One of the most exciting things I got to check out at E3 2018 was Metro: Exodus. I’m a huge fan of the first two games, so when Deep Silver invited me to come play the game behind closed doors, I happily accepted. Set up at a demo running on an Xbox One X, I was set loose in an early level, in which Artyom and company are leaving the titular metros via a huge train but after the engine takes damage, I had to head out into the vast Russian wasteland. Before diving into my thoughts, an important note: right now, Metro: Exodus is feature-complete; the game is technically done but there’s remaining polish in regards to the framerate, animations and load times. Now, here’s my Metro: Exodus impressions!

Metro: Exodus Impressions

As was hinted at when the game was revealed at E3 2017, Metro: Exodus replaces the linear paths of past titles with much larger levels. That’s not to say that it’s open-world but rather that the levels are far more open, with more to explore than in past games. In an hour of gameplay, I only explored maybe a quarter of the map and I was wandering around looking for supplies, not just sticking to the beaten path. While they didn’t give an exact timeframe, 4A Games confirmed that Metro: Exodus would be significantly longer than previous titles in the series.

In line with past games, when you run into enemy humans there’s a variety of ways to handle situations. You can sneak up on them and nonlethally knock them out, use throwing knives and silenced shots to kill them off quietly or just go in guns-blazing, obliterating anything in your path with a wide range of weapons. Additionally, there’s now a complex system in place for how the enemy AI reacts: if they outnumber you they’ll rush your position, if they don’t know where you are, they’ll comb over a location with extreme care. They’ll even know when it’s time to call a fight quits. After I knocked out multiple members of religious fanatic camp, the two still on their feet surrendered and lay their guns down on the ground.

As veterans of the series know, humans aren’t the only problem. Packs of horrific, mutated wildlife roams the wastes, lurk in caves, swim below the dark water or just wait for you to open a door. It’s also here that the horror element of survival-horror is exemplified: if you’re injured and running low on ammo, hearing the howl of a mutant echoing across the tundra is a truly nightmarish sound. Nonlethal options aren’t really viable here: either kills the various beasts or don’t attract their attention in the first place.

Even in its unfinished state, Metro: Exodus is a fantastic-looking game. The snow is piled up realistically, the water reflects the sunlight and the various materials look great. Worn uniforms, dented metal on doors, everything contributes to a lived-in, worn-out feeling. Character models also look great, with unique details and equipment for each individual, though facial animations aren’t quite up to modern standards.

While there’s some remaining polish work to be done, 4A Games has a few months left so I’m really not concerned about anything there. The first two Metro games were fantastic and I’m really looking forward to just what 4A Games has crafted here. Like so many other games, Metro: Exodus is rolling into the station on February 22nd, 2018 on Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4.

 

If you’re interested in checking out any of my other E3 2018 impressions, here’s the list of coverage so far: