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Review

Metro: Last Light Review

  • Game release: May 13, 2013
  • Reviewed: May 13, 2013
  • PC

Metro: Last Light is an astonishing and moving postapocalyptic journey.

by

The shadows of the past linger. They appear as silhouettes on crumbling walls each time lightning bolts slash across the sky. They haunt you as you journey across annihilated cityscapes once teeming with life and love. Metro: Last Light is an exceptionally well-crafted first-person adventure that fills your mind with the regrets of time gone by, and understands the fear and uncertainty that arise from silence and stillness. The game's predecessor, Metro 2033, established this series' penchant for mystery and supernatural drama, but Last Light is in a class all its own. It's not just another frightening trek through the dark corridors of the metro, but a rhythmic symphony of surging dread and emerging hope.

Last Light returns you to a Moscow devastated by nuclear war. Humanity, hoping to avoid the dangerous radiation and hideous mutants plaguing the surface, has banded together in the underground metro system. Depending on how you played, Metro 2033 might have allowed you to make an important choice at the game's conclusion.Last Light assumes you chose to destroy the creatures known as The Dark Ones, scorching their home with missiles and scouring them from the face of the Earth. But a creature remains, and as returning protagonist Artyom, you must find this remnant of a race thought extinct, this remnant of a decimated species, though it's unclear whether the right decision is to destroy it or to try to communicate with it. Your Ranger allies certainly desire its annihilation, but Artyom's unique connection to the Dark Ones gives him pause and he is nagged by guilt about the devastation he has wrought.

Artyom's dilemma brings a sense of personal struggle to a game fraught with brooding emotion. Metro: Last Light punctuates your adventure with moments of dread and shock, as well as with occult visions that make the past come alive before your very eyes. Supernatural themes intertwine with conflicts between underground factions, the horrors of each element providing two equally macabre sides to a single coin. In the confines of the metro, betrayal is common and trust is a commodity. Here, your greatest enemies are your fellow humans, who are unafraid to cheat and steal if it means gaining favor from the right people. On the brutal surface, the beasts are your primary concern; at any moment, a wailing winged demon might snatch you with its talons, soar into the air, and drop you into the murky water, far from where your horrific flight began.

Yet fear isn't the only emotion Last Light stirs. The final moving hours raise the emotional stakes and test your allegiances by forcing you to confront the consequences of your own choices. Story sequences are absorbing, and typically occur within the game engine and in first-person view, keeping you strongly connected to the events unfolding before you. The most enthralling scenes, however, are those that occur within the context of gameplay. Many interactive sequences--a hypnagogic walk down a blood-red hallway, a survey of an airplane's nightmarish wreckage--relate vital events without removing you from the moment, which makes them hellishly palpable.

You shouldn’t trust The Fourth Reich. Then again, their frightening symbology makes that immediately obvious.

There is mirth amid the madness, however. Characters react to each other in authentic ways, responding to one Ranger's pedantic soliloquies with jokes and insults, likely mirroring your own thoughts on the matter. The inhabitants of the underground are colorful and individual. They move about with purpose, speaking at length to each other about war and family, about love and lust. Men gone stir crazy seek the company of prostitutes, and so might you, should you desire a lengthy lap dance. Nudity occurs multiple times, and though it's certainly explicit, it doesn't seem superfluous or exploitative. Rather, Last Light's erotic themes emerge naturally from the despair, and sex in the underground has an air of desperation and urgency. If you prefer tamer pleasures, you may take in a lengthy and detailed variety show, where can-can dancers and an accordion act bring some joy to the melancholy populace. This is life in the metro. And it's an amazing display of narrative craftsmanship.

Exquisite craftsmanship is also on display as you seek the remaining known Dark One on the irradiated surface, and as you avoid the wandering eye of your enemies in the depths beneath. Last Light is not a power shooter. You are not out to murder hundreds of nameless grunts without breaking a sweat, and in fact, the early hours are remarkably light on action. Instead, tension is carefully built in the conversations you have with your comrades, and in the cautious steps you take into the irradiated ruins above the tunnels. You feel the danger. Gnarled trees are twisted into vaguely humanoid shapes, and when you seek refuge from the rain, you hear the drops hammering on the flimsy tin roof above, mimicking the sounds of mutants' skittering claws. Your calling brings you here, but you know it's not a place anyone should be.

