Metro Exodus: Complete Edition - Review
Literally every day, more and more old releases receive an injection of new graphics technologies. Today we will take a look at the updated version of the game Metro: Exodus from 4A Games.
The ninth generation of consoles has already entered into legal rights for more than six months, but the possibilities of implementing ray tracing in the new releases of 2021, advertised by platform holders in PR campaigns, unfortunately, are not as common as we would like. And where the developers of new products are shy, the torch of leadership is picked up by the authors of already released games, adding advanced graphic capabilities there.
Before paying attention to how the game has changed in the Enhanced Edition version, let's refresh our memory of how it appeared to the players in 2019. Metro: Exodus continues the story of Artem, a ranger of the Spartan squad, serving to protect the Moscow metro – the last stronghold of humanity in post-apocalyptic Moscow. After the events of Metro: Last Light, Artem leaves the order in search of at least some hints of life outside of Moscow. Day after day, he makes single forays to the surface in the hope of catching a radio signal from outside. The events of the" Exodus " start from the moment when Artem still succeeds. After a series of bright events, the Spartans, led by Melnik, Artem and his wife Anya, go on a trip to Russia in search of answers.
The plot of the game hints at a shift in emphasis from stuffy tunnels to open areas. Metro: Exodus changes the gameplay formula and, instead of the traditional linear narrative, offers players a semi-open world divided into several spacious locations (diluted, nevertheless, with more familiar "corridor" stages) with a full cycle of changing the time of day, additional tasks and a rather fascinating and atmospheric exploration of the environment based on supplies for crafting and various secondary narrative elements in the form of diaries and audio recordings, which, in turn, complement the dry main plot quite well in places.
Since its release, the game has received two story additions – "Two Colonels" and "Sam's Story". The first is the story of Colonel Khlebnikov, the father of a boy named Kirill, who joined the heroes in Novosibirsk. The two-hour adventure allows you to look at the life of the Novosibirsk metro and learn about what led to its death. Obviously, this addition was designed to please those who were dissatisfied with the change of the game's entourage and switching from closed spaces to open-air spaces.
"Sam's story", on the contrary, is made in the spirit of the main "Exodus" – here the player goes to explore, albeit not so large, but still open areas of Vladivostok, where Sam, one of Artem's colleagues, was looking for a way to his homeland – to the United States of America. The addition turned out to be very interesting and offered new types of weapons, as well as a slightly updated bestiary.
In 2021, 4A Games completed the release of new content for the "Exodus" with the release of a graphic update for the next-generation Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as for PCs. At the same time, the developers decided to approach the matter thoroughly and not limit themselves to the banal improvement of the quality of in-game assets, but rewritten the lighting system, completely based on ray tracing. And the result is impressive. From now on, each light source in the game does what it should-generates shadows from surrounding objects, and also provides much more correct lighting of locations. Now every stone lying on the ground casts a correct shadow, and the interior of the premises is illuminated not only by direct light sources, but also by reflecting light from surfaces.
The PC version was expected to be the richest in graphic delights. In addition to the global lighting system, it boasts reflections based on ray tracing, as well as tessellation, which makes the relief of surfaces more voluminous.
The consoles, in addition to the upgrade of the lighting system, received an increased framerate – the original, we recall, worked at 30 FPS even on the powerful Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Enhanced Edition, in turn, runs on all new-generation systems at 60 FPS, negating one of the main drawbacks of the technical part of the old versions – extremely unresponsive control. A pleasant moment for the owners of the Xbox Series S was the availability of absolutely all the Enhanced Edition improvements. However, on this platform, in pursuit of an increased framerate and a full set of graphical improvements, developers still had to sacrifice the resolution, which in particularly loaded moments can reach frightening values of the 512p type. However, the target resolution on the Xbox Series S is still 1080p.
Another important improvement was a significant reduction in the download time. The original version of Metro Exodus on the consoles of the last generation was loaded for an unacceptably long time – up to two minutes. The built-in SSD on the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 successfully solves this problem. On the Xbox Series X, for example, loading a level from the main menu takes about 40 seconds. Yes, this can not be called a lightning speed, but, nevertheless, the difference with the previous result is more than twice.
Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition is one of the few examples of a game that truly harnesses the potential of a new generation of consoles in the field of ray tracing. This is a fairly high-quality update that significantly transforms the appearance of the adventure. For owners of a new generation of consoles and sufficiently powerful PCs, this is a great reason to try the hit from 4A Games, and for beginners, it is still a much more weighty argument in favor of acquiring Metro Exodus: Complete Edition – games with all DLC.