Ranting While Playing: Metro 2033

30 seconds into this game and I already almost died when a ladder collapsed and my partner had to catch me. I predict some Modern Warfare excessive spectacle influence…

I fought off a bunch of enemies with a knife and was referred to as a “dead-eye shot”. I haven’t fired a shot!

“Watch your step! Any crunch or crackle will give you away!” You’re saying that pretty loudly…

Get captured by a faction, get saved by another faction, get captured by a faction, get saved by another faction, get captured by a faction, get saved by another faction… Add in some rail shooter and standoff-in-front-of-locked-door segments and you’ve got a pretty good summary of this game. It’s not bad, but it seems to recycle the same elements a bit often.

The vendors love to shout the same things over and over again when you’re in the area, often talking about products that they don’t actually have.

It’s been a while since I played a game this immersive. The level design and art direction bring about a real, tangible feel to the game’s world. It feels like an actual place, and aside from the annoying vendors the groupings of people that you encounter all feel believable, too. This could be the best world I’ve encountered in a new game since dare-I-say-it Bioshock. I’ll be honest. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the game and I don’t remember at all why my character left home in the first place, but I’m willing to keep playing for the ride alone.

When you get to Black Station there’s a segment where the camera cuts to all sorts of different angles in order to give you a better view of what’s going on. In a game that has been entirely first person up to this point it just feels needlessly jarring.

You’re told that librarians only attack you if you turn your back to them, and that keeping eye contact holds them back. That was a fucking lie.

When you’re searching for the D6 documents you just sort of glance at papers and book covers and throw them away. I guess you don’t need to bother opening them? You know exactly what these secret documents look like even though you’ve never left your home before this game?

Humans seem to die in large numbers whenever they fight against the monsters. Either you’re just incredibly unlucky or the survival of the human race is much less believable than it should be. Granted, this is a shooter where some guy that’s used to hiding away in his home village somehow storms through the game like Duke Nuke’em, so it’s a bit hard to tell what parts I should really be judging. Adventure games have their own messed up version of logic, so why not shooters?

This game really nails something that others with “living worlds” never seem to: all of the random people are actually doing stuff. Talking to each other, chopping wood, practicing their aim, huddling together for warmth, drinking their sorrows away, fighting over food, etc. Games like Oblivion and Fallout only seem to manage the first item on that list, and games by Bioware or JRPGs generally just have a bunch of NPC’s standing in one place, waiting for you to talk to them. There’s a gap that needs to be bridged between “living world” and “quest hub.”

This game takes the silent protagonist bit to the annoying extreme. It’s really something that only works in games where you have a party or in games where the character is set up to look powerless. In this game Artyom is left open to make all sorts of decisions for himself (narratively, not practically), yet he never speaks a word even when he’s being asked a question.

The squad risks their lives to get the cart running again as the anomaly closes in after they open the gate. Once they escape, they drive a few dozen meters and stop at the door of our destination. Why didn’t they just make a run for it? They obviously didn’t need the cart.

Characters swear in Russian…wait, what? Does that mean they’re actually speaking English the rest of the game? Why would it only be partially translated?

The final level enters into total mind-fuck mode, and is easily the highlight of the game. That said, I somehow ended up with the bad ending despite going out of my way to be a good person throughout the game. The moral part of the game seemed a bit too vague in its implementation and you never actually encounter your opponent outside of visions.


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