A number of creatures menace your journey across the surface. Amphibious freaks move from water to land, threatening you two or three at a time. As you manuever away from their clammy assaults, you must be ever mindful of the squalid pools that surround you, lest you fall in and get dragged to your death by a mutant lurking beneath. Fierce predators pounce towards you, keeping you on the move while you avoid the harsh siren calls of the creatures that cling to nearby walls. You use a number of weapons to fend them off, all of which look and sound appropriately powerful, but none of which turn your adventure into a cakewalk.

No one knows how the watchers came to be, but you needn’t know their origins to understand that they are best avoided.

Of these great firearms, it's easiest to become enamored with the shotgun. It fires with a loud report and allows you to discharge multiple shells at once, making it a great standby if you're willing to get close to these beasts. But the long reload time can be a killer if you miss a shot, given how creatures can descend upon you and take multiple swipes in a row. Ammo isn't plentiful in the wastes, though you can get your fill from vendors in the metro's safe havens. Yet the military-grade ammo used as currency is scarce, and you're often faced with a choice to grab more ammo, purchase more grenades, or upgrade that meaty revolver you favor. It's best to scavenge for supplies and ammo in every nook and cranny. Otherwise, you can't take for granted that you'll have everything you need to thrive, particularly on the harder difficulty levels, which are satisfyingly harsh.

Even a single breath is a valuable commodity outside of the metro. You must don a gas mask to stay alive, but masks require filters, which have limited life spans. You discover more filters by exploring your environs--but exploration takes time, which means watching your available supply of healthy air slowly diminish. If you don't value each minute, the pace of your mission could suddenly change from slowly methodical to terrifyingly urgent, as you sprint towards your destination, gasping with increased desperation and hoping against hope that you might cling to life. Unfortunately, you could encounter one of Last Light's uncommon but annoying invisible walls during such a circumstance, thinking that you might be able to leap over a small obstacle or follow a narrow path, only to discover how wrong you were.

In the dark… but not alone.

The air is healthier in the metro, but the dangers are no less real. You still confront misshapen mutants in the tunnels, but the darkness plays an important role. One type of creature recoils from the beam of your flashlight, eventually flipping onto its back and making itself vulnerable to your bullets. Battling several at once results in a rhythmic dance as you use your flashlight to keep your distance between you and the mutants' pincers, firing only when you do the most damage. You often find such critters in the blackest of passages--passages you aren't forced to investigate. Yet the lure of such places can be irresistible. The glow of mushrooms and the possibility of valuable ammo beckon you inwards, as does the chance of rescuing an innocent captive held hostage by the enemy factions that also lurk in the tunnels.

You aren't required to go toe to toe with human opposition. You can use darkness to your advantage, twisting light bulbs and flipping circuit breakers to keep yourself hidden, and then sneaking through bases to avoid combat altogether. You can be silently murderous, sidling up behind a guard and slicing his throat, and then quietly flinging a knife into another's back. Human enemies go about their actions in realistic ways; they follow patterns, of course, but they aren't always so regimented as to seem unnatural. As a result, the stealth is fun and tense, though you can always shoot your way out of a bind if you need to.

Take enough damage, and the cracks in your mask--and in your strategy--begin to show.

Firefights can be tough, depending on where and how you're caught sneaking around. You could find yourself cornered, wishing you had put a silencer on that sniper rifle rather than drawing everyone's attention with a single shot. Your enemies are uniformly aggressive when alerted, though hardly the sharpest tacks in the box. Several might get stuck in place, their weapons' barrels clipping through each other and the wall as they twirl about. Others might run about in nonsensical ways or fail to notice your presence as quickly as you'd expect. Yet given the close confines in which you normally face these soldiers, AI issues aren't great distractions, as you'll often be too busy staying alive to notice the oddities. It's when you get stealthy again that the discrepancies become most obvious.

