Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light Preview - Tickets Please!
Written Tuesday, May 31, 2011 By Lee Bradley
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Did you play Metro 2033? You really should have. A mish-mash of post-apocalyptic survival horror, stealth and action, based on the novel of the same name by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, it was utterly beguiling. Sure, some of it was broken, but it had a sense of place and a character all of its own.

Much of this was down to the world that Ukrainian developers 4A Games crafted from Glukhovsky’s text. Metro 2033 was set in Moscow’s gloomy underground rail system, where survivors were forced to live following a nuclear disaster. Beneath the ground, each station had become its own makeshft community, full of paranoia, politics and fear. Meanwhile, in the connecting tunnels and the city above, savage mutants roamed, ready to pounce on anyone brave or stupid enough to leave the ragged, candlelit stations.

What could have been just another post-apocalyptic shooter had an utterly unique feel. It’s just a shame that the shooting was wonky, the stealth didn’t always work and bits of the mission design were infuriating.

Which brings us to the newly-announced sequel, Metro: Last Light. 4A have proved they can create a compelling world filled with atmosphere and tension. But can they correct their previous game’s mechanical shortcomings? It’s far too early to say, but the initial signs are promising.

Some housekeeping first. Last Light is not, as some have previously suggested, based on Glukhovsky’s novel Metro 2034. That was a far more arty affair than its predecessor and didn’t lend itself well to videogame adaptation. So instead, with a little creative guidance from Glukhovsky, 4A are now going their own way.

An introductory cinematic begins with the camera tracking down from grey, leaden skies to the ornate golden spire of a cathedral. “The ice has begun to melt,” says the voiceover, suggesting that the wasteland of Moscow is becoming more hospitable. But it’s much the same as before. As the camera continues to move down, the cathedral becomes increasingly ragged, with crumbling stone and diseased concrete leading to streets littered with cars and debris. A winged beast, familiar to fans of the first game, flaps into view.

Little has changed below ground, either. The demo begins with returning protagonist Artyom in a dark tunnel. Menacing Russian voices echo in the distance. Artyom flicks on his Zippo lighter to get his bearings and a large cobweb catches alight, its strands curling and melting realistically, flame erupting in a little puff. As it settles, he moves toward a lightbulb and quietly unscrews it. Darkness and stealth still play a major role.

Creeping out from cover and up behind the source of those distant voices, Artyom pulls a machete from its sheath and slits the throat of one man - in a surprisingly quick, brutal fashion - before taking out the next with a quick headshot. Stopping quickly to grab some bullets from a messy corpse, he pushes on through the tunnels.

The next section offers a tiny glimpse of one of the more open levels promised for Last Light. Responding to fan feedback praising areas like Black Station from the first game, 4A are looking to increase the focus on sections that offer a choice of multiple routes and strategies to progress.

Beyond larger, more complex geography, what that broadly means is a choice of stealth or balls-out blasting. Which is the same as before, of course. Only this time there’s a little more nuance. So for example, at one point Artyom shoots a boiling pot bubbling away above a fire. As the water splashes down, fizzling on the embers, a nearby guardsman approaches to investigate the noise, allowing our hero to kill him out of earshot of everyone else.

Now, whether the combat will truly provide such depth remains to be seen. The game is still in an early pre-alpha build. But 4A’s intention is to create more moments like this. If they can, the results will be very special indeed.

Elsewhere, the demo was perhaps uncharacteristically action-orientated, built to survive the rigours of E3. The thinking is that a moodier, subtler sample of the game would simply have been swallowed in the bombast of a trade show. As a result, that brief stealth section quickly gives way to plenty of gunplay, as Artyom blasts through a station outpost, with bodies, bullets and masonry flying this way and that.

Later, a long, (literally) on-rails section bears witness to an extended shoot-out as Artyom swaps between a seemingly endless selection of weaponry, from red dot-sighted assault rifles, to crank-action machine guns, as trains charge through the tunnels. It’s all very exciting, but its the quieter, moodier sections we were keen to see. We’re promised more of that in the future.

Throughout the demo, there was an intriguing level of environmental destruction. Concrete cover blew out to reveal bare iron reinforcements and cardboard boxes caught light as flames spread through rooms. A chat with someone from 4A failed to clarify whether this is scripted or procedural, but either way it does imbue the world of Last Light with a satisfying physicality. It looks fantastic.

