This Week I've Mostly Been Playing...

In a change of pace from my usual vitriol I hereby present reviews in a subject and past time I have a lot of time for: gaming.

I will cover games, new & old, on the platforms I have (PC and Xbox 360, unless anyone at Nintendo and Sony are willing to bribe me with shiny toys, then them as well) and rate them only own unique system based on a free market approach; what I would willingly pay for them.

So without further ado This Week I've Mostly Been Playing...

Metro 2033

Bored as I was and unable to afford Fallout: New Vegas (Bethesda, take note), I instead bought this with another game (more of which in a separate post) as I'd wanted to try it for some time.

Based on a popular Russian SciFi novel this novel follows the story of Artyom, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, living in the tunnels below it along with a few other thousand survivors, his already hard life is made all the harder by the arrival of his step-father's friend, Hunter, who's arrival and disappearance follows a chain of events potentially ending with the end of the human race.

A rarity in first person shooters, the game presents you with a number of difficult choices on top of the standard skilled death dealing of a plethora of enemies; for one good ammo also doubles as currency; pre-apocalypse, military grade ammo is found across the shattered remains of Moscow but it's rarity makes it valuable - you can trade it for better weapons and supplies and post-apocalyptic ammo which packs less of a punch, the technology and knowledge slowly dying out as time has passed.

Additionally weapon choice is a problem; you have a choice between pre-war and post-apocalyptic weaponry, some of it requiring different actions to keep it clean and serviceable; you have to "pump" over-engineered air rifles and crossbows to with an air-pump constantly to keep them firing, difficult when under a hail of gunfire. this is matched by the difficulty in keeping your surroundings amongst the ruins lit; your headlamp (and later night vision goggles) run on batteries that you have to charge using a hand-charging device, levying you vulnerable yet again.)

During your journey as well as seeing the impact of new, mutated, species on humanities quest for survival you also see the regular concepts of humanities own inhumanity; we see resurgent communist and nazi groups, having taken command over several metro stations, vying for control over the few remaining free ones, all the while oblivious to an encroaching darkness...

The game itself has a very good game engine with a good degree of userability and simplicity. The player is required to make difficult choices in that your carryable weapons are limited and thus push you to make choices as to how you progress through the game: do you go in guns ablazing with a pre-war AK-47 and shotgun or stealth it out with silent killers like the crossbow and silenced revolver? The spectre of low ammo and fast, deadly enemies making your choice all the more critical.

Graphically it cannot be faulted either; this is no doubt helped by the nature of your surroundings; unlike the calm pristine beauty present in the Halo games you are made aware of the palpable decay present in this world, presented in a sepia pallet of despair.

All in all this game is definitely a lot better than I had imagined; with so many FPS' out there it is easy to become blind to the innovative that occasionally pops up; games like this are a welcome change.

Rating*: £20, a few months after it has come out.

* = the rating relates to how much I'm willing to pay and how long I'm willing to wait, e.g. Fallout 3 would be "£70 spec. ed., bought immeadiately" whilst Bullet Witch would be "£3 in a charity shop when drunk"; they are not a reflection of what I paid but what I would be willing to pay with a working knowledge of what the game is like.

No comments: