Metro Exodus Review
Craig finds himself in deepest darkest Russia and dons the gas mask in our Metro Exodus Review
It’s a grim world out there in the best of times but after a nuclear war, Metro Exodus takes any ideas of what an after-nuke planet might look like and turns them into a grim reality.
The world of Metro Exodus and its landscapes are dark. Even the hard-hitting Caspian area, which invites the warmth of the sun, still manages to exuberate a wonderfully harsh and grim environment. Metro’s best feature is in how grim and desolate everything looks. While contemporaries often flirt with the idea of an apocalypse-inspired setting, they never truly hit the mark like Metro has. Exodus’ open areas feel lived-in yet dead, in a way that many games just don’t tend to reach.
In addition to this, Metro’s band of characters adds to its charm. From your gritty Commander-in-Chief Miller, your partner Ana, to the interesting cast of characters that journey with you across Russia, clinging to the hope that out there somewhere, is a civilisation still living in harmony. While the main player character Artyom is a silent protagonist, Exodus does a great job of still making you feel involved and invested in you and your teams’ fates, whether it be through discussions on the train that you take through the Russian landscape or during on-field missions with your group, Exodus always lets you feel like there is a reason and a purpose behind what you’re doing. It rarely puts you in a position where you’re completing a mission just for the sake of it.
One intriguing part of Metro Exodus is, in fact, its mission structure. The first-person shooter doesn’t go open world but leaves behind most of its linear roots. Instead, opting for a more interesting sandbox approach where you’ll find yourself in a number of open areas with not just your main objective but also other tasks. One early mission sees you tasked with not only completing the main story objective but also the option of finding a teddy for a child who found refuge on your train – the Aurora. Doing so results in small dialogue changes upon your return, whether you find the teddy or not. These tasks aren’t required but offer completionists and people who want to further explore these areas an opportunity and a reason to do so. You’ll also find extra ammo and resources to upgrade your weaponry by picking areas clean of their resources, crucial for dealing with the game’s pressing difficulty level.
Interspersed during moments where you can freely roam are more linear sections, where you’ll, by and large, follow a set-path. Many of these actually proved more impressive than the open sections, often resulting in gun battles or traversal that changes the pace of the game severely. One section in particular, increases the speed of the game so much that it really gave off DOOM and Wolfenstein vibes at a point where Metro Exodus was starting to feel a bit samey – it was a section that completely changed my personal view of the game and from there my admiration for Exodus grew exponentially.
Metro Exodus isn’t without its drawbacks though. To some degree, it’s a survival and resource management heavy first-person shooter, with every bullet round feeling scarce and constant scavenging and repair work needed in order to keep items like your gas mask and guns in tip-top condition. In truth, a lot of the management of these features felt like a chore and broke the flow of the game. At times I felt like I was more concerned with item and resource management rather than the task at hand.
4A’s title also suffers from strange glitches and bugs, as well as a noticeable lag problem with general gameplay. At times I saw lights flickering where there was no source, strange objects appearing and disappearing, and framerate dipping to an almost unplayable rate on rare occasions. These weren’t constant occurrences but they appeared enough for me to have slight concerns over it. The lag with the game controls isn’t something that affected my own personal playthrough (although it was there to a small degree) but there have been reports of worse lag issues on the PS4 version of Metro Exodus – we reviewed the game on the Xbox One.
We also encountered longer than normal load times, with an initial load taking around three to four minutes, depending on what area the game is trying to boot up. Once loaded, Exodus runs without too many wait times but it’s worth noting that the initial load is longer than we’d of liked.
Despite its graphical and technical issues, Metro Exodus is a game that has a compelling story, multiple environments that drip with atmosphere and a game that at its best can offer enjoyable moment-to-moment gameplay. With a patch or two down the road to fix its issues, Metro Exodus isn’t far off being an excellent game.
Metro Exodus Review Conclusion
It’s dark, it’s punishing and it has an atmosphere that brings its dead world to life. While Metro Exodus has problems in the gameplay and technical department, it still offers a wonderful alternative to games that are a little bit more safe.
We reviewed Metro Exodus after receiving a code from the publisher and it’s available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.