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Metro Redux Review

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Gameplay:

The Metro franchise is an action-FPS series with an emphasis on scrounging resources. If you do not like the idea of taking supplies off of dead bodies, then you may need to look away from the screen occasionally. Every bullet can count and while exploring the world can help you gather resources, in some areas, you cannot spend too long. Parts of the games take place in areas with toxic air, requiring you wear a gasmask and use filters that only last so long. Of course what you find may be more air filters, but watch the time you have.

Like the graphics, Metro 2033 Redux represents a significant upgrade and update to the original, while the experience of Metro: Last Light Redux is largely that of the year-old original title. However, both have received one interesting gameplay option and that is to play in either Survival or Spartan mode.

Survival mode is designed to give the player a more tense experience, where every bullet counts, encouraging the player to go slower to scrounge resources and ensure shots. This is the gameplay style of the original Metro 2033. Spartan mode provides a greater number of resources, allowing the player to enjoy a more action-oriented experience with deeper ammo pouches. This is the style of the original Metro: Last Light. As the reviews of the original titles would obviously reflect their original play styles, for this review I played the games in their opposite modes (so 2033 Redux in Spartan and Last Light Redux in Survival).

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, the experience of 2033 Redux was completely familiar to me. I guess I am so used to the original's Survival style that the Spartan style only amounted to having more resources than I knew what to do with. With Last Light Redux however, I did find myself running short of ammo a few times, but more importantly the currency, which is military grade ammo. There was one time I did want to replace one well-upgraded weapon, but because of how little money I had, I decided not to, as I was not sure I would have been able to upgrade the new weapon to the same degree.

Besides resources, another difference between the modes is the combat and stealth, with Spartan being more forgiving. Let me tell you that is true. Stealth was definitely trickier in the Survival playthrough with enemies spotting me at greater distances, being more responsive to sounds, and being quicker to act when I ran up to them. There were a few places I remember clearing enemies from easily in my original Last Light playthrough, but in this Last Light Redux Survival experience, it took multiple cautious tries to get it right.

 

 

The play style options definitely live up to their descriptions, but to be honest, I think the decision of which to play with comes down mostly to personal choice. Yes, Survival was more difficult, but that is not to say that Spartan is an easy mode. You still have lethal enemies to deal with in Spartan, and with the right knowledge and skills, anything can be comfortably killed in Survival.

 

Another minor difference between the two modes is the watch you wear for tracking the life of gasmask filters. On Spartan the watch is digital, and on Survival it is analog, which is a nice subtle touch. The behavior of the filters also appear to be different though, as filters always lasted for five minutes in Spartan mode, while on Survival they lasted for a range of times, so you could end up replacing filters every few minutes.

One mechanic that is now in both games is the ability to upgrade weapons, and let me tell you that it is very welcome in Metro 2033 Redux. Previously you had to search for a version of a weapon with better mods on it, but now you can just find or purchase the base weapon you want and configure it as you want. This is such a very useful feature for customizing the experience to your tastes.

An accompanying mechanic is the ability to equip three of any weapon you want. Want to go around 2033 Redux with three pneumatic rifles? There is nothing stopping you now.

 

One feature I do not recall from either original title are hidden safes and keys. The safes typically contain useful resources or money (sometimes quite substantial amounts of money), but both the safes and the keys can be hard to find. There were a number of times that I found a key and missed the safe or the reverse.

Another mechanic that has been added, which seems to do more for adding realism than real use, is the visor wipe. As you play, the visor of your gasmask can get dirt or blood on it, and now instead of waiting for it to vanish, you can press a button and remove it immediately. Another nice tweak is that now if your mask is damaged, and you come across a stash of resources with a fresh one, you will automatically equip it while picking up everything else. Just a nice, but very useful, touch.

 

 

So far what I have mentioned here applies to both titles, but some things are special to 2033 Redux because of how the original game's experience was. These include personal combat options, loading, and the dreaded brains.

In the original game you had no personal combat mechanics, but in 2033 Redux, when you creep up on an enemy you can choose to silently kill them or silently knock them out. As I enjoy playing the Metro franchise as stealthily as I can, this is such a welcome change.

Also in the original game, the flow of action could be interrupted by loading screens to get you to the next section. Now those are gone, except for the actual chapter changes. The result is not only a smoother experience, but occasionally a more intense one. Without the loading screens, you now have more to do, such as defend an area, where before you just moved from one place to another.

 

Perhaps the most valuable change for improving the experience is how the brains have been altered. I described these small, explosive enemies as potentially being the "greatest challenge of the game [Metro 2033]." The swarms they formed were annoying, lethal, and would just keep coming, but not anymore. Now there appears to be fewer of them in the section they were present in, and the pods they come from can now be shot to prevent them from even spawning. This is a very welcome change.

Original Metro 2033 video

 

While I did expect some kind of change to the brains, another enemy also has had a significant change. In a section of the game, you originally came across what seemed to be a specialized version of the mutants you had previously encountered. I seem to recall them also being a little tougher, but nothing too difficult. In 2033 Redux however, these enemies have been swapped out for mutant spiders that are almost common in Metro: Last Light. I am not sure what the reason was for this change, but I have no complaints.

Finally, the last change in 2033 Redux I want to mention is the increased presence of lingering spirits as shadows. Actually I believe both Redux versions have a greater number of encounters with these existences, but the change is more striking in 2033 Redux, as they had been limited to only certain places in the original title. Now you can find them throughout the tunnels, which really increases the dark, spiritual, and deathly mood of the game. Definitely a change I approve of.

 

I tracked my playtime in Metro 2033 Redux, as I expected it could be different due to the absence of loading screens, and got about seven hours and 34 minutes. This puts it right about in line with the eight hours of the original game, especially when you consider I just played the original version of the game a couple months ago. I however did not record playtime for Metro: Last Light Redux as I have no reason to expect it to deviate from the original. Steam does report 11 hours, which matches what I reported in the original review.

I should mention that Metro: Last Light Redux comes with all of the DLC of the original game, which can definitely add some more time to the experience. However, I cannot tell you how much because I gave up on the two bonus missions I tried and felt no interest in trying the others. The first bonus mission I tried is a Sniper challenge, where you play as a sniper trying to infiltrate an enemy base. It is definitely something I could see people having fun doing, but it was a little frustrating to me, as at times it felt like it wanted me to do things a specific way. Also it decided to make an auto save as I failed the mission, so I would have had to replay the entire thing to continue. Add to that a lack of motivation for the mission, and I really had no interest in continuing with it. The other bonus mission I tried was more open, but it was very, very difficult. I gave up on that when enemies were detecting me across the map when I fired a silent weapon. And again, I felt no motivation to continue the mission, in part because I had no idea when it was even happening in the timeline of events. Perhaps the other bonus missions are better, but regardless, these are just bonus missions.

Altogether the tweaks to the gameplay experiences of both Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux make for two very enjoyable games with very few flaws to speak of. Actually I cannot think of any flaws, besides some that would be technical in nature. (Some AI could be better.)

 

Original Metro 2033 video




  1. Metro Redux Review - Introduction
  2. Metro Redux Review - Graphics
  3. Metro Redux Review - Gameplay
  4. Metro 2033 Redux Additional Gameplay Media
  5. Metro: Last Light Redux Additional Gameplay Media
  6. Metro Redux Review - Conclusion
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