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March 16, 2010



- Truly spooky atmosphere
- A different first person shooter experience



- Clunky and annoying game mechanics
- A narrative not quite tailored for video games



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Metro 2033

Score: 7.5 / 10


metro 2033          metro 2033


Stop me if you've heard this one before. Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter set in in post-apocalyptic -- Okay, I can stop now, eh? The premise isn't overly innovative, but it does take its own spin on the idea. Set under Moscow, you play as Artyom, as you navigate the underground subway system, the shelter for survivors from the hostile surface. Naturally, you will encounter monsters, ghosts, Nazis and... what? Nazis?

You would think that the development team had mixed up their first-person shooter boiler plates, but the presence of Nazis reveals a certain sophistication of the




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game's story. The idea that a post-apocalyptic world would give rise to old hate-fuelled ideologies is very insightful on the author's part. It lends credence to the world he has created and the developers have realized. It is, apparently, a fairly direct adaption of the best-selling Russian novel of the same name. This fact leads to somewhat awkward game


mechanics, but it isn't really fair to take on a narrative not designed for the medium. I will say that it is interesting, and has inspired me to pick up the recently translated version that just hit store shelves.

The atmosphere on the other hand is perfect. It sets an engaging tone, and plays up on the survival horror elements. Before you even take the disc out of the box, you are quite aware of what publisher THQ is banking on for this title. And it delivers. I should note that I normally hate survival horror games. All the aspects characteristic of the genre, I detest. And I loved hating how those aspects were implemented in this game. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to masochists -- I mean, survival horror fans.


metro 2033          metro 2033

The controls and mechanics, the "game-y" elements, may leave you wanting. I will say that a lot of the execution is clunky. With a proviso. Perhaps the best way to describe them is "clunky with confidence." It is obvious from the outset that this game comes from a different developmental culture. It is a decidedly "Russian" affair. As a cultural experience, it will be interesting to people who want to broaden their experience with the entirety of video games. Robert Ashley, notable video game freelancer and podcaster, once described another Russian game, S.T.A.L.K.E.R, as "foreign", just a little bit different from what you would expect. That fits the bill here. The game feels like it is from a slightly earlier era from a very close parallel universe. What you won't find, however, is the polish of a Halo or Call of Duty.

You probably had this game pegged from the outset. It is one of those shooters that fill the gap between year-end, Triple A releases. Should this be one of those type of games for you in 2010? If you enjoying fumbling in the dark with limited ammo facing fear-inspiring enemies, it's for you. If you enjoy games created from very different development principles, then you should check it out. If you are looking for the 30 seconds of perfected and repetitive combat found in major North American developed shooters, then Metro 2033 is probably not for you.


- Andrew Hiscock

(May 14, 2010)


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