Tag Archives: metro exodus

Epic Says Its Store Won’t Sell ‘Porn Games Or Bloatware’

It’s been a big day for the Epic Games Store. During its GDC keynote, Epic announced a boatload of new exclusives (including Detroit: Become An Epic Games Store Exclusive) and a deal with Humble. Momentum appears to be on the store’s side, with Epic now touting strong early sales and a more curated approach than that of its main competitor, Steam.

Love or hate the current barebones Epic store, you can’t deny that a) it’s making waves, and b) Epic execs sure have been talking about those waves. Today, during the keynote, Epic Games Store head Steve Allison boasted that Metro Exodus—which became a last-second Epic Games Store exclusive, prompting an unusually pointed message from Valve and review bombs from Steam users—sold 2.5 times as many copies at launch as its predecessor, Metro: Last Light, did on Steam. “It’s really about your games, and not about the store you sell it on,” said Allison.

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This, in conjunction with Epic’s 88 percent revenue share (as opposed to Steam’s default 70 percent), will likely make for intriguing news to game makers worried about backlash and a potential loss of exposure that, some feared, could result from moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store. That said, Epic did not provide actual sales numbers, and it’s worth noting that Last Light came out in 2013, during a different era of PC gaming. On top of that, Exodus was a much larger production and got a marketing push from its publisher to match.

Going forward, Epic said it intends to focus on quality over quantity—or, more precisely, quality over anime porn. “We’ll have a quality standard that doesn’t accept crappy games,” CEO Tim Sweeney told PC Gamer. “We’ll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we’ll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game.” He went on to draw the line at irritating or illicit apps that piggyback on others—bloatware, as they’re sometimes known—and other overtly explicit or low-quality games: “A GTA game would be fine to us, but Epic’s not going to distribute porn games or bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that’s meant to shock players. The PC’s an open platform, and if we don’t distribute it in our store you can still reach consumers directly.”

In contrast, Steam has adopted an (almost) anything-goes policy over the past year, with exceptions stemming from games that are “illegal, or straight up trolling” or, evidently, people getting really, really mad at Valve. The two companies are increasingly opposed in their approaches, recently coming to figurative blows over usage of users’ data, as well.

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The Epic Games Store is still very new, having only launched in December of last year. It’s managed to lasso a handful of high-profile exclusives, but it’s still relatively lacking in games and features. It remains to be seen whether Epic can make good on its promises and maintain its momentum, but it’s certainly shaking things up.

Source: Kotaku.com

Ain’t That A Kick In The Head?

Today on Highlight Reel we have Pathfinder flying kicks, trigger happy Metro characters, undying fishermen, and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!


Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

The Art Of Metro Exodus

Fine Art[Fine Art](https://kotaku.com/c/fine-art) is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some art you’d like to share, [get in touch!](mailto:plunkett@kotaku.com)  

Now that Metro Exodus is out, we can take a look behind the scenes at some of the art that went into the game’s production.

Below you’ll find a sample of stuff from some of the artists who worked on the game. It’s not everything from everyone, but it’s enough to give you a good sample of how the ground floor of the game’s creative vision was laid down.

You’ll find links to each artist’s portfolio in their names below.


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Oleksandr Pavlenko

Source: Kotaku.com

Metro Player Finds The Worst Way To Enter A Car

Today on Highlight Reel we have Metro glitches, bloodthirsty Division 2 NPCs, Apex Legends moments, and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!


Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

Apex Legends Player Waves Meekly Before Exploding

Today on Highlight Reel we have weird Anthem javelins, flying Metro Exodus guards, killer Apex Legends moments, and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!


Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

Metro Exodus: The Kotaku Review

I take my anxious first steps into a desolate post-winter wasteland. All around me, I hear mutants scratching and snarling. One sights me. Three more follow. I rise to fire my rifle. It jams. I feel frightened, vulnerable, out of sorts. But also, at home, like I’ve stumbled into a lucid dream shared by Far Cry 2, STALKER, and of course, Metro 2033.


