Metro Redux Nintendo Switch review – Russian underground

Remasters of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are brought to Nintendo Switch but how do they compare to modern post-apocalyptic games?

At this point it’s become impossible to guess what games will or won’t come to the Switch. When titles as violent and adult-themed, not to mention technically advanced, as Doom and The Witcher 3 make it then all bets are off. Especially as even being published by a rival is no obstacle for the likes of previously Xbox exclusive games such as Ori And The Blind Forest and Cuphead.

Given those examples, ports of the first two Metro games make perfect sense, even though the originals are rather old now. Metro 2033, based on the novel of the same name by Dmitry Glukhovsky, was first released on Xbox 360 and PC in 2010. It was the first game by Ukrainian studio 4A Games – many of who worked on the classic, and similarly themed, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl – and is an unusual mix of first person shooter and survival game, with heavy horror overtones.

Set in a post-apocalyptic Russia, where survival above ground is almost impossible, the setting was used as more than just a backdrop, with an unusually involved storyline that addresses the political fallout and psychological cost of nuclear Armageddon in a far more ambitious way than Fallout and its ilk. The game was first remastered in 2014, which is what this is a port of, so even that version is pretty old now, with a generally sense of clunkiness to the mechanics and interface that was evident even during the original release.

Metro: Last Light first came out in 2013 and works in a similar manner to its predecessor, as the post-apocalyptic societies surviving in the Moscow underground fall back on the old extremes of communism and fascism. But its plot is not quite as pointed as that sounds, which is perhaps a shame, and while it’s a more mechanically sound game it’s also a more straightforward action title, which is a pity as it feels like 2033’s more interesting elements have been sanded off in an attempt to polish the presentation.

So far there’s no sign that the much more recent Metro Exodus is coming to Switch, even though the port of The Witcher 3 suggests it would probably work quite well. There seems no reason to rule it out entirely though, even if the recent announcement of a fourth game means that 4A Games’ attention is likely to be elsewhere for the next few years.

For no discernible reason the two games are available only as a compilation at retail and only separately when you buy them digitally. The price is exactly the same either way though, so it makes no real difference – other than if you only want to dip your toe in the water with one or the other.

If that is how you’d prefer to do things then Metro 2033 is the obvious choice, as it’s not only the start of the franchise but feels more distinctive, with its heavier emphasis on stealth and survival. It could be off-puttingly difficult in its original form, but the remaster did an excellent job of making it more accessible and forgiving – while still keeping the original settings as an option.

By comparison, Metro: Last Light is more action-focused and since the gunplay isn’t particularly good in any of the games that makes it seem less interesting today. It’s a shame the price for the pair is so high but despite its age and clunkiness we would recommend giving 2033 a go at least and experiencing the joys of one of the most miserably realistic and stress-filled post-apocalyptic settings in gaming.


Metro Redux Nintendo Switch review summary

In Short: The games are beginning to approach their sell-by-date, but the impressively oppressive post-apocalyptic atmosphere still has plenty of appeal.

Pros: Convincing atmosphere and interesting stealth and survival elements, especially in 2033. Ambitious, if often opaque, storytelling. Graphics can still impress, despite their age.

Cons: The gunplay and artificial intelligence was never great in either game and feels very basic nowadays. Last Light is too action-focused and the pricing for both is unwisely high.

Score: 7/10

Formats: Nintendo Switch
Price: £44.99 (£24.49 separately)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: 28th February 2020
Age Rating: 18

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