Mixing first person shooter gameplay with in-depth survival elements isn’t easy, but “Metro Exodus” takes the concept and runs with it, scratching an itch for complete immersion gamers didn’t know they had.
The events of the “Metro” series begin in 2013, after the world turned into a nuclear wasteland following a series of bombings by world powers. The survivors in Russia take to the Moscow metro where they live in a shanty town society away from the irradiated surface. It isn’t until the year 2033 that more aggressive forces begin assaulting Russia’s new society.
Following the events of “Metro 2033” and “Metro: Last Light,” the two previous games in the series, Artyom, the series’ main character, had fought all manner of beasts, monsters and men. With the aid of Anna, his wife, and a group of elite soldiers, Artyom must face a new adversary in search of survivors of the nuclear bombardment — the world.
After just a few hours with the game, The Phoenix used the PlayStation 4 Slim, players will be hooked on the deep survival mechanics and challenging gameplay. Small features, including mud building up on in-hand weapons causing them to jam, and larger features, such as the scarcity of ammo in the world, set this game apart from other titles.
The atmosphere of the game, as well as the outstanding graphics, adds to the overall enjoyability of the gameplay. As Artyom makes his way through the ruins of Russian civilization, dodging mutated animals and humans, the feeling of vulnerability hits. Just one alerted enemy can bring a horde of monsters swarming. With the scarcity of available ammo and health restoring medical kits, stealth isn’t only recommended, but encouraged.
Rather than sectioning the game into separate levels — the structure of previous entries — developer 4A Games created entire open-world maps for players to explore during the story. These open areas allow players to approach enemy encounters in a variety of ways.
Hidden secrets are around every turn in the post-apocalyptic world. A chance encounter with some prisoners could give access to a stash of weapons. These little rewards incentivize players to explore the world thoroughly prior to completing the main mission objectives.
The challenging enemy difficulty punishes players’ ammo, medkits and other supplies when acting careless in encounters. While other single-player games do little to punish a guns-blazing strategy, “Exodus” uses the scarcity of supplies and advanced enemy AI to influence more thoughtful approaches to gunfire exchanges.
This enemy difficulty points out a flaw: the load times. The pulse-pounding experience of ducking behind cover as bullets from an enemy rifle fly overhead is put to a screeching halt when faced with a loading screen. Players can expect to have initial load times of up to a minute throughout their experience.
The lack of an in-depth rundown of the game’s often confusing mechanics make the load times more frequent. Players will find themselves taken out of the action to review controller layouts far too many times, and with tutorials relegated to text boxes in the upper corners of the screen, dying to enemies from a button misfire is common.
Other issues include a noticeable difference in framerate when compared to newer titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2, and a sway on weapons when aiming. Despite the noticeable performance and gameplay issues, they’re easy to adapt to and don’t take away from the game’s enjoyability.
“Metro Exodus” is great for gamers who want to be challenged by enemies and the world they’re exploring, while discovering secrets along the way. “Exodus” is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $59.99 and on the Epic Games launcher on PC for $49.99.