Metro Exodus Enhanced

After waiting for the PS5 upgrade for Metro Exodus, literally putting my PS4 progress on hold for a few months, and then waffling over whether or not I was willing to actually experience the upgraded version beyond just checking out the graphical improvements, I finally fired the thing up.

And, wouldn’t you know it, I was immediately sucked back in. I quickly found myself blasting past my previous stopping point in what felt like the blink of an eye, and I had the full-steam-ahead momentum that I needed to see this through to the end. And see it through to the end I did; after all these years (or, since February of 2019, anyway), I finally finished Metro Exodus.

Now, before I go any further, I need to warn you that there will be spoilers here. If you’re ready to leave the spoiler-free safe zone that I’ve constructed in these introductory paragraphs, then blaze ahead. But if not, this is the point you’ll want to turn back before you see something you’ll wish you hadn’t.

Metro Exodus Enhanced

Still with me?

Metro Exodus offers both a good and bad ending. On my playthrough, I saw the bad ending. And I have to say that I prefer this as a canonical conclusion to protagonist Artyom’s silent journey. Sure, in the good ending Artyom pulls through, and the group starts a commune with hopes of a better future. At the end of the day, who doesn’t like a happy ending? But having experienced the bad ending — especially after having played the previous two entries in the series — this one kind of just felt right.

Sticking with the bad ending as canon would offer 4A Games a chance to leave Artyom behind. Considering he was a nothing burger (remember that odd phrase?) of a character to begin with, this would allow future Metro games to branch out and improve on their otherwise-stellar storytelling.

At the end of the day, Artyom is just a body dangling beneath the players FOV and nothing more. He is a silent protagonist, even though everyone around him speaks to him directly, and many of them also communicate remotely via their walkie talkies (presumably only hearing dead air in response?) These characters also seek his opinion and guidance at every step along the long, arduous journey, from the metro tunnels of the first and second game to the wider world abroad in Exodus. Yet he never utters more than a grunt when he is injured or reeling from exposure to massive levels of radiation. It is utterly immersion-breaking.

I mean, we are talking Legend of Zelda levels of silence here. Are we to believe that every character is actually having engrossed conversations with Artyom that we the player are for some asinine reason are just not privy to? It’s ludicrous in this day and age, I’m sorry.

Metro Exodus Enhanced

But beyond that, seeing Artyom succeed in at least getting his band of fellow soldiers and tagalongs, as well as his (at times) annoying wife, a chance at living a better life (even at the expense of his own life), is a pretty fitting conclusion for such a bleak game series. It is also a bold move for a triple-A developer to buck trends and deliver a more heart-wrenching conclusion to a series that wallows in the muck of the very worst humanity has to offer when left to their own cruel devices

But even if the good ending is canon, it’s also a decent enough capper to this three-game series (a trilogy, if you will), and even this ending gives 4A a chance to move on from Artyom and explore other characters and stories in this amazing game world.

In a recent blog post, 4A has already announced they are working on the next entry in the Metro series, which they are planning as a single-player experience with a possible multiplayer component. Here’s what they said:

It’s no secret that we have already started work on the next Metro game. Using everything we’ve learned from the last 15 years, we’ve set our sights even higher – the next title is being built for Gen 9 consoles and PC, with a complete overhaul of our engine and renderer to take advantage of the new power, storage, and hardware supported ray tracing afforded by the new consoles.

We’re not ready to share anything more, but we wanted to reassure our fans about a few important topics.

First – we’re committed to delivering a great story driven single player experience; this is what the Metro series is founded on. As a studio, we want to constantly push ourselves to create bigger and better games, but we also listen to what the fans are saying, and we know what’s important to you. We take our responsibly to the franchise seriously, and we think you’ll be excited our plans for the next chapter.

Although there isn’t much to go on — aside from the basic fact that they are working on another game in the franchise — I hope they at the very least take everything I’ve just written into consideration and do exactly as I say. Okay, maybe not exactly

But seriously…

Even if the next Metro title continues the adventures of Artyom and his merry band, I’m sure I will be on board. But here’s to hoping that 4A sees fit to, at the very least, give Artyom the much-needed personality and agency he needs to truly be a lead character. Or, at the very least, sidelines Artyom as an NPC, and gives us a brand-new, fully fleshed-out character to explore wherever the Metro tunnels lead us next.

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