For someone who writes as often as I do you think I’d love to read as well but in all honesty, I just don’t often bother. It takes a lot to make me pick up a book sometimes though there is a series that I often find I just can’t put down. Metro! Starting with Metro 2033 I was quickly hooked on the story of the young Artyom as he set out on his journey to cross the entire Moscow metro system to find answers to what is happening to the people post a massive nuclear apocalypse. I never said the books were cheery. For a bit of back story, I only picked up the book because I saw some footage of the Metro 2033 game and was keen to learn more about the world but NOT so keen to spend £40 for the pleasure if I didn’t enjoy the gameplay so I decided to try the cheaper option first. Very soon after finishing the book I ran out to grab the game and marvelled at how closely the story mirrored that of the source material, with characters and locations matching their book descriptions so closely that it felt like the developers over at 4A Games had a direct connection to my imagination when I was reading! The same happened 3 years later with the release of Metro: Last Light, however, this time the book actually followed the game. This made the story of the sequel all the more rich as the original author, Dmitry Glukhovsky, was heavily involved in the writing for the game. Now we’re getting into the real meat of this article!
With all that I’ve said above, I think it’s pretty clear that I love the Metro series. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that there was a new game inbound! Historically and obviously based on the title, most of the action of the main series takes place within the darkness of the Moscow metro with only a few missions taking you up to the irradiated surface. Last Light, in particular, was praised for its harrowing rendering of the ruined Moscow with collapsed buildings and radioactive pools of water not just being used as a dull grey backdrop as they are in so many games. You really felt unsafe, alone, scared and for me personally, I also felt shame. Fictional or not I felt partially responsible for all this destruction just on behalf of my species! That’s a lot of emotion for a bunch of polygons to drop on you… Now though Metro: Exodus promises to take the journey almost exclusively to the outside world with the claustrophobic tunnels being swapped for a massive outside world with steam trains seeming to be the key mode of transport. This is such a jarring change to the usual Metro horror formula which normally relies on spooking you with what’s around the corner. How will they do that with an open field with no corners?! It’s an exciting prospect that promises a more action heavy experience than previous titles and probably a greater emphasis on the adventure rather than the big scary monsters waiting to eat your feet like the Baba Yaga. Judging from the story trailer and the recent “Artyom’s Nightmare” video it seems like a key element of the story will be Artyom’s desire to protect his family from the new world they’ve found themselves in with a particularly harrowing scene in the Nightmare trailer showing out gas mask-wearing hero locking eyes with his beloved Anna and what seems to be their newborn child who is also wearing a gas mask, sins of the father amirite?
All in all, Exodus promises to give us more of that deep dark Metro story we’ve all grown attached to, just without the deep dark tunnels that the series is famous for! I for one can’t wait to see how Artyom’s story evolves in this new environment as being a legend in the Metro probably won’t carry much weight in the new Russian countryside and there is sure to be plenty of conflict along the way to make you think with a little more perspective. Sure I COULD end this argument by shooting this angry man in the face the question I’ll have to ask myself is SHOULD I do that. Especially if Anna and my gas mask wearing kid are watching me! It’s a real pickle! Or whatever the Russian equivalent is?