Joeblade

Metro 2033 is a double-hard bastard

Based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter set in the Russian Metro after a nuclear holocaust has made the surface of the planet uninhabitable. I’m not big on first-person shooters — I’m a lover, not a fighter — but the subject matter of Metro appealed to me so I gave the game a go. Sadly the game proved to be — for me, at least — almost comically challenging.

As previously noted, I’m rubbish at games, but even playing on the easiest level I died, I died, I died. Sometimes I didn’t even have to move, I’d just sit there bemused and morbidly fascinated, pressing A to start from my last checkpoint and watching as the game cut me down like a dog.

It felt like a realistic portrayal of how life might be like if I were trapped underground, all my ammunition was made of toffee and everyone wanted me dead. I’d always suspected that in a post-apocalyptic scenario I’d be for the pot as soon as the Frosties ran out and playing Metro confirmed my suspicions: I am not a survivor. In the future, there will be no quarter given to those who uselessly unload every last, precious bullet into the well-armoured shin of their opponent before screaming like a 12-year-old and accidentally turning their headlamp on.

Normally when a game so comprehensively slaps me all the way back to the nearest Mario I don’t spend much time with it. I kept plugging away at Metro, though, because I felt I ought to. I liked the atmosphere, the characters, the situation in general. I wish that it had been an open-world RPG, more in the vein of Grand Theft Auto or Zelda than an FPS. The game forced me on quickly through station after station and I always felt there was a world somewhere beyond my limited view that contained many more interesting stories.

I played on for as long as I could, but eventually gave up after spending an hour trying to get past a small collection of Nazis. The anticipation for the game was high, but the relationship soured after we’d been introduced. It was like dating Kylie Minogue, except once you’d started dating her you discovered that she was an abusive partner and not much fun to be around. You stay with her because you like the idea of dating Kylie Minogue more than the actuality of it, except with Metro 2033 it’s worse because you don’t have the option of downgrading to Dannii.

By Paul Haine, in