A playable demo for the PC version of 4A Games’ post-apocalyptic shooter Metro 2033 became available this week. Oddly, it arrived to little fanfare, not even meriting a mention on the game’s own site, and comes nearly six months after release.
Based on the novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, and developed by members of the team that created S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl, Metro’s plot deals with the inhabitants of Moscow’s struggle to survive in the aftermath of nuclear Armageddon. Taking to the metro system and emerging only to scavenge from the ruined city overhead, they struggle to deal with mutants and their own internal squabbles. The protagonist, Artyom, journeys to the heart of the Metro to get help from the authorities against a new species threatening the safety of his station.
Rather than following S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s open-world structure, Metro is a story-based FPS similar to Half-Life. It’s not a perfect game – there are a few infuriating difficulty spikes and poorly paced checkpoints, while the attempts to deliver the plot of the novel mean that there’s too many intrusive cut-scenes. But Glukhovsky’s ruined world is beautifully realised, and there’s some fraught shoot-outs along the way. Similar to survival horror titles, ammo, health and gas masks (for the surface expeditions) are in short supply, and you’ll be scrabbling in fallen enemies’ pockets for the pipe bomb needed to clear out their comrades. If you’ve not heard of the game, or have been on the fence, give it a shot.