I’m on a train—our train—surrounded by friends. Family. I can overhear their conversations as sun glints through lightly fogged windows and the train clacks down the tracks. Laughter. Stories. Boasts. Hopes. I sit down in a cramped cart with our heavy weapons specialist Stepan and a nurse we rescued named Katya. Stepan is playing guitar. I pick up another and join him. Together, we add to the gentle cacophony.


I can hear each stair creak as I ascend the lair of a “gargoyle” mutant. “This is suicide,” I think, but I keep going. A little girl asked me to retrieve her teddy bear. I’m going to do it. I reach the gargoyle’s nest. It’s curled up, asleep beneath a moonless sky. The teddy bear is in its nest. I shuffle toward it and reach out a trembling hand. The creature stirs and lashes out twice. Blood masks my face, clouds my vision. Teddy bear in hand, I bolt. I see a zipline. I latch onto it and soar away from the gargoyle, turning back to make sure it’s not flying after me. I finally start breathing again as I land hundreds of feet away. “Fuck you,” I say to the teddy bear.


I’m surrounded by darkness. If the cramped ventilation system I’m squeezing through stays dark for another few seconds, I’m dead meat. Mutant spiders chitter and screech, out of sight but definitely not out of mind. I furiously pump the charger on my flashlight. I’ve been in this situation many times before, but I never stop internally freaking out, no matter how many times I tell myself I’m finally over it. Mere feet away from me, I hear a spider leap. I turn and hit it with a fresh beam of light. It falls to the ground and exposes its belly. I fire off two bullets. It dies. Others stir. Behind me. In front of me. On all sides. I can’t take it anymore, so I charge forward in hopes of emerging into a more open space. I hit a dead end. I can hear them closing in, but I can’t see them. Then I remember: I have one molotov cocktail in my inventory. I hurl it down the vent and pray. The black answers back with spider screams. It’s finally over. For now. My heart beats in my chest as my character’s pounds in my earphones.


I find myself on the train once more. I’m talking to my character’s wife, a field-hardened special ops sniper named Anna. She’s angry that the she spent so many years in the tunnels of the Moscow Metro—once thought to be the only place safe from a ruinous plague of radiation after the bombs dropped—when she didn’t have to. But, despite it all, she’s hopeful. “It’s not like there’s many of us humans left now,” she says. “So I hope someday we will be able to trust others just because… because they are people, too.”


I prepare to slip into a sewer to infiltrate a raider compound. These raiders have been hounding us the whole time our train has been stopped in the desert. It’s time for them to pay. My companion, a Kazakhstani medic named Damir, asks me to see things differently. Some of these raiders are his people, he says. Many of them are young and desperate, taken in and enslaved by a ruthless and charismatic leader. He asks me not to kill them as I stalk through their lair. He asks me to understand.


Metro Exodus is a series of moments, a blur of sometimes nearly-incoherent events that pass like scenery outside the window of a fast-moving train. You pick out a few, but others fly by so indistinctly that you’ve forgotten them minutes later. It’s a bounteous bouquet of first-person shooter ideas, encompassing everything from modern open-world level design to hyper-linear scripted set pieces to walking simulators, one right after another. But the game struggles to cohere. It’s inconsistent, frustrating, and frequently less than the sum of its parts. The moments I wrote about above, I remember with perfect clarity.

But I’m already struggling to remember many others—strung together, as they were, by a post-apocalyptic cliché-heavy plot, factions that never quite click, and missions that introduce extra characters to an already bloated cast instead of giving the spotlight to crucial ones. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you much about half the characters that traveled with me, even after listening to them talk at me for literal hours.

Exodus is far more structurally ambitious than previous games in the Metro series, both of which were linear adventures confined to post-apocalyptic train tunnels. This time around, main character Artyom and friends are done tussling with Nazis and monsters in tunnels. Now they’re topside in the remains of a world they were certain no longer existed. As a result, you divide your time between exploring areas that are either open or linear, depending on what the story calls for, and hanging out with your pals back on the train.

