Do we really need another Tomb Raider, just because Lara has better hair? Are we really gaining anything if the original Fable is brought over to Xbox 360 with slightly better textures? It seems that the world of the next-gen update is littered with unnecessary efforts and brazen attempts to make more money from the same product. But there are exceptions.
Both Metro games, 2033 and Last Light, are being packaged together as Redux. Releasing on the new consoles this Summer. For a series as underrated and refreshingly original as Metro, a re-release is not only warranted, it’s needed.
The premise of the Metro games is great. Moscow has become a city of post-nuclear ruin. The few survivors left are forced to live in the underground metro system, trying to survive in dank, overcrowded stations and tunnels. Above ground is ruled by radiation, roaming monsters, and unspeakable terrors. Despite all of this people still can’t get along, still hungry for power and control. The sense of place and atmosphere is one of the best I’ve encountered in a game, as you struggle to survive in a fascinating, decaying world.
Deep Silver have promised the first game, Metro: 2033, will receive a complete overhaul using the sequel’s engine. They’ve also announced brand new content to supplement and round out the story. The second game, Last Light, will also get some TLC, but admittedly it is the least in need of a touch-up.
They’ve also committed to fixing the minor bugs and AI problems present in some sections of the games. These extra refinements and tweaks are just what the series needs, not to dilute the experience and spirit of the games, but instead hopefully refine them. Although these improvements might be important in gaining more fans and appealing to a wider audience. The real draw for these games is how genuinely different they feel to others, and a large part of this is due to them being developed in Ukraine.
The Metro games are one of the best examples of how a game made outside of the usual USA/Japanese moulds can be a refreshing change of pace. Games design from the big studios has become more rigid than ever, robust boilerplate stereotypes that can accommodate different settings, whilst still feeling the same. Just look at Watch Dogs. Give Ezio Auditorre a mobile phone, swap his hood for a scarf, and you can see Ubisoft making the same thing, save for a few minigame changes and a skin swap. In the age of the generic Modern War FPS and themed parkour runabout, Metro games stand out, even if they’re a little rough and ready at times.
The Metro series challenges the conventions and tropes that more mainstream titles are slipping into, providing a familiar FPS genre whilst asking different and more interesting questions of the player. With both games bundled together and the refinements promised, will it be enough to tempt players away from their comfort zone and into the subways of Moscow?
Formats: PC, PS4, XO
Out: Summer 2014
Publisher: Deep Silver