Metro: Last Light earned top honors as the atmospheric contender to beat last year. While BioShock Infinite set gamers loose in Columbia's lavish halls, Artyom returned to the post-fallout landscapes of a radioactive Russia, instilling fresh fears in anxious victims. Last Light's polished stealth tactics, state-of-the-art textures, and fewer bugs fulfilled the promise of a functional experience coveted by the original Metro 2033.
Metro: Last Light Redux retreads identical ground, except 4A Games no longer needs to cut corners on consoles. If enhanced lighting effects, 60 frames per second, and free season pass DLC coax the dollars out of your wallet, this is the definitive edition to own. Not to mention, two games bundled together for the cost of one stamps out any indecision.
If you anticipated bigger visual leaps than those seen in Metro 2033 Redux, however, I have bad news. Metro: Last Light Redux is every bit the experience that 4A Games shipped just last May, be it the gameplay or the storytelling. That means Last Light competes with Killzone: Shadow Fall, Infamous: Second Son, and more in the graphics department; and that Artyom’s hunt for the last living Dark One hurls him to the center of a civil war between the Red Line and the Fourth Reich.
This is one conflict nobody can afford to be neutral in.
The fighting for the metro certainly takes less supernatural turns than the events popularized in Metro 2033, but Last Light sparks a variety of firefights that I applauded … unlike most critics. Confronting man-sized shrimp, eluding zombie bears, and escaping a runaway train wreathed in fire spiced up the Metro series. Can fans confidently say they would prefer Last Light if it had simply been Metro 2033 in an untainted gas mask? Or would complaints regarding repetition silence appeals for change?
One modification: Last Light Redux contains various difficulties from both Metro entries. Survivor retains the nail-biting tension of picking apart the settings for every bullet and air filter – the tension that enthusiasts often cite as Metro 2033's hallmark. The second mode, called Survivor, instills a feeling of dominance in each skirmish. You will never run out of ammo for the revolver, shotgun, or assault rifle unless you unwittingly sell or waste rounds. Considering nit-pickers condemned Last Light's lenient allocating of resources, the revised difficulties were a long time coming.
As someone who sadly reviewed every DLC pack, too many innovations can also diminish former praise. The Faction Pack dispensed Last Light’s gameplay elements between three stand-alone chapters. While the scavenger mission – in which players retrieve relics from a museum – became the most exhilarating in terms of stealth and exploring a semi-open world, the other two confined the action to wave-based shootouts or instant-fail sniper segments.
A small touch, but the watch's display changes based on the difficulty.
The Tower Pack pits players against humans and beasts alike in dismal arena matches, but spawns targets quicker than can be dealt with. Given that the DLC crashed once every ten minutes as well, my impressions were not that sympathetic. 4A Games eliminated a majority of the bugs before Metro Redux’s PS4 release, even if fans do not jump for joy over extended combat sessions.
The Developer Pack replaced the never-ending bots with giant spiders instead. Captured by the jittery arachnids after a bout of treasure hunting, your only security is to reach the safer subway tunnels before you become their meal. The mission lives on as one of my favorite Metro moments, reawakening feelings of claustrophobia while expertly pacing out the weapons received, though a creature gallery and practice range pad out the otherwise short trial.
If you were curious, the audio still propelled shivers down my spine.
The Chronicles Pack is the lone DLC I enjoyed unconditionally. The flashbacks within unlock the pasts of Last Light’s supporting characters. Want to know why Khan maintains a cryptic facade or what happened to Pavel after his defeat at Artyom’s hands? The Chronicles Pack continues the story of these protagonists, who just seemed to exit stage left whenever the plot forgot about them.
Yet ... Metro: Last Light won the runner-up spot in my 2013 Games of the Year blog, so it was impossible to pass up another playthrough. Metro 2033 Redux finally does right by the franchise’s name, because it had a solid foundation (i.e., Last Light) to retroactively build upon. Negligible add-ons aside, Metro: Last Light Redux surpasses the rest of Metro Redux's content, though no series possesses a more bizarre sense of place. Give both games a look. You won't regret it.
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Number of Players: 1 (Campaign)
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
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