Tag Archives: game reviews

Metro: Exodus – Movement Of Jah People Oh Oh Oh, Yeah!

So I have a confession to make – I was never a big fan of the Metro games. It’s not that I thought they were crap but more a case of they just didn’t grab me as they did with others. The previous games, Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light released in 2010 and 2013 respectively were both critically and commercially successful with favourable reviews across the board as well as strong enough sales warrant sequels all from the same developer, 4A Games.

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Well 4A Games are back with the third game in the series, Metro Exodus and after being given a review code (thanks to publisher Deep Silver) I thought I’d go back and experience the first two games once more before I tackled the latest entry… and I really enjoyed myself too. I found the games much more entertaining than I originally remembered and seeing as the first game is coming up to 9 years old this year – it holds up surprisingly well. Anyway, the point is that I was initially wrong.

I guess a quick bit of coverage of what the Metro games actually are would be good. Well, the best way to describe them is that they are first person, survival horror shooters – with a blending of resource management, stealth and action. The first game is based on the novel of the same name from writer Dmitry Glukhovsky. And you play as a guy called Artyom who has to fight and defend his home and people from the horrors lurking in the metro tunnels after a nuclear war in Russia. Artyom and others struggle to survive in the harshness of nuclear fallout as they fight the mutants created as well as have to scavenge what they can endure and withstand the horrors of nuclear fallout.

Metro Exodus Gasmask

Look, just go play the games as they’re really enjoyable but make sure you play them on the hardest difficulty to get the most of of the survival horror elements. I need to crack on with looking at the newest game Metro Exodus.

Well Artyom is back doing pretty much what he was doing in the previous games, killing mutants and scavenging whatever he can to help him and his fellow survivors stay alive. I suppose the first thing to cover is the new gameplay style. See, the first two games were pretty linear with you being stuck underground for the most part. Occasionally you would pop up the the surface but the majority of the previous games took place in the underground metro, it’s stations and tunnels. Then when you would go above ground now and then, it was still a linear experience as you had to follow a pre-set path to get to your objective. Now things have changed as while there still is some of that underground metro action (the game starts out like that), most of the game actually takes place in the open. The linearity of the previous games has all but gone, save a few sections, in favour of open world hubs. Now you have the freedom to explore and interact with these open world hubs however you wish.

Metro Exodus Openworld

While you will always have a main/story objective to complete, there are plenty of side quests you can discover and complete too. And you can do these at your own leisure as long as you are on the hub in question. You’ll find yourself going off the beaten track and seeing what else the map has to offer, not only to find more and more side missions, but also to scavenge for ammo, weapon upgrades and the like. Then each of the open world hubs are graphically very different from each other and offer their own unique characteristics. From snowy areas to deserts (watch out for sandstorms) and cities. One of the things that bored me in the first two games was the lack of variety in the graphics, I just got tired of seeing the same brown tunnels over and over. Metro Exodus addresses this by adding a lot more deviation and this made me want to see what the maps had to offer.

The upgrading of weapons is back from the previous games, only now with a lot more to play round with. These upgrades no only change how the gun looks but also how it feels and works. Add a scope and longer barrel to an assault rifle, an increased magazine size to a sub-machine gun, pimp out a sniper rifle to make it even more deadly – you can take a simple revolver and turn it into a hand-cannon. There is so much to the upgrading and customisation of the guns that I could play around and experiment with it for hours and create new and different guns each time. Speaking of the guns and coming off replaying the previous games recently, I found the gun-play here to be much more snappy and responsive too. Guns will also get dirty with excessive use making them less effective and prone to jamming, so you’ll have to find a workbench to clean it up and repair.

Metro Exodus Gun Upgrades

The open world hubs also give way to open styled missions. Do you go into the enemy camp all guns blazing, killing anyone you see… or maybe you go in sneaky, stealthy quiet as a mouse and just knock the bad guys out. How you play will affect the ending too. If you go around doing as many side missions as possible and knock people out instead of killing them, then you get the good ending. But running around like a loon and putting bullets into any and everyone you see while ignoring the side missions and you’ll see the bad ending… as I did.

Metro Exodus Enemy

Resources are scarce. Ammo, scrap and ingredients to make equipment and upgrade guns are around… but you’ll really need scour every nook and cranny to find them. Search dead bodies, find and open lockers and lock-boxes to gather much needed ammo and resources. Resources you’ll need to make more ammo, medi-kits, throwables and so on. You’ll even have to look after your gas-mask which will become damaged especially after a particularly brutal fight, as a gas-mask with a gaping hole in it is no good against nuclear fallout. Survival is key and while Metro Exodus isn’t a hardcore survival game, it’s a FPS first and foremost, the survival elements are still important and work very well especially on the hardest setting, which is how a Metro game should be played.

The graphics are stunning too making the world you are in believable. The burnt out husks of what used to be buildings, the desolate wastelands left after the nuclear war, the grotesque and unrelenting mutant animals you’ll come across all look beautiful in a macabre way.

