Metro Exodus - 6 months after its release date, my review has arrived.
Welcome back my fellow game loving readers! It’s been a while since I’ve done a review on a game & thanks to my uncle Dave (yes, he is real) for lending me Metro Exodus, I’m here to break it down in the best way I know how.
I first saw Metro Exodus on a game reveal event back in 2018 & it looked incredible! The graphics, backdrops, terrains, atmosphere and the theme of the game had me sold. Unfortunately, the game released in February 2019 without me having any idea it was available to buy. You can accuse me of being ‘under a rock’ all you like, and although that’s not entirely untrue, I don’t ever remember seeing an advertisement for Metro Exodus anywhere. Fast forward to August 2019 & I now have the game, but has it been worth the inadvertent wait?
Metro Exodus has one of the worst introductions to a survival horror game I’ve ever played. It was slow, dull, annoying and I was tempted to hand the game back. The introductory video was good, showing you a very brief timeline of how the world had came to be, but as soon as you take control and start moving around, my goodness, I hope you have some patience in the reserve tank.
After what felt like a nightmare of a start, with dialogue you either wished was never there, or at the very least you could skip, you begin the first leg of your journey. When you arrive at your first stop on the train, you’re tasked with scouting the area and completing small missions, giving you much needed time with the game, i.e., getting to grips with the movement, guns, crafting, shooting, climbing, gathering equipment, enemies, etc.
How the game felt at the very start was exactly how the game is (I was hoping this was not going to be the case), even when you’re familiar with everything mentioned above. The movement is slow, but then all of sudden speeds up, the climbing/mantling feels like a game made over ten years ago, bullets that you, 100%, know has hit your target, somehow misses them/goes through them and there are a few other frustrating elements, such as NPC movement, running and using a boat to get across a body of water (this is particularly tedious). Even the story is cringe worthy at times and some of the things people say is borderline terrible, i.e., the script has been poorly written. In fact, there are ‘gaming holes’ wherever you seem to look in Metro Exodus and I think attention to detail, or, lack there of, is to blame.
Now that’s out of the way, we can focus on what’s good & although it may not seem like a lot at this point, there are some fundamentals that 4A Games have got very right indeed, which does seem to turn Metro Exodus around where you may not have thought possible. Metro Exodus’ premise is an extremely appealing one. A first person, story driven, post apocalyptic Russia that’s infested with zombies, monsters and flying demons is an exciting foundation to build from! 4A games have certainly adopted a harsh, unforgiving, yet realistic approach that I have no doubt will have some players drooling over & I, for one, do appreciate/like it.
I previously mentioned how firing weapons may not always grant you hit markers, but it can feel very satisfying when it does. The kickback, sounds and general feel of each gun is satisfying and realistic when you do kill someone or something, which is always an important element to have in this type of game, although, melee hits are a disaster (I’m trying my best to keep this part of the review as positive as possible). Other things that I liked is when the train you’re travelling on makes a stop and you go off wondering. There’s something reassuring about knowing you have a base to retreat to & when you’re on the train between stops, its cosy and you really do feel like a part of this dangerously epic journey to discover more. ‘Atmosphere’ was clearly a checkbox 4A games ticked with a permanent marker and one they were keen to get right.
In addition the above, when your aimlessly wondering around, picking up equipment, crafting new gun attachments or medikits, when you stumble into zombie infested homes or ones with bandits, you know you’ve got to be on your A game, otherwise you won’t survive, so stealthy approaches are a nice touch and are definitely required. On the other side, when you’ve met someone who needs your help, or is simply helping you out by giving you equipment, telling you about their life/situation, you start to feel completely engrossed and attached to the world you’re exploring.
Metro Exodus does a lot wrong, but it’s fundamentals and foundation turn things around considerably, thus, saving the day. Taking this game with a pinch of salt is an understatement, as you’re going to need an entire jar for that figure of speech to work. If you love a story, thrive on a, at times, punishing experience, have a forgiving attitude, as well as patience, then you’ll enjoy the overall experience. If not, then I hope the next game you play will be a lot better.