Metro: Exodus – Review

4A Games brings us the next installment in its Metro franchise. Based on the books by Dmitry Lukhovski, Exodus starts us off right where Metro 2035 ended together with the books. Though Dmitry did help with this game as well. In a game riddled with plot twists, decisions and mutants, you will have to choose how you play Metro: Exodus. I had to admit, I wasn’t all to sold on this one. Coming from a past perspective by the fact that I did not really enjoy the previous 2 games, I set aside my prejudice and walked in with a heavy heart. Would it confirm my fears and be as unenjoyable for me as the previous ones, or would it change my mind and will I actually start enjoying this post-apocalyptic Russia? Put on your gas-mask, fill up on medkits and check your ammo-stock because this one is not such an easy one to chew through! Let’s review Metro: Exodus!

What is good?

  • Beautiful wasteland: 4A has delivered to us yet another stunning game. If you remember Metro 2033 and 2035 you’ll remember that these were powerhouses when it came to how they looked and performed. These are actually still being used to measure graphics card performances. But it’s time to move over now because this Exodus will reshape that landscape! 4A ‘s engine does it again and brings us an incredibly detailed world. Sometimes even so beautiful you’d think that it was one of those pre-rendered footages or CGIs. From the water droplets on your gas mask all the way to how the lighting plays around and shines through cracks or tree branches. And okay, I am playing on a One X, but still… I couldn’t detect one frame drop. Admiration is surely warranted in this case!
  • Open World, Pocket edition: So, in the many interviews they said that this wouldn’t be an open world game. And in a way it isn’t one. But it has all the characteristics for being one. You’ll go through the storyline on the Aurora, this is your segway from one part of the world, into the other. But during your stops, you’ll have free roaming all the way. You can enter almost every building or railcar, sewer system or alcove… There are countless places for you to discover and explore in. And yes it will limit you sometimes. But it is in no way linear.
  • Your game, your choice: And let me use the open world part to segway right into this. During your exploration you’ll get countless of options to, for instance, visit a certain part where, as an example, hostages are being held. You can totally choose to skip it, or go and free them. This in turn awards you with certain information or items that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to find or get. It’s these kinds of details that I loved so much. Because it brings up that moral question. Do I go and possibly waste precious resources for an unknown reward? Or will I just skip it, and maybe skip an awesome upgrade or an amazing weapon? The fact that Exodus gives you that choice is really wonderful and makes replayability that more interesting.
  • The Difficulty, a wise choice!: So you got your standard difficulties in here. Easy, normal, hard. Those I’m not going to cover as they are basically self-explanatory. But what I am going to touch on, are 2 specific difficulties. The first being the Story difficulty. This one is meant for those who don’t want the hassle of the enemies and want to have ammo up the wazooh. You’ll have no problems defeating your enemies and will be able to just go sightseeing if you want, as well as enjoy the amazing story at a relaxed pace. The other one is targetted for expert players. Those who think that the hardest difficulty was a walk in the park, and want an even tougher challenge. Well, worry not! 4A has got you covered! Enemies will now be tougher than ever and ammo will be so rare you’d sell your left toe for a full clip! So stealth and skipping certain buildings will be mandatory if you’d ever want to make it to those ending credits!

Mixed feelings

  • Speak up, damn you!: I wasn’t sure if this was a bug on my end, or if it was intended to be like this. But the voices used in Metro are not for the hard of hearing. And no, I am not hard hearing! I fiddled around with the audio settings, but to no avail. So let me explain what I mean. Every time there was a conversation, I had to up my volume just to be able to understand what they were saying. Granted if I would’ve been in a different room, but these guys were right in front of me and still I had a hard time. Sometimes even the ambient noise would change, as if they were talking in some big ass church, making it easier to hear, but had an awkward feeling knowing that I was standing in a tight corridor. So I’m looking forward to the first big bugfix patch to say the least.
  • Metro: Crafters edition: Beware, this game relies heavily upon exploring, gathering and crafting your needed gear. They won’t give it to you on a silver platter, that’s for sure. Finding ammo is scarce by itself and is not made easier by the fact that almost all of the enemies you encouter are bullet sponges if you can’t get those needed headshots in on time. Though you can craft them as well. But this tends to soak up most of your crafting materials in a jiffy. So be sure that if you’re going to craft ammo, that it’s an absolute necessity.

What is bad?

  • Invisible AI borders: Imagine, you are running away from some horribly mutated rat-dog thing. Behind you, you can hear their howls and screams, and then… Silence. You turn around and notice your pursuer standing still. Glaring at you like you took away its favorite toy and hid behind a glass panel. Idiotic, right? Well, unfortunately, this is what the current state of the game is. I had countless times where I actually was running for my life, only to have that urgency feeling snatched away by some unknown invisible walk barrier that the enemy could not cross. What the hell? It made no sense. Especially when if you yourself cross that border? They will detect you again and haul ass to get to where you stand… until you move behind the AI border. And they could literally be standing a few feet away from you. Oh they’ll snarl and growl at you alright, but won’t come for you. This does create some funny moments though, when one of these beasts actually poked out its head, trying to look for me… Reminded me of my dog, suddenly hearing a bird and raising its head looking for that noise maker. Which is fine, but not in this game! Especially when there is nothing blocking them from getting to me other than some stupid invisible wall!
  • Loading times: If I look at the other open-world games that were released in the past few years? They all had this one thing in common. The loading times were all fairly decent. Metro on the other hand did not pay attention in class during these lessons it seems. As the loading time here is pretty harsh. You could actually start up the game, and get something to drink. Granted this might be due to the fact that the graphics engine used has to do its work into setting everything up in the current map. But that argument is blown away the moment that you die and you have to go through the entire loading process all over again. I sincerely hope that they will patch this to smoothen out the transition from death to being alive again because these wait times are abysmal in its current state.
  • Hitbox detection: Yeah these hitboxes are quite weird. One moment you’ll be hitting those mutated freaks right in the chest, the other moment you’ll just blast through their chest without doing any damage. The other way around, they could punch and miss, and still actually hit you for some unknown reason. Which feels like a damn shame, knowing that this is an otherwise polished game with some kinks here and there. So here’s me hoping they’ll take these things into account with the upcoming patches.

Metro: Exodus 78/100

Metro: Exodus did its absolute best at trying to convert me into a full believer. And on a few notions, it actually did change my mind. I loved the open world feel that it brings. Though I cannot forgive the fact that the A.I is stunted by invisible borders, ruining that open world feeling instantly. All-in-all though I got to admit that it still is a damn-well solid game that, especially if you enjoyed metro 2033 and 2035, you should play. It delivers you an amazing storyline with solid gameplay to boot. So want to know what happens to Artyom and his companions? Then be sure to pick this one up! Let us heat the boiler of the Aurora and get moving! Russia awaits…

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