After two games spent in Moscow Metro’s claustrophobic darkness, it’s a strange sensation to be unexpectedly staring across a vast, sun-bleached desert, at least for a Metro session! Exodus is a post-apocalyptic road trip through a nuclear-blasting Russia, and an arid expanse of what once was the Caspian Sea is one of a number of locations Artyom and his band of survivors have explored. But even with the blue skies and the closest thing in this bleak, dead world you can get to clean air, life is still an everyday struggle.

I claim road trip, but in Metro Evacuation the primary mode of transportation is an old Soviet-era steam train named the Aurora. The game starts in familiar surroundings— Moscow’s broken, toxic ruins and the underground labyrinth underneath. But it’s not long before the Aurora races out of the fallen city, along the river Volga, and into the wintry region. This is your first glimpse of Exodus’s open world, which consists of several broad, self-contained zones, rather than one continuous sprawl.


Metro has always been a rigidly, sometimes suffocatingly linear shooter, but now you have the opportunity to venture off the beaten path, scavenge, and explore. It is a restricted independence, constrained by map scale, but there’s something exciting about an open world that’s more based on information than size. Each place the Aurora stops at looks uniquely hand-crafted and the landscape, scenery and lighting change regularly as the plot crosses the seasons, making for an excitingly complex experience.

But that variation primarily applies to the atmosphere and layout. The intense, visceral aspects of first person fighting and lightweight survival that characterize the Metro games have not improved in any significant way. Ammo and gas mask filters are still valuable commodities and Artyom still spends the majority of the game in scrappy, stressful firefights in gas masks with other guys. It ensures it still seems like a part of the series, given the impressive change of scenery. Yet, in some respects, it also renders Exodus very frustrating at its lack of ambition in

The background, circumstances, and venue can shift, and there are some fantastically exciting set-pieces to be found in here, but it’s a shame how, literally, any Metro experience boils down to people getting fired. I know it sounds like I’m questioning an FPS for getting too much S but if you’re going to give me the huge, amazing, beautiful world to discover, I feel like there should be more interesting ways to connect with it. Often you might stealthily enter a situation, throwing tin cans to confuse guards and silently murdering or disabling them, but this is just as dangerous as it gets.

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