“Metro: Exodus” has two sides to its overall plot. In the beginning, the game is a first-person shooter, horror and adventure. The second side is an outdated game design with a whole mountain of technical problems that will surely bring someone to a nervous breakdown. But, I want to start with the positive side. After all, the main feature of “Metro: Exodus” is its history and atmosphere. As the developers have repeatedly warned, Exodus “does not in any way retell the Metro trilogy.” They are the inspiration for the game, but the script offers its own plot. From the very beginning, it goes against the version of Dmitry Glukhovsky, the author of the book series.
At the start, walking through the train, you can witness heaps of different dialogues and events. The heroes dance, sing, act like fools and behave just like ordinary Soviet men would behave during drunk parties. The hero, Artyom, is silent and does not respond to anything, but the player develops a kind of connection with him. Later in the story, you leave the compartment to play guitar with a friend or turn on the radio, and manually search for a radio station.
During many conversations, you can smoke a cigarette, leave coal in a furnace and drink. Each character on the train will surely have dialogue suitable for any occasion, which can last up to ten minutes. It is not at all a pity to spend time on such gatherings.
Outside the train, have something to look for. Look at the events after the nuclear war. It is fundamentally different from what we are used to in the dungeons of Moscow. All the survivors are confident the capital is a wasteland with no survivors. The tragic stories of all stripes outside the former metropolis are even more tragic. Now the consequences of the war are even more mournful than before.
Cultists despising any technology have settled on the banks of the Volga river a little further in the desert of the Caspian. Bandits in the spirit of “Mad Max” settle down. In another place, you can stumble upon yet another “circus of freaks,” where cannibals in ushanka hats will pounce on the heroes, all of which occurs in the middle of “Metro 2035.” But, in the taiga, most of the settlements are waiting for the children of the forest. Teenagers had to quickly mature and learn to survive in harsh conditions. They seemed to become real hunters, but they remained naive children in their souls.
The game lore worked out all these factions from beginning to end. Each has not only its own location and plot cutscenes, but also a large written history, a bunch of diaries and dozens of background replicas. For example, from 4A Games, you don’t expect the monologue of a furious handicapped person who talks to the corpses and uses them as physical puppets. Having stumbled upon nazis torturing and experimenting on survivors in the previous “Metro” games, you feel goose bumps running down your skin.
The sediment does not always leave a high amount of material supply. Sometimes, script writers have problems with dialogues: some characters seem to be deliberately naive and infantile. They make important decisions thoughtlessly and hastily. There are also problems with directing. When an important turn for the plot is revealed to you, instead of developing the scene, 4A games reveals a time card, “several hours later.” A sensation of confusion arises.
True, it is worth noting this impression is gradually smoothed out due to the excellent narrative design: the background replicas of the non-playable characters (NPCs), enemies and comrades are always long, well developed and invariably add memorable details to the world around. Artyom’s diary is dozens of pages of text describing events much more detailed than the main plot. Though the stupidity and minor flaws come across throughout the story, over time, you begin to perceive it as a bit of a naive but sweet and romance-drenched adventure.
All locations in “Metro: Exodus” are stunningly beautiful, but the fact the appearance during the development was often put in front of the gameplay is striking. If there are almost no problems in open spaces, then it is worth returning to the corridors. You need to blindly poke in all the dark corners with a flashlight to find canisters of gasoline, or panically fend off any contagion while trying to find a working door hidden somewhere in the corner. The classic “invisible walls” are not going anywhere either. When it visually seems you can and need to climb somewhere, it turns out this place’s design is purely for beauty and was not intended for the player.
The gameplay in “Metro: Exodus” represents a double-edged sword. The main emphasis shifted in a negative way. In the previous games, there were both survival and stealth, but you eventually have to kill enemies. The opposite is true – those who choose a covert passage will have advantages, though no one will force you to stick to a certain approach. If the previous “Metro” games were predominantly linear, most of the events would take place in a real sandbox. True, there is no full open world. Some locations just became much bigger than previous, but at least there was room for movement.
Players can resolve almost any situation in several ways. They can avoid open confrontation, hide in the corners, shoot or bypass the enemies altogether. Even the local weather can give players an advantage. It is much easier to hide from enemies at night than during the day, and there are fewer patrols and opponents, including some monsters whom might lie down to rest. All of this gives a completely different feeling of the gameplay, though it would seem all the usual elements are in their correct order. The stealth is the same, and the filters for the gas mask still need regular maintenance before you die.
Almost all game mechanics work. If 4A games improved shooting mechanics, such as pleasant ballistics appearing, convincing popping shots, and even hitting opponents’ carcasses in one’s eyelids, then the sensations from the body of the hero are doubtful. “Metro: Exodus” has wadded control. The sight, especially on the gamepad, seems to be viscous; it hardly creeps across the screen. The character moves slowly and spends an inadmissibly long amount of time for each action. Perhaps this was done on purpose to emphasize the survival in a post-apocalyptic world, but not everyone will like this approach.
Overall, “Metro: Exodus” has a decent storyline which makes you want to replay all of the chapters again. The new gameplay brings some feeling of being inside of the game itself. The only issue modern players will completely dislike is the game’s solo-only content because majority of the current games aim for a bigger audience of players that gives them a chance to compete against each other.