Van Redd Reviews: Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is a weird game. It is rare in the sense that it is based on a novel rather then a comic book or movie. I’m not sure if this works in favor of the narrative but for better or worse I had some memorable experiences. It gets stranger as the novel in question is from Russia and came out in or around 2005.

This game really feels like the Russian counterpoint to Fallout as you exist as a young person in a ruined world. Life as we know it has been burned away by nuclear fire and all that is left is a mutated wasteland with the buildings serving as tombs. I think Metro actually upstages Fallout as it makes the surface world seem like an absolutely horrible place and you ARE risking your life anytime you go up to it. You see the air itself is poison so you have to wear a gas mask at all times when outside, and too bad for you that the mutated life that survives up there is not going to just let you waltz by.  Neither are the various factions that control various areas just going to let you go by. Life for the most part exists underground in the old Metro stations. You get the feeling that Russia did not have a Vault program so this is the best they could do. Life is cramped and bleak but people are trying to make the most of it.

Your character will only speak in monologues between levels and realism is at a premium here. You get no map, there just aren’t any. You get a flashlight you have to manually pump up with a generator. Money is worthless, you buy things with bullets. Your gas mask can break, and if it does you either find another or you will die. It gives it a very Half-Life you against the world vibe that I sort of dig.

If that sounds harsh don’t worry, it never is too much to bear and the game seems to know just when to let you take a breather to recharge. These little things really help immerse you in the world of the Metro in the end and make for a unique experience.

The game also takes from Bioshock in a way as there is a mysterious “other” faction that seems to speak to you. Something supernatural is going on while all the human vs. human vs. mutant drama goes on. I found it mostly uninteresting though and ultimately this thread never gets quite enough explanation to really make much sense.

The graphics for the game are passable, but nothing is going to WOW you here. This is not to say the game looks bad it is just that nothing really looks that good either. Character models look very much the same and have “dead eyes” like some games from last gen. The lighting effects are nice and the texture work is good, but again, nothing is going to knock your socks off.

The voice acting is pretty good buy WHY do Russians always have to sound so stereotypically Russian in games. I salute games like Metal Gear Solid 3 for not doing what Metro does. The main character is not so bad but you literally will feel like you are talking to the spies from Rocky and Bullwinkle at points of this game. The pacing is excellent. but I was hampered by some very unclear objectives at certain points but nothing even close to game breaking. The game is fairly short though, and once you beat the game there is little reason for a repeat play. The game has a very weird morality system that never seems to come into play enough to make any sense and really should have probably just been scraped.

Bottom Line: Metro 2033 offers some great atmosphere and some unique takes on realism without being annoying, but the short length and general “Meh” -ness of the graphics places it in the rental category.