And so the story ends. This games accomplishes a rare thing: It concludes a story while also setting up a sequel, and it does so without without any retcon or cliffhanger shenanigans.
Note what an odd beast this is: The “good” ending – that is, the happy one – isn’t the canonical one. Yes, the good ending doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it didn’t bug me because it doesn’t feel real to me. It feels like this odd fan-fiction alternate ending. I suppose it is. In the proper ending you blow the Dark Ones away.
In either ending, note how the Metro society hasn’t solved their original problem. We began the game with the knowledge that monster attacks are increasing, and that someday they will overwhelm the humans. We came here to kill the Dark Ones because we thought they were the cause. Now we know (?) that this isn’t the case. So what then? You set out to resolve the monster problem, and in the proper ending you kill a quasi-innocent third party and in the alternate ending you don’t. Humanity is still screwed either way. The annihilation of the Dark Ones is the result of Humanity lashing out and grasping for any course of action that might give them hope.
The strange cutscene camera cuts are confusing and needless. The gunplay eventually gets old. The gas mask system is an interesting idea that leads to game-killing failure states. The Nazis vs. Commies war is too overblown and under-justified to work. The dual-ending system is obtuse and requires a lot of fussy effort to get an ending that doesn’t make sense.
Despite all this, I admire the game. Metro 2033 stumbled slightly in execution, but it stumbled while trying new things. I think it’s worth a look.
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