It seems that literally everyone doubted the fate of Metro: Exodus. Almost everyone who had a chance to play it noted: there is potential, but the game is not without problems. And the tight release schedule in February did not bode well – not everyone will survive the neighborhood with such giants as Anthem. Actually, the doubts were not unfounded: Exodus really has enough problems. But does that make the game a failure? Not at all.
Metro Exodus Endless journey
As is often the case, the new 4A Games project has two sides. The first is a first-class adventure that you start to miss even before the end credits end. The second is outdated game design from the 2000s and a whole mountain of technical problems that will surely bring someone to a nervous breakdown. But I want to start with a good one. After all, oddly enough, the main feature of Metro: Exodus is precisely its history and atmosphere. And, as the developers have repeatedly warned, Exodus in no way retells Metro 2035 or any other book plots. She is inspired by them, but the script offers her own – and from the very beginning it runs counter to Dmitry Glukhovsky’s version.
So, Artyom, the main character of the entire series, after the tragic events of the original, cannot find a place for himself in any way and lives the dream of finding a corner on the planet suitable for existence without a gas mask. For this, he consistently hauls into a city debased with radiation to get radio signs and continually fights with his significant other, companions and father-in-law, who don’t share his energy. As everyone already guessed, at some point the hero’s dream begins to come true, and all of the above characters are forced, willy-nilly, to go with him – towards a new life.
And if at first the story is not particularly impressive – there is a chaotic presentation, and sometimes ridiculous dialogues – then over time, the plot unexpectedly turns into a memorable road movie in the style of the best BioWare games. The whole team huddles in one train for a whole year, while traveling through Russia from Moscow itself and the banks of the Volga to the Caspian Sea and taiga, and such a “communal apartment”, of course, constantly gives rise to funny situations.
Walking along the train, you can witness a bunch of different dialogues and events: the characters decided to have a feast for a special occasion – the heroes dance, sing, fool around and behave in the same way as ordinary Soviet men would behave during drunkenness. Or here Anya (the wife of the protagonist) lies on Artyom’s lap and shares her experiences. The hero is silent and does not answer, but some kind of chemistry between them works – and you care. The very next moment you leave the compartment to play guitars with a friend or turn on the radio and manually search for a station: they play Russian rock there, and there are conversational programs, and you can overhear the dialogues that complement the plot.
It is especially pleasant that almost all of these scenes, at least a bit, but involve the player: during many conversations, you can smoke, leave the coal in the stove, and drink. Each character on the train will surely have a dialogue that is appropriate for the occasion, which can take ten minutes of real time, and it is not at all a pity to spend it on such gatherings.
There is also a lot to look out for outside the train. There, in the big world, the view of the events after the disaster is fundamentally different from what one is accustomed to in the undergrounds of Moscow. So, all survivors are sure that the capital is a wasteland where no one survived. And there are even more tragic stories of all stripes outside the former metropolis: now you see a larger piece of the world, so watching the consequences of the war is even sadder than before.
On the banks of the Volga, cultists have settled, despising any technology; a little further, in the Caspian desert, bandits-fanatics in the spirit of “Mad Max” settled down. Elsewhere, you can stumble upon another “circus of freaks”, where the heroes will be attacked by cannibals in earflaps with axes, and all this in the middle of red-red interiors. Well, in the taiga, the children of the forest are waiting – whole settlements of those who were caught by the bombing right in the summer camp. The teenagers had to quickly grow up and learn to survive in harsh conditions, and they seem to have turned into real hunters, but at heart they remained naive children.
All these organizations are worked out from A to Z: each has not only its own location and a couple of plot cutscenes, but also a large written history, a heap of diaries and dozens of background lines. Sometimes brilliant scenes come across at all. From 4A Games, for example, you do not expect at all a monologue of a crazy disabled person who talks to corpses and puts on a play with them, like with dolls. And, having stumbled upon something like that, you feel that goosebumps are running down your skin
the sediment leaves, perhaps, not always a high level of material supply.
Sometimes scriptwriters have problems with dialogues: some characters seem to be deliberately naive infantiles who make important decisions thoughtlessly and hastily, speak in cliches and do stupid things. There are also problems with directing. When an important plot twist is revealed to you in fifteen seconds, and instead of the development of the scene, they show a black screen and the inscription “a few hours later”, there is a feeling of confusion. Seriously? And is this the same project where I found that ten minute optional dialogue?