by Davneet Minhas
reviewed on PC
Less Innovating Conventions
Not all of Metro 2033’s innovations increase the game’s immersion, however. The health system utilizes a combination of health packs and regeneration. Arytom’s health recovers slowly, so when mutants blitzkrieg you, you will want to use health packs to quickly recover. But if you are severely injured after a heated battle, you can wait for your health to regenerate. There is nothing particularly wrong with the health system – it works well – but its reliance on shooter conventions is disappointing when compared to the unique flashlight and night vision goggle implementations.
The game’s highly touted “ammo as currency” mechanic is also somewhat shallow. The Russian metro uses military-grade bullets as currency. These powerful projectiles can be used for quickly taking down mutant or human combatants, or buying better guns and other types of ammo. But therein lies the problem: military-grade ammo isn’t the only type of ammo. You can easily treat the high-quality bullets solely as currency and fight exclusively with normal ammunition, thereby avoiding any interesting decisions that would’ve arisen were there only one item in Metro 2033 that completely encompassed both currency and ammunition.
Of course, all these innovative mechanics and tools are necessary to protect Artyom from the denizens of the metro tunnels and barren surface. As implied, you’ll encounter two types of enemies in Metro 2033: human and mutant, both of which offer very different experiences.
Bandits and Mutants
Bandits and other human combatants provide very dynamic firefights. They are always heavily armored and use cover well, while also doing enough damage to keep you behind cover. They also keep you moving from cover to cover with grenades and well-timed flanks. As a result, firefights against other humans are very satisfying, especially on the surface where you can shoot their gas masks off and watch as they scramble to put them back on.
Mutants, contrarily, offer a repetitive experience. Your initial encounters with them are harrowing affairs: They can take a lot of damage and always swarm you – an effective tactic on their part given how slow Artyom reloads certain guns.
But after a few mutant encounters, you begin to see a pattern. Artyom almost always encounters mutants at the end of a tunnel or passageway, where he must survive wave after wave, and in some unfortunate cases, endless respawns.
Reaching the Bar
4A Games set the bar so high on Metro 2033 that when the game adheres to conventional gaming mechanics and doesn’t find new, more immersive ways to engage you, you are left slightly disappointed. But that is not a denouncement; it is a testament to the superb quality of this game. Metro 2033 provides a phenomenal atmosphere through crafted experiences, alarming sound effects, and engaging visuals. Its subtle innovations to traditional shooter elements draw you into the post-apocalyptic Russian metro.
Despite its linear nature, you will want to play this game again and again to experience its sights and sounds. Metro 2033 is, so far, one of the best single-player experiences of 2010.
Provides a phenomenal atmosphere.
Incorporates stale quick-time events.