With its beautiful yet haunting opening cinematic travelling through the dingy tunnels of the Moscow Metro, seeing the horrors hidden underneath the surface, we were excited to see what else Artyom's story had to offer.
Developed by 4A Games and published by Deep Silver, Metro Exodus has a slightly different take from previous titles in the series. Set two years after Last Light, we follow Artyom on his journey across Russia, abandoning the dark and terrifying underground caverns, in search of a new hope.
Travelling across Russia aboard the Aurora, we get to see an ever changing landscape, affected by the transitioning seasons: from snow covered urban areas, to lush, sprawling forests. It's a far cry from the Metro games we've known previously. And whilst it feels very different, it's for all the right reasons.
At each stop on your quest along the Trans-Siberian railway, you'll get off and explore these vast open-world areas. The surface poses no threat, with clean air filling Artyom's lungs (and being a welcomed change from the toxic Moscow air), but underneath the surface you'll find yourself reaching for your gasmask again. To fully explore these subterranean pockets, you'll need to be stocked up on filters. Up on the surface, there are locations and items to find and whilst the threat isn't quite as constant, enemies will still hunt you down and make things more tense and panic inducing (especially if you're me - well known for being a shitebag with games!).
Ensuring that you move as stealthily as possible is key to survival in Metro. Decreasing the chances of being surrounded with limited ammo is definitely your safest bet. Careful planning of your shots can be the deciding factor as to whether you live or die. The scarcity of ammo combined with my usual "fire blindly and hope for the best" method of dealing with scary situations in games is 100% not the way to go about things here.
Day/night cycles impact the enemies around you, and can make things easier and harder for you in different ways. Night time allows the cover of darkness to assist you in dealing with enemies, but equally makes them harder to scope out and can aid them in hunting you down too. During the daytime, there will be less monsters to deal with but visibility of them (and you) is at an optimum.
The game is absolutely stunning. Without a shadow of a doubt, the best looking Metro game by far. The locations are jaw-dropping, and even in amongst the horror and decay, there is beauty. The level of design and attention to detail that has gone into this game is phenomenal. The lighting alone is really special, from flickering and damaged lights upping the creep factor, to gorgeous sunlight basking you in its glory.
Sound design is fantastic, and really gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end as it sets the tone and level of dread. Listening out for slight noises to try and figure out if an enemy is nearby, or to determine if there are loads more coming your way, left me genuinely worried a few times and resorting to my panic-pause and wait for the sheer terror to subside before getting back to it.