Metro Exodus is the first open-world Metro game, and while it's not as vast as the likes of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, there's still a lot more to explore than in the series' previous entries so a few Metro Exodus tips aren’t going to hurt. You're not just fighting your way through tunnels anymore. You've got maps to fill, supplies to scavenge, gear to find, characters to meet, and all manner of optional objectives to investigate.
There's plenty to see in Metro Exodus, which also means there's plenty to overlook if you don't know where to go or what to do. Lucky for you, we've braved this post-apocalyptic wasteland and come back to share the tips we learned the hard way. From essential Metro Exodus upgrades to easily missed game-changers, here are the things we wish we'd known about before we boarded the Aurora.
1. Check your journal regularly
When you first exit the Aurora, you'll receive a map from Colonel Miller. Your map is automatically updated with your primary objectives and some optional ones, but one of the most useful parts of it is hidden on the back.
You can turn your map over to read Artyom's journal, which is also updated regularly. These journal entries tell you much more about your next objective than just its location. You can double-check your goal, who you'll be working with, and the circumstances of the mission. That last one is especially important, as some journal entries will advise you to avoid killing, approach stealthily, or watch for specific sub-goals. Even if you know where to go next, it's worth stopping to check your journal before every big mission.
2. Use your binoculars to scan for points of interest
Krest really is a goldmine of intelligence. Meeting him not only lets you access a compass (more on that later), but Krest himself will also give you a pair of binoculars when you find him. You can use the binoculars to scope out what lies ahead, confirm enemy locations, and mark it all to your map. If you scan over an optional objective using the binoculars you’ll hear a click, and holding it will automatically make a question mark appear on your map (try zooming if it doesn’t ‘pop’). So be sure to stop and take in your surroundings every once in a while.
3. Sleep to change the time of day
The seasonal weather in Metro Exodus looks great and adds a lot to the world, but the dynamic day and night cycle is far more useful. You can jump between day and night by sleeping at the beds found in various safehouses, and it's worth picking the right time of day to suit your next objective. You're harder to spot at night, so if you're planning on infiltrating a bandit camp, rest until nightfall. On the other hand, mutants are more active at night, so if you're trekking through some open territory, make it a daytime journey so you can see where you're going and what's coming your way.
4. Craft the compass after you meet Krest
Not long after you enter the icy Volga, you'll meet an engineer named Krest. He's holed up in a crane overlooking a mutant-infested warehouse, but despite his circumstances, he's managed to squirrel away quite a lot of materials and machinery. His humble abode is also equipped with a proper crafting bench, and that bench should be your first stop after meeting him, because it will allow you to craft and install the compass attachment for your brace. The thin red needle on this compass always points to your current primary objective and it's easy to see on your arm with the rest of your HUD, so it's incredibly handy to have when you're out exploring.
5. Not everyone is an enemy
The world of Metro Exodus is a hostile one, but there are some genuinely good people out there, and I'm not just talking about Krest and Katya. You'll run into refugees and other passive NPCs out in the wastes, and as long as you don't start any trouble, these folks will leave you alone. So before you open fire, always check people with your reticle to see if they're enemies (red reticle), friendlies (green reticle), or neutral (yellow reticle). You can also holster your weapon before approaching them to show that you aren't looking for a fight, and many NPCs will thank you for this simple show of peace.
6. Watch for these early upgrades
You'll naturally acquire new weapons and attachments as you progress, but some of the most impactful upgrades are for your suit itself. You'll improve almost every part of your kit throughout the game, and you can get three of best pieces right in the first area, the Volga. Before you head to the Caspian Sea, be sure to grab these gizmos, all of which are found in the early, lower half of the Volga:
- Enhanced flashlight battery: in a shed next to the safehouse northeast of Krest. The safehouse is on a tiny island surrounded by mostly shallow water.
- Metal detector: in a small house in the southeast corner near a broken crane. Look to the west of where you find the teddy.
