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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.