While I absolutely loved Metro: Last Light and some parts of the first DLC pack they put out, I had misgivings about this one. It’s definitely not because combat is terrible, far from it. The combat in the game was actually really well done. No, my issue with this one is that it’s all combat, and kind of in an arena style. I mainly like Metro for the atmosphere and the interesting storyline. The combat was secondary to me, so a DLC that runs you about an hour’s play time if you’re any good at combat, which I’m not so it’ll take me longer, and is only combat with a bit of a test scenario background, has little appeal to me. This is definitely for the people who really liked the combat of the game and wanted a ton more of it. Let’s take a look.
The story for this one, as thin as it is, finds the player being set up as a test subject for a new virtual reality simulator. You’re going to have to hop into the nice chair and test out their new high tech training system for them by surviving wave after wave of enemies in a virtual reality so they can verify whether it’s a success or not. There are plenty of ways this thing could exist in the Metro universe. It’s in an underground facility, and who’s to say they developed it instead of just stumbling across it and getting it running? Either way, that’s the long and short of it. Go into the simulator, select your weapons loadout, enter the current level and waste everything that moves without getting wasted yourself.
There are five levels to work through, each with different layouts, enemy types and strengths, and each wave gets harder as you move on. There is some ammo scattered about, and once the free ammo runs out, a vending station also offers you supplies, which’ll cost you bullets you earn as you kill the spawned bad guys. This isn’t a DLC for people who are casually into the game. The waves are hard to get around, especially if you’re running with starter gear. I died. I died a lot. Let’s just say too many role-playing games and third person action titles have gotten me first-person shooter soft, and that I’ll be sticking with the main game and story DLC options, and probably not loading this one up much. It is well done and looks great, offering up some very different level designs from what we’re used to seeing in the Metro games, and definitely showing off the combat improvements to the game.
Visually, you’re not really looking at anything you haven’t already seen in the game, just arranged differently. The levels where you’re in the simulation are far cleaner than any area you’d go through in the Metro, and it’s easy to spot your targets here where it might not be in the regular game. Enemies are all ones you’ve come across before as well. There’s a few spots where you’ll get some dialogue, but most of the DLC is them telling you to get prepped and then a lot of yelling and shooting and monsters screaming. So nothing really new here audibly.
I won’t go into the controls much, and I’ve covered all the gameplay changes you’d find over the regular game. For those, check out my review here. There is a bit of replayability for those interested. They have leaderboards and do keep score as you play through the simulator, awarding for headshots, distance kills and so on, as well as Steam achievements. Then there’s always the option of running it on different difficulties as well. It is balanced pretty well, as far as increasing difficulty as you go, but if you’re not very good at the combat, as I’m not, you’re going to have a hard time with this one regardless of what difficulty you choose. It’s a tough bit of DLC to get through if you’re not in a combat mindset. If you are, it’s only about an hour’s play time to get through it, but they tied in some leaderboards, so like most DLC, your mileage will vary.
While the levels themselves have some interesting bits to them, and the way the enemies spawn is interesting to watch, they didn’t do a whole lot beyond that to make this very original. We’ve seen the VR concept before in many different games, and while it gives them a mechanic to just throw enemies at you in a simulated environment and still keep it within the Metro world setting, it’s not very original. Even though combat isn’t why I play this game, I will have to say that sitting down and trying to make it through all the waves was a bit of an addicting exercise in frustration. It’s not that it controls bad, it’s that I’m not very good at ducking around a corner or aiming as well as I should be in this game. I did play a bit better with the keyboard and mouse, but I’d played the whole game to this point with a 360 controller, so at this point I’m relearning all the controls for a bit of DLC, which I found amusing to say the least.
I do feel this is far too short. Yes, you can replay it, but if you’re only doing this once and you can do it well, it clocks in at just under an hour. It’s not terrible, far from it; I’m sure fans of the combat portion of the game will enjoy it, and it’s one of the cheaper DLC offerings out there, which is nice. Another few levels would have completely sold me on the price, I guess, or even a few different scenarios in there besides find cover and kill everything coming at you, but it’s hard to gauge value on a set of what amounts to arena battles with waves of AI enemies. If you like the combat or like the challenge, then this DLC will be up your alley. For those of us looking for a little more depth and getting into the universe of Metro a bit more, there is little here. To be honest, just reading the description, I would have passed on this one if it wasn’t part of the season pass. It was interesting to see the simulator implemented, but beyond that, it didn’t gel with me at all.
Short Attention Span Summary
If you’re into Metro: Last Light for the difficulty and the combat, then this DLC was designed for you. It offers up five levels of challenge and is nothing but a combat simulator where you battle wave after wave of enemies. It’s not bad, but I think I got far more out of the Factions Pack for the same price. While it looks good and didn’t have a lot of issues, there isn’t much there for me to play it again, but I’m also more here for the setting and story, of which this DLC doesn’t offer me much anyway. If you wanted more of that and less action, pass on this DLC. This one is definitely for people more into the combat and challenge and a bit of showing off on the leaderboards.