Metro 2033 EP1: Ranger Hardcore

 By Shamus Oct 9, 2013 151 comments


Link (YouTube)

The people have spoken, and the people said they wanted some other game. So we ignored them and we’re giving you this.

I kid. This was actually one of the most requested games. I wasn’t kidding when I said this game won out over Max Payne 3. I find this interesting, since Max Payne looms large in terms the impression its marketing campaign left on me. But today’s hyped-up cultural event is the game everyone is kinda “meh” about a year later, and sometimes low-profile titles become beloved classics. I think time has a way of washing away the bullshit of marketing and review scores to show the real worth of a game.

Having said that? I’m not a huge fan of this game yet. I admire it from a storytelling / worldbuilding perspective, but I never really enjoyed the mechanics. I spent a lot of time wishing the game was more Fallout-ish, having more looting and exploring. (Which is interesting, since Fallout 3 could stand to take a few hints from this game when it comes to everything else.)

And Chris is right: “Ranger Hardcore” totally sounds like a pornstar.


A Hundred!202011We've got 151 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.


  1. Tony Kebell says:

    I was the guy who wanted Max Payne 3, I am disappoint.

    I tried to play this game on Xbox, I rented it from a Blockbuster, the game was damaged. That ladder broke but the NPC didn’t catch me, gameplay however did kick in and I could scale the 15-20 ladder steps at will but nothing else, no matter how many times I reset the game.

    Love the outro, nice work editing Josh.

  2. giantraven says:

    Awesome! A game I haven’t played, yet I would really like to see. Looking forward to diving into this later.

    • Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      Awesome! A game I’ve already played and could say coherent things about!

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m torn on this one. This isn’t really the kind of game I play often because I scare rather easily and that I don’t really buy for the same reason, yet it somehow found its way into my impressive steam backlog (I’m guessing it came in a bundle?) and I sorta, kinda had the vague intent to play it at some point in the future (maybe in the summer, when it’s bright outside) but I’ve always been postponing it in favour of something less frightening.

      But since it’s on SW it’s pretty much now or never thing for me. While I don’t necessarily agree with the “let’s plays make people don’t play games” thing it probably would be the case for me with this one, seeing as I have somewhat mixed feelings about firing it up to begin with.

    • Karthik says:

      What is the consensus, if it exists, on watching SW’s of games that you haven’t played but intend to? I’ve been meaning to play this game and don’t want to be, er, spoiled.

      I don’t mean spoilers in the traditional sense of the term, but as it applies to everything: The mechanics, the atmosphere, the tone and so on. Basically, I find it difficult to form an opinion of the game for myself after it’s been analyzed by the SW crew.

  3. ChoppazAndDakka says:

    I loved this game to death, despite how flawed it is in places. Looking forward to the season.

  4. Axion741 says:

    This is going to be an awesome season. :D
    I’ve tried playing this a fair few times but as Josh rightly alluded to, It’s pretty awful on the standard difficulties, and I personally refuse to pay extra for 2 difficulty settings that should have been in from the get go.
    Also I always tried to play it stealthy with the human enemies, but ofc the stealth mechanic has all the enemies controlled by a hive mind that transmits your position to everyone on the level the second you’re spotted so…yeah.
    Looking forward to seeing how this turns out :) Keep up the bad accents guys!

  5. somniorum says:

    Was *so* disappointed that the game doesn’t have proper subtitles for so much of the non-essential stuff in between. Unfortunately, Last Light is the same.

    I’m kinda loving a lot of what’s coming from Russian/Ukrainian devs (perhaps I should more-so say “Russian language games” since all these games, even the Ukrainian ones, are in Russian but… last I checked… did NOT have an option for Ukrainian!). They don’t always *work* perfectly for me, mechanically speaking, but they have themes, styles of gameplay, and atmospheres which are relatively rare in the rest of the gaming world.

    • Alex says:

      Ukrainian games are only in Russian probably because all Ukrainians speak Russian as, basically, a primary language( not as sure now, I left in ’95 but still). That and the Ukrainian market is VERY small compared to the Russian one so making two dialogue options would be an unnecessary cost for them.

      • Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

        May not be the case anymore -I don’t know that many Ukrainians, but there was a very severe divide between the Rusophones and the Ukrainians. They may all speak Russian they way all Belgians speak French -but you wouldn’t want to speak the wrong language around the wrong people, all the same.

        • Alex says:

          Well yeah I do hear that there is a large resurgence of the Ukrainian language, and it does irk me when people lump my heritage in with the Russians. The point still stands though, as to why games come out without a Ukrainian language option. It’s just too close to Russian to justify a second translation and Russian is a more populous language.

  6. Henson says:

    Yeah, Rutskarn’s complaints about the lack of subtitles is right on the money. I was hoping for another great slavic-feeling game like playing The Witcher in Polish (and you totally should, random person who hasn’t tried that), but the lack of subtitles really really sucks, especially in the later human enemy camps if you choose to go stealth. Sort of like when I played Beyond Good and Evil in French, then realized that the subtitles are also in French. The Russian is really best for second playthroughs.

