Metro 2033 EP15: That. Was. SPARTA!

By Shamus Posted Friday Nov 29, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 68 comments

Link (YouTube)

So here we are, finally getting to the last few episodes of Metro 2033. I want to stress that a lot of my criticisms this week are just sort of gut reactions to how I experienced the game. I usually offer some commentary on how things could have been done, but I don’t know how to fix these problems without creating new ones.

Case in point: The guntravaganza in Sparta. It’s sort of disappointing to the frugal player to discover they’ve been carefully saving for… nothing. All guns are free, and it didn’t matter if you were frugal or a spendthrift, you still get it all. That’s kind of disappointing, but the alternatives are all worse. To allow the player enter the end game without the weapons they need would lead to potentially game-killing states. And of course having NPC’s sell you the stuff you need to save their lives has always been a silly setup.

Likewise, I don’t know what to think of the James Cameron-style band of misfits we’re dropped into as we reach the final areas. It feels like we’ve stepped into another game, tonally. The guys look so much alike that I couldn’t tell who was who unless they were speaking. Their banter was kind of hit and miss, and I never really felt invested in the proceedings. Then again, if they weren’t there at all then it would feel like the badass Rangers were sending the new guy to go into the pit of hell to save the world while they sat around base shining their guns.


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68 thoughts on “Metro 2033 EP15: That. Was. SPARTA!

  1. broken says:

    on the other hand, the furgal player can literally start shooting money for fun and profit. It’s actually a bit annoying that you get access to the kalash 2012 at the same time, because that way you don’t get a feel for the higher damage that military-grade bullets do.

    1. Ben Hilton says:

      Yeah, I was actually paranoid about not being able to buy stuff so I never used military ammo, (accept when the game decided to load military rounds in my gun without telling me, so I’d waste a whole clip of it by accident).

      The upshot is that once I realized there would be no more shops I got to run the last level with about 500 rounds of military grade….mutants beware.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Against the jelly things they do.You need about twice as much regular ammo to down one of those.

      1. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

        In RH mode, one shot of poor-quality ammunition in the Kalash 2012 will kill the jelly spawn and three (IIRC) swings of your knife will kill the spawners.

        1. Corpital says:

          You can kill the spawners? That…but…I…

          Now I feel very, very stupid.

          1. Ben Hilton says:

            Don’t worry, I didn’t know until someone told me either.

    3. Keldoclock says:

      YES. Shamus, the best thing to buy with your ammo is DEATH!

      Its so satisfying! The guns sound like they are actually supposed to instead of “plink plink plink” and you just kill everything, it’s great!

      I didn’t like that the next game has the money bullets set people on fire, I thought that was really silly and against the tone of the game.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        I really didn’t understand that either. And the Ranger part of the Faction DLC makes every shotgun have fireammo. I have no idea why they wanted that.

  2. Tizzy says:

    Not that I speak Russian or anything, but I am convinced that the game loses a lot in translation, in part by lack of cultural context. So there is a good chance that the banter between the soldiers feels a lot less forced in the original.

    1. el_b says:

      the accents are probably a little more realistic as well

      1. Tizzy says:

        Yes. And we can say what we want about the choice of giving them accents in translation, it’s really nice that they left in the original dialogues in the game with the option of English subtitles. I really appreciate that.

        1. el_b says:

          i always play games with subs anyway so i dont miss anything in the chaos.

    2. Lazy Buttons says:

      I’m a native Russian speaker, and live in the frozen wastelands of Russia (it looks exactly like in Metro 2033, just with more bears and civilians on the streets). And I must admit that I prefer the English voice acting in both Metro 2033 and Last Light.

      I know, I know, sounds ridiculous, but I like the English version a lot more. Largely due to the fact that it feels like it has more voice actors and they are more diverse and better coached.

  3. Stalevar says:

    They don’t really give you all guns for free, they only give you non silenced assault rifle, pistol and shotgun(plus DLC guns, that you can’t buy anyway and can pick up for free in earlier levels). They just provide you with more combat oriented guns in case you were still carrying stealth weapons(silenced sniper rifle, pneumatic guns), that are not very good against monsters.

  4. Ben Hilton says:

    I found it hilarious the way Miller addresses the troops before you leave….

    “Artyom? I’m Ready. Ulman? Ready. Vladimir? Good to go…..You guys? Ready.”

    I almost expected him to look at those two and say “Hey are those shirts new?…no, no I like them, the red suits you.”

