I have never played a Metro game before. I haven’t even read the books. Going into my hands-on experience with the current preview build of Metro Exodus, I didn’t know what to expect coming out of it. Was it going to be like every other console shooter that was released before? How was it going to be different? That’s what I set to find out on that brisk Wednesday evening in New York City.
Before I go into this, I want to give a big thanks to Stephanie Tinsley. If it wasn’t for her inviting us to the preview event, this wouldn’t have been possible.
The preview build of Metro Exodus was solely set in the summer season in the Caspian desert, where Arytom, the main character of the Metro series, his wife Anna and the rest of the refugees were moving on from a previous portion of the game. Here they were discussing the issues that they seemed to come across, most notably fuel and water for the train to operate. Approaching their destination, a group of vehicles and people were discovered, and everyone was set to where they had to go.
One step outside of the train revealed one massively detailed environment. Before I even discovered that there was a set destination (it took me a while to remember to open my map,) I took my time and just explored the landscape. The rock formations, the ravaged desert landscape, all the wreckage and destruction that plagued this section of Russia was captivating to say the least. I have no doubt that the power of the Xbox One X helped to make this environment shine.
Then came the combat. Oh, the combat. This was rough but oddly satisfying. Having played this build on an Xbox One X, a lot of the actions that I would normally be able to perform a bit faster in an FPS like Metro Exodus, required extra movement time, disorienting me a little bit. This game definitely feels like it was made to be played with a keyboard and mouse. As such, when we do cover it, it will more than likely be the PC version.
The oddly satisfying point was the way that the weapons felt on an individual basis. The ‘Bastard,’ a makeshift semiautomatic gun, jams at the most inappropriate times, requiring quick unjamming in a heavy situation, like when swarmed with random groups of people, mutated creatures or the zombies that inhabit the world. I quickly found myself in love with the pneumatic rifle and made attempts to use that as my primary weapon. The damage wasn’t heavy, but it was enough to keep enemies away while I ran from checkpoint to checkpoint.
The one thing made the pneumatic my go-to was the quick crafting option from my backpack. I was able to make pellets with a lot of the dismantled items that I found from popping a cap or two in a rogue bandit who tried to cap me. I even decided to be a little nasty and stab dead one of the bandits who I had at my mercy. The Deep Silver rep that was there had a good laugh as he watched me do that. Can’t say I didn’t find it enjoyable either.
So, as I finally decided to follow the objectives – this was an hour in – and begin approaching the first mission, I was completely out of everything. Bullets, first aid kits, everything. I decided to take a gander inside of the train and I find a workbench. “Cool, more crafting,” I thought as I proceeded to go and try and get more in the way of first aid kits, as I planned on fighting my way to more parts for pellets and bullets. Lo and behold, the workbench allowed for crafting pellets, bullets, first-aid stuff, almost anything you needed…if you had the parts. You can even repair your gas mask there. This proved to be a relief as I approached the van and antenna that I needed to check out. Why?
A massive storm came out of nowhere and my overall health became endangered as I tried to make my way back to the train. As I tried to escape into the train, I was locked up. This made the rest of my time a lot harder, as when I ran out of bullets, I ran out of bullets. There was no turning back, and I knew that I was at a disadvantage. Sadly, that was the end of my time with the demo, and I wish I had some more time to explore. There was a lot going on, and I was gladly overwhelmed with the experience.
For a preview build that allowed me to explore just this one solitary area in the Summer, I must say that there appeared to be a significant amount of ambition behind it, and I haven’t played anything before this preview build, neither have I played the previous entries. It left me with a want to play the previous games in the series and see where it all began, as well as to see where the games have come from stylistically. Come February 15, Metro Exodus should provide a fantastic experience for all players.
The Caspian Desert Metro Exodus preview build was played on an Xbox One X Development kit and hosted by representatives from Deep Silver. Metro Exodus releases on February 15, 2019, for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC/Windows.