After what seemed an eternity since the last installment, Metro Exodus finally hit PS4, XB1 and Windows last week and it was worth the wait.
Much had been made of a bold new premise to take the hugely popular series out of its underground setting and above Moscow’s Metro system for the first time.
Many felt the best-in-class tension created by that setting was effectively Metro’s ace card. So it was a definite risk going overground, but one that pays off by broadening the game’s horizons and introducing - albeit less successfully - a sandbox element to your experience.
Exodus is the third instalment in the Metro video game series based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels. It is set after the events of Metro: Last Light, on a post-apocalyptic Earth that has been devastated by a nuclear war.
You assume the role of “silent” protagonist Artyom with Anna returning as his wife. He becomes obsessed with proving that other human survivors exist outside of Moscow and flees the Metro to embark on a year-long journey in a bid to do just that.
The trademark tension is still there and the game’s characters and storyline suck you into this savage world.
Elements of the game can be a grind and if you are after a run and gun style FPS then Metro Exodus is not for you. Thrill-a-minute seekers might want to reconsider their position, though, because this game expertly puts the brakes on a genre that is fast leaving itself with nowhere to go, simply by slowing things down and begging the gamer to live every moment of a memorable journey.
Crafting and customisation put the player in charge and over time helps get a handle on some powerful weaponry which makes for brilliant and engrossing combat.
As I touched on earlier the biggest let down for me is the sandbox areas which ultimately feel like an unfinished, half-baked, unnecessary add-on. This is where the grind comes in as you can wonder around large, sparse areas without gaining too much from it at all - often wasting crucial resources on the admittedly terrifying mutants that await in the outer reaches.
Many reviews have highlighted technical issues and crashes as frustrations but (touch wood) I am yet to encounter anything of note. Another peeve of mine was the handling of “silent” Artyom whose voice we hear on reading to us but then remains silent the rest of the time. It was akin to an actor looking straight down the camera during a film that we sometimes see on outtakes, it just jarred.
Metro Exodus is still toe-curlingly frightening despite going superterranean and an exhilarating journey through a beautifully-crafted world set against a superb storyline.
It is a slower paced, more methodical FPS than we’ve been used to on this generation of consoles, but that’s no bad thing. And there is still plenty of fright left in the old dog for the adrenalin junkies.
Never dull, Metro Exodus rises to the surface like it has been there all along.