Many of the moments, environments, and atmospheres Exodus creates shine even as they’re surrounded by a world of despair and decay. The game visits a veritable greatest-hits album of post-apocalyptic settings while managing to maintain a unique feel and atmosphere. No small feat, given how many other shooters have already visited the end of the world. Exodus is at its best when it marries its bleak, no-nonsense vibe with unpredictable landscapes and light survival mechanics. In the game’s excellent first, STALKER-esque open area and less excellent (but still pretty good) Mad Max-inspired second open area, supplies are hard to come by, meaning that you’ve got to strike a balance between using them to craft ammo, medkits, and canisters for your gas mask, as well as putting them toward upkeep on your weapons, which get dirty and become less effective with use.

All the while, bandits, mutants of every conceivable shape and size (humanoid, gargoyle, bear, spider, big crab, almost dog), and freakier things like floating, maybe-sentient electrical “anomalies” roam the wastes. Often, they behave less like enemies and more like hazards: If you don’t get too close, they’ll go on living their lives. Sometimes they even fight each other. Multi-layered, almost Thief-like sound design clues you in to their relative locations, with snarls, cries, and lengthy bandit conversations creating a feeling of constant tension.

At the start of the game, I felt like I was near the bottom of the food chain. It was thrilling—a return to the feeling I’d been missing in the absence of late-2000s shooters like STALKER and Far Cry 2. I had precious few bullets to spare, so I crept through half-dead bushes and underbrush instead of trying to play hot-shit hotshot against packs of mutants who a) wouldn’t give me any supplies and b) were imminently capable of tearing me limb from limb. Brief moments of empowerment—mostly involving stealthing my way through bandit lairs and freeing those they’d captured or enslaved—felt like triumphs. But beyond the reaches of those flimsy, man-made tents and walls, the wasteland was still waiting to pounce.

This was Exodus at its best. However, it repeatedly proved capable of suddenly flipping over and exposing its ugly underbelly, like a screaming spider freak mutant exposed to too much light. As I said in my impressions after 30 hours with the game last week:

Yep, the Metro series’ trademark jank is back, and in many places, it threatens to be the game’s downfall. Exodus is admirably ambitious, blending countless mission types, combat variables, and a series of locales that seriously feel like they could each be from a different game, but AI and other systems struggle to keep up. Enemy AI has improved by leaps and bounds since Last Light, but it still alternates between being eagle-eyed and comically blind to your presence. This became especially apparent to me when I reached the game’s second area: a vast, lonely desert. Open areas lead to wildly inconsistent behavior from AI, and missions became too sprawling for their own good, creating confusion about where I needed to go. I’ve also encountered quite a few bugs, both hilarious (a bandit moonwalking through the sky) and frustrating (the climactic end of an act-concluding main quest broke, forcing me to reload repeatedly until it magically worked again).

Combined, these issues have formed a handy crafting recipe for frustrating tedium. I won’t beat around the glowing green bush: I’ve spent multiple hours of my time with Exodus absolutely infuriated.

Having finished it, I can now say that Exodus is one of the most inconsistent games I’ve played in years. It’s a masterclass of care and craft in places, a post-apocalyptic world in which detail and humanity trump scope for scope’s sake and Fallout-style ironic distance from the subject matter. The story is smarter than it initially seems to be; while factions like an electricity-fearing cult and Mad Max ripoff bandits aren’t inherently clever, the game’s treatment of them is. At almost every turn, your travel companions urge you to understand where these people are coming from, and to avoid bloodshed if you can. In almost every case, it’s possible to do so, too.

Exodus is the video game equivalent of that friend who cares so much about everything all the time, who wears their bleeding heart on their sleeve and outshines the sun with their earnestness. You can’t help but root for it. That makes it all the more depressing, however, when it stumbles with bugs, AI issues, a bloated cast, a story that lags woefully far behind excellent world-building, and bits of needlessly frustrating level design.

