Metro, the epic first-person shooter series based on the novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky and developed by 4A Games pits players as Artyom; a survivor and Spartan Ranger in post-apocalyptic Russia. After the critically acclaimed Metro 2033 and its sequel: Last Light the series returns with its third and most ambitious instalment yet: Metro Exodus. This walkthrough takes place in a level situated near the Volga River, shortly after Artyom; his wife, Anna; and their fellow Spartans discover there is life outside the Moscow Metro and flee the tunnels on a hijacked train called the Aurora, heading East, in search of answers. The Volga is one of a number of huge, open levels in the game this is a bold new concept for Metro, but these self-contained worlds are woven together by more traditional, linear levels. The Volga contains many hours of gameplay, but this walkthrough will focus on a just handful of segments in order to demonstrate the multitude of new features in Metro Exodus. Having been briefed by the Spartan Order’s commander, Miller, to explore the area players will quickly find themselves thrust into a dangerous and hostile world. Even far away from Moscow, radiation levels are still a constant threat with players having to manage the time remaining on their gas mask filters in addition to their other resources. Scavenging for chemicals and materials that can be used to craft equipment and ammunition therefore, is a must and you’ll be immersed within a world that constantly demands your attention in order to survive. The Volga level is many times larger than the most expansive level in Last Light and is indicative of the new ‘Sandbox Survival’ gameplay mechanic in Exodus a critical narrative path is always there to follow but these wild, open environments offer countless locations to explore and unique encounters for those who dare to venture off the beaten track. That electric tower over there looks like the perfect sniping position. Let’s go. Some of these locations may reward you with upgrades and new equipment while others may provide greater insight into the lore of Metro. Within these huge environments, players will traverse the territories of the mutants, bandits, drifters, and survivors that inhabit post-apocalyptic Russia. Here you’ll see the AI biomes in effect where humans, mutants, and animals, will all react differently to their surroundings depending on a variety of factors. Players may see mutants hunting other mutants and an open firefight could attract unwanted, or maybe wanted attention. Early into their mission, Artyom and Anna stumble upon a group of cultists who believe electricity and technology caused the destruction of society in Russia. Having infiltrated the cultist’s church and rescued two of their prisoners, players must find their way back to Miller and the Spartans and can choose a number of different methods with which to escape. As with any Metro title, Exodus places the onus on the player to choose how they progress. It’s possible to play this entire level without killing a single human being or if subtlety isn’t your style, you can adopt a ‘take no prisoners approach’. Regardless of ethics and play-style however, there will always be a need to infiltrate areas with a level of discretion. Stealth therefore, plays a significant role in Metro Exodus. With the ability to modify weapons in the field, players can customise their set up depending on the situation at hand. The flexible Kalash can quickly transform from long-range to close-quarters configuration. And with the right upgrades, the basic 3-shot revolver can be turned into a silenced, 6-chambered and deadly accurate handgun. Crouching and sticking to the shadows will reduce your chances of being discovered by enemies. The blue stealth indicator on your wrist will glow when you’re at risk of being seen. Interacting with the environment around you is also key extinguishing torches and creating a distraction by throwing tin cans to confuse enemies as to your whereabouts allowing you to get close and execute a silent kill. If it’s too difficult to approach from behind, a throwing knife will bring down sentries from range. Attention! There is a dead body here brother. If your presence is discovered, perhaps through a missed shot or by making too much noise, and the alarm is raised, the game isn’t over but the rules have changed. Players will hear dynamic battle chatter as foes call out to their companions and attempt to pinpoint your location. Enemies will try to hunt you down as the game transitions into a frenetic, action-oriented shooter. As you eliminate more enemies, some might finally realise the threat of your presence and surrender forcing you to make a decision and decide their fate. For the full range of weapon crafting and modification options, players will find workbenches in small outposts scattered throughout every level where they can customise their loadout. Everything from medpacks and gas mask filters to ammunition and throwable items can be crafted at the workbench from materials scavenged in the field. As players use their weapons, dirt and grime will accumulate on them in real-time reducing accuracy and damage and making them prone to jamming and overheating resources can be spent cleaning and maintaining your weapons here. Another signature feature of Metro is the unique arsenal of handcrafted, improvised weaponry. There are hundreds of modification combinations that drastically affect a weapon’s stats and performance as they are stripped for upgrades. Every component in a Metro weapon is modelled on real-life materials such as a Soviet-era kitchen utensil that forms part of a heavy stock to provide stability to the Kalash