The Nintendo Switch has received a number of ports, some based upon the previous generation of consoles (the PS3, Wii U, and Xbox 360) and some modified and optimised versions of PS4 and Xbox One titles. Due to its weaker hardware, compromises are usually required in order to allow the game to run at an acceptable level, often ported by third-party developers who have worked with the hybrid console previously. However, in terms of Metro Redux, ports of the remastered versions of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, 4A Games decided to develop the Switch versions in-house despite having no prior experience with the system.
Sure, compromises were made in the performance and graphical departments, but the end result is so much better than I could have ever imagined. Whether playing in portable or docked mode, the games are seriously pushing the small unit to its limits. It creates a perfect balance between resolution, quality, and effects so that the game remains stable at all times and delivers an enjoyable and consistent experience.
But, just what are the Metro games all about and how is the new Redux collection different to the other versions out there? Let’s take a look…
In 2013, a nuclear war had wiped out billions of lives and left the world in an uninhabitable state, forcing any remaining survivors to move underground and seek shelter away from the radiation upon the surface. Whereas a handful of humans were able to get down below, the local wildlife didn’t, causing various animals to mutate and become violent, horrific beasts which now roam the remains we once called home. The world as we knew it had ceased to be, you couldn’t get around without protective gear, bullets had become the new form of currency, corruption and violence had become much more common, and certain factions still fought against each other despite the bigger issues all around them.
Jump forward to 2033, Exhibition (which was once the Metro Station in Moscow called VDNKh) has come under attack by a group of strange creatures known as the Dark Ones. In an effort to gain help from the other Metro stations, the station commander sends out his adopted son, Artyom, to go find help and persuade the council within the ‘capital’ of the Metro to offer any support they can. Armed with some old weapons, limited bullets, a short supply of oxygen for his gas mask, and a lot of hope and faith, he sets out into the hostile world via the Metro…
Metro: Last Light
I can’t really talk about the story within this game without giving away spoilers for Metro 2033, as Last Light directly follows the conclusion to that game only one year later, in 2034. Generally though, Artyom is now a Ranger, a neutral peacekeeping faction which operates throughout the Metro system. You’ve occupied a facility which you came across within 2033, a facility which hasn’t been explored fully yet news of the riches and undiscovered treasures has begun circulating around the Metro. As such, the base is under attack and you must protect it at all costs.
However, you receive information related to the canonical ending of the first game, information which sets you on a new path. I can’t delve into this much more but events will unfold that have you questioning your actions in the previous game as well as unlocking memories about the past which were long forgotten.
Both games have alternative endings based around the choices you make and how you play the game. One ending is the official ‘canon’ pathway, the route which leads into the sequel and is deemed the ‘correct’ conclusion. The other is an alternative branch which is fun to find but not particularly correct in the grand scheme of things. However, having this mechanism in an FPS title is quite interesting and opens up the reason to replay the game once you’ve finished it.
The Metro Redux games are some of the best FPS titles from the previous generation, holding up very well through their remastered editions this gen. The games are entirely played through first-person as you make your way through the dark and cramped underground tunnels and passages, utilising your pump-charged light to partially illuminate your surroundings. You’ll also find yourself returning to the surface at points within both titles, a destination which requires you to don your gas mask and ensure you have a healthy amount of oxygen tanks so that you don’t become exposed to the radiation in the air.
Whereas 2033 is a much more linear adventure, practically pushing you in the right direction as you make your way from point A to B with little to no deviating off the path, Last Light encourages exploration by offering multiple routes to take and various ways to take down the enemies all around you. Speaking of, you’ll encounter not only the mutated beasts which have evolved from the common wildlife which were left upon the surface, but you’ll also face opposing human forces which unfortunately also have guns as their weapon of choice.
So, as well as slaughtering the creatures, you can opt to either run in guns blazing or take the quiet approach and stealthily take down the humans with various secondary weapons such as knives. This mechanic is much more fleshed out within Last Light, as there are various environmental items you can interact with to help you take down people much easier – such as falling pillars.
At times, thanks to the atmosphere and design of the isolating and lonely locations you’ll find yourself within, and the crappy rechargeable light which always seems to run out when you don’t want it to, the Metro Redux titles almost feel like ‘horror’ games. If you’re wearing headphones and playing at night, there’s nothing quite as scary as walking down a dark passageway and hearing a bunch of creatures scuttering about all around you. Although the game is technically an action FPS, due to the limited resources and ammo, I’d class it as a survival horror game.
Weapons and Combat
The guns you obtain and buy within the Metro Redux titles are both created from real weapons and fictional ones imagined around what the people of the future could develop with limited resources and tech. However, there is one similarity between all of your arsenal, they all use some form of ammo. This is where the game starts to spit in my face and kick me while I’m down – I’m terrible with games which have limited resources such as ammo, health, and defence. Depending on the level of difficulty you pick, obtaining ammo may not be too difficult, but you are still encouraged to use your guns sparingly and only when you really have to.
As I mentioned before, the currency within this post-apocalyptic world is bullets, specifically the Pre-war ammunition. This leaves you with a tricky predicament as you can either use this ‘currency’ to mow down your foes (literally killing someone by throwing money at them), or you can buy/pick up weaker ammo and use that instead. Whatever you choose though, you’re bound to run out of ammo sooner or later, finding yourself having to resort to melee and secondary attacks which are terrible against bigger foes. When this happens, the experience becomes a lot more stressful and intense.