Metro: Last Light's battles and sneaky sequences are tense delights, but what makes the adventure truly sing are how such scenes flow from one to the next--and how the detours between them make battles more impactful. Last Light frequently disrupts its own pace, going from terror to relief in a heartbeat, and putting you in one atmospheric location after another. At one point, you get a short look into a room before you drop into it from the vent above. The room is full of corpses, but it's the sight of one corpse in particular that fills you with unease: that of a little boy. Last Light doesn't linger here; there is no internal dialogue that tells you that Artyom is driven to anger in that moment. But the visual enrages you nonetheless, making the upcoming action and plot points more than just about warring men, but about the consequences that conflict has on the future of the metro.

It's best not to get caught, but if you do, you can shoot your way out of a jam.

The surface brings a tenuous visual warmth, even though though the sunlight is diffused through dreary gray clouds. Out here, one companion in particular brings the harsh exterior an unexpected humanity, while diverse sequences, like one that has you escaping the brash onslaught of the wind, keep the pace from ever becoming too predictable. And even in this wasteland, there's visual variety that keeps Last Light from becoming too overbearing. There's beauty in its indigo skies and battered cityscapes, and even in the sunken, asymmetrical angles of a watcher's face. Battling several such beasts at once without any noticeable frame rate drops requires a beast of a machine, however; owners of ATI video cards in particular will notice that Metro: Last Light, while beautiful, is not beautifully optimized. But even if you're forced to lower the resolution (possible) and turn off advanced physics (almost certain), this ruined world is too grotesquely gorgeous not to appreciate.

Metro: Last Light is not an endless barrage of bullets and beasts. It takes the time to let you breathe in the choking atmosphere and allow the chilling fog to seep into your bones. And when it finally comes time to aim your shotgun at mutated fiends, the payoff is grander for the eerie silence that came before. Last Light is notably superior to its predecessor, merging storytelling, shooting, and sneaking into a remarkable and cohesive whole. And through this harmony of game design comes the caustic dissonance of a world so torn asunder that a single possibility can bring with it endless hope.

The Good
Astounding atmosphere fills you with dread
A great, surprisingly touching story about loss and hope
Fantastic pacing allows tension to build before the action heats up
Exploring the surface is frightening and exciting
Great array of weapons make you feel powerful, but not overpowered
The Bad
Unimpressive AI
Performance troubles, particularly with ATI video cards
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Metro: Last Light

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Discussion

1397 comments
monowasp
monowasp

One of the best games every produced. Amazing in every aspect.

GunEye
GunEye

Games looks quite interesting and intriguing, but I can't really stand the whole Russian-English and overly-Russian theme. I get that enough at home, and it is awkward in games. I didn't like it in S.T.A.L.K.E.R for instance... is this game similar to it in this manner?

GunEye
GunEye

what's with the new fullscreen?? I am using windows 8.1 and IE11, but when going fullscreen, I still see the bottom windows bar (taskbar) and the upper IE bar with bookmarks etc..

dzimm
dzimm

Kevin VanOrd and I seem to have identical taste in games, so if he likes a game then it's pretty certain that I'm going to like it as well.

This game was also recently released for Linux, so I'm adding it to my Steam wishlist.

informalmrtom
informalmrtom

one of the best games I've played this year by far... all the way up until the TRAIN TANK at the end...

min64
min64

For anyone using AMD cards there's this silly Advanced physics checkbox in the gameplay settings. Don't ask me why its there instead of being in graphics options but its designed to be only used by Nvidia machines and its one of the main reasons so many AMD users are reporting issues.

Just uncheck the box and the game runs fine. 

blackroommate
blackroommate

i just finished it and really love it ...it was absolutely a masterpiece ...

ArchlordGR
ArchlordGR

Really good game and very good story 


Nadal_RJ
Nadal_RJ

Very good game, with very a great atmosphere and story

TheOnlyConan
TheOnlyConan

Good game ruined by linear gameplay and having to use check point save system.