Exodus isn’t content to just be one kind of first-person shooter. After an open first half focused on survival and exploration, the latter portion plays much more like its linear predecessors, to mixed results. The final two of Exodus’ four major locations suffer from their own particular issues, as well as more exasperating versions of issues that pop up all throughout the rest of the game. The third, a forested fall setting, starts out on a high note, dropping you into a mysterious village armed with nothing but a crossbow. I loved sneaking through that area and into a more open forest that was bathed in eerie moonlight. Packs of wolves sprinted by as I trudged to rescue a captured companion from two ideologically opposed factions of forest dwellers. The section was ultimately linear, but I could progress in water, on land, or up in the trees.

But then I reached more heavily populated areas, and the enemies suddenly decided they could see me through walls. I saved and reloaded repeatedly in hopes of ghosting my way through these sections, but to no avail. Eventually, I had every inch of the terrain memorized, but people kept spotting me or bodies I’d left behind (which you can’t move) out of nowhere. I couldn’t figure out why, no matter how much I searched for an answer. Finally, I just said “fuck it” and sprinted through these areas, taking damage and hitting checkpoints. It all felt sloppy, like these ambitious level design ideas didn’t quite mesh with the systems created for this game, in particular.

The game’s last main area, more than any other, is as Metro as Metro gets, with oodles of atmosphere oozing from its straightforward tunnels. But it also plays things safe, introduces a superfluous new character instead of honing in on a central relationship that’s crucial to the ending, and generally rushes to a fairly flat conclusion. When I finished the game and watched its bittersweet ending unfold, I didn’t really feel anything. I wanted to, but that’s Exodus’ very peculiar trick: it regularly makes you want to care, but only rarely creates circumstances in which that actually happens.

Throughout the triumphant highs and frustrating lows of these journeys, the train and my compatriots chilling out on it provided a welcome reprieve. Between missions, I’d stagger back to our messy closet of a home, take a load off, and just listen for a while. This has always been one of the Metro series’ great joys: occupying spaces overflowing with the detritus of people’s meager existences and overhearing conversations about their hopes, dreams, concerns, fears, and pasts.

In Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, those people were mostly randos you’d never see again after progressing to the next area. Exodus’ cast, however, sticks with you through thick and thin, so their conversations build on each other. They react to new locations and your decisions. It feels good to have them acknowledge, for example, that you managed to complete a mission without any bloodshed. The game’s morality system is more streamlined than those of previous Metro games, and is mostly tied to your decisions about whether or not to kill people. But it was the thought of being praised by my friends that motivated me to meticulously play and replay missions in hopes of K.O.-ing or avoiding everyone. These characters start out as a stock cast of soldier archetypes—the risk-taker, the smart one, the foreigner, the gruff general with a heart of gold, etc—but they evolve into more over time.

Well… a little more. For all the heart underlying Exodus’ dialogue, it’s often stilted, awkward, poorly acted (unless you’re playing in Russian), and repetitive. Characters really, really, really like to talk, but they tend to do so in the form of expository info dumps. On one hand, the sheer amount of this stuff that’s in the game is tremendously impressive. When I say I spent hours listening to people talk, I mean it: at least three or four in total, probably more. You pretty much have to if you want to get to know characters, given that their characterizations in the main plot are thin, verging on non-existent. For example, Artyom’s wife Anna—allegedly a hardass sniper and a pillar of the team—spends the story getting kidnapped, falling into a pit and needing to be rescued, getting kidnapped again, etc. If you don’t talk to her between missions, you have no real reason to care about this, or any of the other big beats, in a plot that gets the job done but leans heavily on predictable clichés.