    Actually, let me qualify that: it’s really interesting in the first hour or so, when not understanding the people around you enhances the feeling of loneliness and melancholy. And then not understanding anyone just gets annoying.

    Also, the “Metro 2033″ in the credits font looks like “Metro ZOBB”.

    • Klay F. says:

      Yeah as much as I love this game I do wish they made it so all the non-essential dialog also had subtitles. Unfortunately there are multiple instances in the game where there is more than one person talking at the same time. I actually like that sort of design because it makes the game seem less like a carnival ride where people are just waiting for you to get close before spouting their lines. The only thing I don’t like is their implementation of it. They could have easily determined where the player is looking and then give out the correct subtitles. Sadly they didn’t fix this in Metro: Last Light.

      • AJax says:

        I remember Witcher 2 having dialogue boxes on top of the NPCs heads so that you don’t miss it or confuse the portion of the screen that’s reserved for the main dialogue but I don’t know how well will this work in a first person game, let alone the in this case because of the sheer amount of NPCs that could talk at the same which really helps with the atmosphere.

        Also, Yay! So glad you guys are doing this game. This season’s gonna be a lot of fun… like always.

    • Halceon says:

      Arrh, that fake russian font!! I can’t help but read it as Metyao 2033.

    • Tse says:

      It’s somewhat fun understanding about half of the words. Still not getting what they’re actually saying, but knowing the general theme of it.

  7. I’m excited for this. Metro is a game with too many horror elements for my taste, but it’s intriguing in a lot of ways. It’ll be a lot more interesting than Max Payne 3 as well. The new Max Payne feels like over the half the game is cut scenes, so I could see that getting old very fast.

  8. Geoff says:

    Like Shamus, I also was never able to get into this game even though I picked it up awhile ago. The story was fine and the world building was great, but the mechanics didn’t work for me and I never did get past the first couple of levels. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the game entails.

  9. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

    Josh, you! You! You killed that beast in four shots!

    I once unloaded sixty rounds into one of those things with no effect.

    I really regret playing through this on easy, now. I might have enjoyed it if I could have killed anything properly.

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, easy’s actually kinda unpleasant to play. I’m honestly not even sure it IS easier.

      If anyone’s wondering about the STALKER difficulty. Those games are horribly inconsistent. All three have four difficulty settings. (Rookie, Stalker, Veteran, and Master, as I recall.)

      In Shadow of Chernobyl, difficulty scales what enemies have in their inventory. On rookie, you’ll swim in ammo and medkits. On Veteran, you’re probably going to need to strip mags out of your enemies guns, just to keep going. I don’t think SoC actually scaled damage or enemy spawns based on difficulty.

      Clear Sky got rid of the ammo starvation mechanic. I think it altered the frequency of attacks in the faction war system, and scaled damage, but I never played much of Clear Sky, and I might have never turned the difficulty up to Master.

      Call of Pripyat, difficulty scales damage, and pretty much nothing else. You take 1/2 damage on Rookie, full Damage on Stalker, 1.5x or 2x on Veteran, and so on. Your damage is also nerfed on higher difficulties. I think Rookie is x2, but it could be higher, on Veteran it’s .75, and .5 on Master.

      That said, the STALKER games are hard FPSs. Even on rookie. So, while I’ve sunk something like 300 hours into Call of Pripyat, only two or three of that has been on a higher difficulty.

      Also, 4A games is in Kiev, so, they’re Ukrainian not Russian, it’s made up of former GSC developers that jumped ship during Shadow of Chernobyl’s development.

      • I have the Stalker series from Steam, and I can’t recall which one (maybe all?) had really amazing pathfinding problems going on, mostly when I would jump up onto something a little higher than the surrounding terrain or when I was near this one concrete ramp being swarmed by dogs. It didn’t really help me much, as it made my targets dodge out of my line of fire most of the time.

        There was also a Duty officer I went to rescue, and while he stood in the same place, as I walked around him, his torso would spin to face me as I orbited his position. It was like being stared at by an action figure.

        I also kept thinking I was missing some missions here and there, as I often had no clear indication of where I was supposed to go next or if I was ready to do so. I’d often think I had the best weapons/armor available yet I’d get pasted in fairly short order.

        That said, the haunted lab is one of my favorite video game locations ever.

        Are there any mods that fix some of the bugs and/or make it a little easier for this ugly American to understand what the NPCs are trying to tell me to do? Or at least can they give the people in the 100 rads bar more than one line of dialog each? :)

      • Ryan says:

        Difficulty in ShoC is really wacky. IIRC There’s a weird pseudo-RPG thing where at lower difficulties there’s a chance that shots to the body are magically deflected- only headshots hit 100% of the time. The problem is that this applies to everyone, not just you, so it’s similar to Metro where the enemies are in some ways tougher at lower difficulties.

