Metro 2033: Most intriguing new FPS of 2010?

You might already have read our first hands-on preview of THQ’s upcoming shooter Metro 2033. If not, go and check it out now. You might not have heard of the game, but trust us, this particular slice of post-apocalyptic horror has the potential to be one of the most interesting FPS of this year.

Given the early nature of the last build we played, a few glaring issues hampered our enjoyment of Metro’s dense atmosphere and clever ideas, but having just played the newest version for the 360, we can happily say that the game is now a whole lot better. What’s more, we’ve discovered more than a few cool new elements that we certainly didn’t expect. Want to learn more? You should. So read on.

It’s creepy as all hell

We were already impressed by Metro’s uncompromising blend of FPS and survival horror, but it’s now clear that its approach goes beyond simply providing lots of monsters and minimal ammo.

Perhaps due to its Eastern European origin (Metro is being made by the Ukraine’s 4A games, some of whom have history with the STALKER series), things are bleaker and more off-kilter than you might expect. The most affecting element we’ve found so far – aside from the visceral impact of some nightmarish hallucination sequences – has been the shadow people who linger within Moscow’s most neglected underground tunnels. Not really monsters, not really ghosts, these translucent black silhouettes are lethal to the touch nonetheless.

Lingering impressions of past anguish, they’re forced to remain in the location of their trauma, repeating history forever. Sometimes you’ll hear the voices of their past selves, but it’s almost more disturbing when they remain silent and motionless. And worst of all, you won’t even see one until your torch beam passes accidentally through it…

The weapons are fresh and original

It sounds like a strange thing to say about what is essentially a bunch of reclaimed modern military hardware, but Metro’s scrappy and makeshift arsenal throws up a few very cool surprises. We’ve already covered Metro’s manual survival mechanics (gas mask filters must be manually refreshed, for example, and you’ll need to constantly recharge your torch battery with a hand-crank generator), but we’ve since found that the approach carries over into guns as well.

Our favourite example is the pneumatic sniper rifle. This improvised death delivery device uses a pressurised air pump to embed ball bearings into far off enemy skulls, but it loses pressure, and therefore stopping power, over time. So you’ll need to temper your blood lust with regular pumping (think of it as a lethal Super Soaker) if you want to keep nailing the one-hit-kills. Rather than an annoyance, it actually adds a really satisfying and tactical rhythm to combat. Get too trigger happy and your headshot will just glance off an enemy’s helmet and instantly alert him to your position.

And speaking of tactics…

The combat has a unique feel and flow

Fighting monsters with minimal ammo is one thing – the back-up knife is powerful and health and damage are now balanced to make frantic slashy kills brutally exhilarating rather than frustrating – but going up against seven heavily-armed soldiers in a tight underground environment, with only a blade and three bullets to our name? That was going to take some thinking about.

Sticking to the shadows and weighing up the environment, we spotted a couple of lights further along that could cause us problems. We sniped them out and scuttled along our newly-safe path in darkness to get a better look. One unassuming guard was a bit nearer than the others. It would be risky, but a knife kill might be possible. We took the risk and prevailed, stealing the corpse’s gun, running back to the cover of the shadows and turning its bullets on the next baddo. But one kill later we were empty again and everyone else was attacking.

From that point on it was a maelstrom of rapid attacks, retreats, healing and scavenging, each new kill providing just enough ammo to make the next. It might sound messy, but once we had a feel for the flow of the fight, things again became very methodical and very satisfying. We expect survival horror to involve a lot of foraging for supplies, but adding that mechanic mid-battle makes for a whole new game. It’s an unusual approach and probably won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you do buy into Metro’s Rambo-meets-Resi aspirations, there’s a lot to get your teeth into.

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  • vibovit - March 14, 2010 8:34 p.m.

    @Persona Get your facts straight, Witcher IS NOT based on a Russian novel, it's a Polish game based on novel by Sapkowski, who is of Polish origin.
  • FreekinIdiot - February 17, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    Sounds very similar to Fallout 3 but in my book that's a very good thing indeed. Love the idea of the different pacing.
  • skynetiscoming - February 7, 2010 6:08 a.m.

