and of the mutants.

    The tunnels aren't the only star of the show though. Sometimes you have to go above ground into the waste. The real sick mutants live up there, like these flying bat things that you always have to look out for since they'll swoop on you and kill you. When you go above ground, and sometimes in places where radiation is thick below ground, you must wear a gas mask. This is one of the real survival elements. As you get attacked, gas masks crack, which means you must constantly be looking for a new mask. If it gets too cracked you choke and die. You also need air filters. Run out of air filters and you choke and die. You also carry a small generator that lets you pump and charge your flashlight and one of your guns. All these very specific things you must keep track of or die/be disadvantaged. So anyway, you go above ground, which is its own wasteland type environment, freezing cold, dead. Your gas mask regularly ices over, restricting your field of vision to a tiny window. This, plus the strained gasping of your character as his filter gets clogged is very claustrophobic.

    And buildings are their own brand of scary too. I cannot rave enough about the library. The library level is the most tense I've been playing a game in as long as I can remember, maybe since trying to stick a needle in Isaac's eye in Dead Space 2. You're in this massive library with 3 other guys. You bar yourself in after one of the bats tries to eat you all. It bursts through the door, chasing you into another room, which you bar and lock yourselves in. Then you have to go alone and find another way out of the room. Eventually you lead your comrades into a big open section, and the flying thing comes again and injures one of your buddies. Very sad. And every time one of your buddies dies or is injured in this game, it sucks. I felt so much more vulnerable every time I lost an ally. So eventually you are left alone again and you come face to face with the freakin scariest monsters in the game, the Librarians, these big fanged alien/ape looking creatures that run faster than you and kill you quickly. The second half of the library level you just try to avoid the Librarian(s) [I don't even know how many there were]. They have a thing where they like to jump up and down levels of a building through holes in the wall/floor, so you always have to be alert looking for holes, then just be damn careful around them. Running from the librarians entailed many death-defying feats in which I barely made it alive. I absolutely loved that level. I should also nod to the last level when you have to climb a tower. It was also intense.

    The game also features the 'evil humans,' as we are wont to be. They did an interesting job with the Nazis vs. the Communists, who each had bastions undergound and were fighting a war with one another. At one point, you have to go to a Soviet camp and you get forced into the front lines, from which you must escape, then fight your way through the Nazi camps. That part was hard as hell, and really neat the way that ideological battle raged. Your character was born underground in the metro and "heard that the Nazis and the Communists fought a giant war long ago." Nice touch.

    So by the end, the game grew on me. At first I found it derivative and unfair. The shooting isn't that great, to be honest, and the human enemies in particular have a knack for knowing exactly where you are at all times and flanking you, for seeing you in the pitch darkness, for shooting you through walls and cover, and for having thick and/or metal skin that takes multiple bullets to the face or other vital regions before dying. I got used to it though. I guess it forced me to be more careful at times, smart at times, and cheap at times. Since they can exploit me, I found out how to exploit them. The best trick was in battles with ally AI. I realized that my allies would never run out of ammunition, and that they would never die unless they were scripted to do so. So I ended up just running around in circles during battles with a train of enemies chasing/firing at me, and letting my allies deal with them. This is why, in a game about conserving ammo (ammo is even currency it's so valuable!), I wound up with like 300 machine gun rounds and over 100 rounds of this awesome sniper/shotgun ammo.

    The very end was very cool. I hear there is a sequel coming out shortly. Also, my last Stalker comment, like Stalker, Metro 2033 is based off a book, which I intend to obtain and read!
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    dkirschner's Metro 2033 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 7 October, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Friday 12 October, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    I'm starting to like it. Very atmospheric, surreal psychic anomalies. Stalker-ish. Combat not great. Hard. ------ Turned into a thrilling experience. Survival elements fantastic. Metro tunnels, wastelands, LIBRARY all provide serious atmosphere.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on Metro 2033

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Metro 2033 (PC) by TStanesa (rating: 5)


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