In the past, the Metro series has never really delivered a runaway hit to elevate it to the likes of BioShock, Half-Life 2, amongst other shooter games. However, with that being said, over the course of the previous 2 games the Metro games have collected a loyal fanbase and two critically acclaimed games filled with tension and an extremely grounded storyline that allowed it to rise to those levels. However, Metro: Exodus changes all of that by stepping out of the shadows and challenges for mainstream acceptance just like The Witcher 3 did back in 2015, Exodus takes the action out of the crowded Metro and into the wastelands of the former Russian Federation. With a great story, I like to think that the mainstream has accepted Metro as an excellent franchise.
In Metro: Exodus, Artyom, and his friends have left the Metro in search of a better life above ground on a train called The Aurora that takes them to new territory beyond Moscow, from the banks of the Volga River to the dried Russian coastline along the Caspian Sea and beyond. Metro: Exodus isn’t a vast open world like Fallout or The Elder Scrolls but rather a series of a defined sandbox that allows you to go wherever you want and tackle objectives in whatever fashion you want sprinkled with side quests and collectibles. The technical display at work is one of amazement, the Xbox One X version uses the full power of the console to push its graphics and lighting to the limits. From beautiful sunsets to warm nights on the waterfront of the Caspian Sea, the game is gorgeous and stands side by side with the PC version of Metro: Exodus and is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen this generation. The variety of landscapes keeps the game refreshing and the seasons keep things nice and steady and with the nice amount of enemies and beasts, you can’t go wrong with Metro: Exodus.
The story is on the level of the last two Metro games, 4A Games has always held storytelling in high regard and this continues in Metro: Exodus. Characters have more depth to them but there’s a tradeoff, they may have more depth but the story’s bigger moments that have emotional attachment fall flat thanks to wooden performances and the more weighty scenes fall flat due to those wooden performances and thanks to Artyom’s silence, it makes those scenes very awkward and very perplexing. The previous two games were heavily influenced by the likes of Half-Life 2 and BioShock, Exodus is more in line with the more recent Wolfenstein reboot and STALKER. Just like in Wolfenstein: New Order, you spent a lot of time on the Aurora hanging out with your comrades and love interest, Anna. You take a peek into these character’s lives and celebrate their biggest moments with them like weddings, marriages, and sickness; the journey is the lasting impression by the end of the story.
The combat is very traditional Metro and something you would expect out of a Metro game. The weapons are very weighty and powerful, as you would expect in a Metro game, on top of feeling quite powerful, there is a range of options you can customize on your weapons which give off a great sense of ownership. On top of customization, there feels like there’s a lot of busy work within the game. Not only do you have to customize your weapon but you also have to maintain your weapons and equipment like your gas mask and replace your filters but the greatest thing is that it doesn’t feel like busy work, it just feels organic. When it becomes organic then it becomes second nature and then it becomes a part of you.
Exploring the world is the best way to find attachments and upgrades to Artytom’s gear. Resources were always scarce in the last two Metro games, but you definitely won’t run out of ammo or med kits or won’t have to think of trading in those special bullets for gear like in the previous games. In Exodus, you have to scavenge for resources and the removal of the bullet economy takes away critical decision making and tension which is a major plus but Exodus still has you counting you in many sections across its campaign.
Metro: Exodus is a major hit and it succeeds in its objective. The story may suffer from weak acting and 4A’s decision to forego a voice actor for Artyom but everything else is A+ and it doesn’t stop me from telling you to go out and experience the end of Artyom’s journey that has been building up since nearly a decade ago.
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