I’ve been fortunate enough to play Metro Exodus twice so far, once at E3 earlier this summer, and then an extended demo at Pax West 2018. My second experience was much more hands-off, and I was merely dropped into a section of the story and told to enjoy myself until someone would pry the controller from my hands. With an open mind and a submachine gun that looked like it could do more harm to me than anyone else, I set off down a path towards a raggedy old house.
Silent or Loud – It’s My Choice, Until It Isn’t
Ammo and resources are scarce in the post-apocalyptic world of Metro Exodus, so it’s usually my intention to move stealthily and save ammo for emergencies. I was able to subdue two of the roaming bad guys I encountered as I looted the rundown house and it made me feel like a badass. At least temporarily.
Without fail, I inevitably miss spotting some guy who’s just smoking a cigarette and minding his own business as I try to sneak past him. There aren’t any heads-up display options or mini-map alerting you to nearby enemies, or at least they’re not as apparent as some other games make it. Like previous Metro titles, the edges of your screen glow ever so slightly when someone is nearby, but I completely missed it. It was time to go loud.
As I unloaded ten precious rounds of ammo in a panic and dropped the guy who I so rudely interrupted during his smoke break, the sounds of the commotion alerted other nearby enemies, forcing me to dispatch them all, at the cost of even more ammunition. For good measure, I dropped the last guy with the butt of my gun because I could.
Fall is My Favorite Season
As silence returned to the area and I started collecting loot and materials off of the fallen bodies, I took a moment to take in the sunset. The particular part of the game that I was playing was set during the fall. Metro Exodus will feature actual seasons in its campaign, each with distinctly different environments. The environment looked beautiful and almost serene if it wasn’t for the bloodshed I had inadvertently caused.
I pulled up my notebook with a crudely drawn map to orient myself towards my next objective and struck out towards a mountainous region. The sun had nearly disappeared by now and the night was beginning to set in. I was walking down a path when I almost jumped out of my seat when a pack of wolves came rushing across the trail a few yards in front of me. They were chasing… something. I’m not sure how natural their prey was, but it didn’t look like the typical kind of thing that I would expect wolves to hunt for dinner.
You’re Not Alone
As it got darker and darker, I could start seeing lights in the distance. Makeshift sheds and stairs adorned an encampment of raiders who called this area their home. I wasn’t equipped for another fight so I took advantage of the late hour and snuck around collecting what I could until I reached a cave entrance.
Entering the tunnels, I dispatched of a guard who foolishly turned his back to me and snuck past several glowing mushrooms and pushed further into the cave. When I reached the other side, I stepped right into a trap. It turns out that the bad guys I had been fighting earlier aren’t the only faction that lives in the area and apparently the folks who had me strung up in a net dangling from a tree thought I was one of those bad guys.
It’s a … Mutant… Bear?
Before I got a chance to plead my innocence, the entire group of do-gooders themselves became victims to what can only be described as a scary ass bear that’s eaten too many glowing mushrooms. The chaos of my captors being mauled alive and scattered into the woods allowed me enough time to free myself from my restraints and run the opposite way. I ended up near a beautiful and oddly serene old dock at a lake where I watched the moon reflect off the water while I tried to lower my heart rate.
Like any good cliffhanger, it was now that my time with Metro Exodus was over, and that was perhaps a good thing because I’m not sure how much longer I wanted to spend alone in the woods, at night, with that… thing.
Metro Exodus will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on February 22, 2019, and I can’t wait to make different choices next time. Maybe I’ll carry one of those bear whistles that people take hiking. I’m sure that’ll help.