    1. el_b says:

      I know it might be a lot of hard work seamus, but this comment could really do with a like button :)

      1. Ben Hilton says:

        Thank you good Sir!

  5. Corpital says:

    Happy to see you back with this action packed rollercoaster of action and rollercoasting. Don’t really know, how to feel about this and the upcoming part of the game. I mean, I can accept the Rangers finding you with Khans help, since everyone has a bit of Khan on the outside and a bit of Artyom in the inside, so he was probably able to scry the exact time and place you left the top secret underground vault. But I found the dramaaatic escape from the anomaly a bit too cheesy and the hordes of enemies killed the mood completely for the next few rooms. Still, the part directly before and after the nosalises was great, I just wish they had done it more like Stalker: Creepy buildings/underground complex, some poltergeist activity and just a few scattered but rather powerful mutants.

    The ammo depot…hm. Hm. It makes sense to give you some weapons and it especially makes sense for these people to have them in this location. So yeah, the only thoughts that crossed my mind there were:
    1.Oh my goodness, FINALLY some ammo!
    2.Wait a minute…that structure does not seem very effective at keeping the omnipresent extremely deadly poison air outside. And come to think of it, when Artyom carried that little boy to the other station, they both stood under a giant hole directly beneath the surface without needing a mask…nooooo.

    Also, yesterday, I cooked the french onion chicken with gruyà¨re. Replaced a part of the chicken broth with apple juice and ate it with some bread, I baked earlier. Delicious. Josh has to delay more Diecasts with awesome food.

    1. Ben Hilton says:

      I also made the chicken dish albeit with cheddar…it was amazing.

    2. Zagzag says:

      The main problem with the Stalker comparison is that it is the very lack of intense linearity and scripting of encounters that gives that game so much of its atmosphere. And without that all you’re really left with is mediocre shooting and more bugs than you can count.

      I still massively prefer Stalker’s approach, though it’s only fully effective the first time you play through, especially with the labs. Things like poltergeists shift from absolutely terrifying to a breeze once you’ve learned how to deal with them. I was both shocked and disappointed to discover you can actually kill them .

      (I can recall one memorable occasion of the bugs actually building atmosphere. Some kind of physics bug was producing ominous splashing and clanking noises that made it sound like I was being followed when in fact there was nothing there.)

      In comparison to all this, Metro really can’t compete. It’s a step in the right direction, but still far too much of a corridor shooter for me to be that interested.

  6. Yay new episode!
    Odd to see a game break world economy deliberately, I’m so used to it happening unintentionally (I might play too many RPGs). But it is very nice to see a game move away from the “pay to get equipment to go save me” idea. Penny Arcade did a comic a long time ago about that, very funny.

    Chris, I stole your credit, elaborated on it, and submitted it to Aunty Paladin. Because I want to see them fight literacy!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      8 bit theater addressed the trope of “pay for equipping the hero to save the world” nicely.For one,they were the wrong heroes,and for two,who can guarantee that the hero would succeed.

      1. bucaneer says:

        It’s the only way to run a proper economy. Sure, it may not seem wrong to share your property for the common good once in a while, but before you know it you’re singing L’Internationale as you seize control of the means of production, and then, halfway through instituting the dictatorship of the proletariat, you pause for a while and search your memory for the moment where it all went wrong, and only then do you truly understand the folly of not making the heroes pay for their goddamn health potions. The slippery slope goes all the down, I tell you.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait….What is this game?Just recently,Shamoose said that he was doing tomb raider.Did I miss something?

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Metro 2033 is nuclear winter,last light is mojave desert.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Isnt khan a long haired beardless latino dude?

    1. Josh says:

      That’s ridiculous. He’s clearly Indian; can’t you tell?

      1. Nytzschy says:

        I thought he was Corinthian.

        1. Hitchmeister says:

          He wasn’t a skinny, sharp-cheek-boned Brit?

          1. el_b says:

            they would never do that!

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The dark ones are super mutants?So that means metro is the russian version of fallout.

    Also,damn the lack of edit button.Now I have to keep this page opened and not hit post before I finish adding stuff to the comment.

    “Why the fuck would they speak with an american accent?” Well americans are aliens in russia,so if dark ones are aliens,it makes sense.But yeah,the accent thing has always felt weird to me,not just here,but in every piece of work where the language is translated for the sake of the audience,but we are to assume they are speaking a foreign language.

    Are we ever going to reach a point in video games where flamethrowers are not treated as close ranged weapons?As for the ethical ramifications,spec ops addressed that.Not with flamethrowers though,but white phosphorus is quite close.

