Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

As Ivan Loev wittily noted in his history of the series, the life path of Metro goes exactly the opposite of how STALKER developed. The Ukrainian shooter about the horrors of the Chernobyl exclusion zone promised mountains of gold, moved to release with great difficulty, changing builds and losing people, and it took him two whole iterations to bring yourself to perfect shape.

Metro is the result of a different approach: careful goals, small scale, linearity, and high detail. Therefore, the first game came out as a solid, compact, but damn charming, perfect illustration of the post-nuclear world of the Moscow metro, invented by writer Dmitry Glukhovsky. The sequel slightly expanded and improved on what the original achieved.

And only now, when Metro: Exodus is rushing to release, the game has announced big ambitions.

“Our roof is blue sky”

For the first time Metro is selected in the open world. The book series was not particularly conducive to the “sandbox”: there the world was limited to the cramped metro tunnels, where the surviving inhabitants of Moscow huddled after a nuclear attack in 2013 and where they lived for over 20 years. And on the surface, in the absence of people and under the mutagenic effect of radiation, a new ecosystem was born, in which there was no place left for Homo sapiens.Metro: Exodus preview

Exodus, fortunately for everyone, does not copy the already known post-apocalypse and looks very peculiar.

To get acquainted with Metro: Exodus, it is not necessary to read the entire trilogy and play the previous parts, you just need to know the plot: the central character of the series, Artyom, sets off on an armored train from the capital to Vladivostok itself, in order to find survivors along the way and find a new home for the dying residents of the metro . By the way, one of the train cars was recreated at IgroMir as part of the pavilion and everyone who wanted to try out Metro: Exodus was allowed there. We also tried it.

Most of all, I feared that the level of elaboration would drop dramatically. The first two parts stood out with an insane amount of detail that created a very convincing and detailed picture of the post-nuclear underground life. After all, the authors did not need to draw tens of square kilometers of locations – they could focus on miniature levels and properly furnish them.

In the open air of Exodus, there will be linear episodes, and those where you can go on all four sides. What could be there? Wild thickets and forgotten paths, where there is a great chance to run into predators, abandoned dwellings that store artifacts of a past life and some supplies, and places that have been settled by hostile people.

Locations captured by the enemy have several entry points, and you can attack them from any. Then the usual first-person shooter takes on the features of other genres. For example, stealth. Artyom finds a crossbow with the humorous name “Helsing” and uses it to kill silently. Previously, there were also episodes that were played secretly, but now the choice of tactics depends on the player. True, there is no full-fledged stealth here – without sectors of view, visibility, noise level, or at least an indication of detection, it is possible to act secretly only thanks to intuition.

Metro: Exodus preview

The comfort of the village huts has been preserved, despite the fact that the huts themselves lie in ruins.

Food chain

Artyom will meet not only rare people, whether they are settlers, savages or bandits, but also mutated fauna that has seized power over nature. What is nice, animals do not serve as moving targets – the beast lives its own life, often does not want to make contact and fight, and if anything, it will gladly attack anyone, not only Artyom.

In general, this is a very good sign for the “sandbox”. This means that the environment is not subject to one goal – to interfere with the player, it reacts to its own parts. If any creature follows you, you can bring it with you to the camp of villains, and then the creature will become your common problem. Or – the problem of villains, if Artyom manages to sneak away under the guise.

It remains to check whether it will be possible to feed the wolf to the mutant spiders that have braided every second secluded corner. Or play off local wildlife with a huge bear, from which it is not shameful to run away.

On parole

What alarmed me the most was the resources being collected everywhere. You yourself understand what the overall picture is: an open world, tons of junk and mandatory crafting – all this has become a tool for stretching the gameplay for extra tens of hours.Metro: Exodus preview

The design of monsters seemed to me somewhat monotonous before. It seems now.

However, crafting has an iron justification, given the setting. 4A Games Executive Producer John Bloch explained that far from the cozy arches of the Moscow metro, it is not so easy to find ready-made consumables, parts and things in general. There, at stations and hauls, handicraft production of any kind of items that went for sale and exchange was in full swing – if only there were enough “bullets” to buy them. Far from civilization, Artyom is left to make everything with his own hands, and therefore it was impossible to do without crafting.

I got a taste of the lack of supplies while playing the demo. Crossbow bolts run out instantly, if you do not collect them from the corpses, the cartridges fly out even faster, especially if you shoot carelessly. The same applies to first aid kits. For a while I tried to play as before and very quickly found myself injured, with empty magazines and without crossbow bolts.

And, fortunately, after crafting, other boring elements of modern “sandboxes” will not penetrate into Metro – neither pumping, nor tedious sawing of HP strips. Only the skill of the player himself grows, and there will be no “passives” that increase damage by 1.75%. Of course, there will be modifications for weapons, but this is already a passed and approved stage in the development of Metro shooter mechanics.

Metro: Exodus preview

Even the weapon itself looks like homemade – welds, motley parts, improvised items in the design. It is self-made, just done behind the scenes.

***

Finally, I asked if 4A Games is not afraid of competition with the future STALKER 2 – more as a joke than seriously. They answered me about something else – about the experience that the founders of the studio once received at GSC, but in fact the answer is clear and so. We may not wait for the sequel to Stalker, knowing the approach of Grigorovich’s company to development, but Metro: Exodus will definitely come out and, if it succeeds, it will capture and hold the title of the title game of the entire CIS, as STALKER once did

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