Metro Exodus Review

Richard Walker

Life is bleak in Metro's post-apocalyptic world, but then, a cheery end of the world hardly seems right, especially for one in which the last vestiges of mankind are striving to survive in a nuclear wasteland. Metro Exodus is an epic road trip (or should that be rail trip?), a sweeping journey across Russia that takes in all four seasons throughout a single year, as Artyom and the Order board a hulking steam train, the Aurora, aiming to find a place they can call home.

Hope rarely illuminates Metro Exodus, but the freedom afforded by the Aurora promises a brighter future. Artyom and the gang have an intense, enjoyable fight on their hands to find it, albeit one also fraught with peril, and Metro Exodus sees the series emerging from the tunnels of the Metro in favour of a slightly more open-ended structure.

Harsh wintry snow gives way to searing desert heat, with mutants and hostile roving bandit gangs remaining a constant throughout. Constant too is the need to scavenge crafting resources and ammunition, because gone are the weapon and ammo vendors, leaving you to fend for yourself using metal and chemicals. Everything from bullets to medkits, gas mask filters and explosives can be cobbled together using what few bits you'll find lying around.

Using your backpack, you can craft rudimentary stuff on the move, but it's only at workbenches that you're able to clean and maintain your guns and gas mask, or resupply with ammunition. Battling to reach a safe haven is part and parcel of the challenge in Metro Exodus, and like Metro 2033 and Last Light before it, making incremental progress is immensely rewarding. The game's gunplay is also uniformly excellent; encounters with foes made all the more exciting by some pretty smart enemy AI, and the fact that each and every bullet matters. Wasting ammo simply isn't an option in Metro Exodus. At one point, I accidentally hurled a valuable Molotov and got quite upset.

4A Games has perfectly paced Metro Exodus too, interspersing its expansive, more open sections with linear subterranean sojourns, laden with memorable set pieces and ample opportunity for stealth. And Metro still does stealth impeccably. Crafting feeds into your chosen playstyle too, weapons dropped by enemies available to strip for parts that can then be attached to your rifles, shotguns or handguns. You can take a basic gun and fit it with all manner of attachments to entirely repurpose its functionality, with scopes, barrels, clips and more yours to experiment with. There's a depth here only lightly touched upon in the previous Metro games, but in Exodus it's fully fleshed out, and utterly fantastic.

Narratively, Metro Exodus is compelling enough, boasting the same diverging paths dictated by your moral choices, but there are some stilted moments and patchy voice acting that put a slight dampener on things. There are some great narrative beats in Exodus despite the somewhat flimsy storytelling, however, and with each changing season, there's something new and interesting to keep things fresh and engaging. Familiar mutant enemies return, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure, but it's the game's human antagonists that present the most challenging encounters.

Once you arrive in the Caspian desert (the sea dried out long ago) as summer rolls into view, Exodus takes a turn towards Mad Max territory; an unscrupulous baron lords it over an enslaved population, while holding vast quantities of fuel hostage. You can even get behind the wheel of a van and splatter mutants on your bumper, if you like. Exodus also throws a variety of optional objectives at you too, like bringing back a lost guitar or teddy bear, giving Artyom the chance to redress his moral balance, and explore off the beaten track. And they're all nicely marked on your map as enticing question marks that encourage poking around all corners of Metro's inhospitable and devastatingly pretty environments.

By and large, playing Metro Exodus is a tension-filled pleasure, transcending its mild flaws, like fiddly controls and very occasional minor graphical glitches. There are a lot of different functions that have been mapped to the controller, meaning it can often feel clunky just to turn on your lighter or choose a weapon, although there are d-pad shortcuts and certain face buttons you can hold to bypass the menu interface. To be fair, 4A has done a good job in ensuring the game's controls aren't too unwieldy. During stealthy moments, button prompts can take their sweet time in appearing too, which can lead to a guard spotting you, and raising the alarm. This can occasionally be a mite frustrating, especially when it causes a perfect sneaky run to go up in flames.

Still, these are small shortcomings in a game that does a lot right, although fans of the first two games may question certain narrative choices, like the excision of the Dark Ones and few allusions to Artyom's past. Your relationship with Anna and the rest of the Aurora's crew is only as meaningful as you're willing to make it; your time aboard the train is the only real chance to connect, if you can be bothered. The onus is really on you to interact with Anna, Miller, Stephan, Idiot, Krest, and the rest of the gang, so you could end up missing some intimate moments with certain characters.

You will want to invest the time in Metro Exodus, however. 4A Games has crafted a robust and enjoyable sequel that expands upon what's come before, seeing Artyom and the gang venture beyond Moscow's Metro system and out into the great beyond. This emphasis on open-world exploration doesn't detract from the traditional Metro experience, which is enhanced by resource management using Artyom's backpack, scavenging for supplies, and veering off-piste to see what secrets you can uncover. There are plenty of claustrophobic junctures, numerous tight, tense sequences, and more than a modicum of the macabre in its corpse-ridden post-nuclear expanses.

Metro Exodus might not be perfect, but it’s an excellent sequel that takes the series in a brave new direction, without losing the spirit of what makes the Metro games unique.

Metro Exodus

After the confined spaces of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, Metro Exodus feels far more expansive, but never strays too far from what makes the series unique.

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Suitably atmospheric music that's used sparingly, and plenty of subtle noises to keep you on your toes while you're navigating Metro Exodus' winding tunnels and more open spaces. The voice acting could be better, however. Maybe play it in Russian.


A fantastic looking game with remarkable lighting and some jaw-dropping vistas, Metro Exodus nonetheless has its fair share of minor graphical bugs, but minor they are and don't detract from the overall visual majesty. Characters aren't all that expressive, though.


Exodus is a fine shooter, laced with neat survival mechanics including crafting and hoarding materials. Handling stealth and full-on gunslinging combat equally well, Metro is superb, tension-filled fun. Kudos to 4A Games for managing to map so much to the humble controller too.


A larger game in scope and size than its predecessors, Metro Exodus juggles both condensed open-world spaces and claustrophobic environments with aplomb, while delivering a polished gameplay experience at its heart. Minor glitches don't spoil the party, although I experienced instances of crashing and freezing when playing off an external HDD.


Encouraging you to explore beyond the designated path, Metro's list is nice and varied, offering a range of different challenges alongside the usual 'kill X number of mutants' or 'kill X number of humans'. Mixing up your weapons is also essential. A solid list that is nonetheless a bit on the familiar side.

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