Released in 2010, “Metro: 2033” quickly became a cult favorite among survival horror first-person shooter fans that enjoyed having their fragile psyches taxed as much as their trigger fingers. Set in Moscow’s subway system 20 years after the metropolis was wiped from the map by a nuclear strike, the game pitted players against human adversaries, as well as mutations that had awoken on the wrong side of the apocalypse.
Containing revamped versions of “Metro: 2033” and its 2013 sequel “Metro: Last Light” (and all its associated downloadable content), “Metro Redux” is director’s cut (of sorts) that’s built from the ground up to take advantage of all those powerful horses beneath the Xbox One’s hood.
Like any remastered bundle worth its weight in increased polygon counts, “Redux” offers prettied-up versions of both titles. Released just over a year ago, “Last Light” was already easy on the eyes running on Xbox 360 hardware; while the sequel still receives a shiny new paint job in “Redux”, its predecessor benefits the most from the next-gen makeover. On top of the expected enhancements to lighting and shadowing tech, “2033”—rebuilt entirely on an evolved version of “Last Light’s” engine—sports more destructible environments, additional textures, weather effects, day-night cycles, debris, vegetation, and a host of other presentational upgrades that make it look right at home on the Xbox One.
More than just being made-over like a prom queen, though, “2033” is also seeing its gameplay significantly overhauled. A number of mechanics have been refined and features added. Many of the tweaks—from its more intuitive HUD elements to its improved stealth takedowns—have been inherited from the far-more-polished “Last Light.” In fact, fans of that game’s immersion-amping ability to wipe the blood of expired enemies from their gas masks will appreciate the opportunity to do the same when “2033’s” baddies blow up all over their faces.
In addition to ratcheting both the gameplay and visual presentation to next-gen standards, “Redux” tosses some fresh content into the monster-eviscerating mix. Certain levels, such as Dead City—which invited players to survive Moscow’s snow-covered, irradiated surface—have been extended for the sake of providing smoother continuity. Previously broken into two sections, the stage is now seamlessly connected by a new defense encounter that tasks players with surviving waves of mutated beasties until the cavalry comes to the rescue.
Perhaps even more thrilling than trying to not die during these new adrenaline-spiking scenarios is the ability to tackle both titles’ campaigns with entirely fresh play styles. A pair of added modes, dubbed “Survival” and “Spartan,” encourage players to brave Moscow’s underground multiple times. The former mode plays much like the original game did, meaning resources are scarce, weapon reloads slow, and scares plentiful; the latter, however, provides a more action-oriented experience that should feel comfortably familiar to anyone who blasted their way through “Last Light.” Essentially, the two modes allow fans to swap the gameplay styles of the original games, making “2033” a more combat-focused affair and “Last Light” a more frightening one.
Regardless of how you decide to mind the gap—and its mutants—“Metro Redux’s” overhauled visuals, refined gameplay, and fresh content promise to deliver the series’ absolute definitive experience when it pulls up to the platform later this summer.