The dystopian future of Metro: Last Light still beckons

Articles: Gaming
Apr 24, 2021 Written by:ROG Article

I crept through the dark abyss, further into the remnants of the metro. I had just cleared a room, and intended to stay undercover to avoid unwanted attention. An oblivious NPC marched past me and leaned against the rusted grate of a massive sewer pipe. It was the wrong move, but I couldn't resist the temptation to execute that enemy on sight. Shotgun in hand, I slowly snuck behind him and let loose with both barrels. The knockback launched my prey off the platform and into the shadowy depths. Unfortunately, the shotgun blast also rang through the tunnel and alerted hordes of enemies to my precise location. I holstered my hand cannon, preparing for a continuous onslaught of Nazi soldiers. So much for a stealthy entry.

metro-6Image source: Gamesplanet

Walking the line between stealth shooter and horror adventure, Metro: Last Light continues the story of a dystopian world after a nuclear apocalypse. That’s a type of universe that I’m always eager to explore, so I went into Metro with high expectations. I found myself in the shoes of a young metro dweller who’d spent his life underground, only to be drawn to the light of the new world above ground—a world filled with aliens. I was absorbed into the extraterrestrial setting and the strange plot twists at every turn. In Last Light’s lightest moments, I was protecting a friendly alien child, almost like Kratos guarding his son in God of War. As the action heated up, I found myself disrupting the political parties of the underground, creating a revolution, and working to save humanity.

metro-1Image source: Gamesplanet

I was pleased to find that the game's mechanics still work exceptionally well eight years after its release, and its landscapes pack a surprisingly modern look and feel thanks to advanced graphics features like tessellation. Even better, the game lets me destroy many of the obstacles in my path. In most modern titles, I treat destructible environments like a shooting star: rare to see and astonishing when they occur. It’s incredible to see a game made years ago filled with structures that yield to the destructive forces at my disposal. Between the unsettling narrative, detailed environments, and effective level design, Last Light creates an eerie ambience that I found immediately immersive.

metro-3Image source: Gamesplanet

The camaraderie I shared with my computer-controlled teammate brought lively flavor to the tense situations I faced in the dark metro. The first act of the game focuses on the political warfare between surviving human factions. I particularly enjoyed sneaking through masses of enemies in their base as their leader gave a terrifying speech. I became increasingly stressed as my comrade and I shuffled through hundreds of enemies completely unnoticed. My reckless companion lifted his pistol in the air and fired three rounds, alerting all of the surrounding enemies. Thanks to his indiscretion, I had to break for the exit and run as bullets flew overhead.

Halfway through the game, the goals and objectives change. After I was introduced to the Dark One, a mysterious and adorable alien child who pleasantly  reminded me of Baby Yoda, events accelerated to a fateful climax where I had to choose between the child and the people of the metro. I began to fall in love with the chemistry between my comrade and the alien child as our small band of rebels grew. After we broke for the surface, an all-out war ensued between the remaining humans and alien forces. I found myself trapped between both sides, traveling to the alien mothership with our arsenal of heavily modified weapons. The constant threat of being mauled by aliens or sniped by an enemy opponent kept me on my toes. When my quest started, I was a lone revolutionary, but now I was part of a league of heroes battling our way through seemingly impossible odds.

metro-4Image source: Gamesplanet

By the time I embarked on the game’s ambitious second act, I had a satisfying arsenal of weapons ready to hand. I had everything from ranged rifles to close-quarters shotguns in my kit, and the full set of customization options for each weapon gave me total control over how I dealt with the obstacles in my path. I needed all that firepower, too, because NPCs respond flawlessly to noise generation, demonstrating Last Light’s ability to react in real time to your attack patterns. At times, I would mimic the gameplay of the classic 2002 Splinter Cell to avoid conflict. Other times, I would charge across the battlefield like the juggernaut hero of Doom Eternal. 

Most of the time when I sit down at my PC to game, I load up a competitive multiplayer game with my friends. Something about Metro: Last Light's story-driven experience drew me in, though. Its stealth combat and fantastic weapons reminded me vividly of my old favorites Fallout: New Vegas and Dishonored, and its story of a small alien child in a post-apocalyptic world is as engrossing as it was in 2013. Whether you’re new to the Metro series or a bona fide veteran, I cannot recommend Metro: Last Light enough as your next adventure.

By Brian May