These conversations all kind of run together after a while, especially when characters are “conversing” with you instead of each other. I use quotation marks because Artyom is a silent protagonist, so everybody talks at, over, under, around, and through him. In previous Metro games, this made sense because Artyom wasn’t really part of any of the places he visited. He was transient, more observer than character. In Exodus, however, he’s got a consistent crew of friends, a wife, and a father-in-law. They clearly care about him, but there’s an awkward disconnect every time they address him. That, in turn, makes it hard to care about many of them. I ended up feeling like I was supposed to care, but only on a few occasions did that actually manifest in powerful emotions.

And that’s a shame, because Metro Exodus so badly wants you to love everyone and everything in it as much as its own creators clearly do. It’s one of the most earnest blockbusters I’ve played in ages, a janky mix between a modern open-world game and a too-ambitious-for-its-own-good late-2000s-style shooter that tries with all its heart to do absolutely everything and alternates between succeeding gloriously and failing miserably. It cares. It cares so much. It cares about its detailed environments and mechanics, even when they misfire. It cares about its characters, even though there are too many of them. It cares about its central message of understanding, rather than vilifying, each faction you come into conflict with, even though this message is attached to a ho-hum plot. It sincerely believes that there is hope for humanity even after the end of the world. I love it for what it wants to be more than what it is, but that’s still love of a sort.


I’m back on the train with my ragtag family. A conversation turns toward the future, toward a home free of radiation and mutants, toward dreams and new generations. We toast. We drink. Stepan plays a song about generals and trains and people losing their way and trying to find it again. It is warm. It heartfelt. It is painfully on the nose. It is Metro.

Source: Kotaku.com

It’s Good Playing Metro Exodus In Russian

I’m not normally someone who bothers wading into the subs vs dubs argument when it comes to stuff like anime or JRPGs, but there’s one specific place I’ll always recommend you play the game as it was originally intended: the Metro series.

It’s been true since the 2010 original, of course, but with Exodus out this month I figured it was worth a reminder.

Here’s how the game sounds with its English dub, which for people in regions like North America, the UK and Australasia will launch by default:

It’s fine! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and if this was the only option available to play the game, we’d all be getting along with our lives perfectly happy. But this is a game set in Russia and starring Russians, and I think hearing nothing but English spoken with strong accents for hours on end starts to feel a bit hammy.

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Especially when you compare it to how the game sounds in Russian:

That’s more like it.

Swapping languages isn’t perfect, I know. What you’re gaining in immersion from playing a game set in Russia in Russian you lose in a few other areas; you’ll be totally reliant on reading subtitles even during frantic action sequences, for example, and in the game’s more sedate moments it can take a while for the subs to trigger as you’re eavesdropping, meaning you can miss a few lines of dialogue.

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But I think it’s definitely worth it.

If your copy of the game is set to English (or French, or German, or Spanish!) by default, it’s a simple fix to swap to Russian. The only place you can change it is in the options screen at the main menu, as the pause menu while in-game doesn’t make the selection available.

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You just select OPTIONS -> GAME OPTIONS then scroll down near the bottom and you’ll find the spoken language options available. Pick Russian and make sure you’ve got English subs enabled and you’ll be good to go!

Source: Kotaku.com

30 Hours With Metro Exodus

Before starting Metro Exodus, I replayed the entirety of its predecessor, cult hit post-apocalyptic shooter Metro: Last Light. Exodus’ first hour felt like it could’ve been part of that game. I skulked around in train tunnels, got chomped on by mutants, and listened to underground denizens chatter endlessly about their sad, sunless lives. Then, the game tossed me into an open, snow-sprinkled map tens of times larger than any single environment in Last Light, and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Both Last Light and the first game in the series, Metro 2033, were tightly-scripted shooters set in creaky, leaky tunnels beneath a bombed-to-oblivion-and-back Moscow. Never was the term “corridor shooter” so apt: In the game’s fiction, based on a series of novels by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, desperate survivors cobbled together societies in train tunnels beneath the irradiated rubble of civilization.

This piece was first published on February 13, 2019. We’re bumping it today for the game’s release.

