A Tip For Metro Exodus: Try Not To Run

As became quickly apparent in a hands-on demo with the new Metro, running is often the worst possible idea.

The survival shooter franchise has always leaned to a more careful style of play, something that's bled through to all aspects of its design. Ammunition wasn't just scarce in the previous Metro games, for instance: it was also the player's main mechanism for buying and selling items.

But Metro Exodus is an open-world game, unshackled from the rails of the Russian underground. So 4A Games has had to build lots agency and mechanics in their world to accommodate that - and a lot of the pathways to that are fraught with uncomfortable surprises.

Like wolves.

The Gamescom demo, which was set in autumn - the second season players will experience in the game, although developers declined to outline precisely how long ahead in the game that was - had two essential parts to it. The first chunk essentially set the stage: after being revived in the middle of a swamp, you're situated outside of an abandoned shack. Inside, there's some corpses hanging from the ceiling and hoisted on the walls.

"THE SAME THING WILL HAPPEN TO YOU," a note on the walls reads. The second corpse is outed as a rapist. Shortly nearby, a signpost marks the spot: a children's camp one kilometre away. Upon entering the camp, a letter was left on a table from Larisa, an eight-year old.

"I'm eight and I was a good girl - I killed and skinned two deer and wounded one bandit in the leg," the letter read.

It was a letter to Santa. Her wish: a letter back from her parents. "I miss them something awful, and I don't need any other presents."

The imagery was more harrowing than the reality: the camp itself didn't have any threats, and I wasn't posed with any problems making my way through. On the other side of the camp, a series of bandits hovered around, which offered an opportunity to see how the AI responded as a group.

On that front, the NPCs were a little too static. There was no attempt to encircle or close in on my position, which would have been opportune: Metro Exodus was all too keen to let me jump through a window into a room, but it wouldn't let me jump back outside.

Ideally, you'll be taking the stealthy approach wherever possible. That's made abundantly clear after ziplining to the other side of the tower above, where you're at the base of a mountain. The surroundings are filled with mutated wildlife, and the more sound you make, the more you put yourself at the risk of stampedes and wolf attacks.

So, it's best not to run. Run as little as possible. For one, it gives you more opportunities to appreciate the outdoor world 4A Games has built. It's a stunning game, particularly as the game's day/night cycle circles. But it'll just generally give you more room to breathe: the more you keep your options open by moving around slowly, the easier a time you'll have saving ammo.

You'll also find more salvage that way, which fuels the game's crafting system. There's two main currencies - chemicals and scrap - and a combination of the pair are used to improve, repair and clean your weapons, armour and accessories. For instance, you need to use chemicals every so often to clean the grime and grit from your guns. Putting it off for too long will result in your weapon degrading completely, making it unusable.

Scrap can be found in some interesting places. Outside of the orphanage, for instance, two tin cans hanging by a thread were placed in front of the doors as a rudimentary alarm system. It's a neat little trigger - wander through it mindlessly, and you'll trip the AI off.

You can modify the barrel, stock, sights and attachments on systems, and the trusty Metro mask has some customisations as well. It's worth pointing out that there's actually a ton of things you can do in any given moment. If you're playing with mouse and keyboard, the keyboard alone has 27 separate binds, ranging from holstering weapons, to pulling out a lighter, swapping filters on your gas mask, wiping your gas mask, pulling out binoculars, and so on.

The Exodus devs nearby mentioned some of the game's branching narratives and lack of fetch quests, although none of that was on display in the demo I played. We'll hopefully see more of how that pans out before February 23, when Metro Exodus launches for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. If you are on PC, it's worth noting that Exodus will also support Nvidia's fancy ray tracing effects at launch.


Comments

    _27 separate binds_
    Oh. Guess I'll give this a miss then

      Yeah totally, that seems so obnoxious. Sad because I had high hopes for this game, but I am not willing to learn every single key that I have to use in moment to moment stuff.

