A story in which just 50,000 survived out of 7 billion, who now are confined underground, for above, lies the ruined city of Moscow within which the Watchman among other large and mutated creatures await to chomp your limbs off.

But our man on the jam Artyom is a wanderer full of Spartan blood and wander he does only to one day find a train named Aurora that is the sort of backbone of it all and this is where Metro really starts to feel more of a story than a Triple-A game. Oops? Did I say Triple-A? Well, it is one better, it is a 4A game (I apologise for that one).

UPDATED: It’s been two years since we reviewed the Metro Exodus game. Saying a lot has changed in the past two years would be an understatement but in the world of tech, and especially video games, life moves at a lightning pace. Back in 2019, Nvidia had taken baby steps to introduce the world to Ray-Tracing, fast forward to 2021, new consoles and GPUs have already established Ray-Tracing tech to be its focal point for realistic lighting. Updating Metro Exodus with better Ray-Tracing smarts wasn’t necessary but 4A Games did it and we ain’t complaining. It did receive our highest ratings and now it has been polished and re-worked with better lighting and graphics. 


UPDATED: Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition

If any game deserved Ray-Tracing smarts, it’s this one right here. Back in 2019, we said that Battlefield V was a proper place to test Nvidia’s Ray-Tracing bits but you can toss that back on the shelf. Metro Exodus begs a replay with the Enhanced Edition. It was extremely pretty before but now the devs have booted any and every traditional light source and replaced it with Ray-Tracing Global Illumination. Now the tattered sheets swaying in the wind and the dilapidated structures play an important role in feeding the Ray-Traced lights from the environment to the internal spaces. Sunny skies pour into dark places from creaks and crevices. Meanwhile, additional sources of light from torches, flashlights and candles play a major role in painting the indoors with realistic lights and shadows. Surfaces also interact with light as they would in real life. The light bounces off shiny metallic objects and illuminates other surfaces too. Wooden surfaces and cloth-based material diffuse light differently and some also add tint to the bounced light. For example, if you shine a torchlight on a blue cloth, the light bounced off the cloth will have a blue tint to it and it will add that blue tint to the environment and objects around it. Pretty neat, right? It will also create real-time shadows. So the objects in the environment have realistic depth and interact with the Ray-Traced light as it keeps bouncing off surfaces. 


Reading all this will probably make your PC shiver in silence because it is going to be very GPU intensive. However, DLSS 2.0 actually makes a difference to the Ray-Tracing performance. We went through a sizeable generation of videogames that proudly used DLSS to increase frame rates using Nvidia’s AI mumbo-jumbo. DLSS 2.0 is exactly that but better. You will need an Nvidia RTX enabled GPU and naturally the higher up the GPU chain you go, the better the performance will be. We used RTX 2080Ti and RTX 3070Ti for our test and both GPUs delivered a great experience. The RTX 2080Ti was working around the clock to deliver 40-50fps on 4K with settings set to Ultra. The 3070Ti managed a whopping stable 60fps with DLSS 2.0 set to Quality! Without DLSS 2.0 the GPU scraps through with just 20 to 30fps. That’s a proper 100% increase in frame rate! Albeit, it all depends on what you’re looking at in Metro Exodus. Enter a place with too many light sources and the frame rate can dip faster than Bitcoin. The RTX 3070Ti also has better cooling and doesn’t ramp up the fans very quickly. We didn’t expect a whopping stable 60fps on 4K but here the DLSS 2.0 is integrated very well. If you’re a fan of the series, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition on PC feels like a different game now. We’ll probably dim the lights, hook it up to a proper audio system and crank up the settings to Ultra but you should first write a letter to Jensen and request a restock for the RTX 30-Series. And if you’re already rocking a 20-series or a 30-series GPU, the Enhanced Edition is a free upgrade to all existing Metro Exodus owners.


A whole new world

But no magic carpet ride. As Artyom explores the harsh outdoors because he simply refuses to succumb to a life of doom underground, the game puts you bang in the middle of the frosty radiation infused Moscow where Artiom finally finds a radio signal one day only to discover he was right all along about life existing above ground and the vast efforts, mistruth and preventions taken by the Spartan leader (Artyom's Father in law) to cover it all soon become glaringly clear.

