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E3 2011 first look: Metro Last Light

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Some of the best games at E3 were behind closed doors. Metro: Last Light was one of them. The guys at developer 4A Games took us through several sections of the game, which had mine cart shootouts, Hitler-esque rallies, and some great environmental manipulation & destruction. As it did with Metro 2033, THQ has signed on to publish the sequel and seems to be letting 4A do its thing, which is refreshing. 4A hopes to successfully blend survival horror with action.

Admittedly, I am not familiar with Metro 2033, but Last Light is a post-apocalyptic shooter set in Moscow, 2034. Something big happened in Russia; all life has moved underground, save for some gargoyle-like flying beasts. Under the city is where most of the demo took place and all the combat was between humans. They weren’t all nice though. During one section the main character had to walk through a rally of Nazi’s–they weren’t happy to see him.

To rewind a bit, the opening sequence of Last Light is probably my favorite portion of the demo. You are underground in a Fallout-esque tunnel. To survive, you actually use the lack of light to your advantage by unscrewing light bulbs, cutting power, and shooting out lights in various areas. Once the light is out, enemies begin to freak out and sometimes shoot at you blindly, but because you saw them first, the shootouts don’t end well for them. This sequence ends with you sneaking into a small control booth (a subway booth), disabling the guard from behind, and using a machine gun to mow down some opposition that come to stop you when the alarm goes off. The graphics are quite impressive, with concrete shattering as its pelted with bullets and light sources dynamically darkening certain areas at a time.  The 4A guys were quick to point out that this was all 100 percent in-game and running on real hardware; no tricks here.

Later in the demo we are part of an Indiana Jones style mine cart shootout and boarding. I’m not sure why anyone still invests in mine carts, other than their obviously usefulness when evading the law, but Metro has them. Like most parts of the game, attempting to fire from one cart to the train nearby was hectic and quite fun.

I wish I could say more about Metro, but it’s a ways from release. The game will hit the PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and, yes, the Wii U sometime in 2012. Developer 4A confirmed that the game is indeed coming to Nintendo’s upcoming console.

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