Oh, hello there STALK---whoops, sorry, wrong game. What is it with Russian developers that can make post-nuclear-apocalyptic games so compelling? In any case, here’s my review of Metro 2033. I love to hate to love this game. It was a difficulty journey to survive in the horror-filled Metro. So, let's talk about Metro 2033 (Original).
Metro 2033 has taken me over two years to complete it. I originally started it back in 2012 but after running into a majorly frustrating section (read: I died a lot), I put the game back on the shelf, to be played at a later date. Well, with the release of Metro 2033 Redux, I took a new interest in the series and tried tackling the Redux edition. See this review: http://steamcommunity.com/id/KingIsaacLinksr/recommended/286690/
for my very unhappy thoughts towards it. But I couldn’t let my journey in the Metro come to an end a second time like that. I refused to be stopped by some game breaking bug. So, I reinstalled Metro 2033 and picked up where I had left off in the redux edition.
Compared to the redux edition, this game is filled with in-game cutscenes which often take the control out of your hands to a jarring degree. Compared to Redux, I feel like this stealth system is a lot better. Maybe its because the game was designed from the ground up with it in mind rather than slapped together. I much prefer having a gradient of whether you’ll be spotted rather than YES/NO stealth system of the later entries in the Metro series. That said, 2033’s stealth sections biggest annoyances is how spread out the save spots are. A death at an inopportune time right before the next save section can set you back a long way. Other thing I feel is superior in the original is the combat. In ranger mode, bullets feel sufficiently lethal. One shot to the head will take pretty much everything out. Hitboxes feel realistic as well. You hit armor and the bullet won't be lethal. It avoids having bullet-spongy enemies in the Ranger mode, moreso than the redux edition's ranger mode. I find that this game strikes the right balance with its combat. Except with the enemies near the end. Whoever designed those anemones is…..well, let’s just say they are an unexpected difficulty spike.
The survival aspect is rather challenging. You can easily get to a chapter of the game where you're up in the surface of the world and run completely out of air filters. Or bullets. Or everything. This could be game-ending as the pace of the scripted sequences doesn't let you rush through everything as you desperately try to find new air filters. I'm not really sure what to think of it because it does feel cheap at times with how quickly you can go through air filters. I'm conflicted on this part of the game mechanics...
The graphics settings menu is reasonable but more fine-tuned control would have been appreciated. You can tweak resolution, AA, AF and which version of DirectX you use. It comes with a quality slider to change the rest of the settings. (Grrr, death to quality sliders). This game is a monster on older cards, so unless you have something within the last couple of years, set it to DX9 and lower the quality. Additionally, if you want to change the FOV (because its set to a small 60ish FOV), you’ll need to get into the config files. The maximum you’ll be able to do is 90-100 without breaking the game. It’s a pretty game but I found optimization to be lacking in many places, especially when there’s a lot of enemies on the screen coming to rip a new hole in your head. You’ll want to take a look at the PCGamingWiki article to be sure you’re ok with the options given to you. http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Metro_2033
Metro 2033 is a railroaded FPS game that doesn’t give you a lot of room to experiment or change your journey. A lot of the time, it feels like an incredibly fancy rollercoaster ride with guns. There are some sections I feel were specifically designed to show off to the player. What I find most odd about the story is that you’ll get loading screens with Artyom, the main character, talking to the player but he’ll be silent with any interactions with NPCs. I don’t know why they don’t just have him talk to the NPCs, it’s a weird choice by the developers.
Be warned that the game is filled with optimization problems and bugs that can ruin the experience entirely. Being a Russian post-apocalyptic FPS survival game, I really enjoyed it, despite all the frustrating problems I encountered. It says something about a game that I am willing to hazard the game issues to enjoy the content of the game because I do not tolerate bad games bugs or no bugs. It’s why I quit the Metro 2033 Redux edition because of how far backwards it went mechanically. I definitely recommend this version over the Redux edition because the stealth system, combat and lighting system in the original is much better. With that said: good luck in the Metro, you’re going to need it.