- Jun 3, 2011
Hello, I'm Troy McClure, and you might remember me for the negative review i gave of Skyrim, among others.
I was unhappy with Skyrim's combat and questing mechanics, and i feel that Metro is pretty bad as well. So, if you thought my views on Skyrim were BS, you're welcome to ignore this review.
I played (most of) Metro: Last Light on a E6600@3.2 and a 7750, settings on LOW, and while my framerate wasn't the best, it was still playable;
The graphics, namely the amount of detail that went into the environment, is astounding. Even on Low, it still looks impressive. The models are very detailed and unusual, and the locations have an incredible amount of detail. Animations are nothing special, and most of the time are incredibly slow;
The story is similar to Metro 2033, in you playing the character of Artyom, a member of the Spartan Rangers, one of the factions which have sprung up in post-apocalyptic Moskov's subway tunnels. After having destroyed the Dark Ones (friendly invaders from space .. ) in the previous game, he now quests for the last Dark One baby, travelling through the metro, facing perils coming from both humans and monsters alike.
For the vast majority, MLL is a quicktime-based, fully scripted FPS adventure game, with some redundant stealth sections built in.
The first six hours gameplay i experienced involve your character slowly walking in closed locations waiting for the animated models of NPCs to open a door, or perform another similar action that allows you to progress to the FPS sections. During these extended scenes the plot and characters are explained;
Now, if you have ever played any EA shootie thingie game of the past ten years, you know the plot. The dramatization of events is so "bog" standard (lol) that daytime tv easily surpasses it in writing quality.
The all-too-brief gameplay sections between these enormous, "interactive cutscenes", are either a couple of rooms of stealth mechanics a'la Splinter Cell, on-rails shooting, or corridor crawling.
The stealth sections look nice, but your character is so ridiculously OP (basic handgun one-shots everything, and that's just the "basic" one, plus you get quite a lot more ammo than the previous outing, and upgrades are easy to get) that they pose no challenge whatsoever - crouch, headshot the headlamp-wearing dudes, activate target, and enjoy another scripted event.
On rails shooting is even worse, with infinite monsters, which must be shot at when they are "clinging on to the thing-you-are-riding", in what is essntially a quicktime event where the player presses mouse1 rather than E. (also, you have seen this thing a million times already)
Corridor crawling is somewhat better, with the scavenging of useful ammo in every nook and cranny, yet the mobs' tendency to disappear in "holes in the wall" to give the player that atmospheric feel (and thus not targeting you properly) mean that you can simply walk or run your way to the end ignoring any danger.. of which there is little, as regenerating helath and plentiful medikits assure the continuation of your adventure to watch more scripted events.
The rare, occasional open-space FPS sections are more rewarding, yet even here the infinite mobs, arbitrary invisible walls (water), time constraints of your gas mask's filter, and the general nastyness of being in an environment which the developers want to remind you, will make your vision very, very blurred, mean that it's often best to just plot your way around the map, and sprint to the objective.
I see a great fault here, as the aforementioned great visuals simply muddle down to a cracked mask visor with various kinds of goo mashed on it, making the experience more akin to playing a normal game with a jar of peanut butter smeared on your monitor, than feeling a sense of dread and impending doom that other titles (titles which enjoy having many fullstops in the name) have successfully summoned before.
MLL's faults dont end with mud on your face or mobs immune to damage when performing the "i'm wounded!" animation;
The pacing is absolutely horrid. I have more than once gone AFK waiting for a really uninteresting story to unfold so i could play the bloody game. The animations are dreadfully slow, the fake russian accent is truly unnecessary, the plot itself is so trite you really need to be too young for the PEGI rating to not have seen it before; the Red Sonja sniper, the too-friendly scoundrel who betrays you, the rough commander who can't see the obvious, the wise old Hunter who has read the script, and so forth... and so forth. And did someone say this game had good music in it? That was your WinAmp launching, not Metro.
Graphics-wise, i feel that my GPU should be sufficient to play a title on Low, yet MLL has serious issues with textures, most notably lights, which too often completely bork out, breaking in black pixels. I accept that a title touted as a gpu-killer isn't where i should look for great optimization, but it would have been a few extra points that MLL really needs.
I also accept that the developers didn't have a monster budget, so comparing this to Far Cry 3 (which ran perfectly on my hardware) is a bit daft, but then again i also have terrible memories of Deep Silver's quality control, and i wouldn't be surprised if their QA was limited to a block of post-it notes with "will not fix" written on them.
In the end, my take is that Metro Last Light suffers from Electronicatrsitis, in that it tries to be too much like Black Ops but fails becasuse of poor project direction; as if someone had a $4mil budget to make a film, and spent it all on four $1mil actors and an iPhone, ignoring all the additional work and talent needed to make an idea into something which captures your imagination and holds your interest.
An example of what i mean can be seen here, in the Fortunate Son / Vietnam section of BLOPS:
Now, that's how you introduce characters, that's how you keep a story moving. The pacing is just perfect.
In that game there are plenty of "infinite mobs" sections, yet the direction is so good you never notice it. Feel free to ingore the models, the dust, the helicopters, the facial animation. All this could have been done by MLL with a little camera rotation and model movement that wasn't so frikking slow.
Another example is Amnesia's water level; although the mob is invisible, he does not "dematerialize"; he might be out of reach to you, but it can still threathen you, as he's always into play. In MLL, showing me a mob i can shoot at crawling into a hole in the wall is redundant, if my hitting it or not makes no difference - as he will pop out again fresh as a daisy in a few seconds because "it has been scripted".
And (a title which has many full stops in its name) has done everything which MLL tries to do with mutants but better. Ammo availability, using the environment to hide, radiation, persistent mobs, weapon mechanics, bad russian accents .. and no f* quick time events.
MLL is sadly no longer on my PC; i grew tired of scripted events. I also grew tired of having to wipe my mask every five seconds, which isn't - in my humble opinion - not so much as enticing, as it is irritating. If you feel you must really buy this game, do yourself a favour, and get it on console.
Metro's last light will be much more enjoyable from a comfy couch and bigscreen TV than from a kb/m, and maybe bring a friend too, so while you watch some spiderweb burn awesomely, you can both go WOW very loudly and maybe that will cover up the horrible voice acting, and shut out the pitiful characters and story.
Also you can take turns playing when you die to invisible walls.