Title: Metro Redux
Available on: Nintendo Switch (Previously released on PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Official Site: https://www.metrothegame.com/metro-redux-nintendo-switch/
Release Date: February 28, 2020
Where to buy: Physical or Eshop
Many of you will already have played one of the games in the Metro series. Whether that was Metro 2033 in 2010, Metro: Last Light in 2013, or last years’ Metro Exodus. In 2014 gamers were treated to remastered versions of the first two games, and it’s these two that have now been ported over to the Nintendo Switch.
It came as quite a surprise when Metro Redux was announced for the Switch as these games were no slouches in the looks department, and I was interested in finding out how they would hold up on the portable hardware. I’m guessing that’s why you’re here to, so let’s begin.
For the uninitiated, the Metro franchise is based on the novel of the same name written by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Set in a post-apocalyptic Russia where survivors of a nuclear war are holed up in the Moscow underground, the games (and books) star a character by the name of Artyom who is tasked with saving the station he calls home.
To delve into the story of either game here would be leading to deep spoiler territory. Let’s just say that in both 2033 and Last Light, there is an exciting story that can be both creepy and weird in equal measure. As with most stories, it’s best to go in spoiler-free.
Both games are available together physically at the cost of $59.99, or they can be downloaded separately on the eShop at $24.99 each. Downloading them does work out cheaper should you not wish to own a physical copy.
I did debate a separate review for each title but decided to bring you one article for the overall collection in case you choose to buy the physical version.
Metro 2033 and Last Light are also extremely similar titles for the most part, and having two reviews would lead to much repetition.
The gameplay on offer here will depend entirely on how you want to play and how you usually play first-person shooters. At the start of each game, players are given the choice of game modes, Survival or Spartan.
Survival makes the games feel a bit more survival horror. Items and ammo are scarcer with more of an emphasis placed on stealth. Running in all guns, blazing is likely to get you killed. I found this mode to be a great, tense way of playing, although I’m aware it’s not for everyone, which brings us to the louder approach.
Shoot now, think never.
Spartan is a more action-oriented style, for those who want to shoot now and ask questions later. We aren’t talking Call of Duty here, but the pace becomes faster, and items are much more readily available. The choice of both is only a good thing for players, and we will each have our own favorite way to play.
The Metro Redux collection also includes previous DLC’s which means there is a further game mode to play, entitled Ranger. This difficulty makes items even harder to come by, improves enemy AI and just generally has it out for you. It is the hardest way to play either game and is definitely not recommended for someone starting a playthrough for the first time.
Whatever way you choose to play, the core gameplay remains the same, get from point A to point B, shoot some enemies on the way, rinse and repeat. The first two Metro games are pretty linear and scripted, and that’s not a criticism. I’d much rather have a fun journey than spend hours exploring a dull and empty overworld.
The levels themselves take place either underground or on the surface. The underground levels usually involve dark and scary walks through the tunnels of the subway, which makes the open sky of the outside seem absolutely huge when you gaze upon it.
Due to the radiation levels outside, a gas mask is required at all times to stop a premature death, and filters will need to be found and changed, or else Artyom will die. This isn’t a problem when playing on the more action-orientated mode, but becomes crucial when playing Survival.
I merely adopted the dark
I know the main question most of you want to be answered is how it looks and feels on the Switch. Firstly, things are dark, very dark. This is intentional, and torchlight is used to great effect; however, the Switch version seems to be much darker than any of the others, and this can make skulking in the shadows pretty tricky.
Playing in an area bathed in sunlight is also a big no-no as the darkness makes seeing the screen almost impossible. Thankfully, to me at least, Metro is best played in a darkened room with headphones in.
Graphically though, I’m impressed with what developer 4A Games have managed to present, choosing to port the games themselves instead of outsourcing. Don’t expect the 60 frames per second PS4 and Xbox versions, as what we get is a solid 30 frames per second, but it’s stable and looks good.
I had no trouble with slowdown on either game and was pleasantly surprised by how good things looked and how smoothly they ran in handheld mode. The range of human and mutated enemies are fun to dispatch with the standard range of available weapons.
Of the two games, Metro: Last Light looks and handles better. If you wanted to grab just one of them for a replay, I’d recommend that one. That’s not to say 2033 is no good.
Both titles feel great to play, I did find that aiming and moving was quicker is the second title, and the shooting felt much more satisfying in it too. Neither of these things is terrible in the first game, and the look sensitivity can be played with in the options to make things quicker.
There are even motion controls should they take your fancy. This wasn’t my primary method of play, but they did feel responsive in the time I put into them. Indeed not a game seller, although it could be an essential feature for some people.
Last Light is just a more polished game overall and the one I had more fun playing through. That said, I was glad to get the opportunity to play both back to back.
The Hills are alive with the sounds of mutants
I mentioned above that the best way to experience Metro is in a dark room with headphones in and the sound effects and music are a big part of the reason. I did find the gun sounds a bit tinny in 2033, but overall the sounds really helped immerse me into the game world.
The subtle, ambient sounds made me tense when I was trying to sneak around and not be noticed, I definitely nearly dropped my Switch on a few occasions. By drop I mean throw at the ceiling after something scared the living daylights out of me.
I really enjoyed my time with both Metro games in this package, that’s not to say I didn’t have issues though. As these are Switch games, you’ll probably guess what I’m about to say about the loading times.
That’s right, they are super quick and efficient, and you barely notice them at all.
That first part may have been a lie, as is the second part, and the only reason I didn’t notice the loading times was due to leaving the room most of the time. They are dreadful, which is par for the course. The only saving grace is that upon death, the time to reload a checkpoint is much quicker and doesn’t impact the game.
2033 completely crashed on me a couple of times, and I had a few issues where characters were speaking two sets of dialog at once, making things a bit confusing. Other than that, I managed to have a relatively bug free experience.
Overall, I loved both games and would recommend them to people who have never played or would want to replay on a handheld as long as they stay away from brightly lit areas. Newcomers may find some sections to be slightly tricky, while old heads will probably breeze through.
An interesting story, portability, and different ways to play make these titles worthy entries into anyone’s’ Switch library. However, I find the collection hard to recommend over the Xbox, PS4, or PC versions purely because they are so much cheaper.
Verdict: Metro Redux has been ported to the Switch with a lot of love and care. Both games are fun to play and offer replayability thanks to the different game modes. When compared to other versions, the price of $59.99 is too high, but for Switch only players, it’s worth buying a ticket to ride.
Are you a fan of Metro Redux? Let us know in the comments!
- Looks and plays great
- Different ways to play
- Fantastic sound and atmosphere
- Terrible Switch load times
- Expensive compared to other versions
- So dark