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Metro Exodus is a wonderful game and a thrilling title. For me, the best of the three as developer 4A Games have taken what made the previous games enjoyable and tinkered with the formula just enough to keep the game as it should be but also bring forth a slew of great features to keep the concept fresh.

Now full disclosure here. I played through the game on easy just to finish it so I could do this review. The Metro games (as I previously said) should be played on the hardest possible setting. This is when the survival elements really come to life as you desperately need to conserve ammo and resources, scavenging is harder as there is less loot around and enemies are harder to kill while you are easier to end. I have started a play through on the hardest setting and it’s amazing, the fear is amped as I run out of ammo for my weapons and filters for my gas-mask. On easy, Metro Exodus was thoroughly enjoyable but on Ranger (hardest) difficulty its a whole new game and one I’m loving every second of it’s brutality.

 

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Pac-Man – Arcade

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Little Bit of History: Originally released on May 22, 1980 (today’s his 35th Birthday) by Namco. Pac-Man (originally called Puck-Man) was created by Tōru Iwatani based on a pizza with a slice missing. Pac-Man is one of gamings all-time great and most iconic characters. This game featured some very early AI programming in the form of the ghost enemies who were programmed to act differently. The original arcade version is part of the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: No real plot. You control Pac-Man around mazes having to eat up all the smaller pellets and power pills to clear the maze while avoiding ghosts.

Little Bit of Character: Joining the titular Pac-Man in the game were the just as famous ghosts; Blinky was the red ghost and was the chaser following Pac-Man’s every move. Pinky was the…well pink one and designed to be an ambusher. Inky was cyan in colour and would try to get in front of Pac-Man. While Clyde the orange one was programmed to act quite randomly.

Little Bit of Influence: Pac-Man went on to spawn a long running franchise in games. But also have 2 animated TV shows, a hit single. Pac-Man would even appear in TV and films, plus he had his own themed area at Six Flags Over Texas. But Pac-Man also spawned many clones and for both arcade and home formats.

Little Bit of Memories: That intro music just before you start as well as that little ditty as Pac-Man dies is burnt into my memory forever. I recall this being one of my most loved childhood games and still is today. I also remember those cutscenes that were often very humorous.

Little Bit of Playability: For me, this is still one of the most playable games today. Its simplicity is a huge part of it’s attraction and I have Pac-Man Museum installed on my Xbox 360. I could see modern gamers not really enjoying the game though, but I would recommend trying; Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, which is a stunning remake and offers a lot of gameplay and variety.

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This is just one part of my Pac-Man Birthday celebrations. Please feel free to read my Pac-Man Bio and even multi-part retrospective at every official Pac-Man game in the franchise.

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Super Mario World – SNES

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1990 and bundled with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) at launch. Produced & directed by Shigeru Miyamoto and published by Nintendo. Super Mario World was THE defining platform game of it’s time and often considered to being one of the best games ever made.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: It’s a Mario game…what plot? Princess Toadstool has been kidnapped by Bowser…again and Mario & Luigi are tasked to saving her…again.

Little Bit of Character: Joining Mario and Luigi in the quest to save Princess Toadstool…again, along for the ride is dinosaur thing Yoshi. Evil King Koopa Bowser brings his Koopalings with him; Larry Koopa, Morton Koopa Jr., Wendy O. Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Roy Koopa, Lemmy Koopa and Ludwig von Koopa.

Little Bit of Influence: By this time, Super Mario was already an established IP with this being the 4th official Super Mario Brothers game. The franchise is still going today. Yoshi went on to have his own franchise starting with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. There was even a direct follow up planned called: Super Mario’s Wacky Worlds but it was in development for the Philips CD-i machine which was a huge failure and the game never saw the light of day. Super Mario World even spawned it’s own animated TV show.

Little Bit of Memories: My best mate Paul brought a SNES and he would stay at mine usually on a Friday night where we would stay up playing Super Mario World all night into the early hours while listening to 90’s dance music. I remember the time we finally finished the game and all 96 levels, including that damn tricky Star Road unlocking the new alternate world…all without a guide. That Butter Bridge level still haunts me to this day but the music was catchy.

Little Bit of Playability: Oh hell yes. Still one of the best (if not THE best) platform games ever made. Any classic gaming fan should play Super Mario World or it’s remake Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 on the Gameboy Advance. If you have the chance to play this game…play it.

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Paradroid – C64

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Little Bit of History: Written by Andrew Braybrook, developed by Graftgold and published by Hewson Consultants. Released in 1985, Paradroid was a very “unusual” but original game for it’s time. A meeting of shoot em’ up and strategy in a Sci-Fi scenario.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: Set on a spaceship overrun with droids, you control a special droid called the “Influence Device” and you must destroy all other droids on the ship. Starting with the low droid number of 001, you can destroy or even take over the other droids. Each droid has it’s own number with higher numbers meaning stronger more difficult droids you can become.

Little Bit of Character: There are no real characters, just hundreds of differing and numbered droids.