MauiLastLight
MauiLastLight

I have ATI 5470. I finished it yesterday and is one of the few video games that moved me. I didn't read the novels, but I believe the game went on the same lines as the novels would do, and it went straight into simulating my emotions. It is not all about the game play, atmosphere; is a masterpiece of art reflecting the reality of humanity.

SmokeMission
SmokeMission

NO PC GAME WITH A CHECKPOINT SAVE SYSTEM SHOULD EVER GET A 9.0.

I had to quit or start over thanks to the worst console save system ever.  It's like being stuck in a 10 second paradoxical time loop if you checkpoint while running out of air.  

I wonder if I can get a refund, or maybe Kevin will buy my copy when he's done composing, or watching bad cartoon reruns, or playing Zelda on his cat's NES.  When is Gamespot going to hire some GAMERS to write these reviews?

Checkpoints only exist because early consoles had no data storage device to SAVE to.  Why, in 2013 when my crappy Tracfone has enough memory for 250.000 savegame files, are developers still making games with ONE SAVE SLOT? 

baceworld
baceworld

How can i play this game please help me in this .... thx

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

I'm trying to play this. Can tell it's pretty good but keep losing interest...

abhirajgoldy
abhirajgoldy

i have ATI card so can i still play it not,please recommend 

jlwood830
jlwood830

This game has actually been a lot of fun to play.  If not for it stopping a few times and the room in the Revolution section where 85% of the enemies just stood still like invulnerable models, I'd call it an excellent game.  Not sure what caused the bug but it has been a great game and story all the same.  Quite enjoyable!!!

Blazing_Beard
Blazing_Beard

Always a fan of VanOrds reviews. 

Great game.

outlawst
outlawst

It's one of a few games which GS gave it a proper score , luckily its name is "metro" and not "resident evil",otherwise the GS editors may gave it an awful score too!

machrisr2000
machrisr2000

Please please stop trying to be the Longfellow or Whitman of game reviewers and tell me how the game plays. Is this just another WASD walkaround first person shooter, or are there new options or ways to play. For God's sake, is it an open sandbox or linear levels or some unique combination? That last point alone is more important than all the descriptions of the ambiance and the plot. Those who love open games like Bethesda makes are often not into games that are too linear. HOW DOES IT PLAY? Is it unique? Even if it is not, is it close to some other game that those who played it would love to try this one? Does it stick close to a realism that is believable for those who like it gritty and lifelike, or does it reach into the fantastic for those who like mind-blowing special effects and completely unexpected revelations?

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

An amazing game, one of the few games that truly deserve a 9.0.

Akariko
Akariko

A great game, surely not a 9 but an absolute gem still. Story is ´meh´ in my opinion but most points are scored with atmosphere & setting and immersive gameplay. I praise the originality in gameplay. Pumping pneumatic weapons, putting on gasmasks and scouting for new filters, wiping blood or moist from the mask after a kill or some windy rain, well skip wiping if an enemy cracks the mask, playing with enemies view, upgrading weapons, choosing between flashlight or nightvision, running through irradiated zones, slowing down in heavy wind or on poor soil... In sum, it really feels your are interacting with the environment. Something worth building on in future gamedesign.

Jonno621
Jonno621

Well I've gotta say, I think this is my favourite FPS ever. The shooting is satisfying and tight, the story is narrated well enough to remain gripping, and as KVO pointed out the pacing is just right. Great game start to finish; had a genuine blast. The atmosphere/visuals on capped (no, you don't need a Titan) are just breathtaking at some points. I actually fell off a bridge staring at the landscape. The fact that this had a much smaller budget, team, and so on really astounds me - where does the money go in AAA titles when this pulls off that which so few others do? MUST BUY. 

(Small disclaimer: Yes, I've played Bioshock Infinite - amazing game in its own right, but just falls short of this as an entire package, great story though!) 

Virtual_Erkan
Virtual_Erkan

Just finished Metro 2033 and replaying it once again just to recap the story once more (the game is only 7 hours long). The story and atmosphere of the game is excellent. Some gaming mechanisms and pace could have improved but still it is a detailed game. I am looking forward to Last Light. Good job A4 Games.

