Metro: Last Light - Developer Pack Review

Metro: Last Light’s DLC has been consistent in one regard: the price. Fans have seen the pros and cons that $4.99 promotes, so what might gamers buy with a dollar less? Besides a virtual shooting range, not much. The Developer Pack integrates unique, well, developer tools, like bot battles and an interactive museum, while its lone single-player mission (Spider Lair) embraces arachnophobia and all its jittery, eight-legged revulsion.

Two “stalkers” (looters?) turn up dead after investigating uncharted tunnels, though their buddy escapes his stringy prison before territorial spiders melt his insides into fresh gelatinous smoothies. The relief is short-lived, of course. Tenacious cobwebs ensnare unlucky survivors and preserve their bodies for later, and mutant bedbugs linger outside the flashlight’s protective rays. The developers keep ammo scarce too, eliciting nerve-wracking unease as the protagonist stumbles around passages searching for the exit.

The arachnids' domain provides a new makeshift weapon: a flamethrower, whose fuel tank must be pressurized or the gas will not ignite. Nothing barbecues chitinous insect hides faster than several thousand degrees of man-made inferno, yet my heart nearly skipped a beat when the fire died out – the gauge's needle nesting firmly on empty – amid a sea of agitated canine-size scorpions.

 

I hear that, in some corners of the Metro, roasted arthropod is a delicacy. 

 

The mission, from beginning to end, is undoubtedly short, but 4A Games does a solid job of steadily broadening your arsenal while building set pieces of suspense and dominance. One moment I’m hanging upside down, cocooned alive; minutes later, I’m torching rooms full of xenomorph eggs.

The rest of the Developer Pack’s features yield to low expectations, novel as they may be. The shooting range boasts ten timed challenges that test your accuracy. The developers even unlock every weapon and attachment from the get-go, though the trials do not penalize misplaced shots or dish out awards. I saw no need for firearms other than my minigun, especially when targets consist of wooden bullseyes, metal dummies, and undead infantry.

In the arena, combat is a bit more hectic. Waves of enemies encircle their victims while darting between cover, but I still used Last Light’s minigun exclusively. Challenge progress does not save unless done so manually, either. Dying on, say, level seven forces contestants to retry the previous six.

 

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled? Over-easy?  

 

The arena also pits AI bots against one another in endless four-on-four matches, like a stripped down, better-looking version of Garry’s Mod. And after many grueling challenges, you, too, may be itching for payback. I laughed every time a giant shrimp crushed some poor soldier’s skull, except some creatures, such as winged demons and zombie bears, sit this deathmatch out.

The other infamous beasts await scrutiny in the museum, where visitors can examine their excruciatingly detailed visages and walk/run animations, free of danger. If nothing else, the models reveal how much effort went into making every animal’s movement appear lifelike.

Metro: Last Light’s latest add-on strikes a convincing bargain, at least of the three DLCs available. After the shallow Tower Pack, burning insect-filled bunkers and assessing reflexes at the gun range is the palate cleanser I needed. If you already bought the season pass, you invested the money anyway – you may as well invest the time.

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Number of Players: 1 (Campaign)
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 

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