      • ET says:

        The Stalker games are hard all right…until you find your first couple artifacts.
        Especially if you know which ones to look out for.
        Basically, it’s a min-max game where you try to have as low (or zero!) rads/s, while getting a little health regen, or some extra inventory weight.
        (I suppose other artifacts might have been useful to other people, but the way the game was mechanized, the health regen, extra weight, and reduction in rads artifacts were the only ones I ever used.)
        Then the game turns a lot easier, since you don’t need to worry about health-kits nearly so badly, and can sell some to save weight.

      • jarppi says:

        Yeah, Stalker has a really weird difficulty. I found that a bit annoying at the SoC and the Clear Sky, CoP was better. Luckily you can get a mod for Shadow of Chernoby called ‘realistic weapons add-on’ or something like that. (It’s been years since I installed it, can’t relly remember the name.) It changes weapon mechanics in the game: No more magic at the hit detection. Bullets spread depending on the gun and if it hits a target it really hits that target. Weapons do now more damage (also when used against you) and even the best armored enemies drop after a couple of hits at the torso. It actually makes a huge difference in the gameplay when shootouts with a couple of enemies will usually end after about 10 rounds shot. It also makes single fire mode the most effective firing mode which I really like. If you are like me and know how to use a gun like AK-47 in real life, you understand how much difference that makes in the immersion. That kind of gun has in real life so much recoil in full auto that you would use it only in very spesific cases.

        • Michael says:

          One of the things I loved with the series, in general, was how easy modding was. You only needed notepad and an archive extractor. I’m not sure which mod you’re talking about specifically, but, there was a pretty healthy community back in the day.

      • Ringwraith says:

        Also (in the first game at least) it altered your ‘luck’: how often hits to your head would actually count and therefore take truckloads of damage from. However, due to an oversight, this also applied to the enemies as well, leading to the weird situation where it’s much easier to headshot guys on Master than it is on Easy, as it keeps missing for them.

    • Stephen says:

      Glory to Arstotzka. NEXT!

    • bucaneer says:

      Faux Cyrillic is an absolute pain if you can actually read real Cyrillic. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure out what “ШДЯЙIИG” stood for with no context.

      • ET says:

        I can barely speak Ukrainian, and even I had the same problem.
        Took me a good five minutes to force my brain to stop trying to read those characters as anything but funny-looking English. ^^;

      • WillRiker says:

        I have this problem with Faux-Cyrillic AND Faux-Greek. Every time I see the word “GRSSK” I want to stab a person in the face. Doesn’t matter who.

        • RCN says:

          I don’t know about Cyrilic, but Greek letter also get to me. Of course, the favorite is actually using upper-case lambda as “a”. Oh, and the also popular theta as “o”. Or pi as “n”? That’s stuff that makes me foam from my mouth. So much I just couldn’t stand to keep looking out for APOTHEON, just because it was once written as LRTHTESTHP.

          At least they cleaned it up a bit later. To LROTEEEOP.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

      My EYES!!!! Get me some acid so I can burn them out.

      Seriosly, to the people like me to whom Cyrilic letters are the way they write, reading “English” in “Cyrilic” is torture! Most of the letters sound COMPLETLY different from what you think they do.

      This is how you can transcribe your sentence in Cyrillic so when it’s read it sounds reasonably similar to English. At least in Serbian.

      ИЗ ГЛОРИЈУС ДЕЈ ФОР СИТИЗЕНС ОФ Д ВИКТОРИУС ПИПЛС РИПАБЛИК ОФ СПОИЛР ВАРНИНГ.

      Hmmm. Could I do a reverse. Serbian in Cyrilic written in English characters that sort of look like Cyrilic.

      Original: Јесте величанствен дан за грађане побједничке републике Споилер Варнинг.
      Using Latin characters: JECTE BEЛNЧАHCTBEN ДAH 3A 7PAЂАNE ∩OБЈЕДHNCKE PE∩YБЛNKE Spoiler Warning

      Eh it didn’t really work. You don’t have letters simmilar to Д, Ђ, Б and so on.

      • Tse says:

        ИЗ ГЛОРИЪС ДЕЙ ФОР СИТИЗЪНС ЪФ ДЪ ВИКТОРИЪС ПИЙПЪЛС РЕПУБЛИК ЪФ СПОЙЛЪР УОРНИНГ
        ДНЕС Е ВЕЛИК ДЕН ЗА ПОБЕДНАТА НАРОДНА РЕПУБЛИКА НА ВНИМАНИЕ: СПОЙЛЕРИ

        P.S. That’s Bulgarian, not Russian

        • 4th Dimension says:

          I was more going for “Use Latin letters that look like Cyrilic ones, to spell out a Cyrilic languge sentence”, like using N instead of И, but nice effort.

          Also that У in УОРНИНГ. Do you really read that У as V in vehicle? To my Serbian reading eyes that sounds strange, but okay. On the other hand У in РЕПУБЛИК seems to be read as У in Убаво.

          Oh, and I knew it’s Bulgaran since you are often enough poster for me to remember you are from Bulgaria. :D

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Huh. I though I replied to this post but my reply is now gone.

      Anyway, as someone who writes Cyrilic as his native script, seeing it used like this causes pain. Not so much as in don’t use it, but in that my mind tries to read it and all I get is a bunch of garbage. My head hurts from it.

