Is it the greatest shooting game I’ve ever played? No. Categorically not. But will you get a fun 10-12 hours in your first playthrough for 20 dollars at full price, and maybe 5 dollars at a discount? Yes, I believe so.
Give this game a shot if you want to take out your aggression on those gophers ruining your lawn, if post-apocalyptic storylines get your blood pumping, or if you have 5 bucks to spare and you’re bored.
- Decent gunplay and modifications
- A straightforward but solid storyline
- An Amazing atmosphere in the tunnels and surface
- Uninspiring enemy AI
- Fiddly menu UI
- So-so voice work
It’s time for something a little different, a first-person shooting game set in the subway of Moscow post armageddon. Metro 2033 Redux is the new and improved version of the original Metro 2033 game, which is also based on a novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky. This series of games is well-renowned as an immersive first-person shooting experience that combines atmospheric dread, a decent storyline, and solid gunplay. I plan to play all games in this series and write about my experience, so stay tuned.
I beat this game in 12 hours; here are my thoughts.
As a disclaimer, I apologize in advance for how these screenshots turned out. Metro 2033 Redux is a dark world with a dark narrative and minimal sources of actual light. It’s also hard to take good action shots while getting assaulted by a menagerie of mutants, but hopefully, you get the idea. Next time, I’ll also remember to take off the motion blur.
Metro 2033 Redux Narrative and the World: What’s the Situation?
Everything is f***ed, mate. That’s the situation.
WWIII has turned the Metro 2033 Redux surface into a hell hole, and survivors in Moscow have retreated to the surprisingly well-preserved subway system. Individual stations serve as bastions against the apocalypse, and factions have developed to take control of large blocs.
With humanity clearly learning nothing, the factions operate more like feudal fiefdoms than functioning civilization; they barely tolerate and cooperate at best and are actively hostile the rest of the time.
If fighting off bandits, Nazis, trade barons, and/or the Communists isn’t enough, radiation has turned many critters into monsters. Moles, bats, dogs, rodents, and even gorillas have transformed into absolute tanks that are all teeth and bad attitudes.
You may think that a full clip of ammo would keep you safe, but you’d be sorely mistaken. Even the smallest of enemies can be lethal, and this is one of those games where human enemies are actually much less dangerous, in my opinion, than the wildlife.
In Metro 2033 Redux, you play as Artyom, who is sent out on a mission to alert the other stations that something paranormal has been happening in the northern tunnels. A new type of monster called “the Dark Ones” have started to appear, and they are brutalizing checkpoints and outposts in the northern regions of the map. What’s even scarier is that they leave almost no one standing, and most of those that survive have some sort of crippling psychological damage.
At the beginning of the game, Artyom is tasked by his father’s friend, Hunter, to deliver a message to Hunter’s superior based at one of the main stations called “Polis.” Hunter is part of a secret order called Spartan Rangers, who are the best soldiers humanity has to offer and are led by a man called Miller.
Metro 2033 Redux’s story is told in a linear fashion, but traversing these tunnels and stations isn’t so straightforward. Routes are guarded or infested, and even the inhabited stations are more often than not corrupt. Therefore, Artyom must often commute on the unbeaten path along his journey.
Key moments in his adventure include braving the surface to find an accessible metro entrance, defending a station constantly under attack by mutants, getting smuggled out of a Communist station hidden in a luggage rack, and navigating an abandoned subway tunnel inhabited only by ghosts of the dead killed during the atomic bombardment.
Upon reaching Polis, Artyom is given the chance to speak in front of the high council but is denied aid in fending off the Dark Ones. With the chaos inherent in humanity’s petty squabbling, the beuracrats are hesitant to pool resources into helping anyone else. Miller vehemently disagrees and pledges his order’s support in eradicating the threat.
The Dark Ones are nested in the old botanical gardens of Moscow, and Miller knows that a frontal assault against an enemy that can destroy their enemy’s minds isn’t smart. He proposes that the Rangers break into an old military base dubbed D6 that has access to hopefully still functioning nuclear warheads.