    I wanted Far Cry 2 to have more freedom, and I think this will deliver with a much more interesting backdrop, :D
  • aion7 - February 6, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Amazing. This sounds innovative and well done. I like the sound of pretty much everything stated in this preview.
  • DrLovez69 - February 6, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    Cheers Crumb and Maverick, I was going mental. =D
  • Yeager1122 - February 6, 2010 7:32 a.m.

    This game sounds sick and very refreshing from the standard fps.
  • bron1417 - February 6, 2010 4:04 a.m.

    i'll def keep my eye on this game. been checkin it since i first saw it on here.
  • sniperscope - February 5, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    This game looks BAD- ASS!
  • JohnnyMaverik - February 5, 2010 5:31 p.m.

    @ DrLovez69 As was said above you're looking for Singularity, but things aren't sounding so promising on that title, apprently the devs have announced the campaign is likely to only be around 5 hours long. So for this game, sounds incredible, but almost too good, still have my doubts. Hope it's everything it promises to be though, if it is it's potentially mind blowing.
  • crumbdunky - February 5, 2010 6:05 a.m.

    @DrLove-You're talking about a game called Singularity, it's another Russian set and made FPS and will almost definitelyy be out a little before Metro33. As for Metro:sounds incredibly refreshing for those of us bored with the arcadey thrills of L4D and who alwqays lamented Valve's lazy arsed refusal to give it a bloody, terrifying SP campaign. his is in a whhole other league of grit and balls out fear and loks like becoming one of my most looked forward to shooters in years. They could get a decent translation of the books done while they're at it, mind, as I've been waiting for one for eons now!Mother Russia is always fascinating to me and even moreso in a politically charged monster and ghost infested near future post apocalyptic enviroment. It's almost as if they were thinking solely of me when they started this! I'd take one like this over forty CODs and it's bloody clones. Expect it to sell like burgers made entirely of turd, mind, as the imagination of your average gamer seems to reduce in size with every sequel filled moment-were HL to release now I severely doubt we'd ever jhave got to see HL2, put it tht way-still hopng this does well, mind, as it's a brave effort at worst and could be revolutionary at best for the genre it straddles.Good stuff GR.
  • Persona - February 5, 2010 4:49 a.m.

    All the STALKER games were fantastic, Ever since this game was announced I cried a little. You just dont get this kind of FPS since MW2 stormed the front with arcade style gameplay We all know how THE WITCHER turned out, and that was based of another russian novel. Books TO Games seem to fare alot more than Movie Adaptations. HEAR THAT GAY POTTER
  • CH3BURASHKA - February 5, 2010 4:46 a.m.

    I'm what you'd call a wimp: I don't like things to get too hard, seeing as how games are entertainment, and not meant to be labor. I liked STALKER (not loved), but this hardcore aspect of 2033 is slightly off-putting. You know what? Fuck it, I'll try it.
  • TheGiaour - February 5, 2010 12:57 a.m.

    Between this and STALKER CoP I wonder which one will ultimately get the better score. CoP got an 8, here's to hoping this ones gets the better score and review. I'm starved for good survival horror shooters like this one.
  • DrLovez69 - February 4, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    AGGGGH. Don't get me wrong looks amazing, really amazing, but its not the one i heard where you can travel hundreds of years back or forward in time!... CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THE NAME IM NOT CUH-RAAZAY IT EXISTS. TELL ME PLEASE! I'll give donate my organ's to you when i die.
  • CreeplyTuna - February 4, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    i'm psyched for this!
  • NanoElite666 - February 4, 2010 7:41 p.m.

    Definitely got my eye on this one.
  • Ensoul - February 4, 2010 6:35 p.m.

    I've been very interested in this one since I first stumbled upon it. These impressions haven't changed my mind. There's just something about Russia that grabs my attention, especially in this kind of setting.
  • GamesRadarWannabe - February 4, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    Looks like a more hardcore fallout. May be a bit frustrating all this mid battle farting around pumping up guns n such but worth a go.
  • Frexerik - February 4, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    Hell fucking yes! after this im suprisingly hyped about this game.. love the freedom in these types of games!