      Edit:
      Oh NOW I can see it. I guess I was whining a bit too much. Using couple of characters in a sentence is kind of okay (even though I have to restrain myself and stop trying to acually read the character as they should be read) if you must. But that generator . . .

  10. Michael says:

    I keep thinking “Ranger Hardcore” sounds like the first part of a Lord of the Rings porn “parody”.

  11. My request: Rutskarn (or the entire cast if the will is there) needs to do an entire episode channeling the 4chan personality (language warning) known as Ivan Chesnokov.

    Failing that, another Russian stereotype that might be amusing/wrong (and apologies to any Chechens in the audience) would be Agent Strelnikov from the SCP Foundation.

  12. The Unforgiven says:

    So, no spoilers, but who actually read the book that this game is based on? And what did you think about the ending of said book?

    • Michael says:

      As I recall, the alternate ending is the one from the book. But, I’m working from third hand information here, so I could be wrong.

      • Josh says:

        The book ending is the default ending. The alternate ending is significantly different.

        • ENC says:

          I haven’t gotten around to watching the episode yet but have you read the book Josh? I’d be interested to hear someone else’s thoughts on where they’re the same and where they differ (e.g. The Library, the path he takes after the library, the cult of the Grey Worm, the ooze under the Kremlin, etc).

          • Josh says:

            I’ve been reading it off and on since I got the ebook copy with Last Light, but I haven’t really gotten too far. I know Bourbon is a very different character and Artyom is significantly less of a mime.

            I do know how the book ends because I inadvertently spoiled it for myself while browsing tvtropes. Although having already played the game, it didn’t come as much of a surprise.

            • The Unforgiven says:

              What did you think of the ending? I thought it was really weird. Like, the book ends as if it’s a good ending (the good guys win and and everyone lived happily ever after), but it really seemed like a bad ending to me. It seemed like the tone of the end of the book was really at odds with the actual events.

    • lostclause says:

      Does anyone recommend the book? I read ‘A roadside picnic’ once I heard Stalker was based on it (loved it) and am curious about Metro. Do the game and the book differ significantly as Stalker does?

      • ENC says:

        They’re fairly similar. Most of it is the same but the paths they take through the metro differ towards the end and some of the characters behave slightly differently, but overall they’re very similar (compared to Roadside Picnic and STALKER which seem to only match in setting).

        • Anorak says:

          The book is a lot more philosophical. A lot fewer things for Artyom to shoot too.

          A lot of the stations that Artyom visits, he often ends up sitting and talking with the inhabitants around a cook fire. They tell each other gossip, rumours, and ghost stories. These ghost stories are brilliant- in an underground system where people can barely travel more than a few miles, because of the danger, very little news gets through the tunnels intact. You get to see first hand what happens to news as it travels.

          A lot of the ghost stories told in the book are actually reused as background conversation between NPCs in the game, which I love.

          Overall I think it is a fantastic adaptation, but I do wish they’d carried over more of the “weirdness” from the tunnels,

          like:

          The tunnel that makes you drop dead if you travel alone.

          The tunnel where, if you close your eyes, you can see blue sky and daylight

          The Kremlin. If you catch a glimpse of the stars at the top of the Kremlin, you basically go into sleep walking mode and try to get inside. The doors stand open, and no one has ever come out again.

          • Hydralysk says:

            Well they kind of replaced that with ghosts in the game.

            When you get to the Khan level in the game you see a lot of very weird supernatural stuff that never really happens in the book, but it’s all presented through visual means. There’s some ghostly shadows here, a hallucination there, but none of it require Artyom to describe what he’s seeing/feeling.

            In the book the supernatural elements are a lot more subdued. Instead of apparitions, the dead in the book seem to show themselves by how they affect the minds of whoever is near. They drive the living around them into despair or apathy to the point where something in their mind snaps and just stops working.

            I definitely would’ve liked to see more of the weird stuff in that’s in the book, especially the Kremlin, but I’m not sure they’d have the same impact. The Artyom in the books is a person who we see struggle to internalize or comprehend what he’s seeing, whereas the Artyom in the game experiences all this supernatural stuff, and then just walks off towards his next objective without any remark.

      • ET says:

        If Metro was based on Roadside Picnic, then it’d be only very loosely, I think.
        They might explore similar themes, and are both written from a Russian culture/midset, but their subject matter is a lot different.*
        It’s been years since I read it, but Picnic deals with how the world copes with finding strange, powerful artifacts from Aliens.
        Also significant is that the artifacts that people do find, are basically children’s toys, or like the trash from a picnic:
        Stuff the aliens didn’t even bother to clean up after themselves.
        The wish-orb at the end is basically the only artifact that would be considered ‘important’ to the aliens, and even then, they may have had even bigger, better toys.

        Compare that to Metro, where we explore how humanity deals with a world in which they caused the apocalypse, and how they redeem themselves.

