2013's year of gaming is coming to a close and that means Neoseeker is deep in deliberation over its "Game of the Year" award. This month, each of Neoseeker's 10 nominees for Game of the Year will be profiled. Join in the discussion, speculate on the nominees, and subtly persuade us which game deserves such an honorable award.
The Metro series might not have as massive a reputation as other horror shooters like, say, Resident Evil. But Metro: Last Light gives gamers something rather important that its peers don't: HORROR. Yes, that crucial element tends to be lacking in so many modern titles that claim to be scary -- or survival-driven, anyway. Fortunately, Metro is a franchise that has stuck to its roots, perhaps because it's based on an actual book series.
Metro: Last Light brings back Artyom, the silent protagonist whose actions are decided by the player. While he isn't exactly a super compelling character, acting more as an avatar for the player, the world and people with which he interacts are another story. This isn't your usual post-apocalyptic setting, where you explore a vast, desolate wasteland and dodge raiders along the way. Sure, you've got opposing factions and hostile mutants, but all these come together in an urban wasteland, setting a completely different atmosphere from the one we're used to in post-apocalyptic games. The world is against you, here, and survival is the greatest fight.
Why Metro: Last Light?
- Horror shooter done right - As I mentioned above, Metro: Last Light is a shooter that actually sticks to its horror roots. Despite being armed and overall prepared for the wasteland, Artyom never feels particularly overpowered. The world is a terrifying place, and Last Light really drives this point home with the environment. Aside from the mutants and enemy factions trying to kill you, the game's environment is an obstacle of its own. Weather can affect visibility, and the air is unfit for breathing, requiring you to wear gas masks with temporary filters. Ammo doesn't exactly grow on trees either, making it all the more valuable, both for killing and as currency. Then there are the things that can't be killed, like the lost souls that still linger, shadows appearing on walls and visions that can grip you at any moment, forcing you to relive the deaths of innocents past.
- Proper karma system - Last Light makes use of a karma system, a rather popular feature in contemporary games. What makes Metro's system so compelling is how vague it is. Situations are not necessarily black and white, as you navigate a world where everyone is doing everything possible to survive. Enemies who were trying to kill you moments ago may ask to be spared, so do you kill them now to nip a potential problem in the bud? Or do you spare them because you're just a nice guy? Hell, you can choose to leave mutants alone too, sometimes.
- That post-apocalyptic feel - The Metro universe is just so beautiful, despite being a product of nuclear war. It's evolved over time, creating a juxtaposition with remnants of the past and the present state of being. Life prevails, both in the world above and the new civilizations below. Humanity clings to life, forming factions and communities as they struggle to begin anew. Sure, Last Light looks really nice just from a graphics standpoint, but experiencing the world is just something else entirely.
Few horror shooters take themselves this seriously. Metro: Last Light has definitely carved out a place for itself, crossing genres to create a unique experience. Words can hardly describe the awe you feel upon stepping from the tunnels into the light, to face a haunted landscape.
Thanks for the scares, Metro. You deserve this nomination.
Neoseeker's Game of the Year 2013 Nominees
- Tomb Raider
- The Last of Us
- BioShock Infinite
- Gone Home
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Saints Row IV
- Path of Exile
- Papers, Please
- Metro: Last Light
Neoseeker's Game of the Year awards are decided by editors Lydia Sung and Rory Young. Follow them on Twitter at @RabidChinaGirl and @bluexy , or read their news, reviews and features every day here at Neoseeker.
Be sure to check out some top picks from our PC community as well.