Metro Exodus, the third instalment of the series based upon the Dmitry Glukhovsky novels arrives for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.  Unlike previous releases such as the remastered Redux Collection, Metro Exodus is built from the ground up for current gen systems.  As a result, this is most certainly the best looking game in the series and as the developers have pointed out prior to release, this is also the most ambitious game in the franchise yet.  However, ambitious doesn’t always mean better, that’s not to say that this isn’t another strong entry, because it most certainly is.  But before we get into the gameplay details, let’s quickly gloss over the story of Metro Exodus.

It is now the year 2036 and following the events of Metro: Last Light (roughly two years prior); Moscow is still ravaged by the nuclear war that took place nearly 25 years ago.  Our protagonist Artyom is convinced that there is a better life, that there is more out there for his wife Anna and his band of Spartan Ranger brothers.  However, going against the leader of the Spartan Rangers, Colonel Miller and the father of Anna, Artyom discovers that there is more going on in the world then they were led to believe.  This leads Artyom and his group to venture for a better life across their motherland in the locomotive known as the Aurora, but as they soon discover, perhaps the grass isn’t greener on the other side of this post-apocalyptic world after all.

Now let’s get on to how Metro Exodus plays.  At its core, it still handles very much like previous games and for that I am happy with.  Despite being a badass survivor, Artyom is no Sam Fisher, despite his best stealth efforts and despite always being able to handle himself well in a gun fight.  This is largely down to him being a self-taught fighter and to top it off, the weapons that Artyom and his Spartan brothers have are make-shift left over AK’s, revolvers, shotguns and other joyous homemade delights.  This as it does now, has always been some of the charm of the series, it was never meant to be as refined as most Tom Clancy shooters, these are based upon stories of ordinary people, thrown into extraordinary situations in order to survive day-by-day.  And I wouldn’t want the Metro series to be any other way.

Make-shift weapons will always be your go-to survival element and that aspect has been taken up a notch in Exodus.  There is more to craft, so you’ll need to gather more resources to add weapon attachments, make ammo, bombs, throwing knives and more.  You’ll also need to keep track of radiation exposure, so as always, looking after your gas mark and keeping track of its filters is a key element of survival.  Thankfully, none of these survival elements feel over bearing, unlike some other survival games.  It has always felt natural in the Metro series and it never feels like your being nagged at to keep on top of your well-being, you will mostly do it all yourself without even thinking about it and that’s the way it should be.

Going back to the crafting aspect, Artyom will be carrying with him a backpack and with it you’ll be able to craft most items such as ammo and grenades on the go.  However, crafting new weapon attachments and so forth, will have to be performed at the various designated work benches that you will find throughout the game;  but you can switch weapon attachments that you already have, such as suppressers on the fly, should you want to take a more stealthy approach mid-mission.  However, if you ever wanted to focus a little less on the crafting side of things, you can select one of the lower difficulty settings which could mean that you’ll find more ammo lying around, so you won’t have to craft as much.  Also don’t feel like you can’t play Metro Exodus on an “easier” difficulty setting, because the difficulty settings in this series have always been more challenging than most other games in its genre.

Metro Exodus might pretty much play the same and the crafting system may have been taken up a slight notch, but one aspect that is quite new to this entry is the open-world mission approach.  While previous games have always been quite linear with its story-telling and interaction with its world, there has always been some degree of freedom, as well as side-activities.  However for Exodus, we now have quite large maps to play around in.  You’ll have your main missions that you must complete to advance the story, but you’ll now have more side-missions, ranging from finding items of interest for members of your crew, freeing some slaves and just taking out a group of bandits.  And it’s entirely up to you whether or not you do these side-activities or not.

While I quite like some of the large maps, you can easily spend several hours in each, regardless of whether or not you partake in all side-missions.  This at times got me a little frustrated, especially when there’s no way to quickly traverse across some maps, when I just want to wrap things up and progress to the next mission.  Personally, while I appreciate what the talented developers at 4A Games have gone for here, after all, they’ve put a lot of work into evolving the series with this entry; I preferred the more linear approach, with a small element of freedom that I experienced in Metro: Last Light.  But that’s just my humble opinion and personal preference.

Visually, this is the best Metro game yet and so it should be.  While we have been treated with the fantastic Metro Redux Collection (which includes Metro 2033 and Last Light), they are remasters of last gen games and Metro Exodus has been built from the ground up for this generation.  Apparently, Metro Exodus is stunning on a top-end PC, and no doubt it looks gorgeous on an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro.  For me, I am playing on an Xbox One S with a 4K TV and this game still looks gorgeous.  It has some quite brilliant lighting and shadow effects, and its detailed, grim world just lures you to explore more, even at the risk of those horrid underground spiders!  Metro Exodus also appears to perform at a very steady framerate.

Upon playing a preview build at a press event a little while ago, I had to rest from playing every 10-15 minutes due to the motion blur, resulting in me suffering from motion sickness.  Thankfully during my many hours of playing Metro Exodus, the game has not made me feel sick once, so I’m glad that’s no longer an issue.  Though I must say that Metro Exodus does suffer with some slow loading times, at least on the Xbox One S, it’s not a deal breaker or lessoned my fun, but it can get a little frustrating none the less.

In conclusion, Metro Exodus does quite a lot to not only advance the story of this beloved series, but the developers have also gone an extra mile to evolve many of the gameplay elements.  They could easily have rested on their laurels, but they have at least tried something a little different for the series.  Yes I know there’s nothing original about the open world approach, but it at least feels like a natural progression, rather than anything that has been forced creatively.  This series has never been perfect, nor has it ever claimed to be, however, it’s always had a certain charm, for which Metro Exodus certainly still retains in abundance.

If I was going to describe Metro Exodus in a nutshell, it’s kind of like if the Fallout and Wolfenstein series’ got together and had a baby!  Metro Exodus is bigger and better then its predecessors, and what more else could any fan want from a sequel?  If you’re yet to experience this series, do yourself a favour and pick-up the Metro Redux Collection (here’s our review), and you’ll soon see what the fuss is all about.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake