Metro Exodus – Xbox One Review
Leaving the dirty and claustrophobic confines of the Russian subway system in Metro Exodus for the first time is an eye opening experience. It’s one of the most impressive transitions I’ve experienced in a video game. The world beyond the Metro system is bathed in a blinding coating of snow and ice and on the Xbox One X it is quite simply stunning.
Forget what you already know from the previous games because Metro Exodus wants to show you what lies beyond the tunnels and not only is it beautiful it’s still as deadly as ever. Your character Artyom is the first to take that leap of faith and through means fair or foul he has no other choice but to explore the open world above him. You will still have to spend time in the Metro system but this game Is more about freedom of movement than the previous games which restricted you to the confines of a dark and dank world where your movement was restricted by the very nature of the environment you found yourself in.
Metro Exodus opens with a no mercy encounter that will leave you torn to bits if your not quick enough. The game is still as visceral as it ever was but now it’s in 4K. Artyom can hear scattered radio signals that appear and disappear all to quickly and it’s this quest for finding other survivors and colonies that drives him forward. The problem is everyone else thinks he’s going mad especially with his desire to continually leave the so called safety of the Metro system
and venture outside where he will be more exposed. Interacting with the games NPC’s highlights how differently he is viewed. As I walked passed a Mother and her Son the lad approached me and asked me what the world was like outside and would I show him. The Mother quickly told me to stop filling his head with nonsense and to leave him alone.The Spartan Order see him as a hero to be celebrated and revered even when he is coating them precocious resources like blood after a particularly brutal encounter.
Listening to NPC’s is not something I’d usually do and I’d just breeze straight past them but here it can lend a tactical edge. Sneaking behind an enemy to kill them might seem like a good option but just stop and take the time to listen in to their conversation and it can yield nuggets of information that you can use to your advantage. How about finding out about the location of an entrance to somewhere your trying to infiltrate or when guard changes occur. Imagine finding out that an entrance isn’t as heavily guarded at night but it’s morning. Your not going to walk around in circles all day. 4A have introduced a new sleeping mechanic that allows you to pass time and heal up without wasting any of your precious medikits. It’s a great system that allows you to approach the game’s objectives how and when you want. So if a stealthy night approach is how you want to tackle a situation just grab some sleep and wait for darkness to fall.
As you move throughout the environment you come across resources that you can use to craft various items. There are four different types of ammunition that you will need for pistols, assault rifles, shotguns and sniper rifles. If that’s not enough for you have about throwable weapons like grenades, Molotov cocktails, throwing knives or even bins which you can use as distractions. Along the way your going to get pummeled so medkits and new mask filters are a necessity. Don’t like your weedy armour set? Well you can upgrade that as well as long as you can find the upgrade parts and a workbench to do the work on.
You can even dismantle any weapons for scrap and spare parts if you want to should the need arise. I never felt the need to dismantle anything though because scrap is abundant no matter where you are on the world. You don’t as much scavenge for it as trip over it. I remember the previous games being pretty scarce with the resources you can find but not so here. Everywhere you turn there is scrap to pay to pick up. Seriously it’s all over the place. Usually games that rely on you scavenging for resources tend to scatter them sparsely about and make finding them part of the fun. It holds your hand a little to much and I never found myself having to wander off the beaten path to find some.
It’s where you find the scrap that is more striking as you come across the torn carcasses of victims who have been mauled to death or the decomposing carcass of some poor unfortunate whose body has just been left where it fell. The landscape is littered with the bodies of those unfortunate enough to have been caught out by rival factions or the many mutants that have claimed these lands as their own. Murder and suicide are everywhere you look your never for from another victim who has succumbed to the Grim Reaper. It’s a sobering reminder that even in this world of harsh but beautiful landscapes death is never far away.
Spending the majority of your time above ground is Metro Exodus’s biggest weakness. The original games relied heavily on a feeling of claustrophobia which is completely lost in the games wide open spaces. These open environments completely change the pace and feeling of the franchise that has by design been all about closeted spaces and a fear of what’s around the next corner. Fighting a group of enemies is much easier in a wide open space that gives you the freedom to move pretty much wherever you want compared to being boxed in a narrow tunnel network with very limited maneuverability.
Metro Exodus doesn’t steer completely away from its roots though and you will find yourself in close quarters combat as you delve deeper into the story-line. It’s these moments where the game really comes alive as your forced to choose between fight or flight. The close confines of the living, breathing world below are what 4A know best and it shows as the tension slowly but surely winds up tighter and tighter.
Metro Exodus hits its stride when it’s doing what it knows best and that’s combat in confined spaces. That’s not to say that the open world combat isn’t solid because it is, it just feels like every other FPS game that’s already out there in these moments. It’s a sumptuous looking game running in Ultra 4k and it’s a showoff title if ever I saw one. A4 have taken a bold step by opening up the world of Metro and it mostly pays off, mostly.
Review code supplies by Koch Media