        * OK, I’ve only played the Metro games, and not read the book, so I don’t know how much of this is relevant, and how much I’m making up.
        Sorry! :)

        • lostclause says:

          Sorry I conflated the two but I didn’t mean to imply metro was based off Picnic, only that they seemed to have some similar content; post apocalypse (at least in the zones), hazard environments, a fatalistic viewpoint (from what little I’ve seen of metro, which is literally the above episode). And I loved Picnic, even more than I liked Stalker, so if Metro is written along similar lines it sounds like I’d enjoy that.

      • Leviathan902 says:

        I found that the book and the game differ significantly, though to be fair, it would be near impossible to make a video game that followed the book closely.

        For the most part Artyom takes the same path he does in the game, but whereas in the game he’s a hero, in the book he’s mostly a limp noodle protagonist who gets his ass pulled out of whatever scrap he’s in by some new character who is introduced and then dropped a few chapters later (said character is usually vastly different than the game character). Then Artyom stumbles to the next event and is saved by someone new.

        The book, to be honest isn’t great. Despite a few standout moments (that don’t appear in the game incidentally), the pacing is quite slow and the work overall lacks agency. Like someone said, it’s a lot more philosophical.

        Overall, I find I hard to recommend unless you’re a Metro fan.

        (P.S. the translation also isn’t great).

    • Piflik says:

      I read the book (and the sequel), but didn’t finish the game. Didn’t really like the ending of the book. But it at least is realistic. Humankind are stupid assholes…

  13. nerdpride says:

    Super cool.

    There’s a youtube talking guy, Bunnyhopshow, who made a video recommending this game. Made me curious.

  14. swenson says:

    That end credits music is never going to get old this season.

  15. Phrozenflame500 says:

    Commander Shamus. Chief Operator Josh. Analytics Officer Chris. Guy from the internet Rutskarn.

    It is your mission, if you choose to accept it, to make an opinion on this game I formerly haven’t heard of so I don’t have to.

    Ultimately this opinion you form for me will be used to inform my buying decision the next time this game goes on Steam Sale.

    Godspeed good sirs, the fate of my $15 is in your hands.

    • ET says:

      I’d spend the buckazoids, just because it’s one of the few FPSs since the Thief games which does stealth fairly well.
      I mean, you can shoot out almost all of the light you encounter in the game!
      The sequel kind of wrecked the stealth, though.
      If you want a decent review, look at the video Super Bunny Hop did!
      It’s technically about the sequel, but he talks about both games enough, that I think you’ll be able to get a good feel for the game. :)

      • Trix2000 says:

        It’s interesting and different, but in a good way IMO. I’m not even a fan of horror (which it kind-of is and isn’t) and I still enjoyed it a lot.

        That’s not even counting that I was inordinately interested in the reloading mechanics, because they’re both reasonably realistic and somehow cool to watch.

  16. papersloth says:

    “Is this voice actor actually Russian?” – according to one of the devs, having a strong accent was a deliberate publisher decision. The actors were actually Russians living in the US, and they could have easily done it without all that exaggeration, but were asked to specifically emulate it.
    And another fun fact. Originally, “Metro” novel was only web-published. The full version of Glukhovsky’s book was released after the game was already in development, and it was changed and expanded to suit the game.

    Also being Russian I can confirm that the landscape totally doesn’t look alien or exotic, that’s pretty much how the streets look in summer (on a good year), except for all the bears replaced with mutants.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I hate it when people do that.Mixing in the english with russian was so painful at times.If a language everyone presented is native to,and its just being emulated as english,there should be no accents.Only those that speak a foreign language to that one should sound different.For example.

      But my russian is veeery rusty,and I wanted to understand everything,so I endured.

  17. Dave B. says:

    I’ve given more than a cursory glance at this series, so this should be interesting.

    I propose a new rule for the drinking game: whenever a character is Russian, take a drink. Good luck, suckers viewers!

  18. Spammy says:

    I’m one of the people who wanted you to cover Metro 2033. Although as soon as I posted that I wondered just what the hell I’d done because the odds are good you’re going to get halfway through the game and then start blasting a game I love.

    Josh’s complaining about the non-Ranger difficulty modes always confused me, because the 1.6 times I’ve played through Metro 2033 I did so on Normal and… it wasn’t hard. I mean, it was still difficult, but not unreasonably so. I didn’t feel like I was pouring too much ammo into enemies. And despite the game’s economy being about bullets and conserving ammo, I don’t want to play on the difficulty level where you get NO ammo. If I have nothing to actually conserve then the conservation mechanics don’t matter, do they? And like I said, the game didn’t feel any harder than, say, Half-Life 2.

    Either way I hope Josh knows how early he can get the volt driver because you need that thing if you’re trying to save ammo.

    • Michael says:

      Easy can get kinda tedious. I don’t remember if I did a normal playthrough, though. Hard is a pretty good mode, though. I forgot Ranger mode included an ammo count, though. My recollection was, having to count rounds in the revolver, and watch the rifle’s mag closely.

    • Trix2000 says:

      I tend to like shooting more than less, so normal worked well for me too. It actually didn’t feel all that bad, both difficulty and in how many hits things took. Can’t really comment on easy though.

