Metro: Last Light is the sequel to Metro 2033 and a title we got to have a look at last year at E3. We got our hands on a review copy of the game about a week ago and we’ve a chance to spend quite a bit of time with it on multiple platforms, specifically Xbox 360 and PC. N and Kelly have already started a playthrough of the game in the 360 and did a FEZ PLAY video for it. Meanwhile I was working on the PC review and now it’s time to tell you how this one stacks up.
First thing: the game is fun. The graphics look good and it’s a nice mix between straight-up FPS ass-kickery and stealth shooter, mostly dependent on how you want to play it – or how good you are at stealth at all. If they catch you, you’ll have to fight; there’s no way around that fact. Conversely, if you are able to pull of the stealth, you’ll be able to avoid most big entanglements and kill everyone without much fear of eating a thousand bullets.
On top of that, there’s an issue of resource management which extends much further than when you should and shouldn’t shoot and how many rounds you should hurl downrange when you do squeeze the trigger (bullets serve as the game’s currency). At times, things like battery management also come in to play, where you have to make sure that you’re on top of making sure your flashlight batteries don’t go dead. Recharging them is simple, but they won’t last very long with the device you have on-hand to pull it off.
There are some other things you’ll have to keep an eye on as well. You have an indicator on your watch to tell you when you’re visible and you’ll have to manage the filters for your gas mask when you’re topside, even taking care to wipe off the visor of your mask from time to time when it gets mucked up.
So we have a nice multi-faceted shooter with good graphics, a good story (this one picks up where Metro 2033 left off, in a post apocalyptic world in which the surface is toxic and all kinds of nasties roam around trying to kill you) and plenty of action to keep you busy. Unfortunately for the PC version, we also have a terribly inefficient engine which needs a lot of optimization to reduce its truly ridiculous requirements.
The publisher of Metro: Last Light recommends a 3.4GHz multi-core (i7), 8 gigs ram and an Nvidia Titan for optimal performance and I’m here to tell you this game is not nearly pretty enough to need anything near that. My test rig runs Planetside 2, which is known for also needing some optimization, at 60+ fps but with Metro: Last Light, I had to kick the graphics settings way down and still continually had the game overlapped by a Windows prompt asking me if I wanted to disable Aero to improve performance. This is on a machine with a 3 GHz quad core, 16 gigs of ram and an Nvidia 560 TI.
It’s worth noting that developer 4A Games claims the game will run (minimally) on an Nvidia GTS 250 with a 2.2 gig dual core and 2 gigs of RAM, but I’m really curious as to what kind of performance this game could possibly get with those specs when the minimum recommended is a 2.6GHz i5, 4 gigs of RAM and a GTX 660. I’m picturing stick men.
I really think it’s bad form that a game needs a $1000-$1300 video card to hit max settings and between that and the technical issues I had with windows popping up all the time telling me how bad my performance sucked, I was less than impressed. I couldn’t even put together a proper gameplay video because of that issue. Based on that, I’m going to recommend that you stick to the console version so you don’t have to build a $2500 rig to play this one. If you’d like to see how the console version looks, have a look at the FEZ PLAY video below.
I may come back and do an update to this if they ever optimize their engine but for now, I can’t give this one a great score based on the fact that most people can’t afford to play this game on High detail, let alone Very High. It’s a shame.