Metro Exodus, even more ambitious, even more beautiful and … even more fun?

Artyom has a fixed idea: to find out what lies outside the borders of Moscow. Our hero often ventures to the surface, accompanied by his trusty gas mask, from what is needed to keep any mutants at bay and from a radio with which to search for a signal, with which to look for someone who has survived outside the Russian capital. The theater is the usual of the previous chapters: the year is 2036 (3 years have passed since Metro 2033) and to welcome us we find a post-apocalyptic world in which atomic weapons have forever changed the face of the surface. But it is not possible that all that remains of life on Earth is gathered under the Moscow subway : there must be something else, and Artyom, at the cost of his life, must find it.

The fact is that after a daring series of events Artyom, his wife Anna and the Spartans headed by Colonel Miller (Anna’s father) will find themselves on board a locomotive headed right outside the borders of Moscow, towards the mountain range of Urals . We don’t want to reveal more about the story because in fact Metro Exodus is a story-driven FPS, and its history, its facets and its evolution is among the strengths of the game. And also the world this time is among the undisputed protagonists. This new chapter leaves in part the most cramped and suffocating settings of the Moscow metro to offer us a more alive world, which evolves horizontally and vertically, contaminated, so to speak, by open world dynamics that enhance it and make it even more dispersive.

We will therefore be faced with various environments, from the dilapidated buildings to the underground bunkers, most of which made with an obsessive care (the level design of some is really at the top), passing through the surface, facing all the new, very dangerous fauna changed that characterizes the world of Metro. And the ” world above ” will offer us different views depending on the point in the story in which we find ourselves. The campaign unfolds over a year and we will face all the seasons, from the Moscow nuclear winter to the summer, which introduces us to other interesting news. The game world is also characterized by a day / night cycle and variable weather conditions. This is not a mere embellishment that one would expect from a chapter that turns, in part, towards the open world.

The day / night cycle is fundamental to our approach to the game . During the first few hours the characters themselves give us suggestions. Facing everything with sunlight will lead us to clash mainly with human adversaries, who instead prefer to stay at night in shelters or in easily identifiable guard posts thanks to light sources. Traveling at night therefore means having less to do with possible patrols or human guards, but on the other hand who knows what mutations raging without the light of the sun! In this regard, scattered around the game world there are rest points, safe houses that offer a bed where to rest and let the hours pass in case you want to venture day or night and a very usefulwork bench .

This introduces us to another essential Metro dynamic, crafting . Artyom must continually hunt down new materials to produce ammunition, secondary weapons such as throwing knives and Molotov cocktails. An extra ammunition can save your life, and it’s a golden rule that Exodus inherits from its predecessors. There are also weapons whose ammunition can be produced at any time: you will learn to love them, because they will save your life on more than one occasion. Through the workbench and a special backpack that Artyom always has on his shoulder, the player interacts with the crafting and with another set of elements. We will be able to modify the weapons that we carry with us (3 in all) improving the statistics; We are making changes also to Artyom’s armor and, above all, we will have to treat every single piece of equipment at our disposal with care . The weapons must be cleaned carefully as soon as possible, so as to reduce the possibility of jamming. Affectionate will be useless: after a long time the weapons are ruined inexorably, and it is better to change them and reapply the upgrades.

The gas mask , as we mentioned initially, is essential for survival, but it will require some maintenance. Moving away from Moscow you will find many situations in which to use it. You will only have a certain number of minutes to survive before being forced to change the filters, filters that must be produced in the appropriate work benches. Using it when there is no need then it is not recommended, because during firefighting (and not only) it can be damaged. A hole in the protective glass can quickly bring you to death, and if you don’t find a work bench as soon as possible to repair the leaks it will force you to load a previous rescue. But the interactions with the equipment are not limited to the crafting sections. The gas mask glass must remain clean, and at the touch of a button you will see Artyom wipe it with a wave of his arm. The torch, your faithful companion in many situations, it doesn’t have an infinite charge: you’ll have to stop from time to time to recharge it thanks to a sort of dynamo. Keep an eye out for the most agitated moments!

And still  the lighter , useful to see better in the dark and above all to burn the cobwebs; the Geiger counter , which tells us when to wear the mask; the typical watch of the series , whose function changes according to the situation: in short, a lot of things to use and to take into account! But Metro Exodus , despite crafting, objects and weapon improvements, remains a raw and raw first person shooter. The drift towards the Fallout series that could be guessed from some of the features listed so far is limited to a few points. The game world, although dynamic open spouses, it is however divided into zones that can be explored only in certain situations of the game. And going forward Artyom does not become stronger or faster: yes it has a series of tactical advantages given for example by an armor that allows you to carry more ammunition or a greater range of weapons donated by particular upgrades, but does not run faster it has no life and can certainly not stop the time to aim comfortably.

Indeed, we find ourselves facing ever greater difficulties , to hostile enemies who organize themselves in packs (as in the case of some mutants) or in teams. And there are also jump scars ! Nice corpse to sack, right? It could be a trap of one of the winged creatures that is the result of various mutations that will attack you from behind by taking you up in the air, making you lose 15 years of life and some pulsations. Even orienting oneself is not a joke. Artyom can count on a map, but it is practically only a sheet that reproduces the area in a stylized way where the current position and points of interest are marked, nothing more. You cannot pingareas where to go or even zoom . Also the diary is a park of details: listening to the dialogues becomes necessary, and any secondary missions (yes, there are) have no particular indications on the map or in the diary.

And so, if Metro Exodus is in effect a FPS, how do shooting dynamics work? Superbly on almost all occasions. The arsenal can count on a fair number of weapons, but as already mentioned they are the modifications not only to make them more powerful but to transform them. It is no coincidence that two specimens of the same weapon can be carried with them: thanks to the modifications they can be adapted to completely different situations. Beautiful also the physicality of the weapons themselves: some require not only the recharge of the ammunition, but also other kinds of interactions that require time, a luxury that cannot always be granted.

Then there are other mechanics that make us understand right away how each fight requires a certain strategic approach. Running too long causes breath and heartache, but it is above all walking backwards that disadvantages. It’s not DOOM , the character doesn’t run at crazy speeds in any direction: Artyom is a classic human being, and running away from something or someone walking backwards is simply a bad idea. There is no system of coverage, it is up to you to exploit every corner or the eventual verticality of the situations to survive the clashes. Metro Exodus then he pushes more and more towards a stealth approach. Most situations allow you to kill enemies quietly and silently, but you will have to pay attention to noise, lights and any traps. To help us anyway there is an indicator on the wrist of the protagonist, which allows us to understand if we are visible or not to the enemies. And the stealth approach also influences the story, some dialogues and the ending.

The fact remains that Metro Exodus can boast a graphic section that will leave you speechless on more than one occasion, and we can only count it among the pros of the game.

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