Bhargav_pvs
Bhargav_pvs

Metro 2033 has a lot of features to make it a great game and I believe they will carry the same with this game too.. and I was right after all :D

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

so i was able to track down a limited edition in my country 

what does it have beside the obvious ranger mode? cause it costs 300ILS instead of the regualr edition that costs 250ILS

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

"on the ground on the ground you bitch" 

gets me everytime haha

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

holy crap guys...KVO is never wrong...in my book perhaps with the one exception and we all kinda know what that is.

got this game.  omg reminds me of Stalker Chernobyl or whatever mixed with a few other classics regardless its incredibly unique in its own right.  This game is incredible thats all i know

kik4444
kik4444

They need to update the bad part of the game cause there are no more performance issues on ATI cards

Wever1988
Wever1988

It's definitely a good game.

mixalisss13
mixalisss13

and despite the score metro 2033 is great too..!!

mixalisss13
mixalisss13

wow.they fixed everything from 2033..i recommend to everyone PLAY 2033.the story takes time 1 year after the first one events and you have the same character....

winghunter2011
winghunter2011

It is a very very good game I admit, worth every penny.

casualdumbasses
casualdumbasses

Goes back to playing Quake 2 on pc let me know when you dumbasses finally can create skill based games again dumbfucks 

casualdumbasses
casualdumbasses

hello i tell you to press this button because im a big casual dumbass game.

wavelength121
wavelength121

@SmokeMission All I read was, "i suck at games, i suck at games, ad-hominum attack, ad-hominum attack, i suck at games that don't cater to my personal preferences, unable to appreciate games for what they are, i suck at games..." QQ

miker00lz
miker00lz

@baceworld uh, have you tried installing the game and starting it? just a thought.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

The game undoubtedly has it's moments..... but is for the most part super bland and linear. The narrative is force fed to you as if you were a baby. Your character makes decisions you wouldn't necessarily make, is blocked by invisible collision barriers during story-time and random places you're not supposed to go in the world which is... SUPER UNCOOL (pet peeve) . 

It sounds like there're 3-4 voice actors that all sound the same. I find myself zoning out during the dialogue sequences. The shooting can be exciting but is mostly a chore.

On the plus side, I just got my first in-game lapdance!


wavelength121
wavelength121

@machrisr2000 What exactly does "how does it play" mean? What do you mean "how does it play"? It plays like a... game. What a stupid question. He said it was good, so why not play it and find out "how it plays" for yourself, smart guy. Or would you like him to baby step you through every level in his review? Obviously it isn't open world or sandbox or he would have said so (since technically that is not a very common thing for video games and FPS in particular). Not that that really has anything to do with "how it plays". Are you looking for subjective, abstract descriptions of the emotions he feels when he plays it? Realism and fantasy are complete relative concepts. Alas, some trolls will never be satisfied...

Akariko
Akariko

@philMcCrevis if you watch the 1979 movie Stalker, they make a huge reference to it in the game. The part / spoiler alert / where in that special place the ´river´ takes you to where you think on... And that phone ringing... Copy paste from the film.

petez34
petez34

@casualdumbasses im not a fan of the hand holding games either. They're all too prevalent in games these days.

nikca16
nikca16

@wavelength121 @SmokeMission if your checkpoint lasts 10 seconds you need to update your PC....that is if you have one and know how to use it. in your next post you should use more CAPS or f2k it, just turn caps lock on.

GunEye
GunEye

@nikca16 @wavelength121 @SmokeMission I didn't play the game yet on my pc, but let me tell you - a single save slot system for pc games is BS. PC games should have profiles for multipile players and playthroughs, with decent multiplied save system + autosave on checkpoints/missions. 

Metro: Last Light More Info

  • Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 4 more
    • PlayStation 3
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Metro: Last Light is the direct first person shooter sequel to Metro 2033. It is set in the year 2034 where a nuclear war has turned the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 1858 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Metro: Last Light
    Developed by:
    4A Games
    Published by:
    Deep Silver, CyberFront, Spike Chunsoft
    Genres:
    Action, 3D, Team-Based, Shooter, First-Person
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    All Platforms
    Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol