E3 2012: Metro: Last Light Preview

A follow-up to THQ’s 2009 cult-hit, Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light looks to explore the full potential of the once-neglected series. Set in a post-apocalyptic Eastern Europe, players will need to avoid a plethora of threats while simply trying to stay alive.

Metro isn’t like most post-apocalyptic depictions. The game doesn’t take place in a desert wasteland; there are no Mad Max style bandits trying to steal loot. Instead, you’re placed in the middle of a once populated cityscape where you must traverse buildings and other hazards. Because the world is radiated, characters (who speak in authentic Eastern European accents) must wear gas masks at all time. These filters will only last so long, constantly needing replenishing via scavenging to avoid certain demise.

Detail in the world is immense, with dynamic weather elements bringing the hostile world to life. Although rendering a dilapidated wasteland, the visuals are gorgeous. You’ll come across buildings with holes blasted in the middle, overturned subway cars and more.

One of the demo’s most effective scenes involved coming across a downed 747 in the middle of the city. Venturing into it, skeletons of passengers — even children — are seen littered across the cabin. As you move towards the cockpit, a flashback is initiated showing how the plane crashed. You see that while in the air, they suddenly lose control and start descending towards earth. As they drop lower, multiple mushroom clouds are seen billowing from the city with panic setting in as they get closer and closer to their end. It’s a stunning sequence that made it feel like a blockbuster.

Metro: Last Light features mutated animal-like enemies that attack anything that moves. These aren’t your garden-variety monsters, though. One of the most effective enemies is a demon-like flying monster who after picking up and attacking you, forcefully drops you nearby.

While it may not have been the biggest title at E3, Metro: Last Light was certainly one of the most promising. If there are more eerie sequences like the plane crash and the constant dread the demo evoked, it could end up being one of 2013’s top releases.