The combat itself is very satisfying and immersive within both Metro Redux games. There are a decent number of weapons you can buy as well as modifications to fit which alter the various stats. If you’re feeling rather cocky, you can even play both games in ‘Ranger Mode’ – this mode turns off the HUD and UI whilst also ramping up the difficulty and providing fewer resources and pick-up throughout the game. For me personally, I’ll never touch this mode, but I’m sure a lot of you out there will love the challenge – it’s just a shame the Switch has no trophies or unlocks for completing this much harder experience.
I ramble on about this a lot but I believe that if a console supports something, games should also take advantage of it and present the gamers with a choice to use it or not. In this instance, I’m talking about motion controls. I’ve seen a number of games which have been ported to the Switch from the PS4/Xbox One and they’ve had motion controls incorporated within the control options, something which was omitted from the other consoles – why? Because the Xbox One controller is very basic and doesn’t support any form of motion controls. That’s my theory – why would a developer provide motion controls for the PS4, which has a fully equipped controller, when their port over on the Xbox can’t have that feature due to hardware limitations?
However, once those games got ported to the Switch at a later date (like Red Faction and the Metro Redux collection), motion controls have been added and it makes the game so much easier and more immersive to play! Seriously, if you’ve not played a first-person shooter with motion controls, you’re missing out. When it’s been implemented correctly, you really feel like you have a gun in your right hand as you move it around and accurately aim and shoot the enemies. Even if you’re using the Switch in portable mode or a Pro controller, having the ability to slightly move the controller offers a lot more precision and control over your aim.
What I’m getting at is that the motion controls with the Metro Redux games work perfectly. You still have access to both sticks to look and move, but you can now aim much easier as the small Thumb Sticks on the Switch (with their small travel distance) aren’t the best for aiming with pinpoint accuracy. I just wish that more publishers would push for their devs to enable options like this within their PS4 ports/versions as well – take advantage of the tech you have instead of limiting options due to other consoles not having the hardware.
The Switch is a much weaker console when compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, so we can’t expect a true 1:1 port of the remastered collection on Nintendo’s console. However, the final product looks and plays much better than I could have ever imagined. For starters, the first thing you’ll notice is that the Metro Redux collection on Switch runs at 30fps as opposed to the 60fps on the PS4/Xbox One. This is usually the first thing which developers do when trying to port their game without having to compromise on the visuals too much.
Surprisingly, the resolution is actually 1080p when docked and 720p in handheld mode. However, despite running at the same resolution as the PS4/Xbox One, the picture quality isn’t quite on par with those versions as other things had to be cut back such as texture quality and the LoD rendering. However, the game still looks great whilst playing at a stable 30fps. If you actually compare the 720p output from the Switch in portable mode to the PS3 or Xbox 360 editions (which were also 720p), the Switch looks a lot better, showing that the games have all the enhanced graphical qualities we saw over on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Now, it’s been a while since I’ve played these two games on the PS4, so I’m not sure if this is an issue there as well, but the Metro Redux games on the Switch take a very long time to load. Once you’re in a level, it’s fine – there’s no loading time until you complete that stage. However, the initial loading for a stage was taking a few minutes each time for me. This could be because I was using my SD card, or it could be due to using a launch-model Switch? I’m not sure, but I did find it a little irritating as it took a while before I was back in the game.
On a side note, just like the other versions, the Metro Redux collection contains all the DLC from both games.
I’ve been playing both games in portable mode and other than the long loading times, the game looks fantastic on the small screen. I’ve played through both games previously on my PS4, both locally and via my Vita in remote play – the Switch version felt like I was playing my PS4 remotely, I wouldn’t have spotted any of the compromises had I not been looking for them (other than the 30fps cap). If this is your first time playing either of these games, you’re in for a treat!
Soundwise, these games are brilliant. The voice acting is great, even though the children sound really creepy sometimes, and the noises you hear when walking around the dark tunnels always seems to make me jump. If playing portable then I highly recommend you wear headphones for the full experience.
In regards to the overall experience though, the game looks and runs so much better than I was expecting it to on the Nintendo switch. I never noticed any framerate issues and the game played at a smooth 30fps with no hitches or pacing problems. This is a massive achievement considering 4A games did the entire port in-house and without support from developers who had knowledge and experience with programming for the system previously. The only thing I would have liked for them to do would be to add trophies in-game which mirror those on other platforms. It would have prolonged the gameplay and given gamers things to try and achieve.
Available digitally as two separate games, or physically as a collection of both games on a single 16GB cart, Metro Redux pushes the Switch to its limits and delivers an amazing experience both visually and in terms of the performance. Replaying these games reminded me just how good this series is, the depth, setting, environments, and story are all very immersive and engrossing, pulling you within their world and keeping you engaged right until the credits roll. Despite having a few compromises on the Nintendo Switch versions, the developers hit a perfect balance and were able to keep the identity and gameplay intact without sacrificing any mechanics or modes.
If you’ve not played either game before, and you don’t care about trophies or achievements, this is the perfect place to play the Metro Redux collection today.
Metro Redux£22.49 [each]
- - Immersive and exciting stories which pull you into their world
- - A brilliant port which runs great on the Switch despite a number of compromises to balance out the performance and quality
- - The motion controls enhances the overall experience
- - Includes all previous DLC including the Ranger modes and over 10 hours of extra content
- - A great survival horror game set in post-apocalyptic times which isn't reliant on cheap jump scares
- - Loading times are very long between stages
- - Although these two games are now on the Switch, there's no info about Metro Exodus coming to the console, meaning you can't currently continue the adventure on this platform
- - Price wise, this version is about triple that of the PS4 and Xbox One editions. I personally would have liked to see it cost around the same