As a result Artiom, his wife Anna and her father along with his band of selected Spartans board the Aurora in order to escape the turmoil in Moscow and discover new land throughout Russia. The train takes them to some really interesting and open settings like the ruined desert which used to be the Caspian Sea not long before and other areas. The desert setting feels the most expansive and really tests your FPS skills with various monsters a plenty.

I love the way the developers have incorporated sound in the game and the use of silence is also stagarring. In the frozen tundras and at night time when creepy creatures come out to play, absolute dead silence with just the sound of your breath makes for some really intense anticipation and nervousness about the next monster jumping out at you, although the game isn’t littered with many.

Building Relationships

It is a year long journey and a difficult one at that. While on the train, the developers have given Artyom quite a lot of stuff to do. There are scenes in which you can smoke on the outside while having a conversation about life and current affairs with your father in law, although blowing smoke on his face while he discusses the possibility of death in the near future isn’t the best thing to do.

There are a bunch of different characters that all speak in a typical ‘Hollywood’ Russian accent and you get to know more about their lives, by eavesdropping on their conversations and in most cases also directly talking to them. But eavesdropping is an essential part of you finding out some hidden gems across the map, the information for which you pick up while you creepily wait next to random people having conversations and listening to them.

You also get to tug at the Train’s horn which bellows loud and proud while the chuga chuga of the engine induces nostalgic memories, oh and it isn’t as crowded as your 6:45 Andheri local. The voice acting and the character stories are quite gripping, which was missing from the previous Metro games, although it won’t feel like a solid RPG game, you will be quite interested to know what happened to the person before the war or after it. Some characters give you side quests too, which lead to you discovering new areas and weapon upgrades in some cases.

All our bags are packed

And we’re ready to go. Gone is the old system of exchanging ammo for stuff. Now, you need to pick out metal scraps and scavenge your way through the harsh world of Metro. Although not all is lost since you get a backpack to carry along which lets you craft essentials like gas filters, medkits and ammo from anywhere you like. However, you need to return back to the main workbench inside the Aurora if you want to switch out your primary weapons.

The backpack approach sort of makes Metro a little bit easier to play and manage and it isn’t as gruelling as the earlier games. You get a host of weapons to choose from, although limited by type. There’s a gatling gun in the later stages too, which is an absolute beast and empties your reserve of bullets in no time, but is definitely worth the glorious sound effects and the destruction it brings when you fire that baby.

All good things, however, come at a cost and in this case, you need to ever so often clean and maintain your weapons, which also requires to be done at a workbench. If you don’t, you may notice Artyom missing a lot of shots and in severe cases his gun just gets jammed.

Artyom too requires his own maintenance. The survivor needs his rest and drink too, which cures him completely and also introduces the concept of night and day within the game.

Metro Deathrow

There are a ton of customisations you can have on your rifles and guns, each come with their advantages and disadvantages. The process is fairly easy and there’s no complicated menu styles or anything. The mods you install directly affects the weapon’s accuracy, rate of fire and weight, which is crucial when you’re running away from mutated hounds and the more common Watchmen.

This doesn’t mean Metro is all about gun n run. In fact if you have played any Metro game before, you know how brutally the game slams you for taking that approach. Using your weapon means alerting not only the guards at a certain post, but also the assortment of wild mutant monsters and stealthily camouflaged humanoids.

Instead of forcing you down a path, Metro leaves the choice in your hands and the way to a ‘smooth’ execution of the Metro levels requires a mix of both. Stealth when dealing with human NPCs and guns while taking down monsters. But with the infamous limited ammo the game gives you, you often find yourself in a situation where you’ve absolutely run out of ammo and are being hunted by some of the nasties. That’s when you feel the sweat travel down your butt crack and armpits as you yell RUN B*TCH RUN! You seriously feel your heart race and a lot of anxiety building up.

Stuff says... 

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition review

4A has set the right rails for the Metro series and Exodus seems to be their finest effort yet
Good Stuff 
Expansive world with lots of areas to discover
The expansive world looks absolutely stunning with awesome lighting and sound
Great NPC voice acting
Gripping storyline that makes you want to keep playing
Morality engine is a nice touch
Keeps you on the edge but is a lot of fun too
Bad Stuff 
This game is ‘Metro’ difficult