To start off the final day of E3, I was given the chance to sit in on a Metro Exodus presentation and to also try the game out. To start the presentation, a developer gave a little insight into the game. It is, of course, a first-person survival shooter, but a new sub-genre is being added on this time around, sandbox. The game has the main character, Artyum, on a trans-continental train journey across post-apocalyptic Russia to find a new home outside of Moscow. The engine has been overworked with a day and night cycle, and new crafting system with weapon upkeep. You can also modify your guns on the fly. This new title has double the size of dialogue, game length, and studio size. The demo was also stated to have about 2-4 hours of content with 8 hours of content for completionists. The developers, 4A Games, are also working closely with the original author of the Metro world, Dmitry Glukhovsky, to make this the best Metro game yet.
After this presentation, I was given the chance to try out the demo for Metro Exodus. The demo opened up with me (Artyum) traveling on a train. There is a short chat with my comrade, Anna, but as we were going forward on the tracks, we encountered a roadblock on the tracks. My convoy was brought to a halt, and there was a community nearby the roadblock. I was tasked with investigating this community, for it is unusual for people to be living out in the open.
As I walked through the first area, he first thing that I noticed was that there was no need for a gas mask while outside of the metro systems. However, there was still the option to wear one, so it is apparent that some places will still have unbreathable air. I rummaged around to collect some items laying about. It was shown that there was a crafting system. It kind of reminded me of The Last of Us, where you collect general materials and then you can craft things like health packs, gas canisters, and more.
Traveling onwards, I had to get to the small community by rowboat, and this introduced new vehicle mechanics. It was a simple rowboat, but there might be more interactive experiences for the full game. As I rowed into the community, I heard a preacher give a sermon. Apparently, the community believes that electricity is a sin, and the preacher sounded like he had brainwashed the community. As I was rowing through the community, a little girl criticized the preacher, stating that he had killed her friends. The community rounded up some muscle to take care of the kid, and at that point, we met up with the child and her mother.
The little girl states that they will be be saved, and the mother tells you that the two of them had been locked up in a room for a year. They have a boat, but it cannot hold more than two people, so Anna says that she will pick up the woman and child. It was at that point where I had to find my own way out. As I snuck into the community, many armed guards were present. It was at this point that I was able to sneak around. The sneaking mechanics are similar to the previous games where the blue light on your watch indicates visibility and when it it off, it means that you are hidden. In the beginning, I snuck past some of the cards, choosing to knock them out rather than killing them. There are new takedowns for non-lethal tactics, and there are more than one this time around with some environment interactivity. It also felt and sounded much more realistic than the previous game’s takedowns.
Once the guards were knocked out, I could loot them for materials, ammo, and even weapon parts. You can actually disassemble weapons to scrap them for parts for use on your own guns, and the seamlessness of it was awesome. I ended up equipping a stock on my pistol to increase its stability and damage.
After knocking out a few guards, and sneaking onwards, I had been spotted, and a firefight soon broke out. Enemies seem to take note of being shot at, and even if you miss the ad hit near them, they will attempt to find new or better cover. It felt like the enemies weren’t bullet sponges, and they had some smarts about them. Rather than stand out in the open to shoot you, they will actively be trying to survive a firefight. I had been shot a few times, and my screen was beginning to have a red border, and the color from the game began to gray out a bit. In this game, your health no longer regenerates over a long period of time. You need to heal now whenever you take damage, but this is balanced by the fact that you can actually craft health kits while out in the world.
After I had dispatched a few more guards, the remaining guards actually surrendered, for they feared for their lives. This was a really nice touch that added to the characters. I decided to knock them out to collect their gear and materials. Looking around, there were a couple characters that were placed off the beaten path. Each character had a small little bit of dialogue and gave you a small insight into the cultish community. One man had a son and daughter that had both died to sickness because the community also forebode any sort of medication, so he ended up sinking into a deep, alcoholic depression. He begged for me to kill him because he said he had nothing left for live for. I was hesitant for a moment, but he pleaded with me, and so I mercy killed him. In another room, a woman was trapped inside with rotting fish and was violently ill. She was also hysterical, and was not able to speak all too clearly. It was a gruesome sight, and I decided to leave before anything else happened.
Moving on, I checked the map on where to go next. The game’s direction system received a nice rework, for the map is a little more clear now, and you can zoom in on it. After finding another rowboat, I began to row to the next objective. Anna mentioned how it was unfortunate that I was not able to spare the lives of some of the guards. It seems that the moral aspect of killing vs knocking enemies out is back, but it seems like it is set up in such a way where it will have a more profound effect on the story.
As I rowed along, creepy looking mutants swam underneath my boat and began to crawl on board. I had to fight off there mutants while still on the boat. It was an intense battle because I was confined to a tiny rowboat, so every attack that those things threw at me would hit. After dispatching them, a comrade was over on one of the shores. As I came up to him, a giant mutant that was lurking in the water began to attack my boat. It was at this moment that it was announced that my time with the demo was up. It was quite possibly the biggest cliffhanger ending I could have ended on, but it just left me wanting to jump back into Metro Exodus as soon as it releases.
Metro Exodus will be available for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 22, 2019.