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Metro 2033: Life in a Post-Nuclear War Time

Company: THQ

Last week, I was lucky enough to get to go to a preview event in San Francisco for Metro 2033. I was told beforehand that the place was going to be set up like the game, but I couldn't believe the extent they went to. When we got there, we went in the back door with a sign saying Metro 2033 above the door. As we walked down the corridors, a soldier was telling us where to go, with a Russian accent, of course. There was fog everywhere, making it a bit hard to see at times, but really setting the mood. When we got to the room, there was a man playing a guitar, a kid with a worn teddy bear, laundry hanging around and many other general war-torn items. In short, the setup was perfect!

Now, I suppose you wonder why I'm telling you all this as you're wondering how it applies to the game. Well, when you launch the game, you'll see that soldier, the guy with the guitar, even the kid with the same teddy bear in the first few scenes. The attention to detail was perfect, just like in the game. All of the graphics are fantastic and the scenery in the game really makes you feel the story, which is important in Metro 2033. The characters are realistic without being so ultra-real that they're scary and the monsters are all mutations from the nuclear fallout, and you can tell what they used to be pre-war. They've been changed just the right amount to be exactly what you would expect from a post-nuclear fallout.

Metro 2033 is a unique game, in my opinion, as it combines a first person shooter/survival horror with a rich, in-depth story that you usually only find in RPGs. Based on a novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, in Metro 2033, you are playing as Artyom. He's a typical Russian guy who's been living in the underground metro in Moscow for quite a number of years now. No one really knows who started the war, but since Moscow's subway was built to not only withstand a nuclear blast, but to house people after the fact, the citizens that were lucky enough to make it below ground have been surviving there ever since. There is a whole sub-culture now. Each station has its own rules and order (or lack of order in some places) just like a normal city would. Artyom is going to have to talk to everyone he can if he's going to succeed.

You spend about 70% of your time underground in the subway system and the rest you will be top side. Every time you are topside though, you have to equip a gas mask as the air still isn't safe to breathe. You'll have to balance your time on the surface to make sure you don't run out of air, but to also scavenge for as many items as you can. Pre-war ammo is so much better than what they can make post-war that it is used as currency. But it is also a lot more effective against enemies, so you'll have to learn to manage your bullets/currency, which brings up a slight problem with the game.

Based on the version that I played, there is a severe lack of ammo to be found and only one game save available. While I loved playing Metro 2033, I can foresee people getting stuck and getting very frustrated. The game autosaves for you at each checkpoint, which is good, but let's say that you just barely make it past a checkpoint with only your knife (which really doesn't work well when you're getting hit by more than one enemy). The game will save for you at that point, writing over the only game save available. Unfortunately, there is not enough ammo to be found anywhere for you to make it to the next checkpoint, no matter how much you fight with your knife. You have no option to revert to a previous save and get it right this time. You just have to start over from the beginning. But I'm really crossing my fingers that they add a multiple game save ability by the release date. Otherwise, you better hope your kid brother doesn't come along and start a new game on your profile as well, or he will overwrite your only game.

There is another element to the story of Metro 2033 that makes it much more than a typical FPS where you just run around and kill things. There are these creatures called the Dark Ones. They are possibly an evolved form of humanity, at least that is Artyom's father's theory. The Dark Ones are even more dangerous than the mutants as they don't need to be strong to kill. They simply use their minds and everyone collapses, everyone except Artyom, that is. For some unknown reason, Artyom is immune to the Dark One's power. Is he yet another evolution of human, perhaps? Honestly, I don't know yet, but I can't wait to get the book when it comes out in English next month to find out! It's been a bestselling novel in Russia for a while now.

Personally, I am dying for Metro 2033 to come out soon! We only got to play it for about 3 hours at the event, so that's just enough time to really get into it and be wanting more. If you're a fan of first person shooters, I recommend you keep your eyes open for Metro 2033.

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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