    1. Kana says:

      One thing I thought of that, don’t all the Dark Ones speak telepathically? That was the whole reason they were trying to get Artyom to stop for five minutes and listen, he was the first one who’s brain didn’t turn into scrambled eggs.

      It’s not a free pass by any means, but it would be kind of difficult to portray how a voice would sound being beamed into your head. Would you still have an accent like that? Would you even “speak”, or do you just share the concept of words or meanings? While it may be fun to wonder, I don’t think they implemented it very well here.

      1. I think in words most of the time. I have no idea if this is unusual or not. An entirely telepathic race, who knows? Could be images, feelings, concepts, combinations thereof depending on ease of use and/or societal preference. If members of the race deal with humans all the time, I suspect they’d pick up some thinking in words too (probably for unfamiliar or human-only things). Heck, it could even vary depending on individuals, like those who have a hard time picturing things might avoid images.

        1. Corpital says:

          Most humans think in words and mentally say words, they are reading, according to a speedreading seminar a few years back. The tutor had several techniques and exercises to lessen that, but none really worked.

          And your comment made me think of good old Planescape: Torment. The servants of the Lady of Pain in Sigil communicated by letting streams of little pictures hover around their heads and, I think, you had so have a certain intelligence or wisdom to understand, what they meant.

    2. Spammy V says:

      I noted this shortly after starting Metro 2033 and posted this months ago, but yeah. Metro is in many ways a grim and dark version of Fallout 1. You leave the relative safety of your [Station/Vault] to cross the inhospitable ruins of [Moscow/California] and wind up joining the struggle to defeat the growing tide of [Dark Ones/Super Mutants].

      “It’s like a grim and dark Fallout,” is still how I’d try to explain to people what Metro is on about.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I dont like that comparison.Fallout was already grim and dark,but people forget that because it had lots of humor.

        1. Cinebeast says:

          Well, it’s better than saying, “Metro 2033 is just like Fallout, but without humor.”

          That just makes it sound like the game’s bleak and boring.

  11. Tuck says:

    Ah, I missed that ending credit music. :)

  12. Hitchmeister says:

    I can’t believe you’re still trying to troll people by talking about the character designs in this game. I haven’t seen anything but a black rectangle since you started this play-through. I’m not convinced this game has visuals.

    Whatever game you do next, please pick one bright enough to see.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Aww. I was hoping for KSP, but that’s pretty dark in palces too. Kirby’s Epic Yarn it is then!

      1. Mersadeon says:

        I know that’s supposed to be a joke, but you know what? Kirby’s Epic Yarn is happiness in videogame form. I normally love the cynical, dark approach that the Metro and Stalker games have, but gosh darn that little ball of yarn and his happy smile!

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Quite! The best jokes are at least half true. I’d be happy with either one of these games really, or whatever works out.

          Since SW doesn’t monetize, I don’t think there would be a problem with doing a Nintendo game, but I don’t know how they would record it. It seems that most of the games they have done in the past are “story games” in the sense that they have a fixed and limited narrative. KSP is rather antithetical to this, and KET seems to defy serious critique on the grounds of cartoon everything.

          Still, maybe as a single-episode segue show.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            They did a special episode of Trainz. I think a special episode of the KSP’s greatest hits -or impacts, as the case may be -is perfectly doable.

      2. AyeGill says:

        KSP would be very different from the usual Spoiler Warning, since has very little in the way of structure or direction, although career mode adds a bit of this. I’d certainly enjoy it, though, if not as a full season then as a set of special episodes.

        1. Keldoclock says:

          I think a handful of Spoiler Warnings with Shamus playing KSP could be enjoyable, maybe 2 episodes like that? Certainly not a season.

          1. KremlinLaptop says:

            Oh no, I want to see Josh playing and Shamus in the background suffering. It’d make for a fun series of intermission episodes with a whole bunch of backseat drivers.

            1. AyeGill says:

              Yes, obviously Josh playing would be the way to go. “How hard can rocket science be anyway?” indeed.

              1. MrGuy says:

                And he will somehow find a way to accidentally bounce off a meteor, plunge his Kerbals into the sun, setting off a reaction that causes the sun to go supernova and destroy the entire solar system. Because Josh.

    2. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

      One of the better looking areas in the game.

  13. Nytzschy says:

    “Force answers force. War breeds war. Death brings death. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you really suck, first person shooter protagonist. Anyway, have fun slaughtering mutated monkey men in the dark like you’re supposed to.”

