Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Russia, Game Plays You!

Metro 2033 Review: 
When I hear of any new game coming out that consists of Communist Russia(or the Soviet Union, for that matter), Neo-Nazi's, and a post-apocalyptic world I think, "Oh sweet, this game will be pretty rad!" Whether or not I feel the way about Metro 2033 that I thought I would is still to be determined. Despite its flaws, Metro 2033 is a good game. The game puts us in the eponymous year, set in the underground tunnels of the Moscow area Metro system, 20 something years after a nuclear war has destroyed the world. Sound Familiar? Well it should because it's just like the rest of the stories. Enough radiation present to kill you? Check. Nuclear water-like waste that damages you on contact? Check. Mutated beings that roam around, out to kill you? Check. This kind of sounds like a Russian version of Fallout 3—with the Vaults replaced by the Metro. But it's not quite done yet. 
 Unlike Fallout 3, you cannot just roam around the Earth’s surface without a gas mask on, possibly because of the fact that it takes place further from the initial nuclear holocaust than Metro does. The few times you are on the surface of the Earth, you will constantly need to wear a non view restricting gas mask, in order to breathe. To make it a little more realistic, you'll need to change the filters after a certain amount of time, which you'll find scattered throughout the world. The time left on your filter is shown on a small, three color gauge on your wrist watch. The best part about this system is that you are constantly are kept on your toes regarding your ability to even breathe, let alone fight all the mutated monsters up on the surface. Added to that is the fact that not every filter is brand new, and will already have some of its use worn. So you'll go to put one on and it'll only last you 5 minutes, versus a fresh one that will last about 20 minutes. AND the gas mask can crack from battle damage and become useless, requiring you to find a new one. Killer. The time spent in the metro tunnels is where the bulk of this game takes place. We are led to believe that in certain parts of the tunnels, Communists have created a 1984 like dystopia, and that other parts contain Neo-Nazis(Russian Nazis, mind you). Apparently no one learned that they should be working together to survive instead of killing each other. Yeah, that's smart. 
Enter the Rangers, a small group of badasses that just roam around the tunnels and make it a safer place. You start off as a young adult named, "Artyom" in a 'free' tunnel city, and quickly become a Ranger when one of your Ranger friends gets killed. You then take his place after an attack on your city leaves you all in great peril. Your quest takes you throughout the entire Metro system, through Nazi cities, Red cities, and even the frontline tunnels where you must sneak (or fight) through the battle to the other side. At that location there is a big 'free' city that will send aid to your besieged home. 
 Sounds kind of interesting, right? Well it is...for a bit. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too familiar for most gamers, and it goes like this: Super interesting conflict between two different sets(read Humans vs. Covenant) and then introduce a third aggressor(read Flood, the Many) and then the game’s story gets less interesting. Exploring the back-story behind the war between the reds and Nazis, or maybe what the Nazis were so nazi-like about (Russian master race?) but instead they throw in a third element: Aliens. Or maybe they were mutated humans. Either way, I didn't care about them. 
The "Dark Ones" appear rarely in the game but are this huge threat to your city. So the story gets lame and trippy, but still holds your attention enough. The game play is another factor of the game that is just good, not great. Glitches are abound. When using this revolver-type shotgun that holds 5 rounds, in a hasty situation (like firing a lot of rounds at once, because you're overwhelmed) causes it to glitch. You'll only be able to fire off three rounds before you'll have to reload, and it will show that you've used all 5 rounds. So that sucks. Also, sometimes enemies don't die, causing you to have to restart and then they would die. This isn't a glitch, but it's a complaint of mine: NO MELEE button. For real. Only two guns allow you to melee. So when you're totally swamped with monsters, you've got to wait to reload and try again. The game also didn't explain the mechanics of the game very well. For example, the bartering system uses ammo for money, but doesn't explain what the images represent, so I kind of just had to wing it until I figured it out. Which, I've been told is a universal problem. Of course all of these glitches don't exist on the PC version. But it's ok, PC gaming is dying anyway. 
 So remember when I said it was good? Yeah, stick with me. I'll explain it right here. The story is actually really interesting. And there are a lot of fun things to do. The Survival/Horror part of the game sure came through on the survival part. The game isn't scary at all, but ammo is scarce enough that you'll constantly be carefully aiming shots to conserve ammo. There are even less health packs but it's a lot like Call of Duty, and stuff so your health regenerates. There are times when you'll have a ton of filters for your gas mask, and others when you'll be on your last one. The shooter aspects are good enough, but not as great compared to as other recently developed games. 
 Newer gamers will love this game while More experienced players will scoff at obvious faults, but still find themselves wanting to continue the game. If you're looking for something of the same caliber as Dead Space/RE4/Fallout 3 for the survival/horror aspects of it, then ignore this game. It fails compared to them, but it does have a "good effort" kind of feel when playing. Hardcore gamers should avoid this title, and it's not worth the $60 tag either. Get it used or wait for it to drop to the $40-$50 dollar range.

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