Metro 2033 (video game)
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, Survival horror|
Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter survival horror video game developed by 4A Games and published by THQ. It was released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The story is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky's novel of the same title, and is set in the ruins of Moscow following a nuclear war, where the survivors are forced to live in underground Metro tunnels. Players control Artyom, a man who must save his home station from the dangers lurking within the Metro.
Metro 2033 is played from a first-person perspective. Players encounter human and mutant enemies, who can be killed with a variety of firearms; alternatively, players can employ stealth to evade or silently kill enemies. Ammunition and other necessary items must be either scavenged from the bodies of dead enemies, or purchased from vendors. Some areas of the metro tunnels, in addition to the Earth's surface, are covered in fallout radiation, and the player must wear a gas mask to explore these areas. If the gas mask is worn while in combat, it may be damaged, and the player must quickly find a replacement before they die.
Metro 2033 received positive reviews from critics. The game was praised for its horror elements, detailed environments and appealing plot, but it was criticized for its buggy artificial intelligence and its many graphical issues.
A sequel, Metro: Last Light, was released in 2013. A compilation of both titles was released in 2014 as Metro Redux for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, OS X, Linux, and SteamOS. A second sequel, Metro Exodus, was released in 2019. In addition, Metro 2033 Redux was released as a standalone game for the Nintendo Switch in February 2020 and on Stadia in June 2020, alongside ports of Metro: Last Light Redux.
Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter video game. It is predominantly set within the tunnels of the Moscow Metro and Metro-2 system, though some sections take place on the surface, in the ruins of Moscow. The story is told through a linear single-player campaign, and important plot moments are shown during cutscenes.
The human and mutant enemies can be killed with a variety of firearms. The game features traditional guns like a revolver, assault rifles and shotguns, as well as more inventive weapons like a pneumatic crossbow. In firefights, human enemies take cover and flank the player, while mutant enemies stay in the open and try to bite them. Alternatively, the player can employ stealth to evade their enemies or kill them silently. This can be achieved by using a throwing knife to kill an enemy from afar, or shoot an enemy with a suppressed weapon. If the player is shot or bitten while in combat, they can either wait for their health to recharge, or use a med-kit to heal themselves immediately.
The player often has little ammunition, and must scavenge for bullets and other useful items from the bodies of dead enemies or from caches. Pre-war 5.45×39mm ammunition (referred to in the game as "military grade ammunition") can also be found, which serves as the currency within the tunnels. The player can either spend military grade ammunition on new weapons, or use it in firefights, which inflicts more damage on enemies than normal bullets. As most of the tunnels feature little to no light, the player can use a flashlight to explore dark areas. In addition to the dimly lit tunnels, some areas, including the entire surface, are covered in radiation, and require the use of a gas mask. If the player engages in combat while wearing a gas mask, it may become damaged and crack, forcing the player to find a functional gas mask.
Throughout the game, there are certain moral choices that can be made. If the player is compassionate to the people living in the tunnels, such as giving the homeless some military grade ammunition, they may be able to watch a different cutscene at the end of the game. These moral choices are never explicitly mentioned, and it is possible to play through the game without knowing of their presence.
This game is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky's book Metro 2033. In 2013, nuclear war had devastated the Earth, wiping out billions of lives. Among the affected nations is Russia, including the now-desolate wasteland of Moscow. A handful of survivors manage to hide in the Metro system, salvaging spare parts and growing mushrooms for food. Animals such as rats, bears, and others are mutated into horrific monsters, while the air in many areas that humans breathe becomes heavily irradiated and impossible to survive in without a gas mask. While there is a constant state of war between the Communists and the Nazis both trying to promote their radical ideologies, bandits are stealing, killing and looting in the metro tunnels, even keeping hostages to gain bullets, which are used as currency.
Twenty years later, in 2033, the northern station of VDNKh, now called Exhibition, falls under attack by a group of mysterious creatures referred to as the Dark Ones. Artyom (Russian: Артём), a 24-year-old male survivor born before the bombs fell and the adopted son of the station commander, is persuaded to leave his home there and seek help from the rest of the Metro by Hunter, an elite soldier of the Spartan Order. Hunter gives Artyom his dog tags and tells him to present them to his superiors in Polis, the "capital" of the Metro, before disappearing while tracking the Dark Ones.
