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Metro Redux: A new standard for remastered games

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Although it doesn’t erase the problems that have plagued the series in the past, “Metro: Redux” is an extensive labor of love that raises the bar for future “remastered” games.

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When nuclear disaster destroys Moscow, what’s left above and below ground is an absolute beautiful disaster. As society tries to rebuild, it must first eliminate what is attempting to take its place.

Originally released in 2010 and 2013, “Metro: 2033” and “Metro: Last Light” are unique stealth/first-person shooters based on the novel of Dmitry Glukhovsky that combine a wide-sweeping narrative with solid gameplay. If you’ve never played the series before, think “Fallout,” minus the more open-world feel and a ton less bullets. Well, that’s not entirely true. Both games are pretty different from a gameplay point of view. “Metro: 2033” is more of a shooter that relies on stealth action and watching your ammo, while “Last Light” is more a run and gun shooter. Regardless, the emphasis and theme remains the same. You are alone in a world that is wildly different than it used to be and in order to live, you have to kill whatever is in your way.

While there’s nothing wrong with these games to facilitate updated versions, especially considering both have been available for less than a decade and can easily be found in game shops all over the world, developer 4A Games’ “Redux” versions of these titles are not only better, they are easily “the” versions to play. Thanks to easily recognizable cosmetic changes and gameplay updates, the two tales told in “Metro Redux” feel like brand new games that take solid advantage of the visual capabilities of the XBox One and PlayStation 4.

While the visual changes in both titles can be seen right away in terms of frame-rate and lighting effects, it’s the gameplay additions that make “Metro: Redux” so special. The new “Survival” mode option makes the more traditional FPS in “Last Light” feel more like the stealth/Survival Horror experience of “Metro: 2033,” by limiting the amount of ammo you find and making enemies more difficult to take down. At the same time, the “Spartan” mode ironically makes “Metro:2033” feel more like “Last Light,” allowing you to not worry about your ammo as much and take more damage. It doesn’t seem like a huge thing, but what it allows you to do is maintain the same play style through both adventures, creating an even longer and epic story than what was originally there. It also makes both games far more accessible to gamers looking for different types of experiences.

Because of both the visual upgrades and gameplay additions, “Metro Redux” has to currently be considered as one of the best games available on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Although that has a lot to do with the lack of titles available, don’t let that take anything away from the experience of “Metro Redux.”

In spite of that, there are still problems, many of which haven’t been solved from when the games were originally released. Although the story has been altered-slightly, both titles are still slow-to-develop tales that many, especially those with low-attention spans, won’t give the time to develop. Away from the story, the difficulty for some will be an issue as well. Enemies still seem to eat bullets at will. Make no mistake- head-shot hunters will have their work cut out for them here.

Regardless of these hiccups however, “Metro: Redux” is a blast from the not so recent past that can and will take you into a wild world and steal hours of your time.

The Good:

Both Games Feel Brand New: The new gameplay modes and visual updates make both games, even the far more recent “Metro: Last Light” feel like much more than remastered remakes. Although “The Last of Us: Remastered” set the bar high for remastered remakes earlier this year, “Metro: Redux” is covered in blood, sweat and tears. Simply put, it’s a one-of-a-kind remake.

Graphical Updates Are Easily Noticeable: Sure, the lighting effects are improved and everything is stylized in HD with improved frame-rates, but even the characters and monsters look different. More than just a coat of paint, it’s obvious that this time around, 4A games have tried to make the game they originally wanted to. Simply put, the disgusting, murky and dark worlds of both “Metro: 2033” and “Metro: Last Light” are beautiful.

Stories Connect Beautifully for a Fleshed-Out Experience: In addition to the changes graphically, the story has been tightened up some to allow for both to flow beautifully into one another. All in all, they essentially feel like one big game.

Huge Value: Both of these games are rather large, despite the linear approach and together provide a big time bargain. By themselves, they’re an admirable accomplishment, but together, they serve as an awesome introduction to the series or a fine way to revisit it for hardcore fans.

The Bad:

Same Problems From Past Remain: If you didn’t like the games in this collection before, you won’t appreciate “Metro Redux” nearly as much as someone who is a fan. The blend of story, stealth and first-person shooting isn’t for everyone and although the extra gameplay modes even-out the experience, they won’t attract those that prefer more action.

Final Thoughts:

Although it’s somewhat sad that the most fleshed-out next generation experiences on the PlayStation 4 are remakes, “Metro: Redux” is one of them. Although it tries hard to make the game more appetizing for new gamers, it’s still a title that will be best enjoyed by those that have played the series before. That aside, it’s easily the best game the developer has ever produced.

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