Whether you, as a soldier named Artyom, were stealthing and shooting or quietly taking in the strikingly atmospheric sights and sounds of ramshackle scrap cities, you were generally moving down straightforward paths with relatively few detours. This allowed for rich storytelling and varied pacing sometimes on par with Half-Life 2. Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light felt like places—dirty, treacherous, lived-in places; humanity’s unkempt home at the end of the world.

Enjoy 14 minutes of Metro Exodus gameplay.

Artyom’s missions in those games usually centered around life-or-death squabbles between human factions like the Communists and the nakedly fascist Fourth Reich, as well as a mysterious psychic race called The Dark Ones. These would occasionally take him out of the tunnels, but even the outdoor levels kept you moving full-steam ahead. Exodus flips the script, mostly taking place in outdoor, open areas that you’re free to explore at your leisure.

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As you would imagine, this changes things pretty significantly, for better and worse. After 30 or so hours (I can’t say for sure, since the Epic Games store doesn’t track it), it all still feels distinctly Metro. As a big fan of the previous games’ relentlessly self-assured brand of grim eccentricity, I’m having a good time. Mostly. Exodus is ambitious to a fault. It bites off about a thousand more mouthfuls from the old game design meatloaf than it can chew, leading to an experience that—at least, for me—has been defined by inconsistency. Magnificently high highs, yes, but some truly dispiriting lows, as well.

As ever, the below-zero bleakness of Metro’s world is matched by the surprising warmth of places you visit and characters you meet while traversing it. Don’t get me wrong, though: things are still capital-B buh-leak. Metro is not Fallout. It’s rarely zany or ironic in its depiction of a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s not afraid to be unkind to get that point across. My first few hours in Exodus’ initial spring thaw wasteland were frustrating, albeit not in an entirely unwelcome way. Metro 2033 emphasized survival over Rambo action tactics, while Last Light turned Artyom into a bit more of a tank. Exodus, at least initially, feels more like 2033 with a dash of Far Cry 2 and a pinch of the long-mourned Russian survival shooter STALKER thrown in.

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Guns get dirty and jam. Monsters hear you if you get too trigger-happy, and what seems like an easy encounter with one wolf-like Watchman mutant can easily turn into a bloody, barely winnable battle with four or five. While bullets were literal currency in previous Metro games, here they’re precious in a different way: there’s a crafting system in Exodus, and some of the supplies you collect have to be turned into ammo.

Each area has its own day-and-night cycle and environmental hazards, too, like the horrifying “electrical anomalies” that casually float along at night and set mutants aflame, or radiation-ridden desert storms that kill your visibility and also possibly you. As in previous games, you’ve got a Geiger counter and a gas mask you can put on, take off, and even wipe off, but now you’re responsible for crafting canisters to keep it stocked with sweet, breathable air.

Despite all that, I wouldn’t call Exodus a brutally difficult game. After the first few hours, I figured out its satisfying fight-craft-fight rhythm, started employing a lot more stealth, and stopped dying. When Metro has all its ducks in a row and everything is working, you just need to play smart. Unfortunately, it’s far from guaranteed that’ll actually happen. We’ll circle back around to that in a moment.

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Even when you’re not getting your ass kicked by graveyard-dwelling mega-bears, the game’s environments still feel distinctly threatening. If you walk too close to water or pilot a maggot-ridden boat through the wrong spots, a titanium-shelled “shrimp” mutant might yank you in. In the desert area, humanoid mutants camouflage themselves in sand and pop out when you least expect them. Wherever you are, you can hear ravenous beasts that not even the end of the world could kill, skittering and chittering. Sometimes they’re far. Sometimes they’re near. Sometimes those idle pitter-patters turn into rapidly approaching footsteps or wing flaps. What do you do? Do you run? Do you hide? Do you stand your ground? You’re frequently just one or two firefights-gone-awry away from emptying your meager supply cache. How much do you trust yourself?