        It's coming out on consoles so arguably the 27 keybindings might not be all that necessary.

      Are you guys serious? Too many binds makes you miss a game? Wow.

        Too many keybinds reeks of poor UX design. If it's anything like Operation Flashpoint I'm staying the heck away. The game looked neat but the over-complicated controls made it a far too frustrating experience. When I think of good controls I think of how Gears of War managed to make perfect contextual commands and have the A button do so much so easily.

          and as a PC gamer, having so many commands mapped to one key is a massive pain in the arse especially when you have access to so many more buttons than a controller does. there is nothing worse when it comes to controls and having Hold E do one thing and Tap E do something else and double tap E do another thing.

            Remember Mass Effect 2?

            I'll just take cover behind this wall so i'll press the button that both takes cover and jumps.

            Aaaaand i'm over the wall being shot at. and now i'm dead. Yay!

            There is a middle ground between 27 keys and 1 key...

            I guess whether it's frustrating will hinge on how many of the keybinds are essential and need to be pushed at just the right time. If you can get killed because you didn't hit the "wiping your goggles" key fast enough then I'd probably not play it either. It could have 50 keybinds but as long as they're not all crucial to gameplay then fine.

        Well that is your opinion and our opinion, funnily enough no one is wrong.

          Actually, seeing how none of us have played the game yet, i can't see how any of us can be right.

          Gotta try it first to see.

            I didnt say any of us were right? I said none of us were wrong.

              I know man. And what is the opposite of wrong?

              Riiiiiiiight.

              And if neither of us are right, then we are all...?

              Wrong. Dude we're all wrong. Cos we just don't know yet. Unless you really can't play a game with more than 8 key bindings. Which having started in the 90s on flight sims, really amuses me. Used to have to use the whole keyboard. It was great. Pausing the game to look at the manual to find out how to do something. Or those cool cardboard things they gave you sometimes that you'd put over your keyboard which would mark the keys to use. Plus it's a bit of a brain workout, which is always a good thing.

                It's disappointing that LED keyboards haven't become a standard. I don't just mean light up keys, I mean ones like this: https://www.artlebedev.com/optimus/

                Then you could literally have the keys looking like in game icons. Press the grendade button. Which one is it... oh it's the one that looks like a grenade!

                  That is a thing of beauty! I wonder what the keys feel like?

                  @Rowan: Apparently they didn't feel great. Probably because the key mechanism had to be reworked to allow for the LED screens. But I think I could get used to that if the LED display works like it's supposed to.

                  It's a pity they never really got them off the ground, or that someone else hasn't managed to do something similar and get it to mass market. There are a few kinda similar keyboards but good luck actually buying one :(

                Oh man game manuals now that takes me back. But yeah honestly in my original comment, I expressed my feelings about having that amount of keybinds. Never did I state that I was never going to play it, just that it seemed obnoxious to have that many. Don't get me wrong I love keybinds like the rest of us, I play wow pretty heavily so playing with 20+ keybinds isn't new to me. When I play FPSers I just like things to be a little simpler is all. Also thanks for taking the time to return comments and keeping it civil and not shitting all over me I genuinely appreciateit.

                  Anytime man. Anytime. There's some really cool people commenting here. I've learned some really good stuff just from keeping an open mind on the comments.

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    zxcvb
    tab, shift, ctrl, space, left mouse, right mouse, middle mouse, mouse scroll up, mouse scroll down.

    That's 32 right there, 27 isn't as many as you think.

    Last edited 28/08/18 5:45 am

      This wasn't including the binds on the mouse, so take out several of those, but yeah, it's a lot easier to get to 20 than most think. But Metro is the kind of game that would want the player to manage those things themselves - like wiping the gas mask - rather than having it come up as an automatic prompt triggered by a global use/interact key.

    Having read the Metro books, and played the first two games to death, I'm terrified at being outside so much.

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