It's 2033. An apocalyptic event has turned the earth's surface into a nuclear wasteland. Survivors, battling mutant creatures topside, have made the murkey Moscow underground system their home.
As Artyom you're sent on a mission to Polis, the largest and most powerful of the underground metro stations. Here you must request help from elite soldiers known as Rangers, to protect your home station against a new and terrible threat known only as the Dark Ones.
Gameplay and atmosphere
Whether you're in the subway or making your way through eerie, badly lit tunnels, Metro 2033 delivers some gorgeous graphics and level designs, helping to add to its immersive storyline. You get the feeling the developers watched a whole bunch of M. Night Shyamalan as well as Alfred Hitchcock movies for some added inspiration.
The gameplay is fairly similar to what you expect from FPS games, but it does have a few elements of stealth gameplay and economy. The stealth gameplay is not just another way of finishing the game though, since going in guns blazing at every opportunity vs stealthily avoiding encounters (by staying in shadows for instance and watching your chosen path to avoid broken glass) will present you with a different ending to the game. There is no money in the game, instead military grade bullets are used as currency. These are bullets that were manufactured prior to the nuclear fallout and thus are more valuable. You can also use these bullets in combat, as they pack more stopping power than the dirty, rusty bullets used by most metro residents.
Occasionally though, the immersive atmosphere is spoiled by some bad sound glitches. While walking around accompanying one of the other characters you can not only hear your conversation, but also that of other characters in your immediate environment. This can be really distracting and annoying.
Metro 2033 is up there with the best of them with its engrossing storyline and post-apocalyptic atmosphere. But its mostly average gameplay elements and frustrating sound glitch keep it from reaching the cream of the crop of our choice of must-buy titles for 2010. Being so engrossing makes the short length of the game also a bit disappointing, as it takes about six hours to complete.