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Metro Redux Review – Saving Man From Madness

James at SwitchWatchTV was able to get his hands on the awesome Metro Redux package now available on the Nintendo Switch. If you have not played these games before, now is a great time to dive in! But how does this perform on our favorite hybrid console? Is it worth getting Metro Redux here or would the experience be better elsewhere? Check out his video review below, or you can continue to scroll down for the written review.

The Metro series offers a unique and thrilling experience combining survival horror, first-person shooting, and stealth. Set in the bleak post-apocalyptic metro system of Russia and occasionally the toxic surface, Metro 2033 and Last Light, the first two titles in the groundbreaking series from 4A Games, have made their way to the Nintendo Switch in the form of Metro Redux. But are the games any good, and does the port do these games justice? I’m James Romero here at SwitchWatch, and let’s jump in and find out!

Overview & Performance

To kick things off, I’m starting with an overview of the purchasing options and the port performance at a high level. Later on, I’ll review the games together in our normal format covering story, gameplay, audio, visuals, and value.

In terms of options, there is a physical release which includes the Redux versions of both 2033 and Last Light along with all of the DLC on a single cartridge. For those who want to buy one or the other, you can do so in digital format as each title is sold separately on the Switch eShop.

If you do go for the physical edition, there is a lovely Rangers Cache version with a double-sided poster, sleeve, badges, double-sided inlay, and double-sided art cards.

When a large game is ported onto the Switch, it’s almost always outsourced. Companies like Panic Button have carved out a niche as specialists in this field, while some others typically deliver lower quality work.

4A made the decision to do all of the work in-house instead of using a third-party, and I’m delighted that they did as the results are strong.

Firstly, comparisons show this is the Redux versions of both games which launched on the PS4 and Xbox One in 2014 as opposed to the originals on last generation consoles. This is significant, because of the visual upgrades, especially to Metro 2033

But also because it added a raft of gameplay tweaks – but more on that later! On loading up and playing the games, you are struck by how stunning they look, and diving under the bonnet, the games run at 1080p and 30FPS when docked and at 720p and 30FPS in handheld.

The frame rate doesn’t tell the whole story, however, as the games’ visuals are dynamic, allowing on the fly drops in detail on screen to avoid any slowdown or performance dips. The end result looks great and is certainly closer to the PS4 and Xbox One versions than it is the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

In handheld, the same is true. However, the quality rarely dips and is extremely impressive. I’d go so far as to say this is one of the best ports we’ve seen in handheld mode. Whether docked or in handheld, the frame rate never suffers, the port is very much optimized, and I experienced no performance issues. The visuals ran smoothly through both titles.

Outside of the visuals, the games controls are spot on. There is no input lag or other hindrances, and loading times are not overly long. Whether on the move or docked, it’s safe to say that 4A Games have demonstrated that the little Switch hardware can be pushed to deliver great results. The decision to make this port in-house has certainly paid off.

The only slight issue to report is that the games are extremely dark by nature, and when you play in handheld mode the blacks can be hard to distinguish. I don’t believe this is a port issue as such. Rather, it’s just down to the Switch screen itself. It’s not often a problem and it adds to the sense of foreboding, but there are a couple of times when you will struggle to see quite enough detail. Nevertheless, kudos to 4A Games for an exceptional port!

STORY

metro redux

Metro 2033 is based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novel and is set in the ruins of Moscow following a nuclear war where the survivors are forced to live in underground metro tunnels. The world is a bleak place infested by mutants, factions, and people struggling just to survive by any means necessary, including killing and robbing others. As if that wasn’t enough, the air outside of the tunnels is toxic, and there are mysterious horrors known as dark ones lurking that mess with your mind.

You play as Artyom, a man who must save his home station from all of the dangers. A tough and grim ask, the game thrusts you into this world complete with lots of sub plots and struggles all around you in the metros’ hubs. For the most part, you are heading through but some of it seeps in – a child struggling to collect scraps or some vets getting drunk and looking a sorry state.

The background is welcome, and having a book be your source material no doubt led to stronger depth and presence. The core story feels exactly like what it’s based on; a thrilling action adventure intertwined with horror. In between missions, Artyom himself narrates the story, reliving what was happening at the moment, and cutscenes are experienced in the first person. These changes were added to the Redux version and it definitely improves the storytelling.

Metro Last Light picks up where Metro 2033 left off after a large scale event that I won’t spoil if you haven’t played the first game before. This time, the story delves deeper into the factions and politics at play and introduces some strong new characters and delves deeper into the mystery of the dark ones. The game’s narration has improved, and through the Metro Redux remastering of 2033, it definitely feels like both games form one arching story.

I love the way Artyom retells his story, and the pacing and reveals are spot on. The story is a positive addition and sets the scene without getting in the way at the wrong time.

GAMEPLAY

Limited resources is a term that springs to mind when it comes to Metro 2033. It portrays the harsh situation humanity is in plus our ingenuity. Weapons are cobbled together in clever ways, and ammo is currency. Even filters for your gas mask can be hard to manage effectively, and all of this reminds me of the original Resident Evil.

The battle plays out like a traditional FPS game, as you slay hordes of enemies. The choice is there to be stealthy as well, and often you will need to do so in order to make it through certain areas. Thankfully, as part of the Metro Redux upgrade to 2033, the enemy AI has been vastly improved, making their reactions more predictable and realistic.

Last Light kept the same feel as the original but is more expansive and leans more towards the FPS side of the equation with more open world settings and larger enemy counts and more ammo. This makes Last Light easier to get into when compared to 2033, and to some degree changes the whole experience.

One of the additions is the ability to choose from Survival and Spartan modes in either game. Essentially, Survival gives you the original 2033 tough experience with a focus on sneaking around and managing resources while ranger is more guns blazin’ – shoot first think later!

