Metro: Last Light - Preview

Metro Last Light Preview for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Back To The Future

Nuclear war is a very ugly thing, but that sure doesn't stop Metro: Last Light from being a rather beautiful game. THQ's action-packed sequel to 2010's atmospheric blaster Metro 2033 may be built of ravaged subway tunnels and radioactive wastelands, but they're all skilfully realised with top-notch visuals and thunderous audio. If you like your first-person shooters with a bit of graphical oomph behind them, you're probably going to be very happy here.

So what's the story? Carrying on from the first game in the series, Last Light takes players back to the remains of Moscow long after a devastating nuclear attack. Everyone who survived the onslaught has disappeared deep underground, moving into the metro network and coming together to form cities at each station. Meanwhile, on the surface of the planet, the sky is an eternal cloudy grey, and the marshes that have reclaimed the city are filled with dangerous mutants.

Going Underground

Up top is where Last Light seems likely to stage some of its most memorable battles. It's a toxic world out there, so as you ready your gun and take aim on the wilderness, you'll once again have to make sure that you have enough filters to keep you alive as you breathe the grimy air. On top of that, you'll have a gas mask with a screen that can easily get covered in gunge. It's all smartly immersive: you'll really feel like you're exploring a bizarre and horrifying landscape - alone, and ceaselessly vulnerable to attack.

Metro Last Light Preview for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

And when attacks are staged up on the surface, it's likely to be pretty memorable even without the alarm signal warning you that you need to change filters: Last Light's new mutant enemies are huge and ferocious - massive bat-things that swoop down from the sky and can grab you and throw you across the wasteland, horrible crab-monsters with bullet-proof claws, primed to slice into you at the slightest sound.

Luckily, your guns mean that you aren't to be messed with. Last Light's arsenal offers plenty of exotic weapons that have been cobbled together from anything lying around. Once again, the stand-out this time around is a meaty assault pistol with a side-loading clip: it chews through enemies if you can stop it from over-heating. Elsewhere, there's a pneumatic sniper rifle that fires nasty ball-bearings, and a shotgun that looks more like a six-shooter from the old west. It goes off like a thunderclap.

Guns, Guns, Guns

In a new addition for this sequel, you'll be able to mod your weaponry properly, too, stopping in at local gun stores and adding a variety of scopes, stocks, sights and even extra clips. Want an AK47 with a silencer? You can have it, if you've got the money, and you'll find a weapon like that comes in very handy indeed when you head back underground, where the mutated horrors of topside are joined by villainous groups of fellow survivors, all of whom are trying to rule this crazy, mixed-up world.

Metro Last Light Preview for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Underground, Last Light promises to be as tense as they come, a game about picking your way through the shadows, luring enemies into traps, and extinguishing every light source as you go, so it's better to lurk in the darkness. Moving through a mixture of complex tunnels and the more elaborate human spaces of the subway stations, you'd best have your wits about you: from what we can tell, the enemy AI is fairly sophisticated, and when you're cornered you should be prepared for some serious gun battles.

At the moment, it all adds up to a devilishly promising game, in other words: a shooter filled with memorable enemies, even more memorable weaponry, and a life-or-death fight for survival as you navigate one of the most hostile environments imaginable.

If you're a PC player hoping to push your brand new rig to the very edge of its capabilities, or a stealth fanatic looking for tricky levels you can play over and over again, picking different paths, selecting different weapons, and experimenting with all kinds of crazy tactics, Metro: Last Light should definitely be on your radar. This is the future, then, and while it isn't a particularly friendly place to be, when it looks this good, we wouldn't have it any other way. Pass us that pimped-out sniper rifle, and let's get to it.

SKU: Previews-201254
Release Date: 09/01/2013