Video game fans who love atmospheric experiences would enjoy 4A Games’ Metro series. Based on author Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels, the franchise is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Moscow and explores the devastating effects of nuclear warfare on ordinary civilians. The underground metro stations that survivors flock to each develop their own cultures and political ideals, culminating in the strife that 24-year-old protagonist Artyom experiences during the events of the first title, Metro 2033. The following are a few reasons why curious video game fans should check out this series if they haven’t already, especially with the recently released third entry, Metro Exodus.
Why video game fans should check out the Metro series | Customizable weapons
Unlike many shooters published by EA and Activision, the Metro franchise allows players to customize their weapons almost from the get-go. Assault rifles like the Bastard can be upgraded to fire faster, reload faster, reduce recoil, and improve accuracy. The attachments that players have access to in the first two games include scopes, bayonets, suppressors, laser sights, extended barrels, and stocks, all of which are essential to equip and experiment with if fans hope to last long on higher difficulties.
What aides in grounding the experience is the fact that enemies also have the ability to customize their weapons as well. Though these guns almost never reach the level of sophistication that one could achieve with the right amount of currency, opponents become that much harder to fight. Each scuffle has the possibility of yielding substantial rewards too, as a combatant may drop an expensive laser sight or autofire adapter.
As great as all of these customization options are, new fans should be warned that playing on high difficulties makes attachments more expensive. People who want to play around with the variety of guns available to them should keep to easier modes, at least until they get a feel for what weapons they prefer the most.
Why video game fans should check out the Metro series | Immersive environments
The Metro series is best played slowly. Navigating through tunnels alone while some kind of mutated monster howls in the distance is exhilarating. Talking to the mentally ill properly illustrates the maddening effects of being trapped underground for decades. The brutality of the people of this world, evidenced in festering cadavers and blood inching along the pavement, is a constant reminder that nothing in the apocalypse is unforgiving.
On the contrary, witnessing a group of children playing with some shoddy toys is a reminder that life always finds a way to go on. Particularly in Last Light, a sense of childlike wonder permeates every new environment that fans lay their eyes on. It’s hard to forget the first time you venture outside in the harsh cold, as it evokes a sense of beauty that one can’t find in the Russian metro.
This isn’t to say that the entire series is made up of slow moments. There are plenty of instances where players have to blast away hordes of spiders or defend boats from poisonous aquatic creatures. Firefights frequently erupt between warring factions, and tanks appear every now and then to wreak even more havoc. As fun as these sections may be, new fans shouldn’t expect these high-adrenaline moments to occur often. The real draw of this franchise will seemingly always lie in its quieter elements.
Why video game fans should check out the Metro series | Well-written stories and dialogue
Anyone who’s played a typical first-person shooter is familiar with the standard narrative of an unlikely soldier defying all odds to lead his or her comrades to victory against some kind of malevolent army. The Metro games don’t exactly fit into that trope, as main character Artyom is born and raised in an independent station called Exhibition that seeks no partnerships with allies or quarrels with enemies. When this small group of survivors is under attack by a mysterious group of psychic beings called the Dark Ones, the young man is tasked with journeying to the underground’s capital, Polis, in order to enlist help for his station.
Along the way, Artyom is caught in a conflict between the communist Red Line station and their rival, the Nazis Fourth Reich. These competing ideologies often thread a moral gray area, as each faction ultimately does what it thinks will best ensure its survival. It’s impossible not to listen to some of the dialogue that soldiers have regarding their loved ones or their fear of dying.
Eavesdropping on these conversations adds a level of solemnity that’s not seen often in video games, despite communists and Nazis appearing everywhere. When all is said and done, we’re all still human. It’s similar to the Hitler scene in Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus as it shows some humanity within these horrible monsters without making you actually sympathize with them because they’re still fucking Nazis.
The overarching story surrounding the mysterious Dark Ones is also quite compelling, as it raises ethical questions on whether or not it’s OK to exterminate an entire species without really understanding its intentions. Fear of the unknown is a powerful theme that fuels the motivations of both Artyom’s friends and enemies, though it’s ultimately up to players to decide how the protagonist will be swayed.
Themes of power and control are also pretty evident the more fans engross themselves in Metro‘s world, though those are best experienced for oneself while playing the games. Each title makes clear that one can never assume the best in people.
Fans looking for a first-person shooter series that isn’t fast-paced like Call of Duty or Battlefield may find the Metro games right up their alley. Each title’s mature concepts may not be for everyone, but those that are willing to sit down and play an intelligent interactive experience may find a lot to love. Metro Exodus will hopefully follow in the franchise’s footsteps and deliver on the legacy that 4A Games has successfully manage to build over nearly a decade.