Our blind Let's Play of Metro 2033 is finished, guys. We destroyed the Dark Ones with the same nuclear fires that birthed them, hopefully providing a modicum of peace to the Metro before the next threat comes over the horizon.
Tom Sea and I both loved this game, being practically perfect in almost every way (do yourself the service of playing the game in its native Russian for the truest experience). The items in the game's favor are numerous, but what impressed me the most about it and why it receives such lofty praise from the Sons is the atmosphere. Skulking around the pitch-black tunnels of the ruined metro, trying to avoid both man and beast, keeps you on the edge of your seat in a way I haven't felt since I played the first Metal Gear Solid all those years ago. Even the stations practically drip with a realist feel as the survivors of the Last Great War huddle together to eke out some survivability from practically every resource they can.
I don't say this very often, but this is a game that I feel rivals BioShock in almost every regard (and I love, love, love BioShock). Traveling the tunnels, I got flashbacks of walking the narrow corridors of Rapture, the glass standing between me and the Atlantic reminding me just how trapped I was in that former submerged Eden. The metro tunnels are almost the only slightly welcoming place in Metro in that regard as well. The above-ground, like the ocean that surrounds Rapture, is a place not meant for man, being more dangerous than the metros by many folds.
But game feel isn't everything, and Metro keeps that in mind with a surprisingly gripping story of a young man's journey through the new world created by war. The NPCs and player companions form a very real-feeling support background which helps Artyom grow along each leg of his journey and inform his decisions and choices down the line. One level in particular sticks out as Khan, the magician of the metro, led me through the tunnels, showing that not everything in this world was a threat to man; it was simply the next stage of life in the world, and men should move along with it. A stark contrast to Miller, a ranger commander who imparts one crucial bit of advice to Artyom, "If it's hostile, you kill it."
It's rare when games encourage actual player learning over heaping rewards on them, and I feel it was a good choice for a game where survival is paramount objective. Yes, as the game progresses, new gear and guns become available, but unlike a Fallout, which ammo and health is fairly plentiful, the restrictions applied to their use through ammo shortages make a player think twice about engaging every enemy he passes. The guns, by the way, use mostly crappy homemade rounds which pale in comparison to today's "good bullets," which make even the most threatening-looking of weapons less effective against the strongest beasts that Metro has to offer. So it behooves that play to use every scrap of knowledge he's picked up during the game--avoiding danger, finding alternate paths, making every single shot count--to survive, not simply to hold down the trigger and wait for the muzzle flash to die down.
In the end, it all comes together to make a true gaming treasure. The only thing I ever knew about the game before playing it is that it had gas masks and funky homemade guns. What I got was a great gaming experience that kept me interested throughout its whole length and one I'll remember fondly for a long time.
Metro 2033 is available for PC (you can buy it on Steam for probably less than ten bucks) and Xbox 360. Its sequel, Last Light, will be released Q1 2013 and will be for PC, Xbox, and PS3.