18 cert, Deep Sil­ver, PS4 (also Xbox One)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN & GAMES - JOE GRIF­FIN

“Life was never easy in the tun­nels...”

Metro 2033 and its se­quel, Metro: Last Light, are glo­ri­ously bleak. Sure, there are glimpses of colour and quirk­i­ness, but th­ese games are set mostly in the ru­ins of war-rav­aged Rus­sia and are ex­actly as chirpy as you would imag­ine. The hor­ror/sci-fi games, in­spired by the writ­ing of Dmitry Glukhovsky, see mankind slip­ping down the food chain as they’re driven un­der­ground by nu­clear ra­di­a­tion and liv­ing in con­stant fear of mu­tated monsters that live on the sur­face. A so­ci­ety and econ­omy evolve un­der­ground, with am­mu­ni­tion as cur­rency and long- and short-term plans for sur­vival.

As Ar­tyom, a 20-year old sur­vivor born after the bombs fell, you have a chance to make a real dif­fer­ence – though that in­volves pack­ing weapons and a gas mask and fac­ing down hor­rific monsters and gun-tot­ing ban­dits.

Metro Re­dux in­cludes re-mas­tered ver­sions of both games, as well as their down­load­able con­tent. There’s a range of dif­fi­culty lev­els, and you can choose to play it ei­ther in “Sur­vival” mode (a stealth/ com­bat hor­ror game) or “Spar­tan” (a more tra­di­tional shooter). Both modes are com­pelling, so­phis­ti­cated and very playable, and both boast an im­pres­sive and un­re­lent­ing sense of dread.

They’re good look­ing games too, and tell their sto­ries with real con­vic­tion (and colour­ful Rus­sian ac­cents). Last Light is the stronger of the two, with more nu­anced sto­ry­telling and more de­tailed and ad­vanced graph­ics.

Like a lot of hor­ror, there are bib­li­cal in­spi­ra­tions; the sky dark­en­ing with fly­ing monsters calls to mind venge­ful Old Tes­ta­ment plagues and char­ac­ters say they “hid from God” in the Metro. War ref­er­ences abound too, with snow-caked Rus­sian ci­ties rem­i­nis­cent of the Bat­tle of Stal­in­grad.

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