  19. Astor says:

    Is the morality system maligned? When I found out about it and how it worked my appreciation for the game went up. I love that you just *don’t know* about it! It’s also interesting that it keeps track not just of “good” and “bad” actions/inactions, there many things I feel are largely indifferent (like playing the guitar, picking up an object or not, and many other things) which I think is also cool by adding a little randomness.

    That being said I remember being disappointed when I found out Last Light defaults to the “bad” ending, I really felt like that wasn’t “my” Artyom.

    • Klay F. says:

      Yeah, I don’t get why the system was maligned either. This game’s good ending isn’t like Mass Effect 2′s “good” ending. Its pretty clear once you finish the game that the bad ending is the ending. Its the one the developers are expecting you to get your first time through. As such the good ending is basically just an easter egg. Though it does have some meaning. Everything having to do with morality (for lack of a better name) in this game basically represents Artyom learning to look at his world in news ways. Also there’s a certain character that basically beats you over the head with that theme.

      • Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

        I don’t know that I maligned it, but I didn’t particularly appreciate it. The default ending fits better with the game to that point, and had I not known about the special ending -even though I had the points to do it -I probably wouldn’t have taken it. Actually, my major gripe with the game is that the Dark Ones are absent for so much of it that the game seems more like an excuse to tour post-appocalyptic Russia.

        It’s emersive, and I enjoyed it, but the plot didn’t move me.

        • I thought it was a good experiment – I’m glad that they didn’t pop up a message saying “+1 karma points!”
          It’s great that they tried hiding their morality system – it means that people are less likely to game it and more like to role play it. Games need to hide their systems a lot more than they do.

          What I don’t think worked about it is that pretty much only the ending changed. That is a bit… I don’t know. I just think it could have been a lot more.

    • Disc says:

      I felt the same about the defaulting of the “bad” ending. I managed to get the special ending without even knowing there was a morality system and reaching it sure felt like the proper ending. I suppose it would have made writing a sequel harder in terms of conflict, but (at least potentially, I haven’t played Last Light yet) eliminating a very interesting factor from the setting just makes the whole setting feel a little bit poorer.

  20. Klay F. says:

    Oh man, this game is probably one of my top 5 favorites of the last decade. It’s gonna be hard seeing you guys rip it to shreds. Better bring out the whiskey…

    EDIT: Also, damn is this game’s soundtrack awesome or what? I can’t even get five seconds into the video without needing to come down here and edit my comment just to point that out.

    • Spammy says:

      I love that slow, mournful acoustic guitar at the start. I’ve wanted to try to run a Metro tabletop campaign, and if I did I would be playing that music at the start of every session to set the mood.

  21. somebodys_kid says:

    Seriously.
    I love this game. (Except for ONE part near the end)
    Good choice.

  22. krellen says:

    Now I’m going to have to replay Metro. Thanks a lot, guys.

  23. SlothfulCobra says:

    I love so many things about this game. I love how it’s set in Russia instead of America, so it’s a new setting and Russians are for once not some hackneyed excuse for a villain. I love how the world has been reduced to a wasteland, but you still see people living their lives and trying to have fun even though they live in rubble. I love the idea of the big threatening enemies just having psychic powers while the enemies you fight are basically vermin. I love the eery nature of any remnants of the old world. It’s a very well designed game.

    It’s just a shame that I’m so bad at playing it, and the mechanics are kind of annoying to deal with.

  24. Neil D says:

    Huh, good timing on my part. I picked this up on a Steam sale a while back and just started playing it last week.

    I’m about 2/3 of the way through (going by a level guide), and at this point I’m playing it just to be done with it. The setting isn’t grabbing me as much as I’d hoped, the gameplay is basic shooter stuff with nothing special, the characters are flat, and above all that there’s absolutely no sense of fun at all (I get that’s the tone they were going for, but it doesn’t exactly draw me in). The ghosts and anomalies seemed potentially interesting, then they just vanished. I have to assume they play a part again at some point, but it was strange to introduce them and then abandon them so quickly.

    Still, I’ll be interested to see what you all have to say about it. Not to mention all the things I should have been doing to enjoy it properly. I still haven’t got the hang of the whole bullet-currency deal.

    • Michael says:

      Military Grade bullets are the currency in the game. If you buy things, you spend them, if you sell things, you get more. Other than that, the only thing about the military grade rounds is, they’re vastly superior to the post war rounds you usually get.

      You can use the military grade rounds in your assault rifle, allowing you to literally “pay to win”, but outside of a handful of sequences, it’s usually a bad idea.

      • Neil D says:

        Mostly I couldn’t tell which was which from the icons, and I also didn’t catch that it was only for machine gun ammo. So I was always wondering which kind I was shooting from my pistol, and when I did use the machine gun I was never sure which to use. By the time I started to catch on, I had already “spent” myself into poverty, it seemed. Also, it took me about this far in the game just to get a sense of how common/rare “money” was going to be, how much I needed to save to buy whatever, and what I could expect to find in the field, so I couldn’t really make intelligent buying decisions.

