Dmitry Glukhovsky’s dystopian novel has garnered a following since the videogame adaptation. In fact the English translation hit book shops the same year the game was launched. Metro: Last Light had a bit of a shaky development cycle, not least because of the fall of THQ and the franchises’ acquisition by Deep Silver, but it was highly praised on launch despite not running at its full potential on consoles due to hardware limitations.
4A Games could easily have spruced up Metro: Last Light and been on their merry way, but the team decided to revisit their original flagship game and remake it in the new engine. The atmospheric lighting is the biggest indicator of this as light bounces off walls to create foreboding shadows that lurk in the darkness. But this isn’t just a graphical upgrade.
For a start, Metro 2033 Redux opts to allow players to tinker with the game a little more before embarking on the commute. Survival is the game as was originally intended, while Spartan is a faster paced affair where ammunition, filters and other resources are more readily available. You also have access to difficulty settings, including the Ranger mode where the HUD and UI are disabled. There are other subtle changes within the main campaign too. Some sections are far easier than before, while others go on for far longer or ramp up the difficulty a little bit more.
If only they paid a little bit more attention to the character models. They look fine from a distance, but as soon as their mouths move it looks like they’re all badly imitating Pac-Man, all the while using the same dodgy English dub. I seriously recommend playing this one in the original Russian with subtitles. One particularly unfortunate occurrence came when riding down the lift I’d accidentally clipped into the character model of an NPC and could see the inner workings of his mouth. It’s an image I can’t forget.
Another image I can’t forget is that of the horrifying beasties that lurk both above ground and in the tunnels. Again it is the lighting that puts the icing on this ghastly cake as the light may occasionally flicker across the face of something terrible, only for it to be hidden once again in the darkness. It creates immersion so potent that if playing Ranger mode you’d almost think you were there!
On consoles, Metro 2033 Redux is the definitive version with plenty of upgrades and tweaks, but I’d strongly recommend getting both games in the Redux pack as opposed to one or the other. Metro 2033 Redux still has limited replay value while getting Metro: Last Light at least means you can continue your journey into the post-apocalyptic underground of Moscow. As far as remakes go, this is the cream of the crop.
Review copy supplied by Xbox.