Metro: 2033 Redux (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 17.09.2014

Review for Metro: 2033 Redux on PlayStation 4

Metro: 2033 is based on a novel penned by Dmitry Glukhovsky. The player assumes the role of Artyom, a survivor from when the nuclear bombs dropped on Moscow, and now society has retreated to the underground subway stations and railways where different ideologies (Soviets and Neo Nazis) clash and mutants run amok. The Redux version comes with new technical improvements over the vanilla Metro: 2033 such as some load screens being removed entirely, tweaked AI, updated character models, more dynamic lighting and an action-centric "Spartan" mode.

What 4A Games managed to build with such limited resources is staggering. About half the budget of what most AAA games get, the absolute worst working conditions in a city that was rioting and no electricity (computers powered by gas generators) - it is a thin-air miracle that these talented and devoted artists and engineers managed to make this game at all, least of all it being pretty great. Metro: 2033 Redux is a first-person action game with plenty of stealth options and while it dances around in the survival-horror genre, it doesn't fully commit to it.

The stealth play style is well implemented enough, but sometimes enemies will have weird AI hiccups and will cause very bizarre animation convulsions. It all plays out fairly naturally and in ranger mode, Artyom's animations are slowed down a bit to more realistically reflect human motion. Ranger mode is by far the definitive mode to play Metro: 2033 Redux - it is balanced so that while Artyom dies extremely fast, so does the enemy. This creates a great feeling of tension and struggle to survive, scurrying about in the dark while enemy forces are unaware, as Artyom can line his sight to snipe a stray Soviet. While ammo is scare, it is the military grade rounds that serve as currency and can also be switched into some weapons as a more powered up ammo - needless to say, this is a great feature for a survival game like this where options are weighed and can mean life or death now… or maybe later. Even though death comes at a much faster rate, thankfully the load times in Metro: 2033 Redux are extremely fast. This was great for the pacing and creating as little friction as possible, so the player can feel less punished for experimenting and daring more crazy feats, like sneaking past a group of mutants feeding as opposed to assaulting them head on. However, given the design and structure of Metro: 2033 Redux, there are some scripted moments where Artyom has no choice but to engage in direct combat with multiple enemies or monsters. Moments like this illustrate the strengths of Metro: 2033 Redux and how it is best played when players are given freedom to choose, and not when they are at the whims of the designers forcing them to play in a way the game has left as an option until now.

Screenshot for Metro: 2033 Redux on PlayStation 4

Playing Metro: 2033 Redux in Spartan mode makes the game a kind of ho-hum affair. Larger ammo capacities and more health for Artyom and the enemies, as well as more ammo pick-ups, make the game into a more frenzied action game like that of popular military shooters of today. When the scripted action sequences happen in Spartan mode, the evens become very easy to the point they aren't very interesting or engaging. With the larger health boost and all the extra military grade ammo, these sequences feel more like filler and really bog the game's pacing down. It should be noted that Metro: 2033 Redux has quite a few scripted sequences and not all of them are action. Many times, the scripted events are story related and force Artyom to a sluggish walking pace, and players must wait while the NPCs go through their motions to allow the story to continue. This type of storytelling in first-person action games have diminishing returns and are only cool the first time they are experienced. It is especially egregious on subsequent playthroughs since they are always unskippable and can take quite some time to get through them.

The 4A Games artists really have their work cut out for them. Dmitry Glukhovsky's world is beautifully realized in Metro: 2033 Redux. Such finely textured lush environments that feel lived in with a palpable atmosphere that one can almost smell the grime and corpses of the Metro. While there is some contention over the visuals in the Redux version's particle effects being more restrained compared to the vanilla Metro: 2033 on Xbox 360, 4A Games manages to have the PS4 version run at a buttery 60fps in 1080p and it is a sumptuous sight to behold. Varying colour temperatures and cool shadows create a distinct and visually striking game that takes place mostly underground. Incredibly, it never gets stale or tiring. When Artyom ventures to the surface of Moscow, Metro: 2033 Redux shines even greater. The hot zones and bombed-out Russian city is a haunting and brutal environment that welcomes no man and will slowly kill Artyom should he run out of resources. Some of Metro: 2033 Redux's finest gameplay moments are on the surface, as Artyom can explore abandoned shelters to frantically find a fresh air filter in hopes of lasting one more minute before suffocation kicks in. The mutants that roam the wasteland behave naturally, sometimes ignoring Artyom, but other times will look right at him. Then there is a terrible high-pitched screaming, the screen turns red despite all the pounding and hollering, and they just rip him to pieces. It is a harsh and uncaring terrain that is only a reminder of the futility of man's achievements.

While Metro: 2033 Redux can be purchased solo on PSN or XBL, it is also available as part of the Metro Redux compilation which also includes Metro: Last Light Redux. Metro: 2033 Redux is a fine game and is definitely worth the price on PSN and XBL; however, it is best played with its sequel, for they are very different games and there is a better value getting both together - especially since Metro: 2033 Redux has no multiplayer modes or New Game Plus. It does have an alternate ending that can be triggered by some well hidden in-game actions the player can perform.

Screenshot for Metro: 2033 Redux on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Metro: 2033 Redux is one of the better single-player first-person action games to come out. It's got some flaws and some questionable pacing choices, most egregiously the oftentimes tedious scripted story sequences that pepper the game to a fault. The core gameplay and mechanics are realised well enough when the game lets the player play around and explore its possibilities. It is no mistake that Metro: 2033 Redux's best chapters are the ones where the player has the most agency over the action. While a scripted sequence isn't a bad idea per say, they are too frequent and too many in Metro: 2033 Redux, which is already not a long game. This game is best described as the companion to Metro: Last Light Redux, where users are better off getting the retail compilation. The amount of visual fidelity and craftsmanship displayed in this game is unparalleled considering the lack of budget and absurd working conditions the crew had to endure during its development. It is a testament to the work of 4A Games and visionary Dmitry Glukhovsky.

Developer

4A

Publisher

Deep Silver

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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