Title: Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition
Developer: 4A Games
Release Date: May 6, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: Adventure FPS
It may surprise some, but the Metro series has become one of my favorites in terms of storytelling and exploration. The games feature a level of challenge and suspense as you try to survive a nuclear-plagued world. 2019’s Metro Exodus was by far one of the best games released that year and still holds a place in my heart as a significant gaming experience. By no means did I consider this game to be downscaled or lacking in the graphics department. However, with the Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition, I can see that developer 4A Games still has ways to deliver some chillingly amazing experiences in this stand-out adventure.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition is all about graphics, and while there are a few bug fixes mentioned in the notes, this game is ultimately a flex from this developer to show gamers what they are capable of. As a returning player, from the very first mission, I knew something felt different. There was a sense of immersion that I don’t remember having before, and as I slowed down to understand, I realized that in a game that is all about light and shadows, this is the first time that I actually noticed how the light bounced naturally off objects.
It may seem insignificant at first, but the more you play, the more you slow down just to take in the environment. In adventure games such as this, I’m used to only taking notice of areas of interest. Still, here I was looking at the ceiling and interacting with various characters just to marvel at how the developer was able to accomplish this. I’m don’t consider myself to be someone who gushes over graphics too much, but it’s hard to ignore here.
In a world where many expecting Cyberpunk 2077 to deliver this type of first-person immersive experience, Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition comes out of nowhere as a free update to show us how it’s done. The added Ray-Tracing support has often gone over my head and was never something I clearly understood until you see the reflections against glass or water. Increasing the field of view from the options also highlights the game’s open-world design; if you can see it, then you can probably somehow get there.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition encourages exploration to a higher degree than this series ever has before. While playing, you feel the desire to slow down considerably and set off on the beaten path. Thankfully, everywhere you go will typically reward you with items and special equipment. As you progress through the narrative, these items could help in situations, but it’s not necessary to get through the game.
This sense of immersion is extended into the story, where you’re expected to sit through long conversations between characters. Sometimes, if you talk to a person long enough, they may offer you some intel or ask you to do a favor for them. These optional objectives make each moment of gameplay feel like something unique to the player. This can be said for different playthroughs, considering it’s possible to handle situations differently.
Stealth has always been a huge part of the Metro experience, and the added light effects really help sell this aspect of the game. The only issue is that human enemies can sometimes act a little strange. They’re aggressive and will put up a fight, but their alert levels are just all over the place. Even if they’re in different parts of an area, if one enemy spots you, they all know exactly where you are. Maybe they have radios; I don’t know.
This becomes less of an issue in the story DLC chapters that introduce new weapons and ways to traverse levels. However, given this enhanced edition is mainly for graphics, I wasn’t expecting a significant AI update. So if you’ve cheesed your way through encounters in the past, then you can probably still do that here.
I should note that the PC requirements for this upgrade are insane. The developers ask a lot from players who might be finding it harder and harder to acquire a decently priced GPU. Sadly, there’s nothing to remedy this, and the best bit of advice I can offer is that it’ll be here when the prices for hardware go down.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition is an amazing upgrade that no one will think they wanted until they play it. The free nature of it allows fans to return to a more immersive world, while those who have yet to play can experience the best version available. This is the way Metro Exodus needs to be played. Sadly, the PC requirements are high, but those who can play will be treated to some serious eye candy.
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