Metro 2033 Review

We suit up and strap in for another apocalypse, though this time with an Eastern flavour. 360 version tested.

By Rupert Higham, March 29, 2010


In-game there is very little time for standing around and posing above ground. Plenty of death awaits you there.

Very early on in the game, Artyom discovers his unique ability to resist the psychic attacks of the newly discovered dark ones, saddling him with the responsibility of warning the other stations of the coming danger in the hope of saving the remains of the human race. Metro 2033 is a game that is happy to jump from stealthy military FPS, to survival horror endurance test, to something all together more abstract and supernatural.

If there is one guiding principle that governs every facet of Metro’s design it is undoubtedly immersion. This consistently underpins everything from story delivery to interface and regularly impacts on gameplay. The in-game HUD is out, replaced by visual cues to indicate health and ammo levels. When traversing the metro system damage is displayed through the familiar bloody screen effect, but it’s the inhospitable surface that really drives home how hostile your environment is. Incapable of breathing the toxic air, Artyom must wear a gasmask when above ground and as his oxygen supply depletes the mask becomes steadily more steamed, narrowing your field of vision. 


Taking place primarily underground, lighting is paramount, and thankfully it's very effective.

Adding to your misery is the fragility of your gasmask when faced with the ferocious mutants that patrol the surface. A stray swipe can easily crack your mask, which at best will further impair your vision with cracks and at worst will smash it open giving you scant seconds to find a replacement before succumbing to the poisonous gases and chocking to death. This makes Metro’s over-world one of the most brutally hostile and unforgiving environments in gaming history, making even Metroid Prime 2’s Dark Aether seem like a summer holiday by comparison. 


AA Games aren't going to let a menu screen break the immersion, so a flick of the d-pad brings up your oxygen meter.

It’s not like the metro system offers you an easy ride either – the darkened corridors are loaded with makeshift traps ranging from simple cans hung on string to alert enemies to your presence to the much more deadly instant-death sandwich served up by spike-filled logs. Alert trap-filled in dungeons are hardly a new idea, yet they demand to be taken seriously in Metro as direct combat is really not recommended.

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