by Lisa Thrasher
previewed on PC
Metro: Last Light is still running on the gorgeous 4A engine with more dynamic physics and destructible environments added to the mix. Lighting and shadows have been enhanced, as well as particle effects in the dank, dusty subway. 4A is hoping to make the most of gaming PCís by pushing graphic and processing limits, but says that all the technical advancements will also be present on the console versions.
The stealth elements have been vastly improved. If you find yourself near a candle, torch, light bulb or other light source, Artyom can interact with it and silently extinguish the glow. On the opposite spectrum a lighter has made its way into Artyomís possession. Now the player can do things like burn cobwebs in your path or burn down wood. Donít automatically think that sticking to the shadows is the only way to get past guards. Wooden boxes will quickly catch fire and spread through the environment, causing widespread panic amongst the soldiers and giving Artyom a chance to sneak up behind the Nazis to perform stealth kills by slitting throats.
But sometimes, stealth doesnít go your way. One mission begins with Khan hatching a plan to blend in with the Reich members in a banner streamed hallway where a leader is giving a speech. As Artyom and Khan slowly push their way through the crowd, people shout loud agreements and pump their fists in the air. Unfortunately, it isnít long before the duo is spotted and must make a quick escape. Khan shoots his pistol towards the ceiling, causing the crowd to gasp and duck for cover and make it easier to reach an exit. The two run under scaffolding, shooting and cutting down enemy and destructible environments alike.
Khan and Artyom jump, duck and weave their way across wooden platforms and train tracks to end up in a mine cart. Khan is at the controls as the pair speed along beside a Nazi train and Artyom must make the jump in order to rescue a prisoner on board. After landing the death-defying leap, the player must make their way through the train cars while streams of enemies pour in. Some enemies even have armor than can be shot off piece by piece to expose weak points, giving strategic shots a nice reward. But like the armor, bullets will chip away at barriers if the player decides to takes cover which makes moving a priority.
On the other hand if you stick to the pray and spray tactic, you may find yourself with your own ability to blow holes in walls, floors, ceilings and any cover your opponents try to scramble behind. The world is littered with improved weapons such as a single-shot rifle that could kill enemies with one bullet, a rapid-fire chain gun and a homemade grenade launcher. Though your weapons are more effective, donít think that youíre the only one with an upgraded armory. Combat will be more brutal and realistic this time around and both parties are able to hold their own.
New and improved
For those that enjoyed Metro 2033, Last Light will provide more of the stunning atmosphere and linear action that made the first so memorable. It is full of set pieces that spark into wildfires of action and intense moments, while fixing the qualms that hurt the original game. If you never looked into Metro 2033 because you were afraid of its shortcomings or if you simply ignored the game entirely, Metro: Last Light might be able to change your mind. I would suggest checking out Metro 2033 though so the story of this game makes more sense, but donít let anything that is bothersome about 2033 prevent the excitement of Last Light. I for one am excited to dive back into the sub stations under Moscowís obliterated exterior and knock some Naziís around. Hopefully this new title will bring the series to its full potential as a game as well as a story.