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Metro Redux hands-on: Nuclear winter has never looked so appealing

Hayden Dingman | June 2, 2014
Metro 2033, rough as it is around the edges, is one of my favorite games of all time. Metro: Last Light is also a darn fine game. Despite some odd story quirks, both games ooze atmosphere. "Immersion" is an oft-bandied term that has become progressively meaningless, but few other shooters would urge you to stop and watch a fifteen-minute vaudeville act in the middle of the story. Few games would employ a system where your most powerful bullets are also currency, forcing you to make a choice between stopping power and wealth.

Metro 2033, rough as it is around the edges, is one of my favorite games of all time. Metro: Last Light is also a darn fine game. Despite some odd story quirks, both games ooze atmosphere. "Immersion" is an oft-bandied term that has become progressively meaningless, but few other shooters would urge you to stop and watch a fifteen-minute vaudeville act in the middle of the story. Few games would employ a system where your most powerful bullets are also currency, forcing you to make a choice between stopping power and wealth.

It's these little touches that make the subway-and-nuclear-winter world of the Metro franchise feel so alive. So if it takes Deep Silver "remastering" the games, as they describe it, and releasing definitive versions in order to get people to play the series, that's fine with me.

Spot the difference

Unfortunately it makes for an awkward demo. I got the chance to go hands-on with the PlayStation 4 version of Metro Redux a few weeks back, and it's hard to really tell what's different.

I don't mean that as a slight against the repackaged version, because I'm sure the differences do exist. Imagine that you watched the original version of Apocalypse Now a few years ago, though, and then somebody showed you the director's cut. Would you be able to pick out the additional scenes or would you simply second-guess your memory each time?

That's what playing Metro Redux is like. You're creeping around post-nuclear war Russia with too few bullets and slapped-together weapons in a state of isolated, unnerving terror, just trying to figure out what (if anything) is different. In a way I guess that's a good thing — it still feels like Metro. Nothing I saw felt "out of place" as it were. But when the developers tell you "This is an entirely new section of this level, added just for the Redux version," you can only smile and nod and try desperately to recall what the game was like before.

Compounding the problem is the fact that I wasn't shown graphics comparisons between Metro 2033 on the PC and the new-and-improved Metro Redux version of 2033 on PC. The closest we got was a comparison video between the Xbox 360 version of Metro 2033 and the new visuals in Metro Redux. And yeah, Metro Redux blows the piddling Xbox 360 graphics out of the water with all the force of ten nuclear bombs. No surprise there.

To say that Metro 2033 looked like absolute garbage on the 360 compared to a high-powered PC...well, that's putting it kindly. I'm curious how much of a graphical bump the game gets when you compare the best PC settings to the new best PC settings. That's something we'll have to test when the game releases this summer.

 

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