Archives by Day

Metro Exodus

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: Feb. 15, 2019

About Andreas Salmen

I'm sure this is all just a misunderstanding.


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Metro Exodus'

by Andreas Salmen on Sept. 7, 2018 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

The next installment in the FPS series, in Metro Exodus, Artyom and a band of survivors must flee the shattered ruins of the Moscow Metro and embark on an epic, continent-spanning journey across the postapocalyptic Russian wilderness.

Pre-order Metro Exodus

Set in a nuclear postapocalyptic Russia, Metro Exodus is the third entry in the popular FPS series based on the books of Dmitry Glukhovsky. After the first two entries, Exodus moves the story surrounding the protagonist Artyom out of the Moscow metro shafts and into the open country, with all of its dangers. This escape from confinement into the open is also reflected in the game design. Exodus will be the first entry with a semi-open world that's still largely level-based, but the levels will be far more open and encourage exploration and tackling missions in different ways.

Exodus marries conventional FPS gameplay with survival elements, tense atmosphere akin to a horror movie, and stealth into one cohesive experience. We were able to play an extensive 45-minute demo that included the events shown in the most recent Gamescom trailer. After traveling on an old train cart, we derail due to unforeseen circumstances and find ourselves close to drowning in a river. Close to the point of death, we are pulled out of the water by a woman who's a member of the "Children of the Forest" — apparently one of the factions in the local area — and she mentions that our companion has been captured, but she'll let us go since we don't seem like an "evil pirate" to her. We eventually pass out and awaken to find ourselves alone (except for a nosey deer) at the side of the river. We try to get back on track and eventually find our companion.

While the demo isn't as much of an open space as we've seen previously, it's big enough to support different approaches and play styles. As we start making our way from the river land inward, past several abandoned buildings and somewhat creepy-looking statues of children, we find a crossbow with a few spare bolts. We also carry an assault rifle and shotgun with us, but as you may know, Metro is a survival experience where everything is sparse, including your ammunition. As a consequence, we try to be as thorough as possible to search the environment and buildings for anything we can use. Air filters for the gas mask, bullets and crafting materials are vital to our survival.

We eventually reach an outpost of the Children of the Forest, and three of them jump out from the trees to warn us away. Before this encounter, it seems we already took an alternative path, as some people had encountered a scripted event involving a mutated beast that would resurface later in the demo. We didn't. With the outpost and three guards facing us, we have to make a choice. We can go in with guns blazing or turn away and find a way to sneak in. After a few hopeless attempts at a direct confrontation, we turned to stealth and found a way around the back to take out a few patrols until eventually, all hell broke loose. Stealth is still a vital part of the experience, especially since bullets are pretty rare. We could've probably taken out the entire camp in stealth or skipped the whole encounter by sneaking by. The sneaking ability isn't overpowered, as the Children of the Forest have a few tricks up their sleeves. Their outposts are often prepped with traps or cans hanging in the doorways, which have to be removed so as to not alert nearby guards.

We eventually manage to reduce the outpost's population significantly without giving them the opportunity to call for reinforcements. In firefights like these, enemy forces might even surrender when their numbers grow thin. It's your choice to spare or kill them; be aware that once you kill one of them, they will fight for their lives.

After we looted the place, it was time to craft some supplies. We were almost out of ammunition, but thankfully, we can craft bolts for the crossbow. The weapon is incredibly potent and widely used by the Children of the Forest, but it needs to be reloaded one bolt at a time. The crafting occurs in real time, so you are vulnerable to attacks while doing so. In order to craft, you have to kneel in front of your backpack and open it, and then you can combine the parts to create items like air filters, bolts, and med packs, and you can also improve your gear. As we said, the local tribe has its own supply of crossbows, but they have various modifications, like a magnifying lens for snipers. We can always swap our crossbow against an enemy's or even dismantle it to receive parts that we can use for crafting and modifications.

Freshly stocked up, we venture into the dense forest area. It's night by now, and Exodus features a dynamic weather system and day/night cycles that can impact the gameplay. The whole game takes place over a full year, which means that seasons have an impact as well. As we walk through the dense but dead forest, a herd of deer runs by, chased by a pack of wolves. We keep our profile low so as to not alert the wolves, and we carry on. While wandering, we catch glimpses of burning torches through the trees, indicating the presence of outlooks on higher ground. We decide not to check them out and venture on up a stone cliff and into a cave.

As we leave, a trap catches us, and that leads to an in-game cinematic. The second local faction, the Pioneers, has caught us and is delighted to have found a second pirate, so the chances are high that they have our companion. Before they can decide how to proceed, the Children of the Forest jump in and want to claim us for themselves — until the previously mentioned monster provides a much-needed distraction so we can flee.

We try to get moving quickly but must also hide from a few patrols. After a short while, we move in on the Pioneers camp, which is the last stop for our demo. Sneaking into the camp, we take out a few guards and overhear a conversation by the fire of how to proceed with their new prisoner. Another recurring theme with both factions that we have seen throughout the demo is that they kept referencing a "teacher" who taught them their ways. We wouldn't be surprised if we get to meet that individual firsthand during the course of the final game. We continued decimating the camp quietly but unfortunately ran out of time to progress further. Chances are that the handsome monster we met earlier will make another appearance to make our lives tougher, but that is a tale for another time.

I personally loved the previous Metro games, and I'm excited to see what direction Exodus will take. It's the same dense and layered FPS experience, with a remarkable atmosphere and an ambitious goal to create a linear story but combine it with a more exploration-heavy and free gameplay loop. It's built on the same solid crafting mechanic and the familiar survival aspects that made the previous games such distinct FPS experiences. With further improvements, Exodus promises to be a more challenging and exciting ride. Metro Exodus will be released Feb. 22 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

More articles about Metro Exodus
blog comments powered by Disqus