metro ex­o­dus

The mu­tated sur­vival hor­ror shooter steps into the ir­ra­di­ated light

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Dom Re­seigh-Lin­coln

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.

Mu­tant may­hem

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”

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