Review: Metro Redux
A whole raft of games are getting re-done, touched up and re-sculpted for PS4 and Xbox Ones at the moment and the latest to have gone under the knife is 4A Games’s Metro series. We didn’t review the first game, Metro 2033, as the site didn’t exist then but you can read Gareth’s Metro: Last Light review. There you can read his opinion on every aspect, especially the story, which I won’t be dwelling on here as there’s no need to repeat ourselves. What I will discuss is what a great job 4A Games have done in making the most out of new hardware.
I’ll start with what immediately hits you upon booting up Metro 2033. It simply looks brilliant. The level of detail in the station hideouts is better than ever but what really struck me was the lighting as you make your way through the tunnels. The green fungi glowing menacingly off corpses, red warning lights scattering their light over monsters in a terrifying way as you hold your ground during another onslaught and the white light emanating from torches dancing across destroyed tunnels is fabulous.
Outside areas have been greatly improved too with desolate Moscow looking even more more dilapidated than before. You can thank 4A Games for hitting that magic 1080p mark which really enhance the textures of the scenery and buildings. The beasties are even uglier than ever too!
Metro: Last Light has benefited too although not to the same extent. That’s not a negative point but as Last Light only came out a year or so ago compared to 2033’s four years the upgrade isn’t going to be a noticeable. But graphics isn’t everything in a game (far from it) but the combination of improved graphics and a rich, detailed universe puts this in the AAA category, right up there with BioShock in my opinion. The background chatter, posters on the wall and a well crafted and paced user experience puts many other games to shame including other PS4 and Xbox One games.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. There were still some delay textures popping in when moving into a new area but overall it’s a very impressive job. Also a little after starting Chapter 4 of 2033 I was kicked to the main PlayStation menu and was told the data was corrupted. Therefore all progress was lost! Similar things have happened in the past and it’s sometimes to do with playing games before the (sometimes far too) key day one patch is installed squashing some last minute bugs. Let’s hope that’s the case here.
Other areas that 4A Games touched upon include the UI. Both games are now identical when it comes to item selection improving on Metro 2033’s original UI and helpfully providing consistency between the two titles. It would have been rather counter-intuitive after all to hop from one to the other and the menu layout is different.
AI has been improved upon too making it easier to take out a whole room of enemies in a stealthy manner. There’s still some gaming license in the fact you can stand two meters in front of an enemy but as you’re in the shadows they can’t spot you. But despite the improvements the AI still instantly knows exactly where you the very moment you make a mistake when sneaking your way through a level. It’s less of an occurrence than before but still frustrating.
Despite that problem I still had a real blast playing both games. When I did go guns blazing it was just as enjoyable (FYI – I played Spartan mode but always started sneaking when facing a room of human enemies) especially when I got the shotgun that acts like a mini-gun. That gun wouldn’t be out of place in Doom!
If you didn’t enjoy some of the aspects of either game, like the sub-par boss bits or the sometimes extreme onslaught of enemies when you have to hold your ground, you won’t be satisfied with this release as they remain. But the value of this package, arguably the best remaster of any game(s) cannot be faulted. Many games these days get a Game of the Year a package or the like which is simply a final cash-grab by the publisher to extract the last bit of interest in the title. But this is different. A huge amount of effort has gone into Metro Redux and4A Games should be commended for what they’ve created.
To sum up
The best compliment that I can give to Metro Redux is that it looks and feels like a new-gen game when it isn’t. This package is well worth anyone’s time and even Metro 2033 looks and plays better than many other recent PS4 releases despite its older foundations. I can’t wait to see how great the next Metro will be.
Version reviewed: PS4
Metro Redux is out on 29 August 2014 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.