Metro 2033 4-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* - June 17, 2014
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The story of Metro 2033 is very linear and focused, as it should be. You have the goal of trying to save your home station and potentially all of the survivors throughout the entire metro system, so you really are not going to be stopping to enjoy the scenery that much. This goal will lead you to join up with multiple people with their own principles and purposes and go through many dangers to get where you have to be. While the mutants provide the horror aspect of the game, the people provide the survival as so many want to kill you or are struggling with you to live on.
The game begins with a flash-forward, but soon takes you to the events that started you on your quest. A Ranger named Hunter, who is a friend of your father, has come to your home station with news. After he sees what has been happening there, he sets out to report what is happening with the Dark Ones. These mutants are particularly lethal as they destroy men's minds and are not so easily stopped with bullets. If Hunter does not return in a few days, you, Artyom, are to set out for Polis and deliver the information yourself.
If you thought that getting from one metro station to another would be easy, you are very mistaken. Not only are the mutants invading the tunnels all the time, but not every station is open to visitors and those just looking to pass through.
There are three main factions in the metro, beyond the people just trying to survive and the bandits. The Nazis and Communists are trying to take over the metro to put it all under their strict rules. They are in a constant war with each other for supremacy and have little interest in holding fire so some kid can deliver a message. The Rangers, like Hunter, are a more neutral party, just interested in killing the mutants and protecting the metro from the outside threats.
Along the way to the Rangers' base, you will encounter people like the unsavory Bourbon who appears to have only himself as an interest, but will accept your help to that end. Kahn is considerably more helpful as he escorts you through some of the tunnels and introduces you to some of the more unusual phenomena of the metro.
Being based on a book, the story definitely has a fair amount of depth to it, but only in the places a linear FPS allows. That is just a comment and not a criticism, to be clear. You do not need to worry about being forced into long-winded events meant to fill in backstory that may or may not explain what is happening and what is coming. If you want some more backstory, you can listen to the conversations around you and do some exploring. You will never deviate from your mission by much, but there is some reward for doing so.
Unlike the book, the game does have two endings you can experience. Unlocking the non-canon ending is a little tricky though, as it requires certain choices to fill up an invisible morality meter. If you do not know where or what the choices are, it is fairly easy to miss them. Either explore everywhere or look up a guide for the game. I would rather not go into detail and risk spoiling anything.
Even on what is my third or fourth playthrough, Metro 2033 still provided me with an interesting and enjoyable story. For someone unfamiliar with the story, I am confident you will find yourself being driven to continue forward, to see what happens next.