As does much of the rest of the demo. In terms of lighting it’s hard to think of anything that matches 4A’s proprietary game engine. Lights cast long shadows across the subterranean gloom of the underground. Candlelight silhouettes dance on the walls. Even more impressively, we’re assured that the demo was running on a “modest” PC set-up and that only very few of the flashy effects will have to be cut for consoles. It’s a tantalising promise.

Yet still, many questions hang over Metro: Last Light. Questions that can’t be answered with a short hands-off demo. Will that loose, unsatisfying gunplay be improved? Will you truly be able to stealth your way through the game, or will it be easier to just blast through it as in Metro 2033? Will the mission design be sorted out, with less of those horrible escort missions? Time will tell. But the prospect of descending once more into 4A and Glukhovsky’s world is an exciting one.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #1 by pocket rocket
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:04:02 AM
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meh the first was alright

Forum Posts: 176
Comment #2 by FXH Reaper
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:06:56 AM
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Hell yes! I loved the first one and I seriously cannot wait for this one :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #3 by SG1 Warsquatch
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:08:03 AM
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I'll be getting the book (metro 2033) in the mail soon.I should have enough time read through it and play the first game again before this comes out. This game will most likely remain great but unplayed by most.

Forum Posts: 739
Comment #4 by mickjsg
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:08:35 AM
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"What could HAVE been just another post-apocalyptic shooter had an utterly unique feel"
You're welcome.

Forum Posts: 231
Comment #5 by Hurball
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:08:43 AM
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First game was one of the most underrated titles of the year. It had it's flaws (being relatively linear was NOT one of these despite what some idiot critics said), and I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

Forum Posts: 7105
Comment #6 by Opiate42
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:12:15 AM
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Sweet, I finally grabbed 2033 and just haven't started playing it yet.

Forum Posts: 1414
Comment #7 by Vindicator51
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:13:28 AM
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Sometimes i didn't bother stealthing through a level, because it wouldn't work. I probbly enjoyed the hardcore playthrough more than previous ones.

Forum Posts: 24
Comment #8 by KohrinSoulez
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:15:34 AM
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Sounds good, might pick up Metro1 to play

Forum Posts: 246
Comment #9 by Dannyb0yUK
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:22:33 AM
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No release date yet then? Only got stuck into the first one recently and thoroughly enjoyed it... Will be looking forward to this one!

Forum Posts: 2574
Comment #10 by jamie1000013
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:23:58 AM
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Metro 2033 was horrible the aiming was awful and the bullets did no damage at all. The setting and story made up for the bad gameplay though. Other than the decent storyline it was horrid. I still don't understand though why it had the Red army facing off against the nazi's in the year 2033 lol.

Hopefully this next one is less glitchy and has better gameplay.

Forum Posts: 3934
Comment #11 by littlejay
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 10:31:22 AM
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The game was ok. I hope there is not DLC in this one that makes you play the game 3 more times though

Forum Posts: 226
Comment #12 by Vault Lad
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 11:01:14 AM
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Play on Ranger, bullets hit like, you know, bullets.

Seriously can't wait to see gameplay of this. Metro 2033 was a huge step up from STALKER, I can't even imagine what this will be like.

Forum Posts: 398
Comment #13 by Wicelow
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 11:05:53 AM
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Nice to know the sequel is on its way !
2033 was really great.

Forum Posts: 1593
Comment #14 by H0p3sfalL
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 11:19:25 AM
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man I still need to read the books !


Just made my day ! Thanks Lee

Forum Posts: 164
Comment #15 by Ohheythere
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 11:26:03 AM
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Perhaps your aim was awful? I had no problem with damage or with the aiming. As for the Reds and the was just ideals facing off against one another. Maybe you didn't pay attention to a few conversations in the game...when they said that even in the tunnels, people are still killing each other over ideals.

This is a great game for anyone who hasn't played it. It's just nice to see a good game come out that isn't called Call of Duty or Battlefield.

Forum Posts: 2200
Comment #16 by cheevo360
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 11:36:42 AM
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Really enjoyment Metro 2033 last year march when it is released and I played and enjoyed I look forward this one hope long single player!!

Forum Posts: 1484
Comment #17 by dirge
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 12:11:30 PM
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Really enjoyed the first and i'm excited to play this one!

