Metro 2033 (video game)
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|Release date(s)||NA 20100316March 16, 2010
AU 20100318March 18, 2010
EU March 19, 2010
JP May 13, 2010 (X360)
JP June 25, 2010 (PC)
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, survival horror|
Metro 2033 is a survival horror first-person shooter video game, based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.
The game is played from the perspective of Artyom, the player-character. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro system, but occasionally missions bring the player above-ground.
As a first-person shooter, Metro 2033 features a variety of firearms, some fictional and some based on real weapons, which the player will use in combat. Combat alternates between the player fighting mutants and the player fighting hostile humans. Mutants do not possess weapons and tend to physically attack the player in swarms, while humans fight with the same firearms available to the player. The game features recharging health rather than a traditional health points system—if the player avoids taking damage for a period, health will slowly recharge, however, the player can speed up this process by using a stim from a medkit, which will almost instantly heal the player to full health. When the player is severely injured, it may take over twenty seconds to return to full health.
In the post-apocalyptic environment, ammunition is a rare and essential commodity. Pre-apocalypse military-grade ammunition is used as currency; to avoid "shooting money", the player can also use lower quality bullets made within the Metros. Due to the scarcity of ammunition, a crucial aspect of gameplay is scavenging. The player can loot corpses and the environment for spare ammunition, as well as weapons and items. The military-grade ammo can be used to purchase other ammunition, weapons, and items within most of the Metro stations.
The game's locations reflect the dark atmosphere of real metro tunnels, with added survival horror elements. Strange phenomena and noises are frequent, and mostly the player has to rely only on the flashlight (and sometimes, the night-vision goggles) to find the way around in otherwise total darkness. Even more lethal is the surface, as it is severely irradiated and a gas mask must be worn at all times due to the toxic air. Often, locations have an intricate layout, and the game lacks any form of map, leaving the player to try to find their objectives only through a compass.
As Metro 2033 aims to be immersive, the gameplay and interface are somewhat atypical. The game lacks a health meter, relying on audible heart rate and blood spatters on the screen to show the player's current state of health. The player must collect air filters for the gas mask, which last several minutes each and are automatically replaced provided the player has more in reserve. There is no heads-up display indicator to tell how long the player has until the gas mask's filters begin to fail—rather, a timer on the character's wristwatch shows how long until the current filter expires. The gas mask can become visibly damaged and will stop functioning if punctured, requiring it to be replaced. With every weapon, the bullets are (partly) visible, informing the player that their weapon is about to run out of ammo and they have to reload. The game does feature sparse traditional HUD elements, such as an ammunition indicator. However, on the hardest difficulty setting, no HUD elements are present, and players have to keep track of ammunition by the partly visible magazines.
There are also certain moral choices in the game that give points that lead to different endings. Choices can either get the player a good point, for example, saving prisoners from execution or do nothing, while some can give negative moral points, like being rude to people or stealing.
In late 2013, a nuclear war occurred. Russia was targeted with atomic bombs, causing severe radiation across Moscow, forcing the rest of the people to live underground in the metro stations away from the deadly effects of radiation. Many animals and humans left behind mutated into creatures known as the Dark Ones, who were left outside for the next 20 years.
In 2033, Artyom (Russian: Артём), a 20-year-old male survivor and one of the first born in the metro, learns from an elite soldier and mutant hunter, or Ranger, named Hunter that a group of mysterious creatures referred to as the Dark Ones are threatening his home station, VDNKh, in the Metro. Hunter gives Artyom his dog tags and tells him if he does not come back, he must go to Polis and present these to see if they will help his station.
Artyom must travel through territory occupied by Soviets and a Fourth Reich, and infested with mutants as well as the much changed surface of Moscow. Once in Polis, he meets with a Ranger named Miller, who agrees to help him. Miller knows of a missile silo known as D6 that has the firepower necessary to destroy the Dark Ones. Artyom, Miller, and several other Rangers reactivate the command center for the missiles, and Artyom installs a laser guidance system on a nearby radio tower. After the laser system is installed, Artyom experiences a vivid hallucination induced by the Dark Ones.