        So perhaps it was just fundamental unfamiliarity rather than anything in particular they did wrong, but I felt like it could have been handled better. Perhaps if the game itself drew me in more I would have been in a better frame of mind to grasp the nuances, but these were the very things that I felt were keeping me on the outside.

        Maybe I just don’t care for post-apocalyptic Russia. I had much the same reaction to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and by all accounts and reviews I should have loved it.

        • Michael says:

          The STALKER games are very divisive. I mean, I love them, but there’s a lot to hate, too.

          The writing is never good. If the aesthetic can be off putting. Everything’s been drowned in Russian fatalism.

          Shadow of Chernobyl is more survival horror than a standard shooter. If you approach it as a shooter, it’ll be a serious disappointment. In a lot of ways, SoC is the same kind of entropic endurance test as Far Cry 2. Also, there’s the part where the game deliberately tries to give you one of the bad endings.

          I’ve only finished Clear Sky once or twice, so, fair warning there. This one tried to make a much more focused shooter out of the system. It’s actually closest to Metro, in that regard, and actually one of the weakest games in the series. There’s waves of enemies, you’re never going to be pressed for ammo, because you’ll be able to have a lot of human corpses to scavenge from. It does tighten up the shooting mechanics a lot, but combat is hideously lethal for the player, while enemies just scoff at your concept of bullets.

          Call of Pripyat is more of an open world RPG. It’s not a large game, but it’s in some of the same range of a horror themed Fallout 3 with much tighter combat.

        • Trix2000 says:

          The military rounds are shiny. Obviously shiny bullets are better. :)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Glad Im not the only one.In both metro games,the parts that really pulled me in were the above world ones,with the ruins,and ll the monsters,and the poisonous gas.Sadly,those were the rarest parts.It was mostly just tunnels,and nazis,and those were just meh to me.

      • Neil D says:

        I think I would have enjoyed the above-ground sequences more if I didn’t feel I had to rush through them before my air ran out. I like to explore in games, and that particular mechanic told me not to do that. I just learned that I just missed the place to broadcast the cassette from that one dude because I didn’t take the time to explore. If there were save games I would have gone back and done that, but too bad for me. Hopefully Josh will do it so I can at least see it.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Weeeelll….you dont have to rush if you find out that you can just take your mask off,wait for half a minute,put it on for a second,then take it off…It breaks the immersion somewhat,but it is funny as hell.And useful.I wonder if we will se Josh (ab)using this in this playthrough.

  25. Deadyawn says:

    hmm, I guess I’ll have to go back and finish this then. I got it in a steam sale a while back and I did get around to playing it at one point. Of course, I didn’t know about the weird difficulty stuff so I played on normal, didn’t really enjoy it and got maybe halfway through before I quit.

  26. Julian says:

    If there were a game set in the New York subway system, and your reaction wasn’t “this makes no sense!”, they’re doing it wrong.

  27. 17:25. Shamus almost pulls a “nuclear wessels” on the word “revolver.”

    Which literally makes it Chekhov’s Gun!

  28. Jokerman says:

    I played and failed to finish both Metro games, i did enjoy last light more though… I just couldn’t cope with the first game while the second was more generic, though in a good way for a change.

    I am glad you are doing this for SW though, i get to see it all the way through now.

  29. Grudgeal says:

    I would just like to add that if the English voices in Metro 2033 aren’t done by English VAs but by the original voice cast, my ears are either going or Russia has one AMAZING Steven Blum impersonator in it waiting to be discovered.

    Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Yuri Lowenthal doing one of the minor background characters, like one of them during the hunter scene.

  30. Grudgeal says:

    I like how the ending tries its damned to sound like the Korobeiniki (the theme to Tetris) without actually being, you know, the Korobeiniki.

  31. Heaven Smile says:

    For everytime you hear “Ranger Hardcore”, play this song from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Out” in your head:

    Ooooooh yeeeeeeah chikichika
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG_6CopW9GQ

  32. Anorak says:

    Does Josh get a Cabbage Medal?.

    Actually I think Rutskarn is more deserving of it, for his atrocious Russian accent.

  33. Disc says:

    Ranger Easy was definitely a good challenge, but I really hated the scavenging. The late game was also a pain in the ass with the lack of reliable restocking of gas mask filters. I made the mistake of skipping on buying filters at a shop earlier on, since I wanted to save money for a later date, but there were no more shops with filters ever again. Had to resort to glitching the system a number of times by repeatedly equipping and unequipping the breathing mask until I could find some more filters. All that saved up cash ammo helped a lot in some of the late game fights though.

  34. Halceon says:

    Finally, a game I actually sorta care about watching!

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I had a bunch of problems with this game.The mechanics were nothing special(except when you finally got to go to the surface),the morality system was ultimately meaningless(alternate ending was lame,and made very little sense),the characters were mostly meh,the language options were both annoying(have cool sounding actors but not understanding half of them,or have lame sounding ones that you understand),and the thing that irritated me the most:Nazis.Really?Nazis.In russia.Yeah,like that will happen.Even if they had the same ideology,they would still call themselves something else(the peoples party,socialist party,the whites,the purists,…),anything but nazis.