These open spaces rely more on recycled structures and enemies than the previous Metro games, which were able to change things up on a regular basis thanks to their relative straightforwardness. On the upside, if you sneak up on bandits and just listen to them chatter, you’re usually rewarded with lengthy, interesting, and sometimes even funny conversations. On the downside, some of the spaces they inhabit don’t feel as lovingly crafted and lived-in as those in prior Metro games. That’s not to say all areas in the game suffer from this issue, but some stretches of each map feel perfunctory.

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Same goes for enemies. Previous Metro stories were able to dig deep into factions’ motivations because they were all crammed together like grizzled, tough-as-leather sardines. In Exodus, each open area has an interesting main faction or two—take, for example, the first area’s religious zealots, who believe electricity is the literal devil because, well, it did bring about an apocalypse and all—but also heaps of recycled rent-a-bandits occupying same-y spaces. Also, the game, for all its varied, often beautiful environments, leans hard into post-apocalpytic cliches, with the desert area, especially, coming off as a thinly veiled Mad Max rip-off.

Weapons, meanwhile, feel better than in any previous Metro game, but still not amazing. In some ways, this adds to the game’s desperate, tension-ridden vibe, but when big, scripted gunfights break out, they often feel underwhelming. Yes, I said “scripted.” While Exodus is open in many cases, it doesn’t abandon its linear roots. Some main story missions put you in more confined locations and rely heavily on setpieces, to varying degrees of success.

One involves tip-toeing through a green-tinged, radiation-devoured compound while a mutant alligator whale fish swims beneath, munching on mutants and trying to make you its next meal. I found it thrilling, albeit not terribly difficult. Another saw me sneak through a rain-soaked fanatic compound while their leader was giving his big speech, weaving through the crowd en route to raining on his parade. It was harrowing in all the right ways. But there was also one where I was forced to blast my way through a cannibal lair while cheesy metal music played, and it felt like I was playing a different, worse game with more bad boss fights and less personality. Then there was the half-linear, half-open moonlit forest stroll through wolf-infested enemy territory that heralded the start of the game’s third major area, which absolutely wowed me at first, only to overstay its welcome and leave me running in rage-inducing circles.

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Yep, the Metro series’ trademark jank is back, and in many places, it threatens to be the game’s downfall. Exodus is admirably ambitious, blending countless mission types, combat variables, and a series of locales that seriously feel like they could each be from a different game, but AI and other systems struggle to keep up. Enemy AI has improved by leaps and bounds since Last Light, but it still alternates between being eagle-eyed and comically blind to your presence. This became especially apparent to me when I reached the game’s second area: a vast, lonely desert. Open areas lead to wildly inconsistent behavior from AI, and missions became too sprawling for their own good, creating confusion about where I needed to go. I’ve also encountered quite a few bugs, both hilarious (a bandit moonwalking through the sky) and frustrating (the climactic end of an act-concluding main quest broke, forcing me to reload repeatedly until it magically worked again).

Combined, these issues have formed a handy crafting recipe for frustrating tedium. I won’t beat around the glowing green bush: I’ve spent multiple hours of my time with Exodus absolutely infuriated. But I’ve soldiered on and witnessed the game redeem itself multiple times over. Sometimes, that’s meant a stellar mission full of action and tension and drama and fury. Other times, it was a weird little open-world interaction, like the time I got a pack of dog-like mutants, humanoid mutants, and human bandits to all fight each other instead of baring their rabid fangs at me. Most often, though, it’s been environments and characters that have bandaged my bleeding enthusiasm for the game.

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Honestly, my favorite lived-in space in the game so far is the train you and your ragtag gang of survivors use to travel between locations. Each time you go somewhere or accomplish something, your friends react to your accomplishments. Or they just drone on about their backstories, or what they’ve been up to lately, with voice acting that ranges from acceptable to “Whose IRL mom is this, and why is she voicing a major supporting character in a triple-A video game?” They’re like the talkative Metro NPCs of yore—telling instead of showing to such an extreme degree that it somehow becomes endearing—only they’re persistent across your adventures. Their lives and possessions spread out across the train in a way that quickly makes it feel like home. Occasionally, all of them get together to chill or celebrate, and it’s just insanely charming. I like to return to the train between open-world adventures, even when I don’t have to, just to hang out and hear my companions’ stories.

