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Apocalypse wow!

This shooter might not have an exciting gameplay, but its depiction of the end of the world is out of this world.

tech reviews Updated: Apr 27, 2010 01:13 IST

Metro 2033, the latest post-apocalyptic shooter from 4A Games, once again brings the horror of a nuclear war-ravaged world to your desktops and televisions. The game is set in Moscow, most of which is uninhabitable due to nuclear radiation and dangerous mutant creatures that roam the wastelands. For years, the surviving population has taken refuge in the vast underground subway network, which is free from radiation, but not without its own fair share of problems.

Superb atmosphere
The game’s biggest strength is its fantastic atmosphere. This is a bleak world in all its harsh glory. The many train stations, which now form small pockets of civilisation are amazingly detailed. You play as Artyom, a young man raised in the subway tunnels who is given the task to prevent his home station from being overrun by mutants. The story is well told, moves along at a great pace and features many interesting characters along the way.

Although Metro 2033 is largely a linear romp from point A to B, some levels offer opportunities for exploration. Perhaps the game could have benefitted from a slightly non-linear structure where you’re allowed to do missions in the order you choose while also freely exploring areas.

Damp gameplay
While the ‘hand-made’ guns look great, the shooting itself is not all that satisfying. Enemies in Metro 2033 can be pretty relentless at times. At various points, the game encourages stealth over direct confrontation, especially when dealing with many human enemies. But the stealth aspect is useless thanks to the troublesome AI. This is made worse by the lack of a save anywhere/ quick-save option. Proper stealth mechanics and better AI would’ve added a lot more depth to the game.
But it’s fair to say that Metro 2033 is one of the best looking games in recent times. The texture work is impressive and the lighting adds to the atmosphere. The character models, however, look like they’re from 2004 and feature some stiff animations, and we experienced a few crashes and black screens. Those aside, Metro 2033 is a very impressive game technically.
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What we like
*Brilliant atmosphere
* Decent story, interesting characters
* Great voice acting
* Impressive visuals

What we don’t
*Broken stealth mechanics and bad AI
* Gunplay underwhelms

Verdict
Such shooters are a rare breed in an age of budget titles and throwaway single-player campaigns tacked on to multiplayer games. It doesn’t have a multiplayer component, but is brilliantly atmospheric and engaging. It stands out from other games in the genre. But technical issues, a slightly broken stealth system and uneven AI keep it from being great.