Metro 2033 is a first person shooter exclusive to Windows operating system and the Xbox 360. Taking place in Russia after a nuclear fallout, Metro easily fits into the category or survivalist cash in, but it's actually more than that.
I flirted with purchasing this game for a little over 3 months before finally taking a chance on it for $23 (with my Poo membership discount) at Gamestop. Metro 2033 is based on a book by the same title. That being said, I new the story was going to be engaging from the start. You control Artyom. Artyom was born in the underground metro of Moscow, Russia after the fallout. A quick look around his room reveals several photos of the world before the catastrophe. He's never ventured outside of the Metro prior to the games events - it is too dangerous above ground. Mutated creatures, noxious gases - it's just plain uninhabitable. Then came that fated day when Artyom was asked to travel to Polis and request assistance, and he found himself involves in a battle that concerned much more than just his metro.
To match the games well written and thought out story, Metro also has an amazing atmosphere. In fact, I'd say this is up there with Metroid Prime an Resident Evil as far as games with great atmosphere's go. The sound design plays greatly into this, but it's also due to the great attention to detail. In one particular chapter, Artyom is traversing a haunted metro tunnel. At one point, a ghost train comes flying by - you can see nothing but the headlights until you get out of the way, and then all you see is the light cast by the would-be windows. However, if you take the time to look into the light, you can see the shadows of passengers. It's the little things that get me in the end.
The controls are standard FPS fare, but they aren't as tight as say, Call of Duty or Halo. Another problem is that despite the well rendered graphics, some of the animations are less than stellar. Enemies just kind of flop over when you kill them, and it kind of takes away from the game when there's so much attention to the details of everything else. Furthermore, some of the level design is pretty chaotic, and there are a few chapters where you will be wandering around lost for several minutes, and occasionally abusing glitches to get back where you need to be.
This game some very interesting features. When you go above ground or through an area where outside air is leaking in, you have to put on a gas mask. Beyond that, your filter only lasts so long. You can acquire more filters by pilfering them or buying them in towns. Your gas mask is also only so sturdy. If you get shot in the gas mask or a mutant attacks you and hits your mask, the mask will crack. If it gets cracked enough, you will barely be able to see! To get a new mask, you can pry one off of dead corpses with your knife, or one can be bought for a pretty penny...or a pretty bullet I should say. Ammo is money in the metro. There are 2 types of ammo in the game. Dirty ammo is made in the metro. It is poor quality, but it gets the job done. The second type is military grade ammo, which was produced before the fallout. It is of superior quality, but is worth much more. Furthermore, only military grade guns can fire miltiary grade ammo. Guns made in the metro, such as "the Bastard", an unwieldy and sloppily made machine gun, are much less effective than guns such as the AK-47 that was produced before the nukes were launched. Military guns and ammunition is certainly better, but it's also more valuable, and ammo in general is far more scarce than in most first person shooters. Metro makes you pick between firing that shot, or buying a new filter.
Metro 2033 is very engaging, but is ultimately bogged down by some bad design. The story and atmosphere is amazing, but the gameplay leaves more to be desiring - although the ammo system and gas mask concepts are very cool. A sequel, Metro: Last Light is due sometime in the not so distant future. If it just has some better production values than it's predecessor, then it might be one hell of a ride. For the time being though, Metro is a decent and engaging game that may be worth your time if you can get it for a good price.