While I wasn’t nearly as impressed with the Tower Pack as I was the Factions Pack, which I still had minor issues with but I had a few hopes for the Developers Pack for the latest DLC for Metro: Last Light which is still easily one of the best games I’ve played this year. The Developers Pack is kind of hit and miss. It gives a few interesting parts that could be easily replayed and then a brief story mission. You do get it as part of the Season Pass which is how I ended up with it, but like the others, it’s available individually as well and also happens to be cheaper by a little bit. While not as good or packed as the Factions DLC, I do think the Developers DLC is a few leaps and bounds over the Tower DLC, more for personal preference really as two of the three-ish things we get with the Developers DLC is right up my alley. Let’s take a look.
The Developers Pack is divided up into two sections, a single mission and then a trip to a level that houses the Metro: Last Light Museum, Shooting Range and an Arena all being taken care of by a mysterious janitor who you can catch doing different things when you leave the main lobby and come back. Some of his moves are hilarious and others a bit disturbing. He’s more of a curiosity than anything else but is a neat flavor addition. The Museum is basically the character and enemy models from the game put up like you’d find in a museum like stuffed or posed statues. You can get better views of them and rotate and zoom around and it’s neat to see all the detail in these without them trying to shoot and/or remove your face physically. The shooting range is, well, exactly what you’d expect. It’s a place to play with all the guns available in the game complete with challenges but it’s not a long distraction depending on which gun you pick.
The arena is a bit more varied and reminds me of the arena we got with the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3 with more options for combat. You can either put in AI enemies versus AI or you can join in on the fun as well. There’s lots of cover and the enemies don’t let you sit still for long as they descend on you in waves. There is a downside that if you bit the big one that you can’t start the challenge over on the same wave but have to start from the beginning, but this is Metro we’re talking about and the game has never been all that forgiving even on easy. All three of these offer a nice bit of amusement but I did end up leaving it alone after about thirty minutes or so. My bread and butter with this DLC came with the story mission that took me about an hour and a half to get through but could be done quicker I think.
They call the other mission in this pack, Spider Lair. It start off with you and two buddies kicking back drinking talking about the glory days and how amazing it would be to find one of those secret military installations that were rumored to exist along the Metro line. After a few shots back and forth at each other the screen fades and comes back with you hanging upside down cocooned in spider silk. Something has obviously gone wrong. It does turn out that you’ve found one of those secret military installations but it is packed full of giant spiders looking to devour you and feed their young. You’re not given much to start, a lighter and a knife and you have to pick up filters, a mask and a head lamp as you go. This is what I want when I play Metro. This is as tense as they come as they’ve got spiders set-up to ambush you without it looking like an ambush, but if you assume nothing is safe, which it isn’t, you should do ok. There are traps and supplies you can find and you begin finding fuel that you could use in your buddies flamethrower, if you could only find him or it.
Your friends are there littered throughout the corpses in varying levels and you do end up finding the flamethrower, a kit build just like most of the weapons in Metro. It uses a pump system to keep the pressure up so that the flames leave the barrel and actually hit what you’re firing at. Pumping it uses the same actions as pumping or charging up your light in the regular game, and luckily you don’t have to do that here on top of charging the flamethrower. You make your way through the nest looking for a way out using the tools and same methods that you use as Artyom in the main game to get around different traps and power outages to doors. The spiders won’t let up as you go and they’ve come up with a few inventive ways to get you when you least expect it. The level design really heightens the whole situation and while I loved scouting out the items and the infiltration bit in the Factions DLC, I think the tense atmosphere and scramble to keep ammo and air filters in this DLC has made the Spider’s Lair my favorite post game release so far.
I’ll refer you to my original review of Metro: Last Light for the visuals, audio as well as control and gameplay as little has changed with this DLC. Still very high quality, very murky and atmospheric, and the controls work fantastically. Is this replayable? Yes and no. While I loved the spider section in this, I might play it again, maybe. The arena and the shooting gallery offer more here in that area, but I think most people will play each of these through once or twice and be done with them even with different difficulty levels involved. Balance –wise, this is cheaper than the other two DLC’s they’ve released, only by a dollar, but it feels very reasonable for what you get comparatively. The difficulty does get more progressive as you go even in the Spider’s Lair portion which really set the tone for me.
While there’s nothing new here as far as other games go, we’ve seen the survival horror bits in the Spider Lair before. Especially in the Metro series and through Artyom. It is a neat peak into the world a bit more, but the arena and even the shooting gallery, while fun to tinker with, are hardly all that inspired. It’s a chance to mess around with the setting and weapons outside the normal game really and while fun it’s not all that original. I did play all the way through in one sitting, but it’s hard to gauge this one as it is set up to be done this way. It’s fairly short but I wasn’t really interested in much else while I was playing so there is that. The flamethrower was fun to play with and I loved the mission, and the shooting gallery, arena and museum are a neat curiosity, but I’m not sure beyond that players will find much here they can really sink their teeth into.
While I do recommend this DLC over the Tower DLC, it’s not nearly as meaty as the Factions DLC was, and the price reflects that a bit. If fighting through a horde of spiders with a flamethrower sounds appealing along with the firing range, museum and arena then you’ll probably like this. If like me you’re all about the main story line and the feel, Spider Lair will be up your alley but your mileage otherwise will be lacking. This is another fun diversion off the main game and a nice addition to the season’s pass but easily missed otherwise.
Short Attention Span Summary
Compared to the somewhat polished but under-whelming Tower pack for Metro: Last Light, the Developer Pack offers a nice variety but is also fairly short unless you get fairly involved with the arena and shooting range portion. The Spider’s Lair mission offers up a tense but brief portion of story mode as you brave your way through an abandoned underground facility packed with arachnid pests with a flamethrower and very limited supplies. What they have here is an interesting mish-mash of ideas that let you play around a bit more with the Metro world and outside of it but it’s just a taste that some players aren’t going to get a lot out of. It’s got some interesting things going on but it doesn’t hold your attention long. While I loved the spider portion I was only mildly interested in the rest and will probably never delve into it again. I think it was worth a look at the very least but if you’re not really into Metro outside of the main game you’ll probably want to give this a pass.
What Video Game Release for January 2014 are you most excited for?
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