Russia has never been this awful. Metro 2033, developed by 4A Games, assets the storyline from the literature Metro 2033, a science fiction book by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Taking the level of Russian culture to a new medium, Glukhovsky’s novel combines action, suspense, and a level of thrill with every page of esoteric thematic tension. As the fastest selling novel in Russian History, Metro 2033 poses quite the challenge for the developers of the title to incorporate. Sadly, the inexplicable pages of thrill and anomalous action from the novel’s narrative stop at the end of the book and fail to see any shred of justice in the video-game counterpart adaptation of Metro 2033. While the graphics are lively to the atmospheric setting, Metro 2033 takes bland shooter mechanics within a haphazardly translated version of the book from scene to scene and achieves to meet the criteria for the worst video-game adaptation thus far of literature since Dante’s Inferno by Electronic Arts.
The game begins with the question of existence. Survival of the fittest sees a new rise, as people are doomed to their aimless and meaningless lives as mutants plague the bubonic lands. The year is 2033 and the world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct as the half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests are to be found. Survivors remember the past greatness of humankind but the last remains of civilization have already become a distant memory and the stuff of myth. Artyom is one of these many suffering Russian citizens who have been living in the Moscow subway systems after the nuclear apocalypse came to form. This makeshift shelter designed subway system plays the home to Artyom and his stepfather. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong which forces Artyom to step out beyond the system and head to the Polis to warn people of danger and get help. In order to completely outline the atmosphere of future Russia, Metro 2033 establishes a terrific setting atmosphere with the subway systems. Exploring the open area of the home station makes it blatantly apparent that no one has traversed outside to the surface or even remembers the days before the nuclear blast denigrated the planet. Outside lurk the Dark Ones, strange creatures who attack their victims that turn into the shadows themselves. Artyom is luckily immune to the effects, which gives him the perfect rite of passage to discover the origins of the Dark Ones.
The storyline premise that forms the gameplay sounds extremely interesting within Metro 2033, but unfortunately bad translation and even worse voice acting dulls the experience from the very beginning. As the storyline progresses, lack of clear detail is apparent throughout the game and the action feels lucidly hollow as the game furthers in the mission structure. Traveling between stations requires you to make your way through the subway tunnels, which contains mutants. Other troubles include Nazi vs Communist party remnants. Metro 2033 begins to show the real action is missing, with botched ‘shock’ moments that seem way too scripted and predictable to be of any real insight. The missions continually progress on a linear level while any cast interactions, such as that with the outlandish Bourbon, seem rather meaningless as Artyom wades through hordes of enemies to reach the end of his journey all too soon.
Weapon variety is the only thing that is remarkably significant, considering that the economy within the game feels relatively interesting due to cartridges as currency. Pre-war military grade cartridges feel like shooting money due to a greater damage per round. The other type of currency revolves around simple cartridges made by hand in the metro stations.
Graphical enhancements such as DirectX 11 and NVIDIA PhysX for the PC version relatively show any significant differences compared to DirectX10. Unfortunately, while the graphics of Metro 2033 are terrific and make the atmosphere more believable, there are typical hiccups with graphics in addition to the lackluster enemy variety and terrible A.I. to compliment.
Metro 2033 takes upon the challenge of adapting the book to the video game entertainment format while keeping the foundations of the books core action, thrill, adventure, and science fiction tension at an all time high. While atmosphere within Metro 2033 fares much better in comparison to other gameplay elements through better graphics, Metro 2033 fails to do anything more. Dismally, the journey within Metro 2033 discontinues into mediocrity as the repetitive nature of the shooter mechanics and bland voice acting tarnishes whatever small amount of action remains in the gameplay. Metro 2033 provides nothing more than a blasé adaptation of Metro 2033’s novel in video-game form, which fails to provide any believable thrill but a forgettable post-apocalypse journey. Perhaps Metro 2034 will be more memorable for better gameplay.