So much pun.

There’s always a familiar feeling going into first-person shooters. No, I don’t mean that it’s from the same perspective as the last one, it’s more like you can tell the quality of the overall game from the first five minutes of gameplay. Five minutes of playing Metro 2033 informed me that control-wise, this game would be subpar, like various older WW2 shooters for the PS2 or the consortium of COD ripoffs pervading the industry. The controls alternated between sluggish and twitchy, the enemies randomly jerked around and ignored damage, and the level design left little room to freely maneuver without fear of getting stuck in a wall or falling through a certain section of floor. Yep, I’ve seen this all before.

Idle hands might be the devil's playthings, but at least they don't get carpal tunnel

So, having realized the overall combat quality I would be forced to deal with for at least 10 hours, I put hope in the story. It kept me interested while the game went on, but I get the feeling it would be better to read the book this game is based on. I’ve noted that there’s apparently a “good” ending, but that would be a huge pain in the ass, (every annoying aspect of this game would have to be repeated over and over in order to do so) so I just youtubed it. What do you want? I’ve got other things to do.  Important things! ….I’ll tell you when you’re older internet.

I did like the atmosphere of the game. While I have not played fallout much, I did get a similar feeling from this game, albeit more compacted. If anything this game plays far more like Bioshock, and many of the gameplay elements are ripped right out of that game. Switching ammo, scrounging for ammo, getting dirty, things falling apart to bar your path in-game, weapons that look like they’re about to fall apart, that sort of thing.  One aspect where the game shines is during the supernatural sequences. They’re mainly cinematic, but they provided an interesting break inbetween action sequences when they did pop up. That said, it’s no F.E.A.R.

Nothing strikes fear into your heart like cold, terrifying adolescence.

It’s like they took various aspects of previous successful shooters and tacked on a novel storyline. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised, but someone should have warned them about adaptation decay.

Gameplay wise, the buttons of this game are weird, though you get used to them fairly easily. Frankly I wish they just had a weapon wheel to switche between the various weapons and equipment at your disposal, it would’ve made things run more smoothly. Why the game feels the need for a clipboard and lighter to be the compass is beyond me. If they were going to take so many things from BioShock, why not make the clipboard into the pause menu complete with mini-map?!

Sometimes the game just hates you

There were a few glitches, but the only thing that really bothered me during my experience was the unnecessary stealth elements, the constant stream of identical enemies as the game progressed, and the lack of direction. Even with the navigation clipboard you’re given, it can be confusing as to where the game wants you to go, just like BioShock. While they didn’t particularly bother me throughout most of the game, they made the end nearly unplayable. Endlessly spawning radioactive bubbles+useless AI teammates? Uh… no?

The weapons and equipment are fairly interesting. You have your own variety of Shotguns, pistol revolvers and assault rifles, but the game mixes it up to fit the post-apocalyptic setting. The good old AK-47 is actually one of the better assault rifles if only because it’s a modern pre-apocalyptic rifle that can handle the abuse of the time period, whereas the crappy spin-offs apparently produced after the world went to hell can’t match up. The game also has some “pneumatic” weapons where you have to pump them up like a super-soaker in order to effectively fire makeshift projectiles. These plus the throwing knives made the game somewhat unique, though I wish they had included a melee button instead of a melee weapon slot. And an actual super-soaker. Filled with acid.

Giving new meaning to the term "concealed weapon"

The shops were a completely unnecessary aspect of the game. This is not fallout or Bioshock, though the game clearly tries to use some of the elements introduced in those games. The “hub” levels tried to give the feeling of being within this culture, but only served as a tedious way to force you into interacting with NPCs more than necessary. Make no mistake, this game is an “on-the-rails” shooter, they just tried to disguise it with collectibles strewn about and “towns” popping up every so often. And yes, I just realized how horrible that pun is for this game. I’ll work it into the title.

The music was few and far between and didn’t really have much impact. Mostly you only hear music if someone’s playing a guitar or there’s a radio nearby. Sound, however, was very good. They make the darkness sequences much more interesting.

I hate it when they nerf the essentials

The same cannot be said about the graphics. While not bad, the graphics weren’t amazing either. This lack of graphical impressiveness was further compounded by my inability to see shit during half the game. You’d think a game set in a long series of dark tunnels would have the option to increase the brightness. Even with the nightvision that you get later on, the fact that you use battery power to use it made things needlessly annoying.  It made me miss the days of Halo and Half-Life before I remembered that those games also limited flashlight power for whatever reason. Yup, I hate shooters. 😛


Sure, the story’s alright. I liked it well enough. Unfortunately, it doesn’t save this game. Not because of quality, but because it’s not even original. They took a book series and adapted it into a Fallout/Bioshock/F.E.A.R. ripoff. Everything this game does right is taken straight from those games, albeit not nearly as refined.
Add onto that the poor control scheme, unreliable controls, broken game mechanics and glitches spread about, and you have an unoriginal game that doesn’t show you anything you can’t see elsewhere in better quality. Disappointment abounds. And considering the low expectations I had going into this game, that’s saying something.

You didn't think I'd do a review without one of these jokes did you?

Metro 2033 was developed by 4A Games, whom I hope deigns to pull some aspects from Assassin’s Creed and Uncharted in order to make a game about Ninjas. TVtropes, datteboyo!

NOTE: E3 2011 reveals that there’s a sequel for this game in the works. If they name it BioFallShockOutFear it will be the best thing ever, just to see someone try to pronounce it.