Metro 2033 (Xbox 360)

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Time for another Bargain Bin Breakdown. A big thanks goes to MinoXXide for his full review of Metro 2033. So, should we be dropping hard earned cash on this Russian made shooter, or should our pennies be spent elsewhere.

Metro 2033 was released in March 2010 with mixed reviews. Its Metacritic score on the Xbox is 77/100. Its PC counterpart was higher, with 81/100. Mainly due to better graphics and overall better technical performance.

Price – $20.00 on sale at Mighty Ape, currently $21.49 until the end of the month.

Multiplayer – Sadly, nil.

Storyline – You arrive into the gameplay as Artyom. You learn quickly that the world was thrust into an apocalypse more than 20 years ago. You live in the underground metro system and have done so all your life. You live on the fringes of the “city” that is Moscow. There is a massive system, housing thousands and thousands of people. Increasing attacks by beasts are taking their toll on your community.

Artyom is sent on a mission into the centre of the metro tunnels, to the legendary Polis. He is to warn the metro of the danger that is knocking at the gate, and plead for help to save the only home he’s ever known.

The story will take you right through the metro, and the twists and turns that go with it. You’ll also get to visit the surface, and see a post-apocalypse Moscow, untouched for 20 years. The story itself is strung along from station to station as part of the main quest, however you are continually meeting characters and heading off on little side quests. The end carries a crazy twist, and some moments of near psychosis leave you wondering if you’ve crossed over into some crazy land. I was very much reminded me of moments in Condemned 2, when you’re having flash backs. Scary, but awesome at the same time.

Gameplay 1

Gameplay – I started off hating the gameplay. I soon realised however this was mainly due to it being different, rather than being poor. You have a wide array of commands at your disposal, but it’s all tied together reasonably well. You come across some pretty messed up enemies, both beast and human. At the end of the day, this is a bit of a runny-runny-shooty game. However, its gripping storyline makes it more than just that.

The weapons are fascinating. It’s imagining of how the weapons would be in a post apocalyptic world is incredible. Imagine having to start all over again with bare minimum technology. You’re hardly going to rock up with an M-TAR21 and “Mau down” the enemies as you would in Battlefield 3. You’ve got some pretty ancient guns, firing rates, and recoils that will keep you working hard to secure the kill. Pneumatic guns were a favourite for me – pump a gun up, unload a clip with some huge kick back. Reload and repeat, hours of fun.

I did find it somewhat frustrating in parts though. There is no “map” to illustrate where you should be going and its often not obvious. This lead to some large moments of rage, when randomly you will be killed, and have the “load last checkpoint” option available.

There were also several moments where you were simply surrounded by tens of beasts, and you were just spraying and praying whilst copping very minimal damage to yourself. This started to get rather boring, and you could just sit back and unload.

Very cliché storyline moments too. That moment where you get separated, and must find a way back to your team; that moment when you discover the “big boss”; that moment where you are so close, only to have a ledge give way/something go wrong. I could go on forever.

The concept of trading is an interesting one. Given there is no “money”, ammo/guns become the main trading currency. You can upgrade/exchange guns, exchange ammo, buy med-packs, grenades, gasmasks and night vision goggles. You collect ammo from fallen foes, and random dead blokes floating around. You can also discover clips laying around in covert places.

Graphics – To me, it felt like they really phoned it in on the graphics. They were okay, and somewhat impressive from afar. But up close, there was some average  textures at best. The snow in particular was quite a disaster. It looked very average, and failed to really be anything other than look crap.

The interactive stuff was all pretty tidy. The one bug I had that annoyed me – you character has no legs. You can look square down, and you see absolutely no legs. Very odd given how well you move. Guns and hands that are visible were all great.

Gas masks getting damaged as you go along was great. Rather than a depleting health meter, visible cracks and scratches appear on your mask, and you’ll eventually need to find a new one. Not just masks, but filters you will need to keep on top of as well.

The beasts are quite well detailed. They look quite unlike anything really, which is fitting. Although I did take pleasure in how much a demon resembles a clown with wings

Demon gameplay

Enjoyment to Money ratio – This is my own little tool. I factor the enjoyment of a game (out of 10, and scale it against the cost of the game out of 10)

Enjoyment = 7 Money = 1. 7:1 is a fair ratio. It’s an absolute gem for $20, and you will struggle to put it down until you finish the campaign. If you’re a hardcore man, go through it again and rack up the achievements. They’re pretty tough to do!

The follow up title, Metro: Last Light  is due late this year/early 2013, so I strongly recommend getting this finished if you haven’t already. Last Light looks amazing, check out this great trailer

10680582-the-word-verdict-on-a-wood-block-with-a-gavel-beside-it-representing-the-final-decision-judgment-ansOverall, you’ve got yourself a game that will keep you interested. I spent several nights up late, with the lights off, glued to this gem. My wife managed to sneak out and watch me jump out of my skin 3-4 times in about ten minutes. Clearly I got quite immersed in the game. The graphics were a touch less than ideal, along with the gameplay. But the storyline pulled it all together and made it a worthwhile experience.

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