Game review: Metro Exodus on Xbox One
4A Games' post-apocalyptic first-person survival Metro franchise gets a third outing with Metro Exodus.
Metro Exodus is the first in the series developed for the current generation of consoles. The previous games, Metro: 2033, and Metro: Last Light, have been re-released for Xbox One, PS4 and PC as the Metro Redux collection. Xbox Game Pass subscribers will find both games ready to play free-of-charge as part of the service.
The games centre around Artyom, a survivor of a nuclear attack on Russia who grew up in a settlement in the old Moscow Metro. The surface of the ruined city is poisonous, requiring a gas mask and plenty of filters in order to stay alive. The surface is also home to dangerous mutant creatures. The tunnels of the Metro are not much safer, filled with warring factions as well as the odd mutant as.
After two games set almost exclusively within Moscow, exploring both the surface and underground in the Metro, this third outing changes things up a bit. Making use of the extra processing power of today's equipment, 4A Games have taken Metro Exodus out of Moscow and really opened it up.
The game start with Artyom outside on the frozen ruins of Moscow, searching for signs of other survivors beyond the Metro. The scene is very similar to those in the previous games, whereby a gas mask is needed for protection from the poisonous wasteland.
After nearly dying outside, Artyom is warned to stop risking his life, as there is no-one else alive out there. It is on another expedition outside, this time with his wife, Anna, that they see a train travelling on the surface. The pair are captured by Hansa soldiers, members of a Metro-wide alliance covering-up the existence of survivors outside of Moscow.
Using radio jammers, Moscow has been isolated from the rest of the world. The war, it would seem, never ended. In order to protect the occupants of the Metro from the enemy, it was deemed best to isolate them. Capturing a Hansa locomotive, the Aurora, Artyom, Anna and a small band of rangers, head out on the Trans-Siberian Railway to find a new life away from the Metro.
In a major change to the previous, tightly scripted games, the gameplay in Metro Exodus goes for a more open-world approach. Along its journey, the Aurora stops at a variety of locations. Artyom is free to explore these huge areas at his leisure.
Whilst the air is breathable in the game, there's still plenty of spooky, mutant-infested subterranean installations that will require a gas mask and a supply of filters to explore.
As you'd imagine, each location is filled with monsters, mutants and hostile humans. From the Icy wetlands of The Volga with its technophobic cultists, to the oil-obsessed bandits of the Caspian Sea, humans are as much of a problem as the mutant creatures that lurk in the shadows. There's a full day/night cycle, with darkness offering better cover when going up against bandits, but with a lot more monsters to avoid.
Metro Exodus is more of a survival game than a shooter. Ammo is scarce and you need to constantly scavenge for parts and equipment. Your weapons and equipment can be upgraded using items salvaged in the field. Every shot counts. Areas are often better cleared by taking out the lights and picking off enemies one-by-one using stealth attacks rather than risking a full-on gun-fight.
Visually, Metro Exodus is a sight to behold. Both the previous games looked amazing back it the day, and the Metro Reduxversions look even better on PS4 and Xbox One. But this one knocks the ball out of the park. It's an Xbox One X Enhanced game, looking incredible in 4K with HDR.
Metro Exodus is an amazing game. It's the perfect blend of riveting story, post-apocalyptic horror, survival, stealth and shooter gameplay. With game settings from very easy to hardcore, it's a title that players of any skill level can play. Very much an early contender for game of the year.