Yes. It got almost all of the journal things (I THINK I'm missing 3 or 4), and generally took my time. I did not rush anything at all.
Originally Posted by Devnant
That was 9 hours in one go
I suppose he did?
Yes, I did enjoy it. Full review below
Oh.. and pics in the pics thread.
So, Metro: Last Light - the sequel to Metro 2033. I've been waiting for this game since 2033 came out; so I had fairly high expectations. 2033 was possibly one of the best linear-FPS games ever made; it had a great story, great atmosphere, fairly good gameplay, and some really cool lore to work with. It had its flaws, but it was still a very good game. In any event, lets look at Last Light.
Due to this being a sequel, and an SP-only game, I'm going to have to break the review into two parts; non-spoiler, and spoiler. The non-spoiler part MIGHT mention minor things, such as vague descriptions of locations, concepts, and other non-integral points to the story. I'll try my best to avoid spoiling anything, but this is a review; something spoiler-like will end up in it, no matter how I try. I'll start with the non-spoiler part, and then have some huge, obvious separation between the two. Also, keep in mind I haven't slept in about 23 hours (probably 24 when I'm done), and the night before I only got about 4 hours. So please disregard any minor insanity.Graphics and Presentation
Firstly, let's get graphics and presentation out of the way; the game looks GOOD. The environmental work is easily some of the best ever seen in a game; scenes are detailed, dense, but also logical. A cluttered mess in a metro station might look strange at first, but at closer inspection, it seems realistic and lived in. Visually, everything is consistent with what you'd expect. The Metro areas look amazing; but then again, look at the game's name. However, unlike 2033, the outdoor areas look almost as good as indoors. The buildings look realistic, and the interiors are fairly well decorated; it's not the level of detail you'll see in the metro itself, but it's still very good. The lighting is spectacular in either setting; almost everything casts a nice, realistic shadow, and the gloomy lighting in most of the areas really helps set the mood. The only issue with the graphics are the characters faces: while being generally fairly good, they do have the 'wax-figure' issue. In addition, facial expressions, lip-sync and the general animations feel week. In addition, it feels like the voice-over work and character animations were done entirely separately; a sentence such as "WE NEED TO GO NOW!" is presented by a character casually leaning against a table with his arms crossed; and while his voice indicates a sense of urgency, the body language conveys the exact opposite.
Sound, of course, also plays into presentation: and let me just say, Last Light has easily some of the best sound design I have EVER heard. The sound quality is simply stunning, and it's not used sparingly; every little thing seems to have its own sound. In addition, despite the somewhat disconnected character animations, the voice overs are also very good. Yes, there are still some cheesy lines every now and then, or noticeable recycling of lines, it still works very well. The environments sound detailed as well. In some cases, you will run into a storm, and the sound quality alone conveys a realistic weather event.
Despite the minor issues of character animations, Last Light is still one of the best looking and best presented games of the year. Comparisons to Crysis 3 will obviously be made; and honestly, its a tough call. Crysis 3 went for a very realistic art style, where as metro, while still going for realism, has its own distinct stylized art. In my opinion, the indoor settings of Metro: Last Light are possibly slightly better than those of Crysis 3. However, Crysis 3 excels when it comes to outdoor environments.Gameplay
Gameplay was probably 2033's weakest point. The levels were linear, and once they were beaten on the hardest difficulty, there was really very little incentive to play through them again. Last Light improves on this by adding weapon customization more guns, and (slightly) better AI. Sneaking around is now much more consistent; you'll no longer get spotted in locations where your watch said it was pitch-black. However, this does come at the cost of a difficulty. The human AI can be easily 'dodged' when sneaking around, and as a result, isn't too hard (especially the first few levels). In any event, excluding a few situations later in the game, fighting human AI is still very fun. The major issue comes with some of the mutants. Rather than making the AI smarter, 4A seems to have simply given all of the mutants incredibly spammable attacks. Generic 'grunt' enemies use an attack with a minor knock back, making it nearly impossible to dodge a second blow; and if playing on 'Ranger Hardcore', this means you will be left with 30% HP. This can lead to incredibly frustration situations in which the player must fend of a horde of mutants, and must continuously run around, simply trying not to get hit. This issue becomes even worse with the "Boss Fights" that have been introduced to the game. These bosses generally have massive amounts of HP, and are only killable via certain events: simply shooting them will not result in them being defeated. These boss fights also add very little to the game; bosses are in general simply larger versions of generic mutants. In general, the fights seem tacked on; like 4A needed something to change the pace or difficulty of the game.
Other than this issue with the mutant AI, the game is very fun to play. Guns 'feel' right, and there's a fair amount of variation when playing. In addition to this, ammo is MUCH more scarce (especially on ranger hard-core). However, this itself can lead to some problems, when the player MUST replay a previous level, simply because he or she started the next one without enough ammo. This problem becomes more prevalent towards the end, but is none the less annoying. It is also important to note that, unlike some other FPS games, I never found myself avoiding fights simply because they were annoying or boring. I would approach the situation as I saw best, regardless of how that was.Story
I'll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible - the spoiler section will be further down the post.
