Metro Last Light: Better shooting, better-looking, even bleaker

Why 4A's FPS could be one of next year's best...

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You push on, cobwebbed like candyfloss but otherwise fine, and move further into the tunnel. It threatens to become repetitive; despite occasional bustling survivor encampments where you can trade bullets (your currency) for food, equipment and more bullets, it's all concrete under a muted light.


That is, except for your fleeting trips to the surface. It's here that the improved 4A engine shines. A pockmarked Moscow post-nuclear annihilation is hyper-detailed, with passing rain splattering your gas mask and sunlight piercing through grey clouds. It's no sandbox, radiation restricting your movements to a set path, but it's a thankful break in pace. Artyom spots the crashed chassis of an airplane and makes his way inside.


Here 4A Games demonstrates another great feature. As he moves through a luggage-strewn aisle, stepping over ashen bodies and burning away cobwebs with his lighter, occasionally brushing a fly from his goggles, Arytom experiences burning white flashbacks, echoes from the past. Moving into a busted cockpit with the stiff forms of pilots sitting upright instigates a cutscene. The pilots now have a little more blood in their cheeks, calmly navigating a blue sky.

Everything's okay.

And then a fireball streaks across the windshield. And another. This is when the bombs fell. The plane drops fast, pilots frantically poking dials and radioing in. It's no use, and as it takes a fiery nosedive into terra firma, you've got a front row seat. Used sparingly, this device could give life and colour to an otherwise very colourless place.

4A Games, however, have accounted for the reletentless loneliness, this time adding both co-op and competitive multiplayer. "Groan", we hear you say with your actual mouth, "another shooter with tacked-on multiplayer". You're right to be sceptical, but Last Light won't just slap a bunch of single-player assets into a map and have done with it. They're mourning how modern FPS campaigns are nothing but an entry point to multiplayer, and promise each mode will stand alone.


This is not a Hollywood vision of the apocalypse. It's fresh off the Eastern chopping Bloc, gritty, harrowing and at times emotionally challenging. With new weapons and improved shooting, the amazing graphical lustre courtesy of the 4A Engine and the Wii U's beefed-up hardware (combined with the promising new co-op and adversarial multiplayer), Last Light is bleak, challenging, and shaping up to be one of 2013's best shooters.

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