That, to me, is the essence of the Metro series: people finding a way to create home in a world that doesn’t want them anymore. Despite all the other issues, I’m excited to see where everyone ends up, and I’ll have a proper review for you when I do.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Week In Games: Might As Well Jump

Screenshot: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.

Everyone’s favorite uncomfortably detailed manga dream team leads a powerful and stylish week of new games. I mean, just look at that hair.

In high school I was a big fan of the various series featured in the long running Shonen Jump magazine, as well as the many television shows they had inspired. I bought volume after volume of Yu-Gi-Oh, Naruto, Shaman King, and more. It’s too bad crossover games like Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS never made their way stateside back then. It’s wild to think that Jump Force represents half a century of iconic characters from the legendary comic publication.

Jump Force is joined by big hitters like Far Cry: New Dawn, Metro Exodus, and the long-awaited Crackdown 3. And what’s this? The long neglected Vita is even getting a game here in early 2019. There’s a little something for everyone.

Check it out.

Tuesday, February 12

  • Arcade Spirits | PC
  • Hyper Jam | Xbox One
  • HackyZach | PS4
  • The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince | PS4, Switch
  • Trials Rising | Xbox One, PS4, PC

Wednesday, February 13

  • Away: Journey to the Unexpected | PC
  • Intruders: Hide and Seek | PS4

Thursday, February 14

  • A Fold Apart | Xbox One, PS4, Switch
  • Civilization VI: Gathering Storm | PC
  • Code: Realize ~ Wintertide Miracles | PS4, Vita
  • Degrees of Separation | Xbox One, PS4, Switch
  • Tokyo School Life | Switch

Friday, February 15

  • Crackdown 3 | Xbox One, PC
  • Dragons: Dawn of New Riders | Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
  • Far Cry: New Dawn | Xbox One, PS4, PC
  • Jump Force | Xbox One, PS4, PC
  • Metro Exodus | Xbox One, PS4, PC

Source: Kotaku.com

Metro Series Will Continue On PC Even If People Boycott Epic Deal, Says Publisher

Metro Exoduslong, bumpy ride to a February 15 release on the Epic Games Store has just hit another roadblock. Over the weekend, a developer at series creator 4A Games suggested that player boycotts happening in reaction to the Epic deal could lead to future Metro games not coming to PC at all. Now, publisher Deep Silver has refuted this.

The 4A developer, who goes by “Scynet” on the Russian gaming forum where he posted his opinionated missive, acknowledged the potential inconvenience of installing a new and, thus far, barebones launcher to play Exodus, but admonished some people for using this as an excuse to “pour out their bile.” He went on to say that if “all PC players announce a boycott of Metro [Exodus], then the next Metro,” if it happens, “is definitely not on the PC.”

This post set off a chain reaction of negative responses on Reddit and Steam, which prompted Deep Silver to issue a statement yesterday on Twitter. In it, Deep Silver said that it sent Exodus on a last-minute arctic expedition to Epic Land with the goal of “investing in the future of the series and our development partner at 4A Games… we have every intention of continuing this franchise, and a PC version will always be at the heart of our plans.”

The publisher also clarified that it—not 4A Games—made the call to move Exodus to Epic’s service and that “comments made by a member of the 4A Games development team do not reflect Deep Silver’s or 4A Games’ view on the future of the franchise.” However, Deep Silver’s statement acknowledged that those comments do “reflect the hurt and disappointment of a passionate individual who has seen what was previously nothing but positive goodwill towards his work turn to controversy due to a business decision he had no control over.” The statement concluded by asking fans to direct feedback about the deal to Deep Silver and parent company Koch Media.

Source: Kotaku.com