With the introduction of Metro Redux, 2033 was vastly overhauled. It wasn’t a matter of just sprucing up the visuals though. They definitely did that, as well as the AI I talked about. There are numerous changes, such as overhauling the menus and in-game interfaces, the ability to wipe your gas mask, and switching cutsences to first-person and so much more.

The games play out as a series of connected missions heading through the tunnels or over the world’s surface. I love the variety on offer here between fighting monsters head on, sneaking away from larger more dangerous threats, and taking on human enemies in either way.

The action is so well crafted. Just when you think you can take a breather, a curve ball is thrown in, and you are driving a kart through the tunnels running away from the dark ones or suddenly facing giant spiders. Often as you make your way through each games’ campaigns, you are accompanied for periods of time which again adds to that variety while also unfolding the story and stopping you from making your way through the games too slowly.

At times the tunnels become claustrophobic, and your spidey senses tingle. Outside of the light, everything is so dark that you always feel as if you are being watched. The games use light particularly well both to create tension but also as a hiding mechanic. Your trusty little watch glows blue when you will be visible, and almost every light is interactive.

Before each encounter, you will be thinking about the best way to tackle it, except of course when you are sprung upon! At other times, the impending threat of running out of air filters for your gas mask forces you to get moving, and this variety combined with constant nudges makes for a thrilling and tough experience. There is no rest here, and yet at the same time you are always conscious of how many bullets you have and whether you need to save your throwables.

The controls are exactly as you would expect from an FPS title, though. Combat itself is good as opposed to great. At times, enemies bunch up and your bullets can feel a bit thin. There is no autolock, so you need to be accurate, and the weapons on offer are on the conservative side. You won’t find countless rocket launchers down in the Moscow Metro!

There are pistols, rifles, snipers, and shotguns that start out quite anemic but can be upgraded as you get further in. The bastard rifle, for example, is not that strong and wildly inaccurate, but by adding a scope, better stock, and more, it can become a decent weapon. Or eventually you will find an AK47 and start upgrading that instead.

Military grade bullets are your currency, but also as a nice touch serve as powerful bullets for desperate situations. It’s these little details that stand out about Metro Redux. You have a trusty lighter that burns cobwebs, and there are countless collectibles to be discovered and many hidden areas full of small side situations that are worth finding.

See Also
Dusk Diver Logo

It’s immersive and balances the oppression with the excitement of discovery. The games both have various difficulty options, so should you wish to ratchet up that survival feeling, you can do so adding to the sense of choice. You can play both games in your preferred style and difficulty including ranger mode, where you have no HUD and even less resources and more monsters exist. On top of both campaigns, you have all of the DLC which adds roughly another 10 hours, so in total you are getting around 40 hours of deep-diving gameplay.

AUDIO

The audio in Metro Redux is used to build tension primarily. Creepy sounds, creaks, and freaky flashback audio from the old world slowly grow giving you that jumpy feeling. The orchestral music similarly builds in tandem, and the game switches well to more pumping action tracks at the right moments.

The audio is subtle. None of the songs stand out as such, but it adds to the overall experience. The voice acting throughout is also well done. Passing through towns, you can hear all manner of conversations, and if you stop to listen it its a joy to the ears. Similarly, some of the monsters create some excellent and scary sounds!

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

metro redux

These games are well known for pushing the boundaries visually when they originally released on PC. The first console releases dumbed that down some way, but Metro Redux does an excellent job of adding in some of those details; dynamic lighting, particle effects, and great use of dark shades. On top of that though, the games’ models and movement look superb, especially when you consider this is on a Nintendo Switch.

But it isn’t all about frame rates and high fidelity. It’s also about a game’s art style and quality, and Metro Redux delivers. It has a strong sense of self and generally does well at creating the world in which the story is based.

There are little details like grafitti in the metro and broken remnants of our time on the surface. Small things like your watch and wiping blood off of your gas mask are all small things that combined work very well. For a game that is so praised on its looks, it’s interesting that much of it is based underground. That makes it all the more stark when you do head up above for short bursts.

There are not quite enough different enemy types in my book. That is perhaps the one area lacking, but the atmospheric details like lighting are spot on.

VALUE

When you consider these are superb games from start to finish and that they have been lovingly ported on the Switch, including all of the DLC by 4A Games themselves, Metro Redux is a strong package.

There are over 40 hours of gameplay here and the redux versions of the games mean that if you only played 2033 when it first came out, there is enough change and enhancements to warrant the investment.

The physical package, especially the Rangers Cache, is lovely, and at £40 or $50, its well worth it in my opinion. If you have already played the Redux versions, then it’s a tougher sell. If you completed just one of the games and don’t want to double dip, it’s nice to have the option to pick up either game digitally for half the cost.

I hope you have enjoyed this review! Thanks for watching the video or reading it here on SwitchWatch.co.uk, and let us know down below which of the Metro Redux games is your favourite. I am James Romero. See you on the next one. Take care!

  • Story - 9/10
    9/10
  • Gameplay - 9/10
    9/10
  • Audio - 9/10
    9/10
  • Visuals & Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 9/10
    9/10

Summary

Metro Redux is two fantastic games in a wonderful package. The combination of survival horror, a story driven FPS, and stealth is solid and stands up to the test of time very well. The port from 4A Games is a wonderful job and lays the gauntlet down for other developers out there, and it begs the question, “Is it better to port these games in house?” If you’ve never played these titles, then you cannot go wrong. Playing these on the move is an exciting prospect with your headphones in. Overall this is an exceptional game! Not one to be missed.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Pros

  • Amazing port
  • Excellent story
  • Great value
  • Varied gameplay

Cons

  • Lack of enemy types
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