Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: 5/14/2013
Also Available On
Metro 2033 was one of the most atmospheric shooters in the past decade. It had an excellent story, great characters, and solid shooting action. It just wasn’t paced very well and the stealth sections nearly ruined the game. That has all been fixed in Last Light, this is one of the best shooters, and horror games, to come out in a long time.
You play, once again, as Artyom. Set in the post-apocalyptic Russian underground Metro system; the creatures, radiation, and violent storms have driven everyone underground. Life isn’t so simple. After Artyom launched the missiles on the Dark One’s nest, the war against the communists is getting more heated. The only way to stop this war is to find the last surviving Dark One and use it against President Moskvin to stop the war from destroying the last humans on Earth.
The game is more about Artyom’s journey than the overarching story. The game is broken up into underground sections, stealth, top-side section, boss fights, on-rails stuff, and then safe cities. The atmosphere in this game is just phenomenal. Never in a shooter — in a long time anyways– have I felt actually afraid. When you’re underground in these dark decrepit tunnels and you’re hearing strange sounds all around, you get really scared. These sections last for minutes rather than seconds like most shooters. They let you marinate in this dark frightening atmosphere. Sometimes your flashlight won’t work and you just have to use your lighter to see. The monsters are terrifying because they look so close to what they once were, just mutated. This plays out through the entire game and it’s very tense.
You can carry three weapons with you at all times. They are all great weapons to shoot because some of them are kind of slapped together with parts. The Bastard is an interesting side-loading machine gun, it gets jammed often and you have to be careful. Ammo is scarce and you must make sure you save your military-grade bullets to buy ammo and better weapons along with attachments. Once you get to a city it’s like a breath of fresh air, after being in such a scary situation you are so relieved to see civilization. There are some throwable objects at your disposal like bombs, incendiary flares, knives for stealth, and then you have med syringes. You get night vision goggles later on and you have to use your charger to keep your flashlight and goggles powered on. When you’re on the surface you must wear a mask and you need to find filters to continue breathing. Artyom can also wipe his mask when things get blurred out. This is a fantastic mechanic — a wipe mask button — and it just adds to the feeling of survival. If you get hit too much your mask breaks and you can’t breathe.
While I stuck with mostly the same guns throughout the game, you always feel slightly underpowered. The monsters are vicious and dangerous and you can’t take them all on at once. Sometimes stealth is the best option and it’s so much better. AI doesn’t detect you a mile away, and you can stealth kill easily with your throwing knives or from behind. The levels are laid out much better and you get a sense of accomplishment when you get through a level the first time. The pacing is fantastic and I just couldn’t put the controller down, it was that good.
The graphics are some of the best out there. On consoles, it actually ruins the atmosphere because a lot of stuff is taken out due to the underpowered hardware. On PC, the game jumps to life with mind-blowing lighting effects, super-high-resolution textures, and various other things that actually severely downgrade the experience on consoles. Last Light is one of those games where graphics are a huge part of the experience. The lighting, textures, depth of field, all that stuff makes the game just come to life. You have to play it to experience it. I honestly have to say that you won’t get the same experience on consoles as you will on PC. If you buy the PC version you also get the Metro 2033 eBook for free as well.
Overall, Last Light is one of the most intense and frightening shooters made in the past decade, nothing comes close. The sheer terror you feel when Artyom is breathing heavily in his mask, blood and mud are dripping down your mask, and your watch says you only have 90 seconds of filter life left. Mutants are after you and you panic and run to find filters, then you have to turn and face them. With the destroyed world around you, you are constantly reminded that this was once a habitable place. You walk through buses and planes with skeletons in the seats, and apartment buildings with ghosts that haunt them. Anyone who wants to feel survival horror, don’t play the new Resident Evil or Silent Hill, Last Light is your one-way ticket.