Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Flag_of_the_United_States.svg
Title: Metro Exodus
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (49.11 GB)
Release Date: February 15, 2019
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Metro Exodus is the third game in the Metro series. 4A Games has made a number of great changes but overall if you didn’t like either of the previous games, this one won’t change your mind.

The previous games focused on the vast network of Metro tunnels under Moscow, only briefly going outside from time to time. Metro Exodus, as the name implies, will change all of that.

The protagonist of the story, Artyom, along with his wife Anna, and his comrades are all forced to leave Moscow and explore other parts of Russia. The series leaves behind the tight corridors of the tunnels for wide open environments.

The open areas are a nice change of pace but do not feel fully fleshed out when compared to other games. Post-nuclear war, these areas would not be brimming with life, but there does seem to be a lot of empty space between pockets of activity. There are side objectives along the way to the main missions, but otherwise, exploration is not rewarded.

Each new environment is vastly different from the last and you’ll find a variety of buildings and vessels to explore. In between the new areas, or when first loading a save, make sure you have your phone nearby to check Twitter because it’s a long, long load.

Fortunately, the developers added a few mechanics to help keep the open areas free of load screens. Players will recognize shimmying through tight areas and being forced to slowly crawl under rubble. Reloading a checkpoint or a save after dying is usually a shorter load time, though it’s still too long.

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Metro Exodus has traded in the series’ use of pre-war ammo that was previously used as currency for a new crafting system, allowing players to craft their perfect loadout for each mission. As one of the mechanics that set the series about from other games, it seems weird that pre-war ammo was never mentioned here.

In the end, the new crafting system makes sense. Gone are the villages in each Metro station, full of merchants and people going about their lives. Now a small group is spending each day of their lives fighting together for survival. It would really break immersion for a member of the group to tell Artyom, “Thanks for risking your life for the group on this important task but I can’t let you have this gun for those few pre-war bullets.”

I have not played Metro Last Light since launch. The unique world and lore drew me in, and the graphics and gameplay were good enough for the experience. While the graphics in Metro Exodus are vastly improved, the gameplay feels kind of left behind.

Underground in the tight tunnels and smaller areas of engagement, the old combat worked. In the open areas, the shooting lacks a certain fluidity. There is a level of snappiness and precision, even with a controller, that most players would expect in a first person shooter. In general Artyom feels sluggish, like he’s moving through water.

Metro Exodus was developed to be a challenging game. Ammo is limited, so every shot counts. Yet, there were parts of the game one could argue that the mechanics are not refined enough for the challenge and precision required.

Whenever I was being rushed by three or more enemies at a time, it felt almost impossible to get a couple of quick headshots. I kept going back and forth over whether it’s me or the game’s mechanics. There were moments where I feel like I would have gotten those head shots in a Battlefield game.

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

The difficulty options can help players struggling with the game. The difficulty below the default was designed for players who don’t want to carefully manage their resources and ammo but still want a challenge.

Stealth is never forced on the player, although it is highly encouraged every now and then. At times, Artyom’s companions will ask that he not kill certain people or express disappointment that a task was not completed without bloodshed.

With the right loadout, stealth is a viable approach but it does slow down the game. Towards the beginning of the game, I would reload saves or checkpoints trying to perfectly stealth my way through an area. In later missions I didn’t bother.

Metro Exodus is an immersive game and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. Unfortunately, I found it challenging at times to move the game forward. It’s no surprise that there are no highlighted or shiny objects for the player to easily spot.

Many times I spent too long in a small area wandering back and forth trying to find a lever to pull and open a door. I also knew I was looking for a lever, switch, or something to turn, but it was often lost in all the detail of a room and easily overlooked.

Most games struggle to finish strong and Metro Exodus is no different. I’m not saying every game should end with a big boss fight, but the ending felt too passive and stretched out for too long. In the last hour, there was maybe ten minutes of actual gameplay. I get what they developers were going for, but they needed to shorten the ending or mix it up a little bit.

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Visuals:
4A Games has taken pains throughout the series remove all HUD elements. All the information a player needs is represented on Artyom’s arm and map.

Metro Exodus launched with a photo mode but I never used it because I didn’t need to hide the HUD. Whether wandering through a bombed out Moscow drowning in snow, or standing on the train watching an abandoned village roll by, I was able to hit the Share button and keep on rolling.

The beauty of the environments in Metro Exodus cannot be understated. Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light were released in 2010 and 2013, respectively. They were set in Moscow’s Metro tunnel underground. Mostly dark and dingy, the early games in the series were not known for their graphical prowess. The world’s details were filled in by the conversations overheard between NPCs.

Nine years later, we have new consoles and numerous changes in graphics engines. Still, I never thought 4A Games was capable of environments like this. It’s rare for me to walk out a a building and say “Damn, look at that”.

I’m not the gamer who stops to look around. I love story and lore. In many games, I’ve stopped to listen in on world building conversations between NPCs or I’ve talked to every NPC between missions to eek out every little detail about a game’s universe.

Somehow, with every new environment, there I was standing on the train watching the world roll by. Sometimes I was also listening to a conversation between two of my follow companions, but even if I was alone I would let Artyom take some drags of a cigarette and marvel at the landscapes before me.

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Audio:
As with the previous games, there is a treasure trove of detail and world building lore in conversations that aren’t required listening. Many of conversations are between your fellow companions trying to make sense of the world and their current situation.

After a cutscene, players can choose to start the mission right away or they can wait and listen to Miller discuss further details about the mission. Artyom can walk away after a group gathering or stay a little longer and be part of the group that has gone through so much together.

To fully live in Artyom’s shoes is to stay in your room cuddling with Anna for a few more minutes because you spend precious little time together not holding a gun. Unfortunately, Metro Exodus does everything it can to ruin all of these moments.

Background noise and sound effects drown out dialogue, even when you’re right next to the person. I missed out on whole conversations due to pouring rain.

At times the NPCs are constantly talking over each other. When they do speak one at a time, I couldn’t hear anything they said unless I stood next to them and looking right at them. Look slightly away and the VO volume drops dramatically.

There is no gradual step down. The volume is basically on or off. While listening to characters discuss an upcoming mission you have to quickly look back and forth between them. Really takes the wind out of the sails.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Review: Metro Exodus (PS4)

Conclusion:
Metro Exodus‘s audio issues practically force players to play with subtitles. This is standard for me but many players hate them. For a game with no HUD, this really breaks immersion.

This is a visual feast for the eyes. 4A Games could have stuck with one environment type and simply created other open areas with similar landscapes. Instead, they pushed themselves and the end result is quite outstanding.

The game’s mechanics didn’t get the same upgrade that the visuals did. The controls that worked for the Metro tunnels are not responsive and accurate enough for open areas. If the shooting improvements had been on par with the graphics and there had been no audio issues, Metro Exodus would have earned a fantastic review. As it stands, it’s simply a good game.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook