The wait for the Metro series to arrive on a Nintendo platform has been a lengthy one, as the franchise was once teased for a Wii U release; however, it was not to be. Due to poor hardware sales and other variables, Metro: Last Light never left the station bound for the console. Now, with the Nintendo Switch finding success among all audiences, the metro train is ready for new passengers. Whether you are a veteran of the franchise or a curious newcomer, Metro Redux for the Nintendo Switch is an excellent starting point for this atmospheric trek through a post-apocalyptic Europe. All aboard, the train is ready to leave the station.
Including two games: Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux; the Metro Redux bundle is a steal that any Nintendo Switch owner should take advantage of. Though the Switch does have several quality first-person shooters, the twin release of Metro 2033 and Last Light is unlike any other shooter on the platform. While the post-apocalyptic setting isn’t an unfamiliar scene for a video game, how the Metro series makes use of it is unique and showcases the situation in a meaningful manner. Derived from the novels authored by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the narrative of the two games follows the actions of a young man known as Artyom, as he traverses a radiated landscape and battles creatures of the dark and the dark side of human nature.
What separates the Metro games from other first-person shooters, aside from the strong narrative, is how the game manages to blend multiple genres into a single coherent experience. The player is granted the freedom to choose between an action-oriented focus or lean into a survival emphasis, which will limit the amount of ammo and health resources available. This feature enables the game to heighten its replay value, as each style offers a refreshing and radically different experience for the player to enjoy.
The tone of the Metro games is one of tension and fear of the unknown. Whether your foe is human or creature, you feel their presence as they stalk you in the shadows. Hunt you in the tunnels and attack aggressively and swiftly. Similarly, the settlements forged by the surviving remnants of humankind will depict human nature in two lights: friendly & willing to assist in your survival or hostile & determined to eradicate you and your allies. During moments of tribulation we see both the good and bad in humanity, and the Metro games do a fine job of illustrating how far man is willing to go when resources become precious and pivotal to survival.
In terms of gameplay, both Metro games retain the core basics you’d find in any other first-person shooter; however, there are a couple of key differences – one of them being the emphasis on ammo conservation. While other games make use of a more standard currency system, the bullet types in Metro have use beyond simply shooting. Whenever interacting with other settlements, bullets can be used as a tool of trade to acquire essential resources. This may sound like an unnecessary inclusion of micro-management; but it doesn’t require too much attention, as each weapon makes use of its own ammo type and you’ll likely have a sufficient stockpile of ammo for the weapons you use least.
On the topic of combat encounters, the Metro games allow the player to choose between stealth and direct combat. You can hide in the shadows and sneak up on enemies to silently kill them, or you can use your guns and make quick work of your foes, though you may raise attention and alert reinforcements whenever dealing with a human adversary. Whenever combating the mutated creatures of the surface, a weapon is your best option; but one should make every shot count to avoid wasteful ammo expense.
Exploration of the surface is invigorating and atmospheric. Seeing the decaying ruins of once-great structural feats of human engineering will cause you to pause for a moment to absorb the scenery. Due to the radiated nature of the surface, one must first equip a gas mask and filter to breathe safely whenever exploring outside of the metro system. The surface poses a dual-threat in the form of the creatures that inhabit it and the environment itself.
Air filters have a limited window of use, so one must be aware of their filter supply and time allowance. Knowing your time is restricted, it is best to complete your goal promptly and quickly return to the safety of the metro system’s underground setting. Taking too much time may prove deadly.
When compared to the PS4 or Xbox One version of Metro Redux, the Nintendo Switch release falls short in some areas. While the two games run at 60 frames per second on the PS4 and Xbox One, the Switch version runs at a steady 30 frames per second. Whether played in docked or undocked mode, the game is a visual delight on the portable home console. The environments are heavy with atmosphere and subtle details that enrich the experience. One area the Switch version has over the other two is that it allows for gyro aiming. Gyro is applied beautifully and makes for more accurate shooting (thus saving you ammo) and makes first-person shooters a delight to play on Nintendo’s hardware.
The arrival of the Metro series to a Nintendo platform may have been delayed an entire console generation, but its arrival on the Nintendo Switch came at an opportune time. The conductor is ready to punch your ticket to ride, and it is a ride worth boarding. With interesting characters, a moody setting, and strong gameplay variety, Metro Redux can establish itself as one of the premier first-person shooter releases on the Nintendo Switch.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Deep Silver