Reviews of HD remakes are always slightly difficult to pin down, as not only has the experience been available for some time, but they also usually remind us of how the industry has moved forward since then. After the loss of THQ, publisher Deep Silver purchased the rights to the Metro series, and is bringing out Metro Redux, an upgraded bundle of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light that contains all of the previously released DLC.
Originally launched in 2010, Metro 2033 is based off the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky of the same name. It takes place 20 years after Russia was ravaged by an atomic bomb, which radiated Moscow and forced the survivors to live underground in the metro tunnels. Artyom, the protagonist of this story, is tasked with holding his friend’s dog tags and asked to return them to a group of Rangers if he doesn’t return. As is expected, Hunter doesn’t make it back, which kicks off Artyom’s journey.
Sadly, Artyom’s story in 2033 seems to flat-line through most of the game and opens itself up to more questions than it gets around to answering. Almost at random, the story starts to include supernatural elements, mainly in regards to the Dark Ones, which are the villains of this story. But, it also never really gets around to explaining any real depth to who these mysterious creatures are, instead it only alludes to some form of link between them and Artyom . The story does follow along the status quo of bumps in the road for all journeys, but fails to deviate enough or even expand on any of the characters beyond topical constructs to make the trip memorable.
2033 expects you to simply push forward at all times, in hopes that things will make more sense as you move on, but it simply stagnates early and does little more than highlight the single minded nature of your delivery quest.
Metro Last Light, which launched in 2013, is the successor to 2033, and is also the better half of the story and experience. Taking place one year later, Last Light actually answers a number of questions, while still taking the player through a more robust and fruitful adventure. While not all of the quest can be considered unique by any stretch of the imagination, it does do a better job of pacing out the action and still mixing up the environments enough to keep your attention focused.
Visually both games are pretty much on-par with each other, and are able to hold their own when compared to most modern shooters. Even though 2033 is a 4 year old title, many of the game’s assets have been redone, which is a significant upgrade to the experience compared to the original. This is one of the main reasons that fans of the series, and anyone wanting to try it out, will want to pick up Redux, as it really is the definitive version of both games.
One thing that does become readily apparent after going through both titles is that there does seem to be a number of reused assets and concepts, as some parts of the game are genuinely mirror images of each other. Both games pretty much use the same types of monsters, which means, by the time you have shot your 1000th Watchmen, they have stopped being an issue. Both games use the same set of weapons and accessories, short of the handful new additions to Last Light. Most of the tunnels, towns and locations look pretty much the same, and you even start both games in pretty much the exact same way.
As both 2033 and Last Light are single-player campaigns, one of the best aspects of the game is the amount replay value you can get out it, if you are willing to put the time in. Both titles offer the ability to go through the game at different difficulties, which can alter your experience between feeling like a survivor in the wastelands and being just another shooter. They also offer multiple endings, but nothing you do will carry over — so going for that “good” ending in 2033 is almost pointless.
Overall my time with Metro Redux was enjoyable. Metro 2033 does feel like it was the first attempt at creating something special, and it almost got there. Metro Last Light is easily the full realization of the story and is an overall more enjoyable experience. But, since both titles are included in this bundle, players will be able to get the full picture from beginning to end with enough content and replay value to be worth the asking price and then some.
Metro Redux review copy provided by publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.