4A Games’ post-apocalyptic, atmospheric shooter series, Metro, is back, with what is the most ambitious game the Ukranian studio has made to date. The post-nuclear remains of Russia are a harsh and brutal setting, and much like its predecessors, Metro Exodus is a game that pushes its players to the limit. Given that it’s also much more open ended, however, there’s also a lot of new stuff going on in here. Here, we’ll be taking a look at fifteen basic things you should keep in mind as you dive into the game, which will help newcomers get to grips with the game more quickly, but should also hopefully help returning series fans understand some of the many new additions the game makes a little better.
DON’T IGNORE SIDE QUESTS
“Don’t ignore side missions” is something that you can say pretty much for any game that has side missions or an open ended level design, but in Metro Exodus, it applies much more. Firstly, because unlike most other games, Metro doesn’t direct you towards side missions with quest prompts, or HUD markers, or an exclamation mark on your compass, telling you to go to a particular area. A character might tell you about something interesting, that area will get marked on the map Artyom carries around, and that’s it- you can pay as much attention to that as you want. More importantly, though, doing these side quests is usually well worth the effort. Often, completing these optional activities can net you with valuable new resources or weapon components, or at times even crucial items that would make life a lot easier for you (such as night vision goggles).
MAKE FULL USE OF THE EXTENSIVE WEAPONS CUSTOMIZATION SYSTEM
Speaking of weapon components- customization of weapons isn’t exactly new in Metro Exodus. What is new is how much it has been expanded. For starters, you can do it on the fly and very quickly, wherever and whenever you want. What’s more impressive, though, is just how extensive and robust the customization options are. Using the right tools and components, you can completely alter the basic nature and look of a weapon- turning a tiny pistol into a veritable sniper rifle is entirely possible in Exodus. So experiment with customization as much as possible, find the weapons that suit you best, and keep changing things around depending on whatever situation you find yourself in.
AVOID MONSTERS IN THE OPEN WORLD WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Conservation of resources and ammo is very important in Exodus, just as it was in its predecessors. Given its vast open levels though, and the fact that these are often crawling with deadly enemies and monsters, doing so can be easier said than done. So chart your courses carefully, and if you see groups of monsters in the distance, try and avoid them if you can. Killing them is also, essentially, a waste of your ammo, since they don’t drop any valuable loot either. Which brings us to our next point, actually…
LOOT ALL DEAD BODIES
Monsters and mutants might not drop loot, but human enemies you run across – who can belong to different factions, depending on what area you’re in – are enemies that are quite tempting to kill. Doing so is also quite valuable, because looting dead enemies can net you crafting components and bullets. It goes without saying that those things, which are in short supply in Exodus, are absolutely priceless.
DISMANTLE DROPPED WEAPONS
Dead enemies also drop weapons, of course (those that were carrying weapons, at any rate). But unlike most other shooters, you shouldn’t go swapping out your gun with these new, dropped weapons with too much frequency. Sure, pick up the ones that you feel like you need, or the varieties that you might not have in your arsenal, but often, it’s a better idea to dismantle enemies. This gives you tools and modifications that you can use to customize your weapons, and comes in very handy. In fact, as a rule, if there’s any weapon that you’re not picking up for yourself, dismantle it- every single one.
WHEN POSSIBLE, BE STEALTHY
This follows on from some of the previous points, and sure, for many it would go without saying- but it cannot be stressed enough. Ammo is in short supply in Exodus, as are health items (which you have to craft), so getting into shootouts is something you should avoid whenever possible. Sure, there are times when that might not be possible, either because the shootouts might be scripted, or because you were unfortunately left with no other option, but if you can help it, use stealth whenever and wherever possible.
Exploration hasn’t ever been much of a focus in Metro, but in Exodus, for obvious reasons, it is. And exploring the environments you find yourself in – whether that’s the larger, open world-style areas, or the more traditional Metro linear levels – is always advisable. Crafting material, ammo, weapon parts can be scrounged up from various places, so always keep an eye out.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR COMPASS
Thanks to Metro Exodus’ almost total lack of a HUD, you won’t be able to rely on things that you’d usually take for granted in games set in open environments, such as an on-screen compass, or clearly visible markers in your field of vision that tell you where you need to go or what you need to interact with. What you need to do instead is keep an eye on the compass Artyom wears on his left wrist- its needle will always point at your next main objective, and pulling out your map to check where you need to go isn’t convenient every time (and can also be dangerous when surrounded by enemies, since it happens in real time), so the compass can be a pretty handy tool.