    EDIT:Wait…How did this get here?Shamoose,you broke the comments again.

  36. Smejki says:

    Nope, the game is Ukrainian, the book is Russian and the story is set in Russia (Moscow)

  37. Wulfgar says:

    Playing Metro in Russian is quite cool experience but not translating all dialogues is really stupid overlook

  38. THЗЯЭ IS ИФ MCDФЙДLD’S IИ SФVIЗT ЦЙIФИ! THЭЯЗ IS ФЙLУ ЬЦЯGЭЯ TSДЯ!

  39. Leviathan902 says:

    I’ve thought that the Metro series would make for a great critical analysis by Shamus or an Errant Signal video by Chris for a while, so although I’m looking forward to this season, I feel like Spoiler Warning may not be the best format for it.

    The reason I say that is because IMO, the most interesting discussions to be had about Metro are really about how 2033 compares to Last Light.

    Both games do 1 thing incredibly well: create an immersive and interesting story. Where they differ is in their mechanics.

    2033 had shoddy mechanics with a broken stealth system and overly aggressive hive-mind psychic AI. But in a way it worked to reinforce the setting. Gunplay was chaotic and brutal, stealth was tense and nerve wracking.

    Last Light fixed all those problems, and it made the game too easy for many die hard fans. The game was more fun to PLAY, but Artyom popping off headshots like it was COD undermined the setting.

    Unfortunately, Spoiler Warning isn’t a great place to have that conversation since they’re focusing on 2033, but perhaps some nuggets will slip in, or we’ll still get that Errant Signal after all :P

  40. Mersadeon says:

    Damn, I love the Metro universe. I liked that this game essentially took the liberties it had to in order to make a more interesting game – the book is a lot less “monsters” and a lot more “paranoia and also people are dicks”. I will say, however, that I did NOT enjoy what the did with the dark ones in Metro Last Light.

    Also, god damnit, the DLC for Last Light was NOT playtested for the Ranger difficulty at all.

    EDIT: What? How did my comment come before Shamus’, even though I read it before posting this?

  41. I have mixed feelings about Metro 2033. I love the atmosphere: the claustrophobia, the oppressiveness, the darkness and silence while walking alone down the tunnels, the occasional eerie noises, the ominousness, the sense of hopelessness… and so forth.
    I loved the survival elements: the gasmasks and the sense of suffocation you feel when your tank it running out, the scavenging, the ammo as currency, etc.
    And I loved the makeshift weapons. They just felt really inspired to me compared to many other games where guns look at act the same.
    But I just couldn’t get into the game overall. The story felt way too minimalist, being more interested in telling what it had to say rather than showing, and the game took longer than it needed to reach its conclusion. I thought it was interesting (or held promise) at first, but grew fatigued a little before the halfway point. The funky AI didn’t help either, and I’m not a fan of how difficulty in this game is handled.

    In some ways, I do think the game really is about Artyom simply walking through these tunnels, or occasionally across the surface. It stood out to me and I think the game shined there. Yet before I even drew close to the end, I was bored. It’s interesting comparing this game with STALKER though, I will say.

    Part of me wants to pick up M2033 again, but the other half isn’t sure.

    I’m interested in what you guys have to say about the game, but I’m afraid it will turn into another Bioshock season before its over.

  42. Jace91 says:

    Oh man, this is gonna be good. I loved both Metro games to death.

    Although my one major complaint about them is that stealth was ridiculously hard in 2033, whereas in Last Light I was able to slide through almost the entire game without being seen once. It’s almost like the Mass Effect 1-2 inventory mechanic switch; the necessary change happened in the right direction, but it WAAAAAY overshot the target.

  43. Andy says:

    I tried playing this game in 3D. It’s very well implemented, and ramps the immersive factor up to 11. The claustrophobia generated by the gas mask fog layer is truly sublime, like it’s a tangible layer two inches from your eyes. However, I never finished because it was TOO much….

  44. guy says:

    6:26 “Reload, Doctor Freeman!”

    I think that the wasteland color palette is kinda unique, and it’s got its own motif, especially with the tunnels.

    Wait, there’s a morality system? Well, I guess that not knowing it exists period beats Dishonored’s approach, and for that matter most approaches. It just looks like the lights are damaged and flickery. Which, uh, is pretty appropriate to the setting.

    Chris, you poor, doomed, fool. Please explain your choice of video game next Diecast.

    • He’ll be busy deflecting criticism for that “Midwestern Wasteland” comment.

      One, no Fallout game has happened in the Midwest, and two, what part of the Midwest does he think looks like any place in Fallout?

      We here in “flyover wasteland country” will deny him shelter after the ocean swallows his coastal homeland. He will be forced to endure a semi-aquatic future while we fight over cows, corn, and wheat.

  45. Alex says:

    I haven’t played Metro 2033 (I heard it was linear, and I far prefer sandbox games), but I definitely agree with the comments about what environmental hazards can do for a game. I’ve been playing Skyrim with Frostfall and I fell in love with it the first time I had to hide in a ruin, hoping the troll would get bored and look for an easier meal before I froze to death.

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