Metro: Exodus is Every Bit as Brutal and Unforgiving as You’d Expect – Hands-On Preview

Metro: Exodus is Every Bit as Brutal and Unforgiving as You’d Expect – Hands-On Preview

Dan Webb

Metro: Exodus, like its predecessors, is not a run and gun game. It’s a game that according to Deep Silver Global Brand Manager Huw Beynon, “will chew you up and spit you out” if you attempt to play it as such. It’s not an easy game by any stretch of the imagination and it’s not designed to be. Metro: Exodus, according to Beynon, is apparently an unforgiving journey into the snowy wasteland of post-apocalyptic Russia. I say apparently, but I can attest to this. Metro: Exodus is tough. It doesn’t mollycoddle you. It constantly kicks your ass. And that’s what we love about it.

Set two years after the events of Metro: Last Light, Metro: Exodus sees young Artyom return with a band of merry men (and women, duh) on a transcontinental journey across post-apocalyptic Russia after fleeing the game’s namesake, the Metro system of Moscow. This “seasonal-spanning journey” has twice the dialogue of the two games and their DLC combined, it’ll take twice the time to complete, and is “many, many times the size of the original.” In fact, according to Beynon, 4A Games is struggling to fit it onto a 50GB Blu-ray.

Unlike the originals, Exodus is opting for a different approach of sorts. No, they aren’t leaving behind the cramped corridors, dank and dark claustrophobic environments, but instead you’ll find those littered around an open-world of sorts – well, a series of mini open-worlds connected with linear story beats that connect them. Deep Silver was quick to stress that the game is still a linear narrative adventure, one that is story-driven with an emphasis on immersion, combat and stealth, exploration and survival – utilising the studio founders’ experience with the popular PC title, STALKER – one that doesn’t have pointless fetch quests and busywork.

There is the narrative urgency of the previous games still present in Exodus, while giving players a “greater sense of freedom and choice,” according to Beynon. Everything has a narrative purpose in Metro: Exodus. Only time will tell if that appears to be the case. Our few hours with the game would suggest that is the case though.

With that open-world comes new mechanics, like a dynamic weather system, a day/night cycle, and traders are gone as that doesn’t fit with the sparse and desolate open-world. A completely revamped weapon customisation system is on the cards too, as well as new survival and crafting mechanics. Now you can customise weapons and craft essentials on the fly, strip weapons for valuable parts and with ammo no longer being the sole currency, you being thrown into vast open-worlds, the potential for scavenging is greatly increased. We all love a bit of looting, right? If you said no, then you’re wrong.

Our hands-on demo took us to the game’s mini open-world section around the Volga river, 776 kilometres from Moscow, after hulking Russian train the Aurora has been brought to a complete halt by a roadblock on the tracks. I say mini, but it’s actually 20 times the size of the swamp level from Metro: Last Light, which was the franchise’s previous biggest area. The Volga river open-world section is not Exodus’ biggest section of the game either, but will offer around 4-5 hours of critical playtime in the final game.

During our time on the Volga river, we broke up a shady cult who had lured us in and trapped us in their shack of sorts, which ended like a lot of my video game encounters in general, in that I started off super stealthy before the shit hit the proverbial plan. Interestingly, after taking down the enigmatic leader the rest of his flock were quick to lay down their arms and surrender, which was a nice touch. Just goes to show what happens if you cut the head off a snake. For the most part though, we spent our time exploring the Volga river region, occasionally carrying out a main mission to see where that would take us. It was a tense experience, one that took us to huts, abandoned warehouse, underground tunnels and to the docks, all in the search of that valuable loot, damaged weapons we could salvage for part and chemicals, just so we could craft the supplies we need to survive.

There are a ton of customisation options in Exodus, from adding night vision, scopes, lasers, stocks, extended mags and suppressors to guns to upgrading your compass, your gas mask, cleaning guns to stop them from jamming and so on. Using chemicals and parts scavenged from the wasteland you can craft meds, filters and what-not on the fly, but if you want the full suite of crafting, you’ll have to head to a workbench.

Ammo is still as scarce as ice-cubes and portable BBQs in the UK on a hot summer’s day, meaning that every shot counts, as was the case in the previous two games. We often found ourselves without ammo, guns jamming and so on and so forth, elevating the tension of every encounter tenfold. Many an encounter saw us resorting to using the butt of our rifle, trying to get value for every shot. The same scarcity applies to salvage and chemicals too – both required for crafting – and when we found ourselves in a toxic environment with no immediate escape route and no filters (or supplies to craft them), we were done for. If we wanted to continue we would have to load up an earlier save, there was no return for us. Metro: Exodus is brutal, and it punishes sloppy play, and we were sloppy. Not careful in the slightest, and we paid the ultimate price.

Our 2-3 hours or so with Metro: Exodus was tough, it was unforgiving, but you know what, it’s a lot of fun. It did look a bit rough around the edges at this early stage, but that’s to be expected considering the game isn’t out for another eight months or so, the good news is that the basis for a tense and atmospheric event is there. The new additions give Metro a completely different feel to the previous two iterations, but the emphasis on ammo conservation, forward thinking, looting and efficient combat is present and correct. Metro: Exodus's open-world is huge, the environment we got a taste of as inviting as it was perilous, which is all we want from a Metro game. There’s still work to be done, for sure, but the early signs are very promising.

Metro Exodus is scheduled for a 22nd February 2019 release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

    You need to register before being able to post comments

Game navigation