READ ALL NOTES
Another incentive to exploring more is finding notes and tapes lying scattered around, and while finding these and reading or listening to them doesn’t net you with any tangible gameplay benefits or boosts, they contribute greatly to the game’s story, world building, and atmosphere. Often you’ll find yourself in strange and deadly environments, and learning more about their history and how they got to the state they are in is often a highlight of the Metro Exodus experience. Don’t miss out on these.
SPEND SOME TIME IN THE TRAIN
This point is quite similar in nature to the previous one. The Aurora is an environment that you will become quite familiar with, as your moving home on wheels (or tracks, in this case). It’s where the people who’re accompanying Artyom on his odyssey across Russia can be found, and interacting with them is advisable for the same reasons as reading notes and listening to tapes is- listing in on conversations between them, or initiating conversations with them yourself, can reveal interesting details about them as people, their backstories, their motivations, and a lot of other interesting stuff.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE DAY/NIGHT CYCLE
Planning your missions around the time of day is something that will come in very useful. During the daytime, bandits and human enemies are more active, and can spot you more easily, and while they’re easier to take on at night, that is when mutants, monsters, and even environmental hazards are most commonly found. Deciding what time of day you want it to be when you undertake a mission is thus quite important, and something you should be doing on the basis of things such as how stealthy you want to be, how many resources you are willing to expend during the mission, or what are the kinds of enemies you’re expecting to run into.
REGULARLY CLEAN YOUR WEAPONS
Life and survival in the world of Metro are a struggle- that, of course, applies to combat as well. As we’ve already discussed, needlessly getting into combat is inadvisable as it is, and even if you do do that, things could go wrong. Such as your weapon jamming up on you if you haven’t been taking care of it, and leaving you abruptly vulnerable in a tense situation. So clean up your weapons whenever you can find a workbench. Do keep in mind though, that the chemical materials required to clean weapons are also used for crafting health items- so at times, you’ll have to compromise on how much you want to clean a weapon, or even if you want to clean it.
RECHARGE YOUR STUFF BEFORE THE NEED ARISES
Items such as your flashlight and your night vision goggles run on batteries, of course- which means they can also run out of them. And let me tell you, there’s nothing more terrifying than being deep underground in a dank, creepy tunnel, knowing that there’s a horrifying creature right around the corner, and then suddenly having your night vision goggles go off and leave you completely in the dark. At times, you’ll even come across enemies that attack you only in the dark and cannot stand the light, making the darkness that much more terrifying. So don’t wait until the very last moment to charge your battery-operated items- do it well before hand so that you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation later on. If you see your flashlight flickering or growing dim, for instance, just pull out your charger and charge it immediately.
THE TIKHAR IS AN EXCELLENT WEAPON- IF YOU MAINTAIN IT WELL
The Tikhar, a rifle that runs on a high-pressure pneumatic system, is a weapon that you’ll likely find very useful. Not only does it pack a punch, it can also be equipped with more powerful ammo (such as flame rounds), while it is also almost completely silent, making it a great option during stealth gameplay. However, it’s also a weapon that’ll require some upkeep. Since it runs on a high-pressure system, you need to keep the air pressure in the gun up, which you do by manually pumping it any time its pressure drops. If the pressure is low, your shots pack less of a punch, while if there is no pressure at all, the gun simply won’t shoot. So during the calmer moments of the game, pull out your Tikhar and give it a few pumps to keep its pressure up. You can also equip it with mods that lower the frequency with which you need to do so, so keep an eye out for those as well.
ADJUST YOUR SENSITIVITY
Again, this isn’s something that applies to any specific system or mechanic in the game, but Exodus is a game where movement is heavier and more deliberate than you see in most modern shooters. Though this is something that returning series fans will obviously be used to, if you’re a newcomer, it might be a good idea to adjust the game’s sensitivity settings when you start playing to make it feel more comfortable for you.