There's a game out right now that's receiving little attention, hidden in the shadow of a AAA release. It's a recreation of a couple of games that took the helm from Crysis in the "can your PC run it" department, but it's very welcome amongst this dry spell of PS4 and Xbox One releases. More so than Destiny.
Let me get my complaints out of the way first. I didn't hate Destiny. I gave it about 3 hours of my time during the alpha and beta releases, and found it lackluster. It felt bare, incomplete. In every way that wasn't presentation, the game felt like an early-access title, hyped up to sound complete. The story didn't exist, combat was exhilarating but repetitive, social features were almost non existent, and where they do exist, they're needlessly convoluted. For the most part this still seems to be the case. I don't hate Destiny but it disappointed me at every turn.
However, Metro Redux is much the opposite. The game, unlike Destiny, lacks a tad in the presentation department, and hit detection seems sketchy on rare occasions, but it's otherwise every part the enjoyable game that Destiny failed to be. It was also less than half the price and doesn't rely on this notion that games need a multiplayer component in order to compete in the market these days. I've dropped about 6 or 7 hours on the story so far and am about halfway through.
Metro Redux is a complex reimagining of both Metro 2033 and it's sequel, Metro: Last Light. It takes many features of the latter and transplants them seamlessly into the former. In addition to gameplay tweaks, the game also completely redesigns textures, models, lighting, sounds, AI and more, and these are all very welcome design changes.
I played the original Metro 2033 on PC back when it first released and it was different. The way that guns handled felt rustic and authentic. It held a very robust appeal amongst a sea of shooters that are trying to be modern, digital and macho. Metro however focuses on telling a story about the weaknesses and flaws of man, set in the post-apocalyptic metro stations of a war-torn and devastated Russia. In the Metros, humanity is waging war against a mysterious enemy known only as The Dark Ones, the mutated flora and fauna, and ultimately itself.
The story is engrossing, well written and well presented. It's unconventional in many ways, but can fall into the "one hero must save us all" trope, but at no point do you feel like a Guardian. You're 20-something year old Artyom, and for you, life just hates you. Everyone you know dies, you keep seeing visions of something humanoid, and alien. You hear voices beckoning you; begging you to come over to the other side. Death is everywhere. It's equal parts disturbing and entertaining.
Metro Redux keeps all of Metro's charm, but shines it back up with a gorgeous lick of new paint. That's not to say it doesn't come with problems though. Shadows, objects and entire people pop-in. Animations can be janky. Hit-detection can really suck at points. Shadow children will ride your back into Oblivion, long after their host has left you. At one point I found myself unable to aim or fire my gun, use my clipboard and lighter or change my weapon. I got eaten very quickly.
None of these things detract from a fantastic gaming experience however. The remastering looks gorgeous on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I can only imagine it looks scores better still on PC, too.
I just find it worrisome and jarring. To me, and in my honest opinion, Destiny is half-baked. It's a concept of a game, and not a game itself. It's a conception of multiple ideas that fail to conglomerate. $500,000,000 were sunk into that game, and not even that could change Peter Dinklage's monotonous performance as Ghost. It seems that 4/5 of that budget went towards marketing alone, and if Metacritic has any kind of credibility, The User Scores are downright scary.
So all my love to Metro Redux, 4A Games and the meager 80 employees of which it consists of. You've done a wonderful job bringing Metro to the next gen, and I'd like you to know that your games are the ones I'll be playing this September. Sometimes Destiny isn't everything after all.