A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to Deep Silver's first showcase to check out Metro: Last Light, and they couldn't have picked a better location to try out the game. Under the arches near London Bridge, in a musty saw dust littered room that had been decked out like a makeshift resistance HQ. It had bucket loads of atmosphere, especially when the rumble of overhead trains reverberated through the room.

 photo metro-01_zpsbdd54dea.jpgFor those that aren't familiar with Metro: 2033 the previous game in the franchise, or the novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the action takes place in a post nuclear holocaust Russia where survivors have retreated to Moscow's vast network of underground tunnels (hence Metro), where they eke out a pitiful existence. The player once again takes on the role of resistance fighter Artyom in the fight against Soviet's, Nazis and the many mutants that lurk in the darkness of the tunnels.

There's not a lot I can say about the game's plot, as the levels I played contained some pretty heavy spoilers, but what I can say that, on the whole, the game is shaping up to be quite an interesting experience for anyone crying out for a heavily story based shooter. The levels drip with atmosphere, and the lack of an ever present HUD really immerses you in the action (this can also be a hindrance - as a newcomer to the series, I was about an hour in before I realised there was a physical compass in my inventory I could use to navigate my way towards objectives). The temptation to meet every situation with a gung ho/guns blazing style of play is soon beaten out of you when you realise that you are severely outmatched by the enemy AI, and stealth is almost always the best option when trying to negotiate your way out of enemy territory. Even then, it's pretty hairy trying to avoid the heavily armed guards when they're actively looking for you. To survive on the surface, or anywhere else with a high radiation content, you need to have a decent supply of gas mask filters, and these are in short supply. The tension felt as your gas mask meter slowly runs down when you're surrounded by mutants, and nowhere near an underground escape route is immense.

 photo metro-02_zps6a9e472d.jpgOn the whole, I found myself enjoying what I played, though I would be lying if I said there weren't a couple of things that raised flags, but this is still an early build of the game and some of them are likely to get ironed out before release. One of them was the level design. There's an awful lot of brown and grey, and it can be infuriating trying to make your way around the environment when a lot of it looks the same, however the dynamic lighting on display was pretty impressive. However, it is mostly set in post-apocalypse underground bunkers, so there's hardly going to be explosions of colour littering the landscape, and the lack of a constant HUD (and my realisation that without a mini-map, I'm a directionless idiot) probably accounts for the majority of the time I spent accidentally walking out in front of guards I was supposed to be sneaking around. The guns still feel a little bit unbalanced, especially the shotgun, but with military grade ammunition being a form of currency in the game, this is likely to have been done on purpose. If you want your guns to be super effective, it's going to cost you.

In conclusion, there's a lot to look forward to with Metro: Last Light, but 4A Games still have a lot to do to pull it all off before the games release on 17th May.