I like a game with a good story, and this one is based on a successful novel of the same name by the innovative young Russian writer Dmitry Glukhovsky, so it already hits that mark sufficiently successfully. The story weaves a winding tale as main character Artyom wends his way through the churning guts of Russia’s capital city Moscow after the nuclear bombs have fallen and the surviving people are forced to live underground. What they aren’t expecting is for mutants from the not-quite-completely-dead world above to try to invade their already delicate realm.
The visuals in this epic work by THQ and 4A Games are fantastic, capturing the feel of a frozen, post-nuclear apocalyptic Moscow perfectly. Top marks to the designers involved. There are certain points when you’re hunkered down in the darkness, trying not to be spotted by enemy soldiers, that you almost stop breathing as you think they might actually hear you. That sounds a little dumb, but the full-on experience of Metro 2033 really gives you that thrilling sense of being there.
The monsters are unlike those in other games too, as most of them have mutated from creatures that were already in existence on Earth before the bombs dropped, such as moles, insects and dogs. This gives the game a unique angle that it maximises brilliantly. It is the small touches like this that set this game apart from many other derivative sci-fi adventures.
The tension in the air is palpable as well. You also get to battle or evade human opponents, be they bandits, rival factions of Red Line and Fourth Reich, or the frightening demons and Dark Ones from above. The bleak underworld and post-apocalyptic overground regions of Moscow are intricately rendered, making this a fascinating game to explore, but it’s the driving storyline as you go from station to station on your developing mission that really gives the game its engaging pace. Metro 2033 is a great game that you will happily submerge yourself in for hours at a time.