The year is 2033, and twenty years ago the earth was destroyed by nuclear fire. Some people survived by hiding in the metro stations beneath the streets in Moscow. Now, they hunker down in fortified areas to protect themselves from the mutant threats roaming the unground passageways. Armed with a gas mask, home made explosives, and a few weapons found along the way, can you survive the horrors of nuclear war?
Metro 2033 was originally released in 2010, and Metro: Last Light in 2013, but never on a Nintendo system until now. Both games are included in the retail package (Metro Redux) or can be purchased separately via the eShop. They take place in Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels of the same name. The world has been ravaged by a nuclear holocaust and mutants run rampant. The only safe havens are the underground metro stations that protect from the radiation. But even more deadly than the mutants are the human elements that prey off one another. Metro 2033 is where we meet someone named Artyom who has lived underground most of his life. His mother was killed in the war as he hid in the tunnels under Moscow. Now a new mutant threat has emerged, one deadlier than ever called the Dark Ones. It is up to Artyom to investigate and potentially warn the other safe havens so they can defend against the threat.
Although both games are technically first person shooters, they have survival horror mixed in for good measure where you’ll need to be stealthy to survive. Ammunition can be scarce and difficult to stockpile, especially if the stages only have mutant enemies. Making matters worse, exploring the surface of the world requires the use of a gas mask and filter. Gradually the filter is depleted and you’ll need a new one in order to stay alive in the wastelands. If you find yourself without the proper equipment it’ll be game over!
At the beginning of the game, there are a couple of very short in game tutorials that teach you to avoid trip wires and tin cans on sticks. The former will cause an explosion, dealing a decent chunk of damage whereas the latter can alert nearby enemies to your location. One cool thing that wasn’t covered all that well in the tutorials is that you can find military rounds throughout your missions. Of course you can use them in your guns, but they’re also used for currency when you reach a settlement.
The stealth mechanics in both games are reasonably good and you can even disable light sources to stay hidden in the shadows. Sneaking up on enemies is a great way to dispatch them on your terms. However, guards will sound an alarm if they discover a dead body, so you’ll want to do so in the dark corners of the world. Luckily the enemies can’t see too far out in front of them, so they can be fooled pretty easily.
Exploration is key in both games, especially when you venture out onto the surface. You’ll want to search dead bodies to find new items that will undoubtedly be useful in your journey. I was always on the lookout for ammo, filters, and new gas masks. Your old one can become damaged or destroyed as you take damage, so you’ll need the proper equipment if you hope to survive long enough in this cruel future. Since the game is chaptered, you can restart the game from any completed part, which is a nice touch.
Graphically the games look almost identical to the PS4 versions, and even more surprisingly, look great in handheld mode to boot. I would have suspected that the game would drop in framerate when not docked, but for the most part it ran without a hitch. Of course the textures are lower resolution than the more powerful consoles, but when playing on the go it’s not that noticeable thanks to the small screen. The load time is a bit much between stages, with some taking well over 20 seconds to boot up. During the load screens there is a percentage counter in the bottom right that counts upwards. Annoyingly, it will get to the upper twenties and then jump to done so it does not give you an accurate account of how much longer you must wait to play. The good news is that once the stage is loaded if you die or want to reload a checkpoint there’s almost no wait.
Both Metro games are basically identical in their gameplay mechanics. Sure the stages are different, but the structure of the games is the same. I had more fun with Last Light than I did with the first game. It probably has something to do with understanding the story a little more and it is a few years newer. Both games are great, but I think this is one of the rare occasions where the sequel is better than the original. If the first game is skipped, there are cutscenes in Last Light that catches players up on the story of what happened in the first one so if you wanted to only purchase it you could – although I think it’s best to play them as a package.
The story is enjoyable, if a little hard to follow in the first game. It’s mostly straightforward: mutants bad; humans sometimes either good or bad. Visions pop up throughout the game showing what life was like before the war. As the game progresses, it takes a more supernatural tone rather than just post-nuclear mutants running around killing stuff. You’ll eventually discover different factions in the Metro are vying for power. There are the Rangers, who basically are trying to help everyone, the Fourth Reich, who will kill/experiment on anyone who they say is a mutant, and the Reds, remnants of the communist party.
Metro Redux on switch is a great buy, especially for players who have not played either game before. If you’ve already played both titles then there’s little reason to double dip on the Switch version unless you simply want to have the games on the go. Over the past few years we’ve had some stellar ports of games and this one is no different. Even though the Switch is entering its fourth year on the market, it’s always impressive to play a game of this caliber on a handheld. Newcomers are in for a real treat!
Metro Redux Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 8/108/10
- Gameplay - 9/109/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GREAT
For the first time on a Nintendo system, both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light come together in one package. They both run great on the system – even in handheld mode! If you’re looking for a fun post-apocalyptic survival shooter than Metro Redux should fit the bill nicely.