Little Bit of Influence: There are plenty of similar styled games available on IOS and Android. Paradroid also spawned variations and different ports on the game like: Paradroid Competition Edition, Heavy Metal Paradroid, Paradroid 90 and Paradroid 2000. Along with several fan made remakes and updates. The original Paradroid on the Commodore 64 is often hailed as one of the best and most original games on the system.

Little Bit of Memories: I have very fond memories of this game as it was something very different for the time. Picking and choosing which droid you should attempt to destroy or take over, having to think before you acted really offered a refreshing change and something original to enjoy.

Little Bit of Playability: It’s a bit clunky and sluggish by today’s standards and some of the other versions and even fan made remakes play smoother. But at it’s core is still a great action/strategic game worth revisiting in any of it’s versions.

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OutRun – Arcade

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Little Bit of History: Designed by SEGA legend Yu Suzuki, developed & published by SEGA and released in 1986. OutRun was a pioneering arcade racer and often remembered as one of the best arcade games ever made.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: No real plot. Just you taking your girlfriend in a Ferrari Testarossa for a high speed drive across some very pretty scenery.

Little Bit of Character: No real characters either as the two occupants of the car have never been named.

Little Bit of Influence: Pretty much any and every modern racing/driving game today. OutRun may not have been the first game of it’s style, but it was the one that laid the foundations for the genre today. OutRun also went on to spawn sequels and spin offs itself as well as the game being ported to pretty much every home console/computer at the time.

Little Bit of Memories: The graphics blew me away at the time and seemed so “realistic”. The speed the game moved at was just as impressive and really gave a great heart pounding, palm sweating experience. The music was also very memorable and even allowed you to choose what musical track you wanted to listen to while racing via an ingame FM radio. Also, I recall that awesome sitdown cabinet that would react to the action on screen.

Little Bit of Playability: Yes, still very playable today and a great arcade classic. Or you could try one of the more modern OutRun games with OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast being a personal favourite. But if you can get a hold of the arcade original I say give it a go while listening to some Magical Sound Shower.

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DOOM – PC

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1993, developed by id Software and published by GT Interactive. DOOM (yes, it’s supposed to be spelt in all caps) was the follow up to id’s Wolfenstein 3D and set the foundations for the FPS genre from that point onwards.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: You play as an unnamed space marine fighting hell spawned demons that are invading the Mars base you have been posted to.

Little Bit of Character: Aside from the unnamed space marine (commonly called “Doomguy” by fans) you would cross paths with various enemies like: Hell-possessed soldiers, Demons, Imps, Cacodemons, Lost Souls and Spectres.
There were also end of episode bosses like: Barons of Hell, a Cyberdemon and a Spiderdemon.

Little Bit of Influence: Well this is DOOM, while not the first FPS, it certainly was the game that made the FPS genre popular with everything released for years after being a “DOOM clone”. Plus DOOM became it’s own franchise with sequels, spin-offs, a board game and even a live action film.

Little Bit of Memories: I still recall the first time I ever saw this game on the PC and how amazed I was. The graphics were like nothing I had seen before and unbelievably bloody and gory. The kick-ass music still resonates with me today. I also recall this game introducing me to the mod community for the first time and being able to play all new levels created by regular players and even all new game modes…Simpsons DOOM anyone? This game was also one of the first I recall that featured online play.

Little Bit of Playability: Still a massively enjoyable game today, with it’s selection of weapons and easy to play style. It’s not a complex game at all, but sure is satisfying as hell. Plus you can download perfect ports on modern day consoles now. I urge anyone to try it out. It’s mindless nonstop shooting action at it’s best.

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Gremlins 2: The New Batch – NES

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Little Bit of History: Released in 1990, an action/platformer developed and published by Sunsoft. Based on the film of the same name. Gremlins 2 was quite an adventurous NES title and pushed the limitations of the console with it’s graphics, impressive cutscenes, audio and overall scope.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: You played as Gizmo in full-on John Rambo mode, armed to the teeth battling your way through several levels based on the building from the movie. Fighting your way to take out all the Gremlins in the Control Room.

Little Bit of Character: As well as the infamous and playable Gizmo. You would cross paths with rats, bats, various evil Gremlins…and giant bouncing tomatoes? Plus appearances in cutscenes from Billy Peltzer and Kate Beringer. Even old man Mr. Wing would appear in the form of a shop where you could buy items and weapons, even though he died in the film.

Little Bit of Influence: Not really many games today that use this style anymore. But there have been other Nintendo Gremlins based games since including: Gremlins Unleashed – Gameboy Color, Gremlins: Stripe vs Gizmo – Gameboy Advance and Gizmo: The Game – Wii.

Little Bit of Memories: While I never had a NES growing up, an old school friend did so I got to play the game occasionally. I still remember those well drawn and animated cutscenes as well as the music, but Sunsoft games on the NES always had great music.

Little Bit of Playability: I don’t know, I can’t find the cartridge (private joke)…
But I’m sure it’ll still be a good way to pass some time today. So: “check it out one time won’t you?”

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For Lee, my number 1 fan. Thanks for the: btn_donate_LG.

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