Locating the base by scouring old records and purging it of the mutants within prompts Artyom’s end game, in that he must head to the tallest tower still standing and set up a radar beacon to accurately guide the missiles to their target.
All the while, as you explore and progress, Metro 2033 Redux has a hidden system in the back called “Morality Points.”
Simply put, if you do nice things, you get more morality, and if you’re a dickhead, you lose morality. Having a certain number upon reaching the story’s conclusion on top of that tower allows you to choose between a “good” and a “bad” ending. I do not want to spoil this decision for you, but I’ll just say that the Dark Ones are not all that they seem.
While the Metro 2033 Redux story is a bit confusing yet intriguing, the way it is presented isn’t exactly the best. English voice acting is not the greatest in terms of immersion, but also audio cues will sometimes stumble over each other, leading to a convoluted experience. Artyom being a silent protagonist who gets talked at means that a lot of the story is told to you rather than shown.
However, where the sound and world design really excelled was during the exploration levels. You can clearly hear the growls and scratches of the various tunnel monsters as they skulk around, and while you may think it gives you an adequate heads up as to their positioning, it actually disconcerted me as my blood pressure rose by double digits.
This isn’t a detriment; it’s awesome.
As mentioned above in my disclaimer, Metro 2033 Redux limits your visual senses, so having top-tier feedback from environmental audio cues makes a huge difference.
I distinctly remember a particular level where you are trying to pass through a station that has been overrun by mutated lemmings, and the gimmick with them is that they can use holes in the environment to attack you from behind.
You’ll have to pay attention to the sound of their snarls and claws on the cement to pinpoint them.
Being beset by 20 of them that could jump out at me from around blind corners and from my rear was an ordeal, and I’ll say I’ve never felt more unsafe in a game that gives you a massive shotgun to use.
As Arytom is tasked with saving mankind or whatever, he is given two valuable pieces of equipment; a flashlight and a gas mask.
While there are definitely pockets of toxic gas in the underground, when you are asked to brave the surface, this gasmask becomes essential because fallout is very much still on the menu. Your mask will require filter replacements and sustain damage, so if you get hit too many times, you will be caught in radioactive air and subsequently die.
The flashlight may seem inconsequential, but in the metro, it may help you locate a hidden stash of ammo that could make all the difference.
These two encompass the survival experience and neatly tie into just how screwed up the world is in this setting.
Using Guns? In This Economy?
Metro 2033 Redux is a shooter game, after all, so let’s talk about what your lead spitters are really all about.
This game can be played in two difficulties, Survivor and Spartan.
Survivor severely limits the number of resources you will find in the environment and encourages a stealth-based experience. Spartan, conversely, provides more ample quantities, meaning it allows you to play a more action-packed style. I chose the latter because it seemed more fun, and therefore my experience below is skewed in that direction.
You have a large array of weapons to choose from that provide a diversified arsenal to tackle obstacles. Since the apocalypse has turned most industries into slag, both your weapons and ammunition are typically cobbled together, and the lack of quality control really does shine through in the entry tier.
As you progress through Metro 2033 Redux, you will start to unlock and access higher-tier weaponry that are either relics from modern society that have survived the fallout or ingenious inventions that are by far some of my favorites to use.
I’ll go into these general categories now because these are the only means by which you can really “upgrade” yourself. There isn’t a perk system, there is no “XP” gain; you simply pick up the less shitty gun when you can.
I put guns into three large categories: Automatic weapons, Hammer weapons, and interesting shit.
Automatic weapons are some of the more intriguing options available to you because, due to a very unique mechanic, they simultaneously are the most accessible and yet potentially most costly to use for extended periods of time.
This is due to the fact that in this version of Moscow (or maybe this is how they do it these days with the Ruble in decline), premium pre-WWIII rifle rounds are considered legal tenure. This is the method by which you purchase supplies and new weaponry.
Standard automatic rounds you find are of a much lower quality, as they are probably made by some kid with black lung at the local sweatshop.
