Venturing beyond its trademark underground, Metro Exodus continues the series past the critically acclaimed previous entries of Metro 2033 and Last Light. In the latest game, available on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, players learn that there is life beyond the dark tunnels we have become accustomed to. Just as Metro Exodus takes players into the unknown, developers 4A Games also journey into new territory with fresh gameplay and a story the builds the next staggering chapter of the Metro universe.
Players once again take up the mantel of returning character Artyom, and at the start of the game, we learn that life exists outside the infamous metro. Hence, you begin your journey in the aptly named Metro Exodus, boarding a locomotive with your comrades in search of a new home. At first, especially for players of the last two games, it seems strange to be escaping the underground. However, the game quickly settles you into the adventure taking place in the dangerous wastelands.
Metro Exodus’ story centres your journey across the wasteland, with players encountering a number of extreme survivors, from slavers to cannibals. The journey and the encounters therein act as a conduit for exploring the lives and struggles of those aboard the train. The characters and the challenges they encounter are well-written and engross the player in a story viewed from the perspective of an individual willing to do anything to survive. Players will enjoy walking around the Aurora, the train that acts as your de-facto base of operations. From there, you can listen to the radio and chat to your comrades. Each supporting character has their own personality, and those invested in the story will enjoy listening to these different personalities and their interactions between each other, told via believable dialogue.
Outside of your base, Metro’s morality system continues in Exodus. Players aren’t precluded from dishing out Punisher-style justice upon the world’s numerous characters, but sometimes talking instead of shooting can pay dividends. The narrative can also change, depending on the choices you make. How the story plays out depends on Artyom’s actions and choices.
Unlike previous games, where tunnels and carefully crafted paths were the norm, Exodus takes its first steps into dropping players into a few sandbox-like environments. These semi-open world environments aren’t overly plentiful, and much like the weird feeling instilled by venturing outside the underground, exploring big levels gives a large sense of unknowing. The developers should nevertheless be commended for breaking up the traditional closed mode of previous games, and while venturing around the open world is sometimes overwhelming, it offers players something new. The majority of other levels are much more composed, guiding you down a predetermined route, with minimal deviation. This pacing between the closed and open environments offers a varied and exciting gameplay experience.
Players shouldn’t be scared of the sandbox levels, as Exodus for the most part offers the same carefully orchestrated experience of previous games. Players are still generally guided to the objective, but given freedom in respect to their preferred gameplay style. Going in stealthily or all guns blazing are both valid methods, and players are seldom locked into a particular style. The number of varied enemies will also keep players on their toes, from mutated beasts to armed scavengers. As always, players are at the mercy of the environment, continuing the survival gameplay seen throughout the series. Balancing resources is always at the back or your mind, while continuing to immerse players in the unforgiving and dangerous Metro universe.
In addition to the main quests, side missions also litter the game. These missions feel meaningful and not simply in the vein of fetch-quest style adventures seen in numerous other games. Instead, players can locate valuable new items and resources for the inventory, and learn about the greater narrative. Weapons can also be modified to a players liking, allowing it to be suitable for any type of combat situation. Finding mods such as sights, scopes and magazines gives players endless options to transform their guns. Thankfully, modding can be done anytime via your backpack, allowing players to adapt weapons on the fly. Players also need to manage their inventory via their backpack and workbench with a new crafting system. This aptly fits into the world were you need to scavenge to stay alive. Players find metal and chemicals, which they can use to make meds, filters and exhaust on weapon maintenance.
Playing on Xbox One X really demonstrates the games’ technical prowess, with stunning visuals and sound. If possible, we highly recommend playing the game on PC, Xbox One X or PlayStation 4 Pro, to appreciate everything this game is capable of. Metro Exodus has its small share of bugs and issues, including framerate drops, but nothing that ultimately broke our experience.
Metro Exodus boldly steps outside what the series is known for, opening the door to the larger Metro universe and producing an engrossing and graphically stunning spectacle. Open environments offer something new in between the carefully crafted moments the series is known for. Further, varied weapons, combat and gameplay opportunities give the player freedom to play their own way, accompanying the personalised story and genuine characters. Metro Exodus is a worthwhile evolution for the series, while still delivering the same fantastic post-apocalyptic experience we have become accustomed to.
- Amazing visuals - Varied gameplay - Engaging, well-written story
- Some bugs - Open-world environments can be overwhelming