As well as many smaller titles showing off their flare at EGX, we of course had some of the big boys roll in with their content too; Destiny 2, The Division 2, Assassins Creed: Odyssey, Spider-Man, they all flexed their muscles and showed us what they’re packing. Deep in the middle of the convention though, Metro Exodus was present and pounding its hardy chest. With a tasty 15-minute gameplay experience, it was something I was intrigued to try out.
Thrown in the Deep End
I’d like to set the record straight by saying I haven’t played the previous 2 Metro games. I have bought them, and I’m currently ticking through them, but this was an entirely new experience of FPS Survival to me. I’m going to stay a little away from the story side of this, as I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes, but this is what I gathered from the gameplay.
I wake up from nearly drowning in a lake by a mysterious woman, who was with one of the factions called Children of the Forest; a group who grew up in the wilderness due to being stranded at a scout camp when the war broke out. She scurries off and I am left to explore my surroundings and gather my bearings. It’s Autumn, and even with Russia in complete disarray and overrun by bandits, demons and huge infected beasts, the game is remarkably beautiful, and brilliantly designed.
The Choice Is Yours
As I took myself out of the intense immersive experience from time to time, I checked on my colleague’s progress to see how they would be getting on. It occurred to me very quickly that there are several paths you can take, all leading to different places, and each decision having diverse consequences.
This also echoes customisation and weapons of choice. As I stumbled into what looked like an abandoned school, I collected a variety of weapons; the silent and deadly crossbow called the Helsing, able to fire bolts over medium distances to eliminate threats without making too much noise. The Bastard Gun, an aptly named automatic pistol that can shred targets with ease, for as long as it doesn’t jam on you, which it will, almost all the time. Finally, I also had the A Shot, an extremely powerful shotgun at close range, just as long as you have enough ammunition loaded for it.
Each of these weapons, as well as more that can be acquired in the game, have huge customisation options, both on the move and at workbenches, so you can tweak each weapon to suit your play style.
Like I mentioned before, the choice is yours, but stealth plays an incredibly vital role in this game. A broken bridge with a small group of enemies, boasting not to come closer, sent a clear message that my path through this would not be an easy one. I jumped down from the bridge and found a tunnel which put me right on the skirts of their encampment. It is possible to go through their camp undetected and unseen, it’s also possible to go loud and proud, slaughter anyone you see and loot the camp for supplies. I generally go for somewhere in the middle, so I proceeded to stealth kill my way through the camp. Doing this played to my advantage as I was less at risk of being spotted when I ventured around for supplies, even when they decided to leave bloody tin cans dangling in doorways, to alert them of an intruder, pesky buggers. I took one final look at my colleagues process; Darren was at a bus I was previously at before, watched him press the wrong button and get his map out, to which the scout had turned round and ended him quickly.
Time was running out on my demo so I resorted to more abrupt tactics, after using the Helsing on a few more enemies, I went loud with the A Shot and stormed through the encampment, up a watchtower and zip lined to the other side. The demo ended quickly after I had witnessed a pack of wolves running away from a colossal bear. I’m somewhat thankful for that.
Metro Exodus then is a test. A test on your own survival skills and interpretation of your surroundings, as well as your effectiveness in combat. It’s a dangerous but absolutely stunning world, with physics and graphics being thought through to the finest detail, throughout all the seasons we will see in the full game, as well as the variety of threats and enemies we will encounter. Metro Exodus is a test, the question is will you pass it, or die trying?