Its time, time for me to review Metro…again… if you had told me way back in 2013 that I would still be playing Metro 2033 10 years later, I’d have told you to put your gas mask back on and shut the hell up. If you had then carried on and told me that not only would I keep playing the underground Russian shooter, but I’d be playing it on a handheld… well I would have gladly wasted one of my precious money bullets on putting you down since you were clearly insane. Of course, this reaction would be wrong, and I would also be wrong because here I am, laying in bed, playing Metro for the 5th time, on a handheld… what a time to be alive!
So Metro Redux is back, in portable form no less, and I couldn’t be much happier. Since playing through Exodus last year I’ve been re-reading the Dmitry Glukhovsky books and obsessing over the post nuclear wasteland of Moscow, and I am happy to say that shrinking the package down for the Nintendo Switch hasn’t dampened my love for this world! The game still look excellent, with the gritty and bleak metro tunnels being just as imposing as ever and the windswept and icy surface of Moscow are bleak and somehow hauntingly beautiful. I was worried when I booted up that the fear would be lost on me with the smaller console but its still there, even knowing the games as well as I do, there are still plenty of moments to make me jump out of my skin and nearly throw my Switch across the room.
I was worried from the start that the move to handheld might make things hard to control but seeing as Metro isn’t a competitive game, I needn’t have worried. Sure the controls feel a little heavier at times and the tight configuration of buttons and triggers can lead to a few accidental missed shots or uses of resources, but really this adds to the overall sense of dread that the game feeds on anyway. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I heard a noise, panicked and accidentally fired a round into a wall and cursed myself since my next battle would be more of a challenge now without that spare bullet!
The story of Artyom travelling through the Metro system is a deep and compelling one that makes you question your actions more than once. As a video game, it’s always been one that is hard to find enough time for, while the book it’s based on can be easily picked up whenever so sticking it into a game was obviously fairly limiting. Now however, you can pick up and put down THQ’s take on the story as easily as you could a book and that makes it much easier to consume. I for one have been playing the game each night before I take myself off to bed as a little hour of single player gameplay, and even though I know the story better than my own hometown these days, I’ve found myself much more roped in and it gives me more time to process what I’ve played and to think on it!
Metro 2033’s Switch port has brought new life to a game that I honestly thought couldn’t surprise me anymore, With a new flair and pick up and put down style of play, this is the first handheld shooter that has ever felt right in my hands and I look forward to seeing more games looking at this style and trying to replicate it!
I’m giving the Metro 2033 Switch Port