by Joseph Leray
Most of my interest in 4A Games’ “Metro: Last Light” has been linked to the implosion of THQ last year and the series’ subsequent sale to Deep Silver, a company that’s been refreshingly frank about its motivations for buying the title and about its previous owners’ mismanagement.
Let’s not forget, though: “Metro: Last Light” will be out in less than a month. To better remind us, publisher Deep Silver’s last marketing push includes a series of so-called Ranger Survival Guides, detailing the post-apocalyptic society living in Moscow’s subterranean rail stations.
Two videos have been released so far: the first presents the broad strokes of the game’s premise and outlines the different types of areas in the game. The second outlines the different political factions vying for control of the Muscovite metro -- the Rangers, the Red Line, the Reich, and roaming bands of bandits and thugs. The main character, it's worth noting, is a Ranger.
The setting and tone of these trailers are appropriately bleak and moody, but there’s an understated promise of dynamic, emergent decision making running through these survival guides. Players will apparently be able to choose stealth over combat, or eavesdrop on other characters to gather information.
The promise of in-game decisions having broad consequences tends to look better on paper than in practice, but I’d love to play the game these trailers are promising. I’d love it if, for example, pre-emptively killing a Reich member would keep me from spying on him and gaining critical information about a later level. Or, hell, let’s go full “Fallout” and just let me defect from the Rangers and join the Red Line communists.
Another thing I noticed: these trailers do a good job of explaining the big picture structure of “Metro: Last Light” -- the premise, the political factions, the geography -- but I still don’t know much about the person I’ll be controlling. I have no idea what makes my character’s life and story more interesting than any of the other haggard, irradiated, and starving people I see.
I suppose some things are better left to the imagination, though.
“Metro: Last Light” will be available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC on May 14.