Timesplitters Future Perfect

Platform: PC (this is a PC review) Genre: FPS/RPG Hybrid Single Player: Yes Multiplayer: No
Developer: 4A Games Distributor: THQ

The story of how I got acquainted with Metro 2033 began on the 15th of June when my friend purchased it for me as a 21st birthday present. Reading about the game and seeing the preview videos on the internet made me realize that it resembled S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Fallout 3 a bit. Those two are my type of games. So, when my friend asked me what he should buy me as a gift (he said he’d buy me any PC free games I wanted), after much persuasion as to why he needn’t worry about buying me such an expensive gift, I gave in and said: “Metro 2033 then, please!”. So, after installing it, I was greeted with an interesting looking main menu. You see, I look at every little thing when it comes to games. Even things like the main menu layout, draw a picture of how the game will turn out once you click on “New Game” and then “Play”.

After beginning Metro 2033, you could immediately tell that this game would be good. The first sequence resembled Call of Duty 4 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s love child. So, after the slick tutorial, which showed that the game play worked well, movement felt natural and that the gun mechanics were solid, you begin your adventure. The first safe area/”town” showed 4A Games’ commitment to detail and enthusiasm for their creation. Most NPCs look alike, as you’ll soon notice after you venture further into other “towns”. This was an annoyance that I was willing to look over, seeing as other aspects of the game were top notch. Now, I’ve been speaking about “towns” a little, so, let me elaborate…

In Metro 2033; which is based upon a novel of the same name, the whole world has faced a nuclear apocalypse and some of the Russian populace managed to escape into the underground Moscow metro systems. Apparently, during the Cold War, the Russian leaders proceeded to fortify all the metro stations and tunnels that run along the whole of Moscow. They would serve as capable nuclear shelters if nukes did indeed fly around and destroy the whole world in many a bright, radiation filled mushroom cloud. So, with all these people underground, a whole new civilization was born. A whole new generation of people living, loving, adapting and surviving underground. Every train station serves as a separate unit and the different stations fight, trade and commune amongst each other. The player takes control of a twenty year old Russian teen named Artyom. The most powerful station, with the most influence is Polis and you are tasked with giving a message to a ranger named Miller, there.

This game’s music was haunting, in my opinion. I’m specifically referring to the main menu music and the intro’s music. It has a tragic feel to it that suites the game to a tee. The atmosphere is spot on as well. Graphics are excellent, all round. The NPCs faces could have been done better and their expressions aren’t wonderful, but otherwise, Metro 2033 uses one of the best graphics engines I’ve ever seen. It ran on the “High” graphics setting on my PC and my computer isn’t great. Therefore, you don’t need a super computer to run this game either (I’m looking at you Crysis). Crouching, sprinting etc. work and feel good (as mentioned before). The trading segments of the game could have been done differently and better though. The game is also not very lengthy when it comes to actual playtime. It took me around 10 hours to complete. Some people complained about the stealth mechanics in this game and that they don’t work so well. I disagree. While performing silent knife-throws to the back of some poor Russian bad guys head, I had a great amount of fun.

The guns fire great and feel like they pack a punch. Speaking of guns…there are many in this game. One can buy the basic model revolver or buy modified versions of the same weapon (a modified revolver with a longer barrel and a scope for example). You can also buy throwing knives, a custom made shotgun that fires it’s shells like a revolver and the usual, like an AK74 or a sniper rifle. You need to buy your own med kits and gas masks, as, when venturing outside, you could potentially damage the visor of your gas mask and need to replace it. You have company most of the time (NPCs that accompany you through the spooky, cob-web filled train tunnels), but the few times that you are alone, creep you out nonetheless. I’d like to note that this game has a lot of attention to detail in every environment. Lights can be blown out to provide darkness for the stealthy mode of play games and whether you are hidden from view or not is represent by green, orange and red bars that appear on your watch. You have a flash-light that needs recharging with the use of your mobile, hand-cranked generator. Very cool.

You face various, hideous mutants (one of which resembles a pig mixed with a man) and Russian conscripts while on your journey to Polis, which provides quite an assortment of different fodder for you to destroy. You go from underground railway tunnels to the above, nuclear-war ravaged Moscow and the sites to see are quite extraordinary. While searching through the Moscow ruins, the player must always wear a gas mask, which adds to the sense of urgency while playing these levels. I always dreaded going above ground, as the mutants are numerous and you can hear their horrid cries piercing through the air. At this point, I’d like to note that this game can be very difficult at times. The game goes from being challenging to down-right impossible at certain stages, all of this while on the “Normal” difficulty setting. I had to try an end level bit, several times before I got it right. In the end, this game was a really enjoyable experience and was made even more so by it’s difficulty.

Final Thoughts:
If shooting at Russian soldiers and mutants while underground sounds like a good gaming concept to you and if you’ll forgive the games occasional glitches and maddening sudden difficulty spikes, then pick Metro 2033 up and give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.