I was fortunate enough to attend PAX Aus 2018 and amongst all the great games, demos and displays one that stuck in my mind was a 15-minute demo of Metro Exodus. The demo was being run at the Nvidia booths on systems featuring their amazing new RTX graphics cards.
Fans of the Metro series have already marked February 22, 2019, in their calendars and I’m here to tell you should too. That is if you enjoy shooters, survival games, horror games or beautiful landscapes marked with decaying buildings and monsters.
Which, let’s face it, is most of us. With all the hype over big games from huge studios like Fallout 76, it’s easy to miss a title like Metro Exodus, based on a post-apocalyptic fiction novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky.
Metro Exodus Preview
The world is less old-timey propaganda like Fallout and more modern day. Fans of Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl will already know what a ripe environment Russia is for an apocalypse game. An abundance of Military surplus left over from the cold war combined with an already harsh environment that breeds tough people made tougher by surviving a nuclear holocaust.
Need I say more about how dogged and grim the characters in Metro Exodus are?
You play as Artyom, born before the nuclear war that ravaged his home, now in his mid to late twenties he fights as a member of the Spartan Rangers. The Spartan Rangers are dedicated to securing the wastes and finding a new home.
After escaping the Moscow Metro area on a train, the game now takes place on The Volga, the longest river in Europe. The demo had players explore the area whilst managing the time remaining on their gas mask filters, searching for supplies and eliminating threats.
Mutants and not the X-Men kind
One of the biggest aspects of combat in the sandbox world of Metro Exodus is the various factions of mutants, bandits and cultists all warring against each other. Stealth and choosing your battles carefully play a huge part of surviving the wasteland.
I learnt this quickly in the demo as I opened fire on a mutant-wolf only to advertise my position to what seemed like every other mutant-wolf in Europe. With ammo running out and health running lower, I legged it through the night frantically trying to find a friendly face.
Spoilers…There weren’t any.
After loading the last checkpoint, I kept low and moved from cover to cover. Some travellers were set upon by mutant-wolves and I opted not to help them. Better them than me, they were probably bandits anyway, well at least that’s what I told myself.
Eat or Be Eaten
Waiting for the wolves to eat what they wanted and leave, I crept in and searched the bodies, finding much-needed resources to repair and update my weapons. This is one of the other great features of Metro Exodus, field crafting and repairing weapons.
As well as complete customisation and even improvised weapons, there’s enough meat in the crafting system that players can really make each play through a unique experience. All the components, stocks and sights are all modelled on the real-world tech of the appropriate time and place.
Literally, hundreds of Soviet-era attachments are ready to be found and tinkered with.
The gear looks fantastic and authentic, crude greys and olive drab fatigues against a breathtaking snow covered environment. What made the Metro series so exhilarating was the confined spaces and claustrophobia of crawling through monster infested tunnels.
That feeling hasn’t been lost despite the sandbox approach to Exodus, with crumbling ruins and tunnels under the snow, as well as all the best gear buried below ground.
Don’t think you’ll be breathing fresh air on the surface for long, the game thrusts you back into the catacombs of the old world and those catacombs are full of nasties that want to eat your flesh.
Metro Exodus is available for pre-order now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, it is due to launch on February 22, 2019.