Metro Exodus changes up the formula from the previous two entries in the series by moving out of the subway system beneath Moscow, to the land above. This change is similar to the Bioshock series, but developer 4A Games decided to change it up. Metro Exodus added expansive open world areas, stronger weapon customization, as well as a controllable day and night cycle.
Before the game was even released, it was met with controversy. Favoring the revenue amounts from sales on the Epic Games Store over Steam, publisher Deep Silver announced that the PC version would be exclusive to the Epic Games Store for the first year. This led to a fairly negative response from the fans, including severe “review bombing” of the previous entries in the Metro series. Even so, with the Epic Games Store/Steam controversy aside, how well does Metro Exodus play?
Metro Exodus continues Artyom’s story from previous games, making a discovery about the world above and setting out on a journey. With his wife and traveling companion Anna, they band together with Spartan Rangers to help them on their trek. Taking place over the course of a year and many seasons, they set their sites on traveling east.
Pros: The game has a strong introduction sequence that portrays how the chain of events within the series started. This transition seamlessly plops you into the present time, which is well done. As previously mentioned, moving from the underground subway system to the land above was a good choice. It immediately separates itself from the previous two games by doing this and creates a whole new open world for the player to explore.
There’s a lot of variety with the different areas of the game. Going from the underground metro, to a winter scene on the Volga, to spring in the dry mountains, to summer in a wooded area, and other varied locations. It really rounds out the journey and makes it feel expansive. Most of the areas are quite fleshed out with plenty of buildings, caves, and landscape to explore. On top of that, the world is full of detail and its a fantastic visual treat.
Cons: Sadly, Metro Exodus feels derived of fresh ideas, making the gameplay mechanics feel dated. With a splash of Modern Warfare, a sprinkle of Fallout, a smidge of Rage, and a host of others, the game doesn’t really spew originality. It also plays like any of those formerly mentioned games with less polish. The story and the way it presents itself isn’t that interesting or original either.
For some reason, Artyom never speaks when he is spoken to. Despite this, he does narrate the opening sequence, the interludes between chapters, and the final sequence. There are plenty of moments where Artyom could (and should) be expressing his thoughts during gameplay. Instead, he remains silent. The loading times are pretty rough too. They’re not as bad as something like Anthem, but they’re not good.
Even after patch 1.02, the game has a fair amount of bugs in it. Cutscenes are choppy and enemies occasionally glitch from one location to another. The game crashed a couple of times, and there were moments where I was frozen in place without being able to do anything. The final gripe is in regards to exploration and looting. Plenty of time can be spent exploring buildings that are several stories tall with an assortment of drawers, cabinets, and desks to ransack. For their efforts, the player gains scrap parts to clean their equipment and create ammunition as their reward. Yet you dirty up your equipment and expend ammo clearing these areas of enemies. Therefore, it’s pretty much breaking even and not at all a proper reward. It would’ve been nice to acquire new abilities or substantial equipment upgrades, rather than a marginal upgrade to your backpack at best.
Final Verdict: Ultimately, Metro Exodus doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. It is however fresh to its own series, which is progress. Pre-release controversy aside, the game has plenty of issues and doesn’t compensate with thrilling or original gameplay. If you are a die-hard fan of the series or genre, then it might be worth it. General gamers might enjoy the jump scares and various features of the game. Unfortunately for myself, it was an underwhelming experience.