The next day, Artyom signs on as an escort for a caravan headed to Riga, a neighboring station. Along the way, the crew is incapacitated by a psychic attack, but manage to reach the safety of the station's defenses after an attack by mutants. Afterward, Artyom meets Bourbon, a smuggler who offers to help him reach Polis as he was immune to the psychic attack. The two make their way through several other stations and tunnels, and even up through the very city of Moscow itself, before Bourbon is killed by bandits. A traveler named Khan rescues Artyom promptly after. After escorting Artyom through haunted tunnels and to a station under attack, Khan stays with the survivors and advises Artyom to meet his contact Andrew the Blacksmith, who lives under the control of the Red Line, a Stalinist regime.
With his help, Artyom sneaks out of the Reds' territory but is subsequently captured by their enemies, the neo-Nazi Fourth Reich. Two Spartan Rangers, Pavel and Ulman, rescue him from execution. Pavel later dies in a handcar escorting Artyom out of the Reich, and he is forced to continue alone, eventually coming across a group of survivors trying to stop a mutant horde from reaching Polis. They fail, but Artyom manages to save a boy named Sasha before they escape. In gratitude, the defenders help him reach the surface, and he reunites with Ulman, who takes him to Miller, the colonel of the Order, in Polis.
The governing council ultimately refuses to help Exhibition, but Miller reveals that he has a back-up plan: a missile silo known as D6 that has the firepower necessary to destroy the Dark Ones hive in the Botanical Gardens. To find a way to D6, Miller tells Artyom to meet him at the Moscow State Library to search for a book that may contain a map. Artyom makes his way into the library and eventually is forced to continue alone while avoiding the mutant Librarians. He eventually finds the book and flees with the help of Miller and Ulman. Artyom is recruited as a Spartan ranger, and takes part in an operation to locate and reactivate the command center of the D6 complex. After their success, he and Miller go to install a laser guidance system at the top of Ostankino Tower. After the laser system is installed, Artyom experiences a vivid hallucination induced by a Dark One.
After the hallucination, two endings are possible depending on the choices the player makes throughout the game. In the canonical ending, Artyom allows the missiles to fire, destroying the Dark Ones; only to realize later that they sought peace and the deaths by them were merely self-defense, which was too late by then. 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. This ending is only available by performing various positive acts throughout the game, such as helping out fellow humans and not automatically fleeing the Dark Ones in various hallucinations.
Development and release
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 19 February, THQ and 4A Games announced the game features Steamworks software and DRM. This gives Metro 2033 achievements, Steam support for in-game downloadable content and auto-updating.
Metro 2033 was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on 16 March 2010 in North America, 18 March in Australia, and 19 March in Europe. 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 special 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 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.
In February 2014, the Xbox 360 version of 2033 was included in Microsoft's "Games with Gold" program exclusively for German subscribers. This served as a replacement for Dead Island, the game offered in other territories, as it is unavailable for purchase in Germany.
On 22 May 2014, a Redux version of the game was announced. It uses the latest version of the 4A Engine bringing the graphical and gameplay changes from Last Light to 2033. It was released on 26 August 2014 in North America and 29 August 2014 in Europe for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It was delayed in Australia until 4 September. A compilation package, titled Metro Redux, was released at the same time which includes both games. The redux version of the two games were published by Deep Silver. A demo of the Redux version, which allows players to play through the first one-third of the game, was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 2 June 2015. Metro 2033 Redux and Last Light Redux were released separately on Google Stadia on 23 June 2020.
In August 2015, the Xbox 360 version of 2033 was included in Microsoft's "Games with Gold" program for most Xbox Live regions. On Microsoft Windows, OS X (released on 14 April 2015), Linux (released on 11 December 2014), and SteamOS, a release entitled Metro Redux Bundle includes both this game and Last Light Redux.
Metro 2033 received favorable reviews from critics, 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."
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 Metro 2033 a 3 out of 5. The reviewer approved of the game's atmosphere and attention to detail, and stated that the game had some truly scary moments. The reviewer also stated that the developers "didn't do enough with the creepy atmosphere", that the game had some almost 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."
GameSpot gave Metro 2033 7.5 out of 10 for the Xbox 360 version and 8 out of 10 for the PC version, praising the atmosphere but noting problems with the artificial intelligence and animations. IGN gave the game a lower rating of 6.9 out of 10 (identical for Xbox 360 and PC versions), citing the frame rate, bugs, and disappointing graphics as issues.
Metro: Last Light was released in 2013. Even though it acts as a sequel to the original game, it does not follow any direct storylines from the book Metro 2034. An improved version called Redux, with all downloadable content was released in 2014. A compilation package, titled Metro Redux, was released at the same time which includes both Last Light and Metro 2033. Another sequel, Metro Exodus, was released in 2019.
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