Metro: Last Light
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8.7
8.9

To start off with, I have never played anything of the Metro games and never knew much of them until I started getting more into PC gaming.  I have always been intrigued with the apocalypse themes, strategy, and survival.  Such games make you think and often go with trial and error.  Throw in a little decision making and karma, now you got yourself a game that will make you run through a couple of playthroughs.   Especially if you did not know there would be alternate ending like me.

Karma

Karma can be a bitch.  You can tell someone off and next thing you know you have a flat tire on the freeway.  Metro: Last Light is based off of a Karma system that is very unusual.  Unlike the Mass Effect Trilogy and Star Wars The Old Republic games that are lengthy and have numerous option to be positive or negative, MLL has you do things such as playing instruments, going down and hiding from enemies in the sewers, or choosing whether to let a surrendering soldier live.  The way the system is supposed to work is the more positive and “good” things you do the more positive karma you get however, determining if each action is graded more heavily than the other has not been fully understood.  I have seen numerous reports that the system is flawed and I agree.  Some players have only done the “main” karma options and not gotten the ending desired while some players have done every little thing and still fall short.  How does playing an instrument make you a better person or hiding from enemies?  The other bizarre thing about the karma system is, choosing whether to let enemies live such as knocking them out or killing them plays a part.  How much is not officially known.  Most games you can blow through a level and kill all the bad guys especially if you get spotted and it will not affect the ending.  Not with Metro.  A lot of the time you can bypass the guards but it takes patience and strategy.

Graphics

Now this is where MLL shines.  The Metro is beautiful on high and very high settings with great PhysX.  Yes, Nvidia cards run smoother with this game then AMD.  I myself have an AMD and was slightly disappointed in not being able to use the advance PhysX option.  However, with the Radeon 7870, I was able to run the game on very high settings, 1600 x 900, with SSAA 2x and advanced PhysX turned off at an average of 33 fps.  I know not the best but it still looked pretty.  The detail is so fine, even the little things make the game enjoyable.  For instance, when you are around water or in a windy situation, you make experience splashing on your mask and have to wipe it in order to see properly.  You will even encounter those pesky flies that will land on your mask.  Makes you wish you had a fly swatter or bug zapper.  I thought this was awesome.  Not to mention being able to burn up those pesky spider webs that slow you down.

Number of Weapons

Coming from playing almost all shooters the past couple of years, I have grown accustomed to having multiple options for gun selection.  With MLL, you have the option to hold onto three weapons at a time.  The game currently has shotguns, sniper rifles, pistol/revolvers, assault rifles, and Pneumatic weapons.  The unfortunate thing is there are anywhere from 2-4 options available for each class.  Once you get past your first set of guns, most likely you will be keeping the next step up.  A plus I did find with the weapons is you can put the same set up on each gun if you choose.

Story

Metro has an enjoyable story that can keep you locked in for a couple of hours at a time and that is partly due to the dialogue.  Metro has a LOT of it.  Some missions or levels are nothing but dialogue.  The game also requires you at some points to set through conversation after conversation but sometimes you get soaked in.  For the guys out there, and ladies if you prefer, a big positive of the story is it takes you through varies “guy” situations.  I will not spoil the fun but will let you know you get a “show.”  Also, if you have not played Metro: 2033, Last Light has enough background information to fill you enough to understand the story.

Gameplay

A big thing that made Metro fun was the gameplay.  For a first person shooter, I feel it is a cross between Bioshock and Call of Duty: World at War.  I know, I know, you may either say "I love Call of Duty" or "I hate COD."  Let me explain.  Bioshock is a little of a bizarre game at first and feel with little the gadgets you can use and overall theme.  COD:World at War takes you back to the 1940s with guns that can be considered out of date due to today's modern marvels.  You combine those two and the post apocalyptic Metro: Last Light is born.  As I mentioned before, your gun selection is limited throughout the game but you can still manage to find a few guns and set ups that make you happy.  The other nice feature is the use of kill zone locations.  For most of the game if you choose to the shoot first, ask questions later approach, all you need to kill is a nice headshot and a lot of the game enemies with drop.  Throw in silenced weapons and you'll have a good day.  Besides the bosses, the rest of the nonhuman enemies have a forgiving kill shot location.  However, it is best to pick your fights wisely especially on the harder difficulties.  You could say it does not take much to take you out of the fight so you may have a couple of frustrating levels.  Throw in the levels where you need to play fast if you are short on airfilters for your mask and you have a nice little challenge.  Enough to get your heart pumping.  Play with the lights off, sound up, and the game gets even better.

All in all, I truly enjoyed playing Metro: Last Light the first time and am currently in the process of beating it a second time on a harder difficulty and try for the “Alternate” ending.  It is definitely in the Crysis 3 category when it comes to looks, has a good story, but flawed karma system.  Overall I would recommend this game if you enjoy single player shooters.