Revisiting Metro: Last Light

I have returned to Moscow’s Metro, diving back in the deadly, wonderful world of Metro: Last Light. It is just like I remember, and I’m happy to be back.

I decided to play the game once again thanks to the AMA the author of the books, Dmitry Glukhovsky, did on Reddit a few days ago. Metro 2033 captured me, not unlike STALKER did at the time, thanks to the relatively realistic post-apocalyptic setting of both worlds, allied to the humanity of those that dwell within the world. Much like the NPCs sitting around a fireplace, listening to the music another NPC plays, the stations in metro feel, if perhaps limited by the rather restrictive nature of the levels, lived in. And I simply enjoyed the snowy locations of the 2033, and now the dead green of Last Light.

The game is still fun, and it plays just like I remember it. I’ve been playing it on ranger and the combat is suitably deadly. No bullet sponginess, and being aware of where are the enemies, human or otherwise, definitely pays off. It’s fun to sneak around, throwing knives left and right, while fighting is very much an exercise in aim and ammo management. The sneaking, while not particularly complicated, functions exactly as you expect it to, and as taught in during the opening sequence in the prison.

In this play-through, I’ve just listened in to Pavel’s conversation1. And, so far, I can’t help but realize the lens through which the world was created (and this was thus supported by the AMA). I can only name one female character of note, whose name I’m almost certain is Anna, calls us rabbit and from whom, as far as I know, we never hear of again. Otherwise, they are found as non-descript NPCs, perhaps part of an audience, shop keepers or, of course, as workers in the brothel. In a situation where every human being within relevant distance is stuck in the depths of metro stations, I wonder just why we see so little of them being regular workforce. It is not like they have much of a choice, considering that it is not feasible to increase their population much more than what they currently support (though, of note, I wonder why they haven’t invested in using more of the tunnels, but that’s a nitpick).

Gameplay-wise, I still find the use of ammunition as currency to be quite interesting, as there is always this choice between firing with the best ammunition, or using lesser, less expensive one. On the other hand, I am not quite as keen on fight for X minutes while something happens. Waiting for the boat balancing on the line thanks to just how short the wait is. I very much prefer the frantic attempt at outrunning the creatures trying to eat you with Pavel, and just how it works rather well as a constant switch between shooting and running, with breaks in between to catch your breath and reload. It was quite the highlight as the desperation to get away was not just the characters’, but also mine.

It’s fun. I look forward to completing this play-through and perhaps achieving the less-obvious ending. I do wish somebody would make an open world, with a-life like NPC faction interaction, where each side would slowly grow and who knows, perhaps figure out if there is a way to reclaim the above-ground space for humanity once again.

1This is not much behind my last stopping point – arriving on the boat, out of filters, and extremely frustrated because that’s how trying to find fuel in a place with a timer is like.