  14. Ciennas says:

    If it’s not too late to make a suggestion- I vote Metroid Prime series. Or one of the Prince of Persia’s. Or Portal. I dunno. Something, anyway.

    1. Syal says:

      I hear Other M was good.

    2. Ithilanor says:

      The Metroid Prime series would be interesting, though I’m not sure there’d be enough to talk about. There’s not much story, so the commentary would have to focus on environmental design and such. (Also, I’m not sure if the current SW setup would work with a Gamecube or Wii)

  15. Mersadeon says:

    Ok, just to emphasize that once more: THIS MADE SENSE IN THE BOOK. All of this. While I really appreciate some of the changes made because they were well thought-out and made it possible for it to be a game, I really hate what they have done to some parts of the plot, because it made some stuff super weird.
    I personally also don’t like they blew up the Order into SPARTA SUPER HERO FACTION in Last Light, and now Dmitri Glukhovsky has even said that he is writing a book that merges the game and book canon. I don’t like that at all. D-6 was very different in the books.

    Also, I am giddy with joy thinking of you guys having to go through that frustrating amoeba segment. Seriously, that was heinous on some difficulties. Although Josh probably knows some exploit to get through it without any hassle.

    1. Disc says:

      Those fucking amoebas. It wouldn’t really even be that difficult if it wasn’t for your idiot ally who thinks the best strategy is to charge them head on and who you need to keep alive.

      1. Corpital says:

        Charge the things head on? CHARGE? He casually saunters through the things, occasionally pausing to take a nap or write a poem.

        But I was way more annoyed by the lack of reactions towards all the mutants there. They built the Librarians up as the ultimate enemy, but the glowing blobs or the Thing on the reactor? These abominations probably were new even to the rangers and nobody cared.

    2. somebodys_kid says:

      This section was the only part of the game I truly HATED! What a pointless exercise is frustration.

    3. somebodys_kid says:

      This section was the only part of the game I truly HATED! What a pointless exercise in frustration.

  16. Halceon says:

    I love the folders in their base, the ones that have “Folder for papers” written on them.

  17. KremlinLaptop says:

    RE: Accents.

    Rome, the tv series (It’s really good!), did this brilliant by using British accents. A whole variety of them so you had people from the families of Pompeii, Brutii, Julii, etc with refined English accents. Then you had commoners sounding.. uhm.. cockney-ish? Sort of. I know fuck all about accents in Britain– But darnit, it worked!

    You quickly got a sense of “These are upper class people. There are lower class. You can tell by the way they speak. This man? He’s a foreigner.”

    1. Thomas says:

      It’s funny that cockney is the second most famous British accent, because it’s really not that common. I don’t even know if I’ve ever actually heard someone with a cockney accent. Of course I don’t live in London, but even the people from London I meet have had londonish accents but not cockney ones.

      Reading up on TV Tropes I think they used Geordie accents for lower class people in Rome, which is people who live in the North East of England (actually England, so not Scotland here) around Newcastle. I always think it’s clever when people use accents like that, but I guess it limits the information for non-natives (I probably couldn’t tell you the connotations of many American accents)

      1. Ithilanor says:

        Don’t worry, there’s not as much variety in American accents as there is in England ,let alone the rest of the UK.

        1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          I was fond of Oliver Stone’s use of Scottish accents for the Macedonians in Alexander. But I’m also one of the crazy ones who actually rather liked that movie.

          1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

            Scottish. Irish. I meant Irish.

            1. Thomas says:

              I love how specific some british accents can be. There are accents which describe a small part of one city (or even a town)

              I think in Alexander some of the Greeks had Scottish accents, whilst the Macedons all had Irish accents. Poor Wales needs to do more to get itself on the map

        2. Peter H. Coffin says:

          Especially per mile… All those different accents crammed into an area the size of a triangle from Boston to Philadelphia to Pittsburg, plus Maine.

  18. Grudgeal says:

    08:50 — “How do you say ‘we come in peace’ when your very words are an act of war?”

    The concept that the Dark Ones’ mode of communication was harmful to humans was interesting. Pity the game didn’t make more out of it and make them more ambigious.

  19. Sleepy the Bear says:

    I was struck by the rangers freaking out and running away from the anomaly. I thought that if you stayed still you were safe – did I miss something during the Khan section?

    I took that running away as a sign that the other Rangers had not tried to understand the new world around them, and just treated everything as hostile. Which then set them up to be all gung-ho and ready to nuke the Dark Ones. I’m curious if anyone can set me straight about the threat of the anomalies, and if I’m reading too much into this.

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