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Metro Exodus looks fantastic on the 4A engine, at least on the PC version

Metro Exodus is the third game in the Metro first person shooter series, based on the books by author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Developed by 4A Games, who brought us Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light, Exodus merges stealth, action and survival elements into one beautiful mutated predator that goes straight for the jugular. After a devastating nuclear war, survivors live in the relative safety of Moscow’s subterranean transit system, but with warring factions, mutated monsters and depleting supplies how long can it all last?

Acting as a standalone entry in the franchise and abandoning the more supernatural themes of the first two games and focusing on a more human story, Metro Exodus tells a gripping and harrowing tale that aims to show you a more real side of the nuclear holocaust.

The plot kicks off with the series’ protagonist Artyom continuing to explore Moscow in the hope of picking up an elusive radio signal. He’s convinced that he and his compatriots below ground aren’t the only survivors of the nuclear war that put paid to civilization – much to the chagrin of his commander, Miller. Artyom’s wife Anna is prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, and, on a surface excursion, her faith is restored when the pair of them come across a train, shooting through Moscow’s normally low-tech landscape.

While there are elements of open world design, Exodus is always tugging you in a prescribed direction, frustratingly so for the first few hours, when control is frequently wrested from you as yet another cut-scene takes hold.

The chapters are bookended with sections set aboard your train as it hurtles through the endless Russian landscape. This mobile hub is functionally similar to the submarine in Wolfenstein 2, allowing you to collect your thoughts and interact with your crew. There’s hours worth of dialogue to take in here, making rounded human beings of your companions and sewing narrative seeds that pay off much later in the game.

Exodus looks fantastic on the 4A engine, at least on the PC version. From seasonal weather effects like snowfall, fog and rain to wiping blood and viscera off the visor, great lighting and tones on all the little details make this a truly believable and terrifying world with some stunning vistas. A night and day cycle has been introduced which isn’t just there for effect but can help or hinder you on missions. For example, while you are less visible at night and enemies may be sleeping, your visibility is also limited and the night seems to bring out more dangerous monsters.

Metro Exodus also manages to find a way to blend the themes of the story in gameplay. Without spoiling anything, as things get more and more intense and desperate in the story, you feel that desperation in the way you play. Scavenging for any possible thing you can because you lack bullets or even a throwing knife, holding on for dear life as you burn through the air filters on your gas mask in a densely radiated city, the final act of the game showcases all of this beautifully and it’s nothing short of powerful.

This analogue-like style of crafting and management extends to the core game experience as Metro Exodus offers players a pretty open-ended way to approach the game.

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