For a few moments when I loaded up Metro 2033 Redux I had one of those "Hm, I don't think anything has really changed" reactions. It's been about two years since I last played Metro 2033, and I remembered it looking...well, basically the same as the Redux version looks. Metro 2033 was gorgeous when it came out, so this didn't really surprise me.
Then I swapped back to the original Metro 2033.
Wow. Graphics have come a surprisingly long way in the last four years.
Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux are the "definitive" or "director's cut" versions of each game. You're receiving a slightly prettier version of each game, complete with all the DLC and some new features — for instance, being able to wipe water/blood off the gas mask in Metro 2033. Surprise! You couldn't do that in 2033, even if your brain is telling you that you could. Wiping the gas mask was a new feature for Metro: Last Light, Metro 2033's sequel.
I didn't play through the entirety of the Redux versions. While I love the Metro series, I have little desire to go back and revisit both games in their entirety, back to back. That being said, I played through the first two hours of each game, and then went back and played through the first forty minutes of the originals to make some comparisons.
I also made use of the game's new mode selection — you can play each game in "Survival Mode" or "Spartan Mode." Survival Mode is supposedly more akin to 2033's survival-horror style pacing, while Spartan Mode emulates Last Light's run-n-gun action by making the player more durable and doling out more ammo. Each game can be played in either mode, so I played 2033 Redux in Spartan Mode and Last Light Redux in Survival Mode just to see what happened.
First off: The graphics. Both games use Last Light's engine, so the difference for Last Light Redux is unnoticeable. I assume the developers touched up a few things here and there, but Last Light's only a year old.
Metro 2033, on the other hand, receives a significant boost. First of all, I rejoiced that 2033 Redux doesn't default to leaving PhysX on. As an AMD user, the original 2033 confused the hell out of me when I first bought it because Nvidia's proprietary PhysX technology was (unbeknownst to me) tanking my system. It's the smallest change possible, but I was excited to see this version rectify the problem.
Character models are the most noticeable asset difference by far. Metro 2033's original wooden-faced people are swapped out for Last Light's set, and it's an enormous upgrade.
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