16 Jul 2021
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Game review: Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition (PC/Xbox Series X)

By Darren Price

It’s with a sense of déjà vu that I venture into the graphically refined post-apocalyptic world of Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition.

This augmented version of the celebrated game affords players the opportunity to experience Metro Exodus looking better than ever. The developer, 4A Games, has swapped out pre-baked lighting and, on PC, the hastily added ray-tracing implementation of the original release, for a more complete, and realistic look.

Metro Exodus is the sequel to Metro: Last Light which was, in turn, a sequel to 2010’s Metro 2033, a game based on the Dmitry Glukhovsky novels. Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition updates the original game that continued the story of Artyom following Last Light

The first two games were set in and around the Moscow metro system, where survivors of a nuclear war have regressed into warring tribal societies. Mutants created from the nuclear fallout lurk in the tunnels and on the irradiated surface.

In Metro Exodus, our hero, Artyom, discovers that there are other survivors. Stealing a train, the Aurora, a cadre of Spartans, Artyom and his wife, Anna, head out following a signal leading them to “The Ark”. Whereas previous games have been mostly set underground, Metro Exodus affords players huge open areas to explore. Having spent two games lurking in train tunnels, it’s finally nice to actually take a trip on a train.  

I’m very familiar with the wonders of Nvidia’s RTX-enhanced visuals, as employed by 4A Games, having previously played the PC version of the Metro threequel. But that was back in February 2019, when Nvidia’s ray-tracing and AI Turing technology was still in its infancy. Metro Exodus’ RTX ray-traced lighting and ambient occlusion, whilst ground-breaking at the time, was limited, as was the game’s support for Nvidia’s DLSS (deep learning super sampling).

The review rig then was packing a shiny new Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti. But there was a dearth of titles actually designed to use the Turing GPU’s advanced abilities. Metro Exodus made the extortionate price of the graphics card a worthwhile investment.

A state-of-the-art Nvidia RTX 3090 now powers the review rig, but the once exclusive ray-tracing technology can also be found in Sony and Microsoft’s new consoles. It’s likely the abilities of these new consoles that were the catalyst for this new graphically enhanced release. 

The Xbox Series X|S version of Metro Exodus really shines out compared to the original Xbox One version of the game. Running smoothly in 4K HDR at a mooted 60 fps (which looks to be about right), with the same ray-traced lighting as the PC version, the game looks every bit a next-gen title. 

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition on PC, for Nvidia RTX-enabled GPU owners, features improved lighting and DLSS. In real terms, the enhanced ray-tracing takes the already incredible visuals of the original release and makes them look like a rendered animated graphic novel. DLSS uses the Nvidia GPU’s AI Tensor Core to maintain high framerates with all this new detail even with lower-spec RTX graphics cards. 

Replaying the game, Metro Exodus is still a superb experience. Scavenging parts, exploration, and stealth play a big part in the game. The game is quite unforgiving, especially on the higher difficulty levels. With bullets a scarcity, each shot counts. The game keeps players at a high level of anxiety that is both thrilling and unnerving.

The world outside Moscow is littered with monsters, some familiar and some new. As with the other games, it is the interactions with other post-apocalyptic survivors that offer the most unnerving narratives. The world of Metro is a world gone mad.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition takes an already incredible game and makes it even better for gamers with RTX-equipped PCs, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5s. As a free upgrade for existing owners, it is an absolute gift. For players that have yet to try the game, Metro Exodus Complete Edition, which includes the enhancement and the two DLC expansions, is a must-buy.

Verdict: 9.5/10

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