After the hallucination, two endings are possible, depending on choices the player makes throughout the game. In the normal ending, Artyom allows the missiles to fire, destroying the Dark Ones. The alternate ending gives Artyom the choice to destroy the laser guidance device, citing a last-minute realization that the Dark Ones were actually attempting to make peaceful contact through the hallucinations.
4A Games was founded by Oles' Shiskovtsov and Aleksandr Maksimchuk, former programmers for GSC Game World who left about a year before the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Shiskovtsov and Maksimchuk had worked on the development of X-Ray engine used in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game. The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig; along with an official trailer.
The game utilizes multi-platform 4A Engine, running on Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. There is some contention regarding whether the engine is based on the pre-release X-Ray engine (as claimed by Sergiy Grygorovych, the founder of GSC Game World, as well as users who have seen the 4A Engine SDK screenshots, citing visual similarities, shared resources, and technical evaluation of the pre-release 4A Engine demo conducted at the request of GSC Game World), or whether the engine is an original development (as claimed by 4A Games and Oles' Shiskovtsov in particular, who claims it would have been impractical to retrofit the X-ray engine with console support). 4A Engine features Nvidia PhysX support, enhanced AI, and a console SDK for Xbox 360. The PC version includes exclusive features such as DirectX 11 support and has been described as "a love letter to PC gamers" because of the developers' choice "to make the PC version [especially] phenomenal".
A PlayStation 3 version was planned, but ultimately cancelled. On February 19, THQ and 4A Games announced the game features the latter's Steamworks software and DRM. This gives Metro 2033 achievements, Steam support for in-game downloadable content and auto-updating.
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A Collector's Edition of the game was released in Russia – it contained the game itself in special packaging, a game guide, a map of the post-apocalyptic subway of Moscow and a unique watch with the game's logo on it. An even larger collector's edition was released in Poland; it contained: the game itself in special packaging, a Polish translation of the novel Metro 2033, instructions for the game, an army container and a gas mask (with filters and a military bag included). A special edition was also released in Germany – more similar in size to the Russian collector's edition and smaller than the Polish one, it contained: the game itself in a special edition box, a hardback novel (A5 sized) titled "Davor und Danach" (Before and After), a fully working replica of the watch that Artyom uses in the game, a bear-shaped key ring with one of Hunter's dog tags on it and a download code for the Heavy Automatic Shotgun.
The game has received generally favorable reviews, scoring 81/100 and 77/100 on Metacritic for the PC and Xbox 360 versions respectively. Game Informer praised it, giving it 9 out of 10. GameZone's Dakota Grabowski gave the game an 8 out of 10, saying, "The single-player affair is worthy of every FPS fanatics' time since the 4A Games and THQ were able to put forth a wonderful tale that deserved telling. The world is engrossing as it invites players for multiple trips with the sheer amount of detail 4A Games spent implementing into the environments. Metro 2033 is as pure as they come in the genre and I gladly welcome any sequel that may reach fruition."
Video game talk show Good Game gave the game an 8.5 out of 10 praising the RPG and survival horror elements which add richness to the gameplay as well saying the HUD-less design was a choice which suits this particular game. Overall they said "I'm a big Fallout 3 fan and I was worried this would try to be something similar and fail dismally. But it's more FPS than RPG, so I think it manages to dodge a direct comparison. They've just worked really hard to bring RPG narrative and decisions into the action, and it works."
X-Play gave the game a 3 out of 5, the reviewer pointed out the game's great atmosphere, attention to detail, and that the game had some truly scary moments. The reviewer also pointed out that, they "didn't do enough with the creepy atmosphere". Saying that the game would come close to truly frightening moments, but "never truly commits to scaring the audience". The reviewer said that the mapping of the buttons on the controller for the Xbox 360 can be "less than optimal", but the problem does not apply to PC users. In the conclusion, the reviewer said that the game was, "over all a respectable effort, provided you don't expect the same level of depth found in, let's say Fallout 3."
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- "4A Games at Games Convention" (Adobe Flash). 4A Games. 9 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-09. "4A Games is ready to announce our first project which will appear on Games Convention in Leipzig! During the Exposition we will have an exclusive showcase of our product, codename "Metro 2033. The Last Refuge"."
- GC 2006 Trailer. 4A Games. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
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