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Metro Exodus Impressions: Post Apocalyptic Grizzly Man

/ Sep 12th, 2018 No Comments

Metro Exodus Impressions

The Metro series is not one I’m extremely familiar with. I have owned a PC a copy of Metro 2033, but never got around to playing it. So I came to the demo of Metro Exodus with a blank slate, which was both good and bad. It means I didn’t have any baggage or preconceived notions, but it also meant I had to wrap my head around foreign gameplay mechanics and style.

All that said, the demo for Metro Exodus impressed me even if I was often in over my head.

Opening Up the Sandbox

The demo opened with the player character on the brink of drowning. By luck or fate, a scavenger woman rescues him from a watery grave. Whether a good samaritan or something more, she not takes him out of the water and resuscitate him back to life. Before she runs off to rejoin her clan, she warns him it is dangerous out there. She wasn’t lying either.

I experienced a world of full of dangers, from a paranoid and aggressive band of survivors to wild wolves and things that defied explanation. If you aren’t careful, it is easy to get overwhelmed by extremely dangerous enemies. That isn’t only because they are fierce, but also because you don’t have much in the way of defending yourself.

At the start of the demo, you have a few cobbled together weapons: a cheap pistol and a shotgun of sorts. Shortly after getting away from the water, you find a crossbow, which is helpful because it is quiet and can help you maintain stealth, even if you have to get into a bit of combat. That’s good too because you learn quickly that enemies are smart and evasion is your friend.

One of the major skirmishes in the demo involved navigating a destroyed grouping of houses while trying to find a way to make it to the other side of the river. Coming into the demo completely unfamiliar with the series, my natural inclination was to try to take every enemy out using whatever weapon I had on hand. That didn’t work out so well.

The enemies in Metro Exodus are smart. Sound tips them off almost immediately and they will call for back up. Before I could switch between weapons or reload, they overwhelmed me and it was game over in seconds.

Metro Exodus’ gameplay favors stealth and thinking out a game plan. It is a deliberate pacing and an approach that favors finding alternative solutions to combat.

Before my time with the demo was over, I witnessed what can only be described as a monster burst through the treeline while chasing packs of wolves. It was immediately clear that avoiding that behemoth was my best option.

Metro Exodus Impressions

The world of Metro Exodus is not friendly.

A major change from the previous games in the series is moving from linear paths to a more open sandbox structure. The demo gave a good sense of how much more freedom you have to explore. When trying to track down the objective, I stumbled upon a tied up bandit being threatened by a menacing wolf. Rather than continuing on, I decided to take out the wolf with a cross bow bolt. After one unsuccessful attempt, I bested the wolf and had a choice to make: do I free the bandit or do I put a cross bow bolt to his face too? We know what I did because immorality is video games’ choice dejure.

The demo had a few of these side diversions that ask players to make a moral decision. For a timed demo, this probably wasn’t the place to explore these activities, but it showcases how the full game will offer players a great sense of freedom.

Counter Programming

Metro Exodus will take some major titles when it releases on Feb. 22, 2019, including Anthem and Days Gone. However, Exodus offers a distinct and unique flavor of gameplay compared to other blockbuster titles. Gameplay is extremely deliberate with a focus on managing scarce resources, utilizing stealth and thinking hard about any combat scenario. We will find out if that will do enough to make Metro Exodus stand out from its competitors.

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Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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