With just over a year separating the release of Metro Redux with Metro: Last Light, one has to wonder what makes this release so special. Firstly, it contains both Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light in a bundle. It might be easy to think that it’s just Metro 2033 as an HD remake and a simple re-release of Metro: Last Light for a quick cash-in to go along with it. This is not so. Many significant, substantial changes have been made to remaster each game that warrants the purchase, even if you’ve played recently.
Update 8/26/2014: Review updated to include impressions from the PS4 version.
Metro 2033 Redux
Either for the first time, or again, you’ll play as Artyom, a survivor of a group of 40,000 people who took refuge in the Russian Metro tunnels to avoid devastating atomic bombs detonating on the surface. Things have changed in the world, nuclear winter devastates the surface, and creatures mutated by the radiation now inhabit the tunnels as well, encroaching on Artyom’s station he calls home. It is here that you will embark on a scary journey below and above ground, taking on horrific monsters with very little ammo and resources to carry you through.
Originally released in 2010, both the PC and Xbox 360 told a great story among buggy AI, incurred less than stellar performance, and had minor issues with certain mechanics. And so, this version of the game gains the biggest benefit of bringing the improvements and stability from Last Light into 2033. Everything has been reworked in Metro 2033 with the Last Light engine from lighting to cutscenes, all in the first-person for greater immersion. People’s faces are more detailed and overall improved, no longer looking like clay dolls, which is much more visually appealing. When you travel to the surface, a day to night cycle is there that changes the overall feel. Load screens that previously segmented levels have been removed for cohesion, and thanks to greater memory capabilities.
Borrowing gameplay elements from Last Light like the mask wipe allows you to increase visibility when going through harsh climates above ground, is a wonderful addition. Weapon customization is now present in Metro 2033, complete with all weapons from Last Light and the DLC that came with it. Gunplay is based on Last Light, mouse movement and weapon handling feels tighter and more responsive. The game remarkably tracks whether there is a bullet in the chamber or not, when reloading.
Metro Last Light Redux
A decision was placed before you at the end of Metro 2033, and without providing details as to what that is, Metro: Last Light picks up a year later decidedly using one particular decision from that binary choice. What follows is a diversion from the original “Metro 2033”, and does not sample any portion of “Metro 2034” novels.
Not much as has changed since the original release. There are minor graphical improvements and stability. Having gone back to test Metro: Last Light on newer hardware, it had some issues. Playing Last Light Redux has no such problems. All of the previous DLC is now included at no additional cost, as well, providing almost a dozen additional hours that compliments the main story.
In bringing parity to both games, Ranger mode appears as a new difficulty option, previously locked behind paid DLC. Ranger and Ranger Hardcore are not too different from one another, but strive for immersion by removing the HUD either partially, or completely, respectively.
Spartan and Survival styles allow for different kinds of players. Spartan is for those who liked Last Light more, which had a focus on action, and Survival is for those who enjoyed the style of 2033, which was more like a survival horror game. Both games can be played with either style, something not previously available. It doesn’t remove the more action-intense levels, but Survival does make ammo and other resources more scarce in Last Light. And Spartan makes the scarier parts of 2033 more enjoyable.
Stealth sees enhancements across both games, allowing you to simply knock out instead of killing enemies. Also improved is the way human enemies react to you, no longer is everyone on alert at once, you can cause problems and hide and they will calm down, person by person. This also allows you to gather your bearings and try to isolate enemies and try the stealthy approach for yourself.
Thankfully, there is now complete parity between both games. With the same UI, gun handling, controls, and gameplay, Metro Redux gives a gameplay experience that carries over from game to game, and you don’t have to learn new gameplay systems to enjoy either of them.
PlayStation 4 Impressions
For the first time on next-generation consoles, Metro Redux is almost indistinguishable from its PC counterpart, aside from minor UI and graphical differences. Both Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux run in 1080p, and at 60fps. It’s absolutely stunning to see these in motion. Controls are mapped comfortably so that you can access your equipment and gear quickly, without having to fumble through an inventory screen or anything. The load times also mirror that of the PC version, in that, they are very quick and it constantly keeps the pace of the game up. As far as purchasing options go, it’s a matter of preference whether you like to kick back on your couch or sit with a mouse and keyboard. The game parity extends from gameplay and visuals across PC and console, 4A Games has outdone themselves.
Steam (PC) Discount
For players on Steam (PC), there’s a 50% discount for each game. So if you own Metro 2033, you can purchase Metro 2033 Redux for $12.49. The same deal applies for Metro: Last Light owners to buy Metro: Last Light Redux. Or you can bundle them and purchase Metro Redux for $24.99. The consoles versions doesn’t have such a deal, but even at “full price”, both games are worth double their value.
Metro Redux is a masterpiece collection of two games with solid storytelling with compelling gameplay, thanks to 4A Games’ vision of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s “Metro 2033” novel. It’s the definitive package to own, and way to play the series, whether on PC or console on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Those who have recently entered the metro now have every reason to go back, with a multitude of options for customization to personalize to your playstyle, it will offer new ways to play the original and it’s sequel. This is a series you won’t soon forget.
A pre-release Steam code and PlayStation 4 copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes