I thoroughly enjoy any sort of post-apocalyptic experience. I previously reviewed Metro 2033 Redux and was very eager to jump into the sequel Metro: Last Light Redux.
Metro: Last Light Redux (developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver) is a return to the universe based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s Metro book series. While Metro 2033 Redux mostly followed the plot of the book, Metro: Last Light Redux is an original story set in that universe and has no relation to the sequel book Metro 2034. Mr. Glukhovsky's original book spawned an entire expanded universe where other writers have created stories in the Metro setting so it's appropriate that the game series would follow suit in that respect.
The story is set one year after the events of Metro 2033. Although the player has the option to make a choice at the end of Metro 2033 Redux, Metro: Last Light Redux assumes that Artyom destroyed the Dark Ones' hive. Artyom was inducted into the Ranger order as a result of his actions and fast-tracked past much of the training.
[caption id="attachment_30580" align="alignright" width="300"] Anna is an excellent character in her own right, but you unfortunately don't get to see very much of her combat skills in action in Metro: Last Light Redux. Here's hoping she makes a return in the next game![/caption]
The D6 military facility that you visited in Metro 2033 is now the headquarters for the Ranger Order. A once abandoned but well-preserved military facility has allowed the Rangers to thrive and has given them access to an impressive arsenal. You get to pick out some freebies from the Ranger armory at the start of the game. Some of these guns were endgame equipment in Metro 2033 Redux! Unfortunately, this does not last as you're relieved of your equipment not too long afterwards. It's still nice to get to take some of the heavier firepower out for a short test drive in the prologue.
Metro: Last Light Redux's story is set in motion with the return of the mysterious Khan. Khan was your companion for a short time in Metro 2033 Redux. He seemed to have an understanding of the paranormal phenomena in the Metro universe, and he returns to you and the Rangers with news of a surviving Dark One. While Khan and Artyom would prefer to establish peaceful contact with this lone survivor, Colonel Miller orders you to kill it as the Dark Ones are still viewed as a threat to mankind. He sends along his daughter (and one of the Rangers' best snipers) Anna to cover your butt and make sure you get the job done.
What follows is an 8-12 hour campaign involving chasing down the Dark One, protecting the Ranger Order from an impending attack, and learning about the Metro universe. You spend a good chunk of time exploring the Fourth Reich (Nazi) and Red (Communist) territories in Metro: Last Light Redux. This gives you a better understanding of some of the sociopolitical underpinnings of the surviving humans who have been forced underground.
Many of the characters from Metro 2033 Redux return, and there are some interesting new ones as well such as Pavel and Anna. The previous game was mainly about combating a sort of unknown, mysterious force, but Metro: Last Light Redux has some very human adversaries as the main antangonists. There are nonetheless plenty of mutant enemies to be found. Fights against waves of enraged mutants make for some of the best action sequences in the game.
Like its predecessor, Metro: Last Light Redux's graphics are fantastic. I lacked the horsepower to run the game at its highest possible settings and yet I was nonetheless immersed in a beautiful world. Gamers who have invested in high-end graphics cards will certainly get a lot of use out of them. While the improvements from Metro 2033 to Metro 2033 Redux were quite noticeable, the changes from Metro: Last Light to Metro: Last Light Redux are much less pronounced. If you own the original Metro: Last Light, it may not be worthwhile to upgrade to Metro: Last Light Redux.
The sound is once again a credit to enhancing the spooky atmosphere of the abandoned Metro tunnels. The music compliments the atmosphere quite nicely, and it can be helpful in telling you that an enemy remains alive somewhere if the firefight music is still playing for reasons not readily apparent to the player.
There are a wider variety of firearms available compared to the previous game. Most notably, there are now several dedicated sniper rifles whereas your previous option for a marksman's weapon boiled down to a heavily modified revolver. The Metro universe uses military-grade assault rifle rounds as currency, and as such it's usually a good idea to have one of your guns be an assault rifle. If you run out of standard ammo it's nice to have the option to dip into your pocketbook rather than having to resort to melee.
The gameplay does suffer from a few flaws. The early parts of Metro: Last Light Redux has a forced stealth section with an instant failure state. If you're discovered by the guards, lethal gas is deployed and everyone dies. There is nothing necessarily wrong with a forced failure state. However, Metro 2033 Redux seemed to offer more freedom in choosing whether you went for stealth or overt combat.
The "Bandits" chapter has another noticeable issue. Merchants are typically found only in safe zones such as Metro stations or a Ranger base. However, the "Bandits" chapter has merchants at the beginning of the level. You can clear the tunnels ahead of you of enemies, pick up their guns 2 or 3 at a time (depending on your difficulty and gameplay settings) and sell them to the firearms merchant. This is an oversight that can render the remainder of the game much less difficult in terms of being careful with your military-grade ammunition. (Admittedly, this somewhat cheap tactic will involve a lot of backtracking). The difficulty is also somewhat lightened in some respects (such as slightly faster reload times) and this can be viewed as a downside for the people who enjoyed the more unforgiving gameplay of the previous game.
Andrew the Blacksmith makes a return, and this time he hooks you up with a sweet ride. A railcar nicknamed "Regina" is the Metro's equivalent of a sports car. I have to admit it was awfully fun to putter around in this little beauty. The railcar sections of the game felt oddly reminiscent of Half-Life 2's buggy sections - you'd drive along the tracks until you see something interesting. You also have the opportunity to engage in combat while driving since a lack of steering kept your hands free for shooting hostiles.
The morality system also makes a return in Metro: Last Light Redux. (Spoiler Alert: reading about the morality system will spoil certain plot points!) It is slightly more intuitive with more clearly delineated "good" or "bad" actions (such as killing someone versus knocking them unconscious), but there is no real way to track it and failure to accrue enough "good" points can lock you out of one of the endings. It would have been nice to have a way to track your moral points much like the Fallout games allow you to see your Karma and faction reputations.
Metro: Last Light Redux includes a lot of missions that were originally DLC. They're a bit easy to miss - you have to press "Q" at the Chapter Select screen to see them. Of particular note is the "Developer Pack" level which serves several functions. There's a shooting gallery that lets you tinker with every weapon in the game (including modifying them) and see how they fare against various different enemy types. The Museum lets you see most of the major humans and creatures that you come across throughout the game. You don't just get to look at a static object - you can view their animations as well. Lastly, the AI Arena lets you pit types of enemies against one another for funsies. All of these toys are featured in one level, and it's not just a fun level - it's a useful level. Games would benefit from giving players a simple sandbox like this to test out equipment and generally just mess around. It brought up mild hints of nostalgia for Perfect Dark's Carrington Institute that provided opportunities to test out the weapons and complete challenges with them in-between missions.
[caption id="attachment_30582" align="alignright" width="300"] The "Heavy Squad" DLC mission gives the player the opportunity to open up on charging enemies with a gatling gun and it only gets better from there.[/caption]
The included DLC also has some straightforward missions like "Shoot at hordes of incoming communists with a gatling gun" as well as some more story-oriented missions that allow you to explore things from the perspective of one of the major characters besides Artyom. They do not affect the main storyline, but it is nice to have the bonus content.
Metro: Last Light Redux offers more guns, more locations, and a few new interesting characters. While it is a bit lighter on the paranormal elements, it still does a fantastic job telling a story of competing political factions vying for control of the Metro. You can purchase Metro: Last Light Redux on Steam, and if the game interests you I highly recommend you purchase the bundle that includes Metro 2033 Redux.
Metro: Last Light Redux was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the PC Platform.
Do you feel Metro: Last Light Redux was a good sequel to Metro 2033 Redux or did it miss the mark? Let us know in the comments below!