You, therefore, have two separate carrying capacities for military-grade rounds (MGR) and standard bullets. You can carry as many MGRs as you want, but standard bullets have a carrying limit, as does every other type of ammunition/supply.
What’s really fun is that you can actually slide these MGRs into your automatic weapons, a feat unique to this class of firearm.
MGRs do a lot more damage than the bullshit the tunnel folk make, but you are literally shooting money that you may need later. For perspective, I had over 1000 MGRs left over by the end of my playthrough, whereas you can only carry about 250-ish regular rifle bullets.
Due to the nature of automatic weapons, you will fly through this ammo quite quickly, and having this backup stash of effective albeit expensive ordinance makes it pretty viable. Just be careful you don’t completely run out because some weapons you can buy from shops in the game are truly helpful.
Pro Tip: After the level titled “Polis,” you will not get access to another shop, so at that point, feel free to let those MGRs fly.
Apart from that, automatic weapons have the widest gap in quality in the entire storyline.
The first one you get is canonically called the “Bastard” because it sucks so bad: Would not recommend.
Later you are able to utilize a classic like the AK, but my favorite was something called the VSV. It is naturally suppressed, so I was able to clear a room full of Nazi soldiers with nary an alarm. It also felt much more accurate, in my opinion, than the other guns in this category, meaning a single well-placed headshot was more than enough for most humans to be eliminated.
I tend to play as a more assassin-type character, so we can see why this spoke to me.
Hammer weapons are basically what I call firearms that use a “hammer” mechanism, aka shotguns and six-shot revolvers. Due to the spread nature of the projectiles, it is recommended that this be your bread and butter against the various mutants prowling the tunnels. After all, it’s much easier to hit them as they fly at you from around corners if your target zone is half the screen.
With the exception of one, the shotguns do not have a large ammo capacity and have slow reload times. That’s why as you get better quality shotguns, the ammo capacity gets incrementally larger.
The one I got the most mileage out of was the “Shambler,” as you get this one around early-midgame, and with 6 shells before a full reload, you can reliably dispatch whatever is in front of you.
As a side note, Metro 2033 Redux shotguns are also the most satisfying in terms of audio and on-screen impact. Even when they got outclassed by other weapons that may have been better for the particular mission at that time, I still made sure one of my three slots had a shotgun in it, so I could feel the “oomph” as my screen filled with red mist. Very visceral; well done on that.
The six-shooter revolver is basically what you’d expect. High damage, has a long reload time, and is good as a basic option, but you’ll want to get rid of it soon because other guns do what it does better. Strangely, it also seemingly has the scarcest ammunition to be found in the ambient environment.
Now, onto “interesting shit.” This encompasses DIY devies that, for lack of a better explanation, use pneumatic pressure or electricity to fire metal balls or crossbow bolts at high speeds at your targets. In addition to a “clip” of ammunition, often you will need to charge up the device so that you can fire these projectiles at maximum velocity.
My favorite is titled the “Hellbreath,” and when fully charged with electricity, it will send a little metal ball rocketing through the head of anyone you aim it at. It’s an excellent long-range killer, and a fully charged shot will even break through helmets. It is the Metro 2033 Redux version of a sniper rifle, and you better believe I kept one on me if at all possible.
This category also includes a flamethrower, but I found it boring to use and ammo too scarce to be that effective.
In addition to this cornucopia of death spitters, you also have access to secondary weapons. Throwing knives, sticky pipe bombs, and incendiaries are all part of the package.
I mostly stuck to the throwing knives because they’re silent and really powerful, but sticking a grenade to an enemy and watching it turn them into mulch was satisfying, very much like the shotguns, with great sound design on the explosions. The only way I can describe how Metro 2033 Redux explosions is with the word violent.
One thing that very much sucked was Metro 2033 Redux‘s inventory system, in particular, your secondary weapon-swapping toggle. The rest of the display below is very straightforward, but the dial on the far left bottom indicates which of your throwables you are primed to use.
You’d think logically that moving your mouse on this screen would shift the weapon depending on the direction you pull it, but I’m telling you, it just refuses to cooperate.