The story in Metro is honestly not too compelling. It serves a good purpose in carrying around the player from area to area, and introduces some fairly good characters to the game. However, it never feels like it is 'dragging' down the game play. The portrayal of the story is very well done; it conveys the dark situation the metro is in, and the general post-apocalyptic society the people live in. In general, the story feels very mature (which is a rare thing in FPS games), and very well written. However, there are a few odd choices of lines in the later half of the game, which seem to work against this. These lines stick out fairly clearly from the rest of the dialogue as well. There are only a few instances where this occurs, so it's not a major concern. There are some flaws to the story line, which I will go into further detail in a bit.
In any event, and average play though should last about 9 hours.
It is important to note that 2033 does almost expect the player to know the story of 2033. There are many events in game which are not explained explicitly, but are simply references to events in 2033. I would recommend against playing Last Light if you have not already played 2033 for this reason.Summary
Metro: Last Light is a very well made game. It's a proper sequel to 2033, and still improves on the original formula. Almost every aspect has been polished to a fairly high degree, resulting a great gaming experience. If you liked 2033, you should pick this up as soon as possible. It's by no means perfect, but it feels exactly like the sequel Metro fans were expecting. If you're on the fence, I would recommend first playing 2033 due to the issues of back story.Verdict: 82%WARNING SEMI-SPOILERS IN THE SPOILER SECTION BELOW
This next part goes into the story a bit more; it's still part of the review, but it does spoil a few events in the game.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The main issue with the story lies in the disconnect between the two main plots. Early in the game, we are introduced to one plot line, and it quickly comes to an abrupt halt after about 3 hours. We then switch to a different (but still related) plot line, but this second plot line simply diverges from the original as time goes on. It doesn't seem natural. The starting story is very well done; we are introduced to a well made character, we go through a struggle together, and then it is simply paused. While the 'quest' line attempts to bridge to two, it is evident that the importance of this first story drops dramatically after the first few hours.
WARNING - MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW - INCLUDING THE ENDING
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
In addition to this, the choice to give the player a companion character for much of the game is interesting. Part of what made Metro so great was exploring the ruins alone, and being able to absorb the environment in solitude. This is however, not possible in Last Light. While this companion does feel somewhat strange at first, there is an fairly large difference between this character and the environment/lore. In some cases, this works out exceedingly well, where as in other cases, it falls flat on its face. Game play wise, the companion doesn't make that large of a difference. The companion never actually attacks enemies, nor really influences the enemy AI in any way. As such, the gameplay is still very much so a 'solo' experience.
You were warned.
If you haven't played the game, don't read past the next line.
Seriously. I mean it.
So, as expected, the 'dark one' child does play a major role in the story - in fact it is the companion character. This makes for some interesting gameplay, which the whole 'enhanced' vision thing at certain times. Unfortunately, it seems like the devs just wanted to show of this trick a bit too much, and as a result, the pacing of the game makes very little sense after the first half the game. The first few levels are filled with hostile enemies, where as the reast is fairly empty. It feels like they wanted to do both on one level, but realized the combat would detract from the (admittedly) amazingly cool 'ghost' encounters. It feels out of place in a metro-style game.
In addition to this, the story takes a turn to insanity about half way through, when Khan introduces a magical, teleporting, time-traveling river of destiny. It's an interesting concept, but it feels extremely hollow, and looks like they just needed to get the level where you rescue the dark one. 2033's 'ghost' events were subtle; there were either entirely visual or clearly hallucinations. This 'river' actually teleports you across the metro by a fairly large amount, simply because its convenient for the story.It also doesn't help the Khan looks and sounds totally different (and worse) than in 2033.
Then there's the whole plot line of the evil-communist plot. It's incredibly poorly developed, and again just feels like something they did to tie i n the dark-one companion. The revelations at the end seem extremely foreign due to this... and then they kill the communist leader guy in the loading screen TEXT.
And then there's the end. Oh wow. I was stunned. In the last five minutes of the game you feel like you've won, defended D6, and will unlock the sleeping dark ones. Then a train (Yes, a TRAIN) comes out of no where; pretty much kills Miller, makes Khan disappear, and then you blow up the entire base - with you. Artyom dies. The end. No, just kidding. The dark ones now *somehow* get out of the vault thing (there's not even a cutscene for this), and you get a thing about them "maybe" coming back some time. Are the Nazis defeated? No. Is the metro united? No. What are the dark ones going to go do? No idea.
The ending feels.... really weak. It's not Mass Effect 3 levels of weak, but it doesn't live up to the rest of the game.
Admittedly, this could be a "bad" ending.