Reader Review: Metro 2033

Reader Review: Metro 2033

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Brendan does, as in Soviet Russia yellow line waits behind you!

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Brendan Keogh. If you’ve played Metro 2033, or just want to ask Brendan more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Metro 2033 (Xbox 360, PC)

The post-apocalypse band-wagon heads to Russia! It is the year 2033 and humanity’s sparse survivors have gone underground to escape the toxic surface and mutant monsters, and to live day-to-day in station-communities on the Moscow Metro network. But now a new danger is threatening mankind… supposedly. I have finished the game, but I am still not quite sure exactly what this danger is.


Well-Realised World: More than the majority of post-apocalypse shooters, the stubborn survival of humanity feels plausible. The game drips with small details to highlight the life these station-dwellers have carved out for themselves. From the old carriages turned into dormitories, to the children sitting around campfires telling tales about the sky, to the nervous guards standing by the rails – these people begin to matter to you.

Comradeship: Much of the game is spent in the company of those willing to help you in your quest. Each has their own name, personality, behaviours, and you feel a great sense of comradeship with each one that risks their life to help your station. Many friends will help you on your journey, and you feel a bond with each of them.

Russian Voice-Acting: The game defaults to English with tolerable, yet still fake, Russian accents. However, you can change it in the options to Russian with English subtitles. This won’t be for everyone, but playing in the actual language of Moscow really added something to the game for me.

Combat (Against Humans): Inevitably, the Metro is not without its villains. Bandits lurk near regularly used tracks, and the communist and fascist stations are constantly battling. Skirmishes against humans can be tense and nerve-wracking. It’s just a pity that such skirmishes make up so little of the game.

Dream Sequences: Some of the most compelling interactive dream sequences I have played since Max Payne.


Horribly-Realised Mutant Enemies: While the human populace of the Metro and their lives are excellently captured, the generic mutated monsters and ‘Dark Ones’ are painfully mediocre. No explanation for their existence is ever given, and there is no hint as to what creatures they ever actually mutated from. The mutated, nosalis beast-things are basically just oversized mole-rats from Fallout 3, and about equally fun to fight. And don’t even get me started on the weird amoeba blobs towards the end of the game…

Uncertain Objective: As the enemies are never really explained, exactly what it is you are trying to achieve for most of the game never makes any sense. It’s a pity that you are presented with such a beautiful, coherent world that you are willing to protect, yet you never really understand just what you are protecting it from.

Metro 2033 sends you on a journey through some beautifully-realised, suffocatingly-claustrophobic environments populated with breathing, affectionate people; however, the game never seems quite sure of just what it wants you to do there. Though, the world alone makes this one worth playing. Go along to sightsee the apocalypse and rage-quite at the amoeba blobs.

Reviewed by: Brendan Keogh

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • I loved Metro 2033 on PC. When you first fight human enemies I had a blast hunting them down. Using improvised weapons like ball bearing guns to take them out. I completely agree with the mediocre enemies. The Apes near the end were the worst. Not only did they relentlessly chase you, but they took a lot of bullets to take down and that whole area was in close quarters. I was also slightly confused on some objectives.

  • Lol, well written, but I would have said the opposite of what you sad about the mutants, I found them far more interesting to fight than human enemies. The people were so annoying… sometimes they can spot you behind a wall from miles away, other times it feels like you’re standing in front of them waving your arms and they still can’t see you… that and I often felt like they were impervious to bullets…

    • It’s true; trying to use stealth against the human enemies was frustrating and inconsistent, but I found straight head-to-head combat was pretty intense once you gave up using any stealth at all. That was still unfortunate, though, as the dark claustrophobic settings made me want to be more creepy and less gung-ho.

      Perhaps I would have enjoyed the mutants more if I had any idea as to what they actually were. Ie. what they had mutated from. They just seemed to exist solely to try to kill you, and killing them was just simply not fun for me. I ran out of words in the review, but I felt the Librarians were a lost oppurtunity, as the whole having to keep eye contact thing could have worked really well… if it worked at all. And I could have raged for another 1000 words about the stupid amoeba blobs. >_>

  • Did you find it a struggle to finish the game Brendan as you say there wasn’t enough of a clear plotline to give meaning to what it is exactly you were doing there?

    (I concur with above, well written review as well)

    • Thanks, Corey.

      Towards the end of the game, it was certainly a struggle to force myself to get through it. There was a couple of times there that I went to put the disc in, remembered the amoeba blobs tha I was stuck on, then put the disc back in its case.

      For the first half of the game, though, when I had a clear understanding of what my objective was, it was more of a struggle to stop playing. Really, for most of the game, despite the lousy mutant-combat, the world is just so gripping and so atmospheric that you just want to keep going. The ball just gets dropped in the final third or so, sadly.

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