Following in the footsteps of 2010's Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light improves upon the gameplay of its predecessor without destroying what made the series great in the first place: the setting. Last Light takes you back to the post-apocalyptic Russian wasteland, employing an excellent soundtrack and bleak, desolate imagery to deliver a first-person shooter with surprising pathos and one of the most genuine game narratives in recent memory.
Boot up Last Light and you'll be dropped into the boots of Artyom--a man haunted by memories of his mother, or lack thereof--as he attempts to leave the Russian Metro to capture "a dark one", monstrous remnants of the world before it was devastated by all-out nuclear war. Of course, nothing goes smoothly for Artyom, and along the way you'll be captured by other survivors and work together with another captive, Pavel, to orchestrate an escape. Arytom's quest ranges across the Russian wasteland, ultimately leading you through areas devastated by nuclear destruction and nests of enemies mutated by the apocalypse before culminating in one of the coolest and most intense firefight finales I've ever experienced.
But frenetic, fast-paced combat is tiresome without a meaningful reason to fight, and Metro: Last Light tells a meaningful story through emotionally-charged flashbacks to the moment the nuclear missiles struck, and how that moment affected the Russian people. It's a series of powerful scenes scattered throughout the 9-12 hour campaign that don't force themselves on you, allowing different players to experience as much--or as little--of the narrative as they like. That's one of Metro's greatest strengths: it doesn't force anything on the player. There's plenty of optional areas to explore at your leisure, allowing you to intuitively control how long you spend in Metro: Last Light's bleak alternate reality.
Moment to moment, the actions you're taking in Metro: Last Light are very similar to those you performed in Metro 2033: exploring, scrounging, and fighting for your life with a hodgepodge of unique and innovative post-apocalyptic weapons. Even your weapons tell a story, like the handmade submachine gun that has a magazine that slides left-to-right, through the weapon, as shots are fired. It's a little thing, but idiosyncratic touches like this do an excellent job of showcasing the unique, alien nature of Metro's alternate reality Russia.
Of course, those crazy cobbled-together weapons can be customized to fit your tactical preferences using Military-Grade ammunition, high-quality bullets manufactured before the apocalypse and now used in Metro as a form of currency. Paying a gunsmith to modify your armament with a silencer, lasersight, stock or foregrip is a simple way to significantly change the characteristics of each weapon, allowing you to tailor the game to your liking.
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