- Night vision goggles: in the final room of the Tsar Fish's warehouse
7. Use silenced weapons whenever possible
Stealth has always been a big part of the Metro games, so this tip might be kind of obvious. That said, you really can't overestimate the value of a suppressor. Even silenced weapons aren't totally undetectable, but compared to normal weapons which attract every mutant and bandit in earshot, they're a godsend. Most weapons, including shotguns, can be fitted with a silencer, so always check for one at your crafting bench.
8. The Tihkar rifle is your best friend
Speaking of life-saving weapons: your trusty Tihkar rifle will carry you through just about everything. It's the only weapon that you can craft ammo for on the go, and the steel balls it shoots are relatively cheap to make, making it highly economical. It's also remarkably effective once you get some upgrades for it. A fully charged headshot will one-shot most mutants and bandits, and it won't make as much noise as a sniper rifle or shotgun. You have to keep both its pump and ammo topped off, but if you take care of the Tihkar, it will take care of you.
9. You can mod your guns in the field
You need a crafting bench to clean your guns and craft ammo, but you can change the attachments on your weapons using the tools in your backpack. So if you find a better magazine or a new scope out in the field, stop and equip it immediately. You can also swap things out to change your set up to better favor stealth, range damage and so on.
10. Go for stealth KOs whenever you can
It's always better to stealthily knock enemies unconscious rather than stab or shoot them. Knocking them out makes less noise than executing them, and it won't negatively affect your karma. Enemies you KO will never wake up either, so there's no real upside to killing them. Not only that, if enemies see that you've knocked out many of their comrades, they'll be more likely to surrender, allowing you to knock them out. Playing peacefully is the key to success. It saves ammo and preserves your karma, so take it slow and stealthy whenever possible, especially if you want to get the good ending - and you do, because it's a great finale.
11. You're more accurate while crouching
After a few hours and a few dozen whiffed headshots, I started to wonder if I could up my accuracy. Using a scope with higher zoom helps, but the easiest way to make your reticle more stable is to crouch. Obviously, you don't want to plop down when you're back-pedaling away from a snarling mutant, but if there's some distance between you and your target, crouching is the way to go.
12. Grab a weapon with a new ammo type if you're running low
Just as you can equip weapon mods you find in the field, you can also pick up and use guns dropped by enemies. This is especially handy for juggling ammo types. There are four types of primary ammunition, and while you can only use two weapons at once, you're always accumulating ammo for all four types. So if your shotgun is empty and your sniper is running low, grab an auto rifle off a defeated enemy and dip into your reserves of rifle rounds. If that runs out, grab a loose pistol and remember: you can swap in all your attachments from your pack at any time.
13. Shoot armored dudes in the legs
The first time I encountered a fully armored bandit, I put literally every bullet I had into him and absolutely nothing happened. As it turns out, taking their kneecaps out with a shotgun from behind does the job, as it often does. You can't stealth kill these guys, but it's worth sneaking up on these guys so you can get at their legs.
14. Quick save all the time
This is another obvious tip for stealth games, but it's also easy to forget: quick save before and after every major fight. If you take a needless amount of damage in a simple encounter, blow your cover by alerting some guards or mutants, or accidentally use your last precious medkit - not that that happened to me, nope, definitely not - you're probably going to want to reload your last save. Likewise, if you nail a difficult fight only to die to something stupid shortly after - again, I can't imagine who would do that - you'll be kicking yourself if you didn't quick save.
15. Eavesdropping can be very useful
Stealth games always seem to feature talkative guards, and Metro Exodus is no exception. Fortunately, it's not all propaganda and babble. Some of the best dialogue in the game can be found in random conversations, not to mention some of the most helpful. You can learn more about your surroundings by listening to enemy conversations, and some guards will even unwittingly tip you off to new objectives. If you hear anyone chatting while you're sneaking around, stop and stay a while. You might hear something useful.