Forum Posts: 96
Comment #18 by BruinsFTW
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 02:02:26 PM
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Can't wait for this one. Liked the first a lot. Didn't like playing it 3-4 times but it was awesome none the less. Loved the environment and lonely feel it had at times. This one should be a huge step up as well.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #19 by Sean1234
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 02:13:08 PM
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Gonna pre-order as soon as possible, FUCKING LOVED THE FIRST ONE!!!!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #20 by flechetteXXX
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 02:14:03 PM
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Holy Shit I can not wait! Metro 2033 is one of the best and most underrated games on 360 right now. I knew they were making a sequel but all the rumors were that of 2034. This is going to be awesome.

Forum Posts: 271
Comment #21 by MesoZombie
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 02:44:07 PM
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loved teh first one and after the 4th play though was still discovering new ways to do maps to cut sections off and such

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #22 by elsnoggler
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 @ 12:36:41 AM
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The interface was, I think, one of the big successes of the original game. Hopefully they stick with a diegetic UI in the sequel.

Forum Posts: 288
Comment #23 by ViNyLek
Thursday, June 02, 2011 @ 01:15:07 PM
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I liked the first one and this looks to be even better. Hopefully they can craft another great story and make it as atmospheric as the first one:-)

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #24 by Akira1908
Saturday, June 04, 2011 @ 06:36:44 PM
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If you are gonna read Metro 2033 then read Metro 2034 too!

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #25 by Dizenty
Sunday, June 05, 2011 @ 06:46:52 AM
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ok.... i need to get the first one

Forum Posts: 205
Comment #26 by lordthrash
Sunday, June 05, 2011 @ 09:42:24 AM
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hell yeah! i loved the first game and this one looks just as good or even better!!

Forum Posts: 199
Comment #27 by Night45Fox
Sunday, June 05, 2011 @ 04:11:41 PM
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Sweet, the first one was really well done.

Forum Posts: 238
Comment #28 by PowercomSODMG
Sunday, June 05, 2011 @ 04:38:34 PM
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I read the book "Metro 2033" by Dimitry Glukhovsky - the game was based on the book.

But I don't think that I am going to buy the sequel. Didn't even play the first game.

The book is great you guys should read it.

Forum Posts: 21
Comment #29 by lKillaCroc
Tuesday, June 07, 2011 @ 02:25:51 PM
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Been thinking about getting the first one for some time, the sequel looks good too. Best get off my ass and purchase the first one ready for this :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #30 by DWTxZombie
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 04:42:07 AM
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Loved the first, definitely getting Last Light.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #31 by DeFalKoniiZ3
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 02:06:24 PM
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this game will be great,IF they fix the gliches and make the graphic better even tho they were good in the first but still better graphics...

Forum Posts: 96
Comment #32 by BruinsFTW
Wednesday, June 08, 2011 @ 02:16:27 PM
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I think they will fix the major flaws of the first and make this game amazing. The first was very underrated.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #33 by KamikazeKat13
Thursday, June 09, 2011 @ 06:35:58 PM
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I have never played the first one. I should really pick it up.

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #34 by Drjimbo32
Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 02:12:07 PM
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@1 meh, your comment is shitty.

loved the first one, can't wait for this one. Like everybody else, I hope the stealth aspects are fixed

Forum Posts: 122
Comment #35 by Ashes in Fall
Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 08:46:29 PM
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Metro 2033 was very refreshing for the FPS genre. It's one of the few FPSs with a compelling and well written narrative. Artium's monologues during the loading screens were icing on the cake.

Forum Posts: 3387
Comment #36 by XxBlueSpade2xX
Monday, June 13, 2011 @ 07:01:12 PM
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2033 is in the 9.99 bin at Gamestop if anyone's interested.

Forum Posts: 138
Comment #37 by Japanese Table
Wednesday, June 15, 2011 @ 09:14:46 PM
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@36 Are you sure? It's showing up as 24.99 online for me used.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #38 by Sodaa76
Friday, June 17, 2011 @ 11:41:33 AM
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It also looks like Last Light is going to have Co-op according to Xbox

Forum Posts: 77
Comment #39 by Jerric
Saturday, June 18, 2011 @ 09:00:55 AM
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my only wish is that they change the first person to be more similar to fear or crysis, where you see yourself when you look down, vault or climb objects and ladders. Its minor and far from ground breaking but i think adds to the immersive hud the game already had, and the usual "floating" feel most fps have to their movement is one of the turn-offs for me with fps. I see no reason i should be able to run backwards or wideways as fast and as easilly as i run forwards, nor should i be able to go from a full sprint to a side step like my momentum no longer has to answer to physics.

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Game Info
4A Games
Deep Silver


US May 14, 2013
Europe May 17, 2013

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