Here we go with another of those huge sequels slated to release as Metro Exodus is here to take us all back into the wastes of Russia to see how the characters we love will fair. It is not common that we see a book adaptation do so well in the video game medium, but 4A Games has done well so far and this new installment looks to be one of their next big entry. Even in the current situation where there are so many post-apocalypse video games out there. Thankfully, the Metro franchise is a bit different and Exodus could be building off that to give even more titles that Deep Silver could get behind. Enough gilding this lily, though, so we can finally get into our review of this game.
After the events of Metro: Last Light, we are back with our pal Artyom and the rest of the Spartans as they are surviving the best way they know how. Artyom, though, does like his excursions outside of the tunnels and is looking for signs of life outside of that. Wouldn't you know it? It looks like there is and they were all being covered up by the powers that be. Of course, finding this out forces Artyom and his crew to be exiled out there and on the hunt for more survivors. Also to help a few along the way as the world has descended into further chaos than we could have ever imagined.
There is a lot going on in Metro Exodus that is amazing, which is why some of the minor faults in the game seem to glare so brightly during my time with it. One of the biggest issues I kept finding in the game had to do with the UI and how it responded when used. There always seemed to be a delay between when I pressed a button or key and when the game actually did something. Not a huge issue when all you are doing is picking up dropped items from dead enemies, but when you have to hold a key down to open a door and it takes an extra few seconds to begin the process it is a real drag. It can also lead to death and other parts of Metro Exodus not going as planned. This could be something that is patched a later date, sure, but it was a huge drawback during my session given some of the other slower parts of the game.
This brings me to the next big issue I found with Metro Exodus and that would be that it felt like some things were not as optimized as possible when it came to how the game runs. I am not trying to say that 4A Games did a terrible job at this but when it can take upwards of a minute to load into a past save or to come back from a death, there is something wrong. This is more of an annoyance, like the above issue, more than anything but it is something that made me look away from the game instead of staying fully engrossed in Metro Exodus as I should have been. This is yet another thing that can be fixed in the future with some ease, but it was a drawback and still is as of this reviews posting.
Now that we have those technical things out of the way, I am going to dig into one of the bigger issues I ran into with Metro Exodus that is definitely a design flaw. There does not seem to be a great way for characters to give direction or for even the player to be able to stay on task with ease. Many times I would start a conversation with an NPC and they would mention some landmark that blended into the land. Sure, it would be marked on the map too, but given that you need to obscure your vision to see this map it did not lend to being able to use it as often as we should. I get that this was to encourage exploration in the newly opened world of Metro but it always felt like a hardship more than a boon to the game. I enjoy having the option to roam where I want in the game but at least give me some help when I have a location in mind so I am not running around lost for most of the game.
By far Metro Exodus is the most beautiful entry to the franchise when it comes to visuals. Given the time that has passed from the previous titles to now that should not be a surprise. The thing is, it is a huge leap forward for the industry as well as the team named the look and feel of how the real world will most likely feel in the in-game events happened in the real world. Everything was laid out in a way that made sense and even the minor deviations between things like water, mud, and snow were present to further that feeling of being in this different world. This even made it over to most of the mutant and character designs too. You can see the love and passion the team wanted to put in there and it truly shines. Even though I do not believe graphics make video games, this one sure made the experience that much better.
This leads me to what makes Metro Exodus so much fun when it comes to the gameplay side. At its core, it is a first-person shooter and there is no hiding that. Unlike most of the FPS titles out there, 4A Games made sure that we had that sense of being a great marksman while still worrying about the issues that do face our weapons. It took me some time to appreciate this as it is a huge deviation from the FPS style, but things, like needed to clean weapons and make sure everything is crafted properly, do affect the game. It is annoying when your gun jams in the middle of a firefight, sure, but when it is because of your own actions it makes you pay closer attention and plan ahead more often than not. You can run and gun in Metro Exodus, it is just not encouraged and you can see that in some great gameplay elements that have been mixed in.
Not only does the gunplay make the game, but also the freedom of choice and movement Metro Exodus offers up too. Now that we are out of the very direct paths of the tunnels and areas from the past titles, we can tackle everything in a free way that lends not only to the game but also the enjoyment. Planning out an attack by going in at night or day is also as important as to direction and environment use. Something we never truly had in the past games and it works so well for these elite fighters. This here is the form of exploration I found and loved in Metro Exodus as it was also mostly your own fault if you walked into a situation you were not ready for. Unlike the past titles where it was more or less scripted to always go down a certain way as you were forced on that path. This is the kind of open-world post-apocalypse game we deserved for certain.
There is no doubt that Metro Exodus is not the most perfect game out there. It still has some bugs and optimization issues it needs to get past, but that does not detract from it being an amazing game. Short of the navigation system being a bit broken, everything else in Metro Exodus lent itself to great gameplay and experiences. Should Deep Silver forced the team to take a little more time working on these bugs? Sure. Did I ever find this game to be one to throw aside until that happened? Never. I pushed on and found my own enjoyment in the game and dealt with those issues. That should be a telling sign of how great everything else in the game was. I fully recommend picking it up if you have not already. If anything, know that most of the issues I found can be fixed via small updates and nothing that ever broke the game.
I give Metro Exodus a 98 Dead Mutants on the Dead Mutant scale.
Metro Exodus — Launch Trailer