Metro: Last Light – E3 Impressions

You may not be familiar with the Metro franchise, since Metro 2033 was only on the 360 and PC, but that’s no reason to overlook the successful game’s sequel, Metro: Last Light, which will come to PS3 as a multiplatform release. Now that we’ve seen the game up close and personal, we’re convinced that it’s going to be worth a look.

Metro 2033 is a first person shooter taking place in the year 2033 in post apocalyptic Moscow, where humans have been forced underground into the metro stations to survive, and soon have more than each other to fight. Encounters with mutants create some frantic and desperate fights in tight spaces with dark atmospheres, as you play as the main character, Artyom. Metro: Last Light continues Artyom’s story, with him desperately fighting his way through the claustrophobic passages of the metro once again, but for reasons currently unknown.

What we do know is what we saw at the E3 preview of the game, which was a dark, gritty, and painstakingly detailed game that appears to have all the makings of another solid shooter title. The preview began with our character infiltrating an enemy facility, using stealth tactics and lighting to his advantage. Artyom can shoot the lights out to envelope himself in the shadows and hide from enemies, but he can be even sneakier and just walk up to them and twist the bulb out. The environment appeared to be even more interactive than that, as, while sneaking past more unsuspecting guards, a burning fire could be shot at to spread and put out the coals, or even the soup pot hanging above it could be shot to douse the flames. After a couple quick demonstrations of these mechanics, our previewers decided to forgo stealth and dive right into the fight.

The one shot pistol Artyom uses packs quite a punch, effectively downing enemies like they just got railed with a shotgun blast. However, the weapon requires constant reloading and, while taking cover, bits of the wall were chipped away as enemies unloaded storms of hot lead our way. The effect looks completely natural, but deteriorating cover is scary too, requiring quick maneuvering to stay out of harm’s way. Eventually, an enormous Gatling gun saved the day, as Artyom unleashed waves of bullets upon his enemies. The light flashed from the muzzle within the darkened environment, lighting up enemies and surroundings alike, as the thundering sounds of bullets drove home the immense power of the weapon in hand. Of course, the enormous speakers in the room may have helped add to that effect as well.




We eventually came upon a mysterious ally, who lead us through some slightly more populated areas of the metro. Our enemies were determined, however, and gave chase, shooting Artyom in the leg. Luckily, our ally heaved him into a mining cart, and we provided covering fire as an escape was made. The fast paced action of firing across the railways at enemies giving chase in their own carts was intense and full of obstacles, but it was consistently easy to make out exactly what was going on, thanks to the lack of a real HUD in Metro: Last Light. Instead, health is indicated not only by a visual bleed effect, but by huffing and panting from the character. Rounds in different guns can be seen being chambered, letting us know visually we’re using ammo, instead of numerically. It leaves you with the feeling you’re watching a first person movie, instead of just a first person game.

The chase didn’t last long, but before it wrapped up, developer 4A Games confirmed that we’ll not only fight humans in Metro: Last Light, but the mutants seen in the first game as well. The demo ended showing a particularly large brute busting through a wall, and charging at our character. It’s sure to take more than just a pistol shot to drop this guy, but we’ll have to wait to find out just how tough he is.

Metro: Last Light is scheduled to debut sometime in 2012, but it already has outstanding graphical and lighting effects, which hopefully carries into quality gameplay. So far, everything seems to indicate that’s the case, making it something to keep a look out for next year.