The mutated survival horror shooter steps into the irradiated light
Publisher Deep Silver Developer 4A Games Format xbox One ETA 2018
Ever since the Metro games blasted their way onto the scene back in 2010, we’ve found it impossible to roam their mutant-filled underground tunnels and irradiated surface without seeing the series that laid the foundations for them. For the PC faithful, the now defunct STALKER franchise was an intoxicating mixture of sandbox environs and RPG mechanics, a far cry from the exciting yet enclosed horror of Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light.
Then along comes Metro Exodus, waltzing out of E3 2017 with a semiopen-world setting, giant mutants and that oh-so-familiar mix of underground exploration and postapocalyptic melodrama. Considering developer 4A Games was formed from staff who worked on the original STALKER, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see the classic first-person shooter making itself known once more. With Exodus, the Kiev and Malta-based studio is finally looking to expand its own brand of linear gameplay with larger, explorable sandboxes and a new ecosystem of mutants to eviscerate and/or run screaming from.
Set in 2036 (two years after the events of 2013’s Last Light), Exodus follows series hero Artyom as he flees the overrun tunnels of the Metro with his fellow Russian survivors in a journey across the disfigured surface of the Russian Federation. Last Light expanded Metro 2033’ s tight, linear levels with areas that offered multiple pathways for both stealth and open firefights so the jump to larger sandboxes (including a trip to the Volga River and time aboard an old locomotive called the Aurora) should offer far more player agency.
4A Games has also confirmed that Metro Exodus won’t strictly be an open world, but rather a ‘sandbox survival’ setup with the previous game’s emphasis on preserving resources and choosing the quieter path returning with a grander vision. Handmade weapons also reappear, with a new crafting system that enables you to customise each one from materials scavenged from the world of Exodus. The developer isn’t releasing too many details on exactly how this will all work, but considering how well the bullet currency system performed (where bullets were both ammo and a way of buying new gear) we’re expecting great things.
The E3 trailer embraced a more open approach to level design, with ziplines and mantling showing off a new sense of verticality. It was also a way to show off some of Exodus’ new (and far deadlier) mutant denizens. We’re excited by the thought of exploring the virtual worlds based on Dmitry A Glukhovsky’s hit Russian novels, but we hope its move topside won’t take away from the survival horror element that made 2033 and Last Light so unique. Both games had their surface-based moments, but with air canisters that would quickly run out, pockets of deadly radiation and a gas mask that would physically need cleaning when splattered, we hope that palpable sense of vulnerability isn’t lost.
As one of the few genuine surprises of Microsoft’s show at E3 2017, Metro Exodus remains one of the games to watch in 2018. Horror has had a resurgence in first-person thanks to the advent of VR, so let’s hope 4A Games can scare the living daylights out of us when Artyom and co pull their gas masks back on next year.
“One of the few genuine surprises of Microsoft’s show at E3 2017”