by Davneet Minhas
previewed on PC
The AI is equally nuanced. In Exhibition as in other towns, friendly non-playable characters independently conduct their lives. Children play games together, neighbors gather around fires to socialize or listen to a guitar-player, and people discuss business transactions behind closed doors. With the addition of well-developed characters and a grim humor, 4A Games is on the way to creating some impressively immersive human settlements that starkly contrast the dark mutant-ridden tunnels.
However, that’s not to say the enemies are any less well-crafted. Every mutant or human enemy also promises to have differing behaviors depending on its, his, or her strengths, weaknesses, and the situation at hand. While some mutants may simply run at Artyom to claw at his face, enemies that are more intelligent may coordinate ambushes, search shadows, hide behind cover, and even avoid lines of fire.
4A Games is placing as much emphasis on creating diverse and unique gameplay sequences as they are on ensuring an engaging and believable atmosphere. The game opens with a sequence familiar to the first-person shooter genre. In a glimpse into the future, Artyom and another man must fight their way to the surface, past a few disposable mutants. Once outside, Artyom and his ally are attacked by a horde of mutants. Further allies arrive to aid in the battle, but the number of mutants makes victory seem doubtful.
In another sequence, mutants attack Artyom and three allies while they are riding a cart through the Metro tunnels. Artyom must fend off these mutants as they leap into the cart – coming within inches of Artyom’s face – and kill his friends. It is pulse pounding and frightening throughout.
In yet another sequence, Artyom is tasked with infiltrating one of the Metro stations. To do so, he must stealthily take down enemies by destroying light sources and using his night vision goggles. Unfortunately, these night vision goggles require periodic recharging from Artyom’s very noisy handheld generator – a burden to remaining invisible.
Given the game’s post-apocalyptic setting, it would be easy to compare Metro 2033 to games like Fallout 3 or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. However, given 4A Games’ carefully crafted atmosphere, attention to detail, and exciting scripted sequences, the game may be closer to entries in the Half-Life series.
Regardless of what company Metro 2033 keeps, this is a game with a massive amount of potential to become one of the most engaging experiences of 2010.