Metro: Last Light ReviewGuest_Jim_* - June 6, 2013
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Metro: Last Light - Gameplay
If you have played Metro 2033 the gameplay is going to be very familiar to you but does come with some important and useful improvements. The two most obvious changes are to your watch and your gun.
Humanity was driven underground due to nuclear fallout, making the surface uninhabitable, but occasionally you must travel to the surface. To do so safely you must wear a gasmask, but filters only last five minutes. To let you know when it is time to replace them, you have a watch, which was analog in 2033 but is digital in Last Light. The watch also has an alarm now when only one minute is left. Two other changes were made concerning gasmasks. You can now wipe off the visor part, which still cracks as you take damage, but you cannot replace filters without removing the mask. It does not take much time to remove and replace the mask, but it is longer than if you just replace the filter.
Being underground and away from all of the factories, many of the guns you find were made from whatever could be found or built by hand. This means that you will come across modified guns fairly often in both games. In Last Light though, you now have the ability to modify your guns, instead of just having to find guns with better modifications. This does change the survival nature of the game somewhat, as you no longer have to scrounge for better weaponry, but it is quite welcome, especially with some of the new modifications. Every gun, even shotguns, can have silencers and even infrared sights for nighttime attacks. Maybe you do not want a silenced shotgun all the time though, but one with an extended barrel for greater long-range accuracy. Carry them both! You have three weapon slots and can equip multiple of the same gun to them, so you can have a gun for all occasions.
Naturally these mods cost money, and in this franchise, military grade ammo is used as money. These rounds will do more damage than rounds made within the metro, but obviously cost you money.
New guns have also been added, such as a handgun-sized shotgun, which is actually very effective. There is also a long, high caliber gun that is very effective against tanks (have not tried the silencer on that yet) and a semiautomatic pistol that can hold eight rounds at a time, instead of the revolver's six.
Of course many of the original weapons remain, including the Hellsing bolt thrower and double-barrel shotgun. The knife also returns and with a new feature that I tried to use every chance I could. While you can run into rooms, guns a-blazing, you can be sure that for every shot you fire, more are coming back at you. If you would rather not dodge bullets, you can try to be stealthy and creep up on human enemies to kill or knock them out. There is in fact an achievement for not killing any humans, except those who leave you no choice, and I do not know which humans I killed that I did not have to.
For my playthrough I took the stealth path and was constantly crouched and crawling around so enemies would not spot me. Actually I found that you could walk right up to their faces this way, so long as no light fell on you. Once near enough the prompt to kill or knock out comes up, and I always went with knock out. I found it to be very satisfying to punch all of those guys in the face. While stealth takes more time, as you have to be mindful of where you and everyone else is, and reload from checkpoints when you mess up, it never seemed to hamper my gameplay. This FPS was designed very well for stealth as routes were never hidden and I never really had to take out enemies in a specific order. You do have to be mindful of who you take out though, as enemies do watch each other and will open fire if they catch you punching their friend. Thankfully this was not the case for entire rooms, but just small groups, often no larger than three enemies. However, you still want to avoid the light if you can.
Something else I strongly feel is worth mentioning is the save system. It is checkpoint based, which is not uncommon, but it reloads very quickly and boy am I happy about that. My happiness is not because I needed to reload a lot but that I have never understood why some games take so long to reload from a checkpoint. It almost seems like the entire world is being reloaded in those games, instead of specific elements just being replaced in the world. Whatever the actual reason is, I am glad that Last Light is as efficient as it is.
With the stealth and non-lethal (in regards to human enemies) gameplay and exploration of the world, it took me 11 hours to complete the game, and I would estimate a less merciful playthrough would be 10 hours or less. Not exactly long, but that does put it around many other modern FPS games. This game does have two endings though, so you can double that time, and increase it further if you hunt for collectibles and try out every single gun in the game.