Metro: Last Light

MetroLL_1080p_8.bmpSet in a post-apocalyptic world Metro: Last Light follows up 2010’s Metro 2033. Being a PS3 owner I’ve never played the original as for some reason it was never released for Playstation so I can not compare the two. What I do know though is that Last Light was a bigger budget affair with a completely original story line. You play as Artyom and your mission is to find The Dark One who is believed to be the key to the survival of the human race. To do so you must navigate your way through the metro tunnels and stations, as well as explore the deserted Earth above you. It’s a diverse game pitting you against monsters and enemy humans alternately as you work your way through a gripping story of the supernatural.

I’m not the biggest fan of FPS games, mainly because I’m not the into the whole online stuff, so I more often opt for a third person adventure game as they tend to have a better story line. Last Light however, is an FPS that is only concerned with story, there is no online mode or any other mode than the story for that matter. And you can see why as this is one of the richest campaigns I have ever played. The story keeps you gripped from beginning to end (though I must admit I was slightly lost at first having not played 2033) and makes the game a tense affair as you work your through the levels and the plot unravels.

The graphics are absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen on PS3. There’s a permanent darkness over every shot but it still manages to look beautiful even when you’re creeping through some filthy tunnels. The monsters are well crafted if slightly generic beasts and the humans look great too making for a realistic gaming experience. The levels take a while to get into the swing, the first few are too heavily cut up with cut scenes and lessons, you’re told how to play the game for too long basically, but once you get past it you’re greeted with a wide variety of stages with varying levels of difficulty all of which require different techniques to get through. Some missions reminded of the Arkham games as you have to sneak around in the shadows picking off Rangers one by one, if you get caught you’re in trouble. Others are more about survival, particularly in the cave areas where you have to fight packs of beasts who come charging at you and you have to be fast with your guns to keep them from tearing you apart. Then there are the stages that are out in the open where the main challenge is keeping your gas mask filters fresh so as not to inhale the radiation and choke to death.

Overall the game is one of the best FPS’s I’ve ever played finding a great balance between action and horror, and managing to have a great storyline without smothering you with cut-scenes or QTE’s. My only qualm would be that it has no replay value and it would perhaps benefit from having something else perhaps a co-op campaign or a challenge mode like the Arkham games. Despite this in terms of story and gameplay this is definitely one worth playing and let’s hope it’s not the last we see from the Metro series.

 

The 2nd Law

When Resistance was released back in  2009, for me, it was confirmation that Muse were definitely one of my favourite bands of all time. However, as the years ticked by Resistance along with the all their previous albums really just slipped off my radar, I stopped caring about them really and when I picked them back up earlier this year Resistance didn’t have quite the same affect on me that it had in the past, in fact, when I compared it with their previous albums it didn’t stand up against them any more. Following this was the release of the official Olympic single, ‘Survival’ which, although not an awful song, killed most of my buzz for a new Muse album, I thought they may have lost their touch. The next song to emerge that would feature on the album was ‘The 2nd Law: Unsustainable’ aka the dubstep one. On first listen I enjoyed it, it is really cool that they do it all on their instruments but the more I hear it the more I think its just, basically, shit.

But then things turned around for The 2nd Law, they turned around hugely with the release of ‘Madness’. Chris Martin made a statement saying it was the best song they’ve ever released, now I hate Chris Martin more than most but I may well agree with him here. It’s quality is in it’s simplicity, a slow build up with an anthemic chorus and Queen inspired epic guitar solo, Madness is fucking awesome. Then the album leaked last week and it blew me away, the first three tracks (Madness being number 2) are all powerhouse tracks that burst out the speakers, stick in your head and generally provide a whole lot of listening pleasure. Tracks 4 and 5 are ‘Survival’ track 4 being an orchestral build up, and within the context of the album I actually much prefer it than I did before. After this the main stand-out track is ‘Animals’ which features a grand Spanish-sounding solo. The last two tracks before the instrumentals feature vocals from Chris Wolstenholme, the bassist, and they provide a nice contrast from Bellamy’s more powerful falsetto, the lyrics on the tracks are touching as well, particularly in ‘Save Me’. Then finally, we’ve got the two instrumentals, ‘Unsustainable’ which I’ve spoken about before but put amongst this set of songs feels even more inadequate. The final song, ‘Isolated System’ is a more classical effort similar to the three ‘Exogenesis’ tracks on Resistance, but ultimately does little more than help you forget there dubstep song but still isn’t bad.

The influence of Queen is hugely apparent throughout but it’s kept just right and ultimately provides the record with a much more complete feel than Resistance. The first three tracks and ‘Animals’ could all have an argument for being Muse’s greatest ever and there are a number of other tracks here that really pop, it’s just a bit of a shame that ‘Unsustainable’ is included. But, really, this is just an absolutely great record, I will think twice before doubting them again.