Enter the wild world of a post-apocalyptic land.
Metro Exodus is a near complete overhaul of the first two Metro games. Instead of tight quarters and claustrophobic breathing masks tunneling you in, even when you’re outside, Exodus takes a big step forward and introduces a huge hub-based world where you can roam around without a breathing mask on… for the most part. Moving on from the metro tunnels and into this much larger space, the developers at 4A Games have promised a more fleshed-out world where the player can do anything. But is it really that big? Simply put, yes. I walked and walked before I even got close to any sort of boundaries within the E3 show floor demo, and it makes me really excited for what’s to come.
The demo starts out in a train where Artyom, Metro‘s protagonist, get orders to scout out and to bring back information on a group of people who were sent out to a village nearby and to see what happened to them. From there, the game is yours for the taking. You can go find out what happened to the people you’re assigned to or simply go off in any direction you’d like. I’m not usually good at following directions, and without a mini map or compass on the HUD, I had no idea where the mission was — and I didn’t care. I wanted to take advantage of the go-anywhere the game encourages. The prompt showed me how to pull out my physical map with directions on it, but I didn’t do that either. Instead, I wanted to explore the vast post-apocalyptic, snow-covered world, where the farthest vista I could see will be completely reachable in the full version.
Equipped with a rifle and a pistol, but with very limited ammo, I set off to see what this world had to offer. What I saw were breathtakingly depressing vistas of a war-torn land all around. From snowy peaks to abandoned villages, lonely boxcars and so much more. Grotesque monsters now roam this barren lands. Just a couple hundred meters from the train I departed, a flying beast came out from no where and started to scratch and claw at me. I had my trusty assault riffle, and I wasn’t a bad shot either. I kept hitting the thing one shot after another. But I was rapidly running out of bullets. This isn’t a game where a stash of bullets is tucked off toward the side, or a treasure chest lies nearby for you to recover and re-arm. No, you have to search long and hard and through every nook and cranny to find every bit of ammo and recovery items you can.
"The recoil of my assault rifle was balanced and in no time I was flying through the outpost as more and more came in to kill me."
It was a losing battle so when the flying beast landed and was disoriented for a few seconds, I took that time and escaped out of there. I decided to pull my map out and head toward the first mission objective, which happened to be in the complete opposite direction I had been heading. Again the world changes very rapidly in any given direction. I was now by a long winding river, or possibly a lake — it was too long and large to tell. There was a shortcut I could take if I just swam across to the other side. Of course that lead to me almost sinking and freezing to death. So I learned that going into the water, at least for now, wasn’t an option. As I mentioned, you won’t need a breathing mask to roam the open world for the most part. But there will still be areas where radiations will impact your gameplay, and it will start to eat at your health without a mask.
Eventually I found myself in a large outpost after a quick canoe trip — it looked as though it used to be a farm house or something of the sort. I needed to go in and rescue some people, as part of the next objective. This part is where I got to see and use the stealth mechanics in action. Enemies within this outpost were armed and ready for battle at a moment’s notice. These guards had standard AI, they attacked according to their predetermined paths as I crouched and stayed in the shadows or around a corner. They weren’t too smart, and sfter sneaking up behind one, I was able to instantly kill it with my knife and remain in stealth.
I usually tend to mess up these types of stealth missions, and this one was no exception. I got spotted by a guard which triggered all of them to search for me. I could have went back into hiding, but I wanted to see what my rifle and pistol could do in a fair fight; and sneaking around the outpost for a while helped me collect some ammo. Headshots felt really good. One shot for the helmet, one for the head. The recoil of my assault rifle was balanced and in no time I was flying through the outpost as more and more came in to kill me. I was no match for all of them as ammo ran out again, and all the hidden stocks I could find were dried up. My mission was going to be a failure, I wasn’t going to be able to recover the hostages. Back to the canoe and back to safe land.
"Metro Exodus is definitely one of the many exciting new games of 2019 you need to keep an eye out for."
But that was fine. The story continued even though I had failed — was I supposed to fail, maybe? Missions can be done in different ways and through different points of view. So how you go about the mission to achieve the goal is up to you.
Overall, I was very impressed with the look and feel of Metro Exodus. The open-world really felt alive even as it swarmed me in death. There were way too many secrets for me to find out, but the controls and how to get there were pleasant. Metro Exodus is definitely one of the many exciting new games of 2019 you need to keep an eye out for.