Extensive DualSense support allows for added tactile immersion
Bugs and texture issues can be annoying
Open world areas feel too slow and pointless
Story feels a tad too predictable
A Games has released an enhanced edition of Metro Exodus for the Playstation 5 and Xbox X|S. Available to new players with a definitive physical edition or as a free upgrade for current owners, you can now revisit the devastated ruins of post-apocalyptic Russia with fully ray-traced lighting, 4K visuals and 60 FPS.
In many ways, this enhanced edition is the ultimate version to play Metro Exodus. The game already looked amazing when it first came out in 2019, and now with the power of the next-gen console (the game was played on a PS5), Metro Exodus looks more stunning than ever. The improved natural lighting alone is enough to make you feel like you’re playing a whole new game.
The ray tracing is implemented to superb effect. Putting the console through its paces, Metro Exodus delivers incredibly realistic lighting throughout, particularly light bounce for every light source.
In dark rooms, it is pitch black save for where light sources bounce off surfaces, usually casting only a dim glow as it would in real life. It’s now a lot more immersive and twice as terrifying to explore abandoned tunnels with little more than your flickering flashlight to shine the way.
From the sunlight reflecting off your gun and frozen lakes to the flickering shadows cast by a nearby fire, the game is filled with plenty of gorgeous ray-traced details that’s sure to make you pause and stare in wonder.
In addition to steady 60 FPS and improved 4k textures – thrown into sharp relief by natural lighting, Metro Exodus is easily one of the most visually immersive and beautiful post-apocalyptic games I’ve played.
4A Games’ great use of the DualSense controller further allows for tactile immersion, from the more subtle ways like different reverberations on various terrain to the more obvious ones when you’re interacting with objects in-game.
There’s also distinct haptic feedback for each gun when you’re pulling the trigger and reloading. Even the guns’ recoil rumble feels distinct and would differ depending on how you’ve customised your gun parts, such that the muted feedback of a suppressor will feel totally different to the kickback of a shotgun.
Experimenting with different combinations of gun attachments is now more fun and satisfying when you can feel the weight of them.
The pneumatic rifle Tikhar has added resistance in the adaptive triggers, perfectly simulating increased pressure and resistance when you’re pumping the rifle. The more you pump, the harder it is to press down on the trigger, and in the midst of a fight, it can really rile up your anxiety and create some truly intense situations.
Despite its welcomed improvements, the enhanced edition is not without some shortcomings. On the PS5, my playthrough was plagued by bugs and blurred or flickering textures. Though none were game-breaking, it was enough to break immersion and annoy me.
The occasional flickering walls are easy enough to ignore, but certainly not when you’re forced to take out a room of enemies with all of the textures either blurred or simply not loading.
Overall graphics may have gotten a visual upgrade thanks to ray tracing, but it’s clear that not every texture got a bump up. And it can be jarring to see glaringly low-resolution textures alongside upgraded ones, especially on a 4k resolution screen.
Characters’ facial design and animations haven’t improved much from past Metro games – they still move awkwardly and gesture with their thousand-yard stare – albeit with slightly more natural facial cues this time. It is clear character animation isn’t the games’ strongest suit, but I’m fine with it because the game’s narrative is engaging enough for me to look beyond.
Brilliant ray-traced environments, smooth 60 FPS and added immersion of the DualSense make Metro Exodus a really decent shooter on the PS5. But if you came as a fan of the previous Metro games, hoping for a survival horror shooter of the same high-tension, claustrophobic atmosphere, you’re in for some disappointment.
For Artyom’s story to progress – following his pursuit for a better life outside the metro, Metro Exodus has to leave behind the expertly crafted atmosphere and claustrophobic tunnels of its previous two games.
While Metro Exodus still boasts some of the best heart-pumping, survival horror set pieces, these intense linear levels have taken a back seat to open-world exploration.
The story takes us on a cross country journey across Russia, with the narrative occurring in four acts over the span of a year. Each act introduces an open sandbox area, which you can’t return to if you decide to progress with the main story.
I found that these self-contained hubs interrupt narrative pacing, with optional side quests that affect the supporting cast but have little impact on the main story.
When you go from fighting mutated creatures in tight, creepy tunnels to suddenly cruising about an open desert landscape, it can feel somewhat underwhelming and a huge departure from past Metro games.
It’s only when the game returns to its survival horror roots and forces the players to survive in tight, oppressive underground maps that Metro Exodus really shines.
The degree of realism in Metro Exodus is also not for the faint of heart. Expect a constant shortage of resources, forcing you to take dangerous detours to scour for more materials to craft ammo, medkits and gas mask filters.
You need to recharge your flashlight battery when it’s low, and if you don’t clean your weapons regularly, they risk jamming in the heat of battle. Not doing these small tasks will eventually hinder you in some way, adding just enough stress and tension to enhance the survival horror experience.
With its visual upgrades and DualSense support, Metro Exodus takes player immersion to new heights. As it stands Metro Exodus is the best and most immersive survival horror shooter I’ve played thus far.
It may have deviated from the formula of its predecessors, but Metro Exodus still manages to deliver thrilling and rewarding gameplay that fans of the genre can enjoy.