It was simultaneously too sensitive and too clunky to hit the four key directions consistently, and I spent a lot more time trying to switch to throwing knives than I should’ve.
However, I felt the combat in Metro 2033 Redux was pretty fun all in all. The progression curve wasn’t too steep or shallow, as in you’d get access to a better gun when the stakes got higher at a consistent pace.
It does get frustrating fighting an endless tide of mutants that eat every last bullet in your inventory, but overall I don’t have an issue with the experience at large.
It could’ve been better, and it’s glaringly simple, but it was very solid.
“If It’s Hostile, Kill It”
A very simple sentence spoken by Hunter, but this encapsulates the enemy rolodex very nicely. Man is assuredly not the apex predator in 2033, I’ll say that much.
Imagine this, you’re shooting your way mostly through the cast of Zootopia, except they’ve all done meth!
The theory behind these mutants in Metro 2033 is that due to the radiation, animals that had rapid reproduction cycles were able to skip through generations of evolution/development at an unforeseen pace. Due to the unforgiving nature of this brave new world, most of these mutations make them bigger, badder, and voraciously hungry.
For context, the most common enemy you will fight in the tunnel is called Nosalies, and they seem to have evolved from moles, given their snouts.
For a “regular enemy,” the Nosalies sure can take heaps of punishment.
Most critters you’ll fight will take a headshot or two (especially with the Shambler) and crumple, but it is very difficult to line that up consistently when A) there are a bunch of them jumping at you, and B) it’s dark as shit.
Every Metro 2033 Redux creature you fight also packs a wallop; they will easily kill you if you aren’t judiciously making sure they are turned into taxidermy. Thankfully, most of them are nothing, if not predictable. They’ll charge straight at you most of the time and do not use advanced tactics like finding cover.
Don’t underestimate them, however. They make up for it with size, speed, and numbers. I’ve died to Nosalies more than any other creature in the game, for context.
The two most unique iconic, and dangerous creatures are Librarians and Demons.
Demons are gigantic bat-like creatures that swoop down and actually pick Artyom up in their claws if you don’t shoot them judiciously enough. They will then drop you 30 feet to the ground, dealing insane amounts of damage and ensuring you are basically one hit away from death.
You do not fight them very often, and typically they can be avoided with the exception of one, but if you do, get ready to find whatever shelter you can. The best way to stay alive is to be unreachable, popping out whenever you can to pepper them as they fly by.
Librarians are…..even worse. They only appear in a single level called the “Library,” but brother, it is the most intense and enjoyable level in the entire game, in my opinion. Admittedly I’m a bit of a sadist, so your opinion may vary.
Librarians are, quite honestly, the toughest enemies in the game in terms of being able to take a hit. I put 4 arrows from a fully charged Hellsing right into one’s dome, only to have it rearrange Artyom’s insides before I could get the 5th shot out.
These roided-out gorillas are insanely strong, but you can actually get through the level without firing a shot. They have a unique mechanic where you must remain still as they charge at you and stare directly into their eyes. If you do this properly, they will pause and study you instead of attacking.
You must maintain a safe distance if they approach by backing up, but you must not look away. The moment you break their gaze, they will immediately attack.
Throughout this level, they will jump out of holes in the floor, drop from the ceiling, grab at you through a wall, etc., but you must be prepared to stop what you’re doing and stare them down when they appear. All the while, you can hear them thudding around and growling, so it really is a hair-raiser.
Being an idiot, I decided to kill as many as I could when I got impatient with the staring contest. A sticky grenade and then unloading your shotgun at them seemed to do the trick, but do this at your own peril. It is absolutely not optimal in terms of resource conservation.
On the other hand, humans are able to attack from long range with guns but are so much squishier than the aforementioned enemies.
A single headshot should drop most of your human foes, and may I say that it is a breath of fresh air to see your bullets actually do something impactful. Sure, they can wear helmets and hide behind cover, but compared to the rejects from Noah’s Ark that you’ll be fighting most of the time, you’ll be happy for a break.
There are a few levels that are exclusively human-based combat, and those are really fun in terms of switching up your tactics. Should you sneak up behind someone, you can execute a one-hit knockout or assassination as well, and this only works on humans, so use it while you can.
All in all, I felt enemy variety was interesting enough to keep me on my toes. Strategy-wise, it isn’t exactly complicated, but the intensity with which everything you fight wants to kill you eventually turned me into a ruthless and efficient Artyom.
One thing that disappointed me was the human AI, as they operated on a similar behavioral wavelength as the animals attacking you in that they had very little instinct for self-preservation.
Yes, they do drop behind cover when possible, but I managed to get eight kills in a row with ease because, like a pack of lemmings, an entire squad of Soviet soldiers ran up a staircase in a straight line despite me obviously standing at the top of it pointing an AK back at them.
You’d think they would have thought that maybe charging at the guy clearly waiting for them around the corner would be a bad idea, but apparently not.
For a game that prides itself on immersion (and this being a remake), I’d have hoped the humans would be programmed smarter and that they would have used slightly more intelligent strategies to stop Artyom. Use covering fire or something, for god’s sake.
Metro 2033 Redux versus Metro 2033
I’ve actually played the original Metro 2033, so I wanted to include a little section here going over the main differences that I noticed.
The textures in Metro 2033 Redux are obviously updated, but whether that is a good thing is up for debate.
Every NPC in the metro stations had a sort of cartoonified dead-eye stare at the very least, and at the very worst, looked like they had stuck their face up a beehive’s anus. Now I’m not one to judge people on their appearances unless I plan to take them home with me, but some of the character models looked hilarious.
Likewise, I felt the atmosphere and spoken audio were less immersive in the updated version of the game.
The original Metro 2033 had an air of grittiness to it that made me really imagine that every day was a fight for survival. It was darker, the Russian voice acting was more visceral, and it was overall “heavier.” Very much like the station NPCs, this rendition feels watered down and more cartoonish. Not excessively so, but enough for me to notice.
However, enemy mutant textures are definitely an improvement.
Nosalies look downright grotesque in Metro 2033 Redux, and the dog-like Watchmen that prowl the surface are almost horrifying to look at. In contrast to the atmosphere and audio lightening things a little too much, this served to do the opposite, showing the monsters that have made their home in this world in vivid detail.
You can just TELL that these things smelled awful, too; I couldn’t wait to get away from them.
The absolute best thing, by my estimation, that Metro 2033 Redux included over the original game was the inclusion of weapon modifications.
Every gun in the game has a selection of mods that can be scrounged or purchased from vendors along your journey. These lend an air of player choice that was distinctly missing from the original in that I could modify my rifle to be better suited for long-range precision combat as opposed to just trying to spray things at mid-range. A good scope is heavily underrated, especially one that has night vision built into it.
I’d probably recommend the Redux version just for the above reason if you had to choose between them.
Well, I’m glad I got the Metro 2033 Redux review out the door because, based on the clock, in 10 years, this will be our new reality. Anyway, this game is, as I said, solid. It has suspense, gore, and a bleak storyline that resonates with me. What’s more, the game is on sale via Steam quite frequently for massive discounts.
Is Metro 2033 Redux the greatest shooting game I’ve ever played? No. Categorically not. But will you get a fun 10-12 hours in your first playthrough for 20 dollars at full price, and maybe 5 dollars at a discount? Yes, I believe so.
Give Metro 2033 Redux a shot (I’m hilarious) if you want to take out your aggression on those gophers ruining your lawn, if post-apocalyptic storylines get your blood pumping, or if you have 5 bucks to spare and you’re bored.
Metro 2033 Redux starts at $19.99; it is available from multiple retailers, including Steam, Epic, and Amazon
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Source: Personal Purchase
What I Like: Decent gunplay and modifications; A straightforward but solid storyline; An Amazing atmosphere in the tunnels and surface
What Needs Improvement: Uninspiring enemy AI; Fiddly menu UI; So-so voice work