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Letters from the Front

( Editor’s note: This is First Impressions from 4 hours of gameplay. Enjoy! First Impressions will go live tomorrow.)

Metro: Exodus is an absolute must-have game.

The Metro series has been built on darkness and has been defined by
its claustrophobic setting and its closed view of the world. Set in the Moscow Metro after an unknown war which involved nuclear weapons devastate the world, the survivors who live in the metro underneath the ruined iconic city must build a life for themselves in what was once their home and the survivors form their own independent states and societies all across the different metro lines that used to run all across the city. That idea of being closed off to the world, rarely going outside is one of the key features of the franchise and one of the reasons why it is so acclaimed in the first place. So, what happens when you take a well-established series that is defined by isolationism and take it above ground?

Metro: Exodus focuses on the series’ main protagonist, Arytom after the events of 2013’s Metro: Last Light is now a hardened Ranger and has a wife. We meet him on the surface where he is in search of a radio broadcast. After a series of revelations brought forth from the broadcast, it is decided that Arytom, his wife, and his comrades must leave the home they have known for so long and go above ground. For Arytom and Anna, the Metro has become all they have known for most of their lives and the world outside is alien to them. To leap out into the unknown feels so strange and alien and yet you have a home in the Aurora, a train that Artyom and Anna spots and then steals it and from there begins a journey that crisscrosses what was once the Russian Federation. The Aurora is your home away from the Metro, it is your Normandy, it is your ship that you plan everything from.

Much like the Normandy, the Aurora is the place of refuge you can call home. I can roam about the train’s departments, spend time with Anna, build some new parts for my equipment and use the crafting bench to maintain my gear and partake in little activities like a jam session with the rest of the crew. The train takes on a mood that isn’t very unexpected of the genre that Metro sits in: the train is warm, relaxed, and a place where you can take a break from the outside world and the horrors that awaits you.

Once outside, it becomes one of the biggest departures ever in the history of the series. The world can be considered an open world but it really isn’t and it isn’t linear either, the world sits in between an open world and a linear world. I’m given different opportunities on how to approach different scenarios, in one section where I have to steal a tugboat, I can wait until night or go in during the day. I choose the former option and waited until night to raid the tugboat. Once night had fallen, I equip my Kalash with a suppressor and head on in.

This is also where the game begins to depart from the rest of the Metro games. There is a plethora of attachments to equip your weapons with, from red dot sights to extra magazines for your weapons and these customization options gives every weapons a sense of ownership. The best part is that you can customize your weapons on the go so you can be ready for any encounter.

The weapons themselves feel heavy and quite powerful. They collect dirt as you travel among the ruins of the Russian Federation, they collect mud, and they jam and require maintenance. Much like the weapons themselves, everything needs maintenance like the gas mask and the filters that need to be replaced every once and a while. The best part about all of this is that it doesn’t feel like busy work and it ends up being organic and second nature as the game progresses. It’s a nice blend of realism and casual gameplay.

Without saying too much, Metro Exodus is a remarkable game. The push to redefine what it means to be a Metro game and redefine what was always a key feature of the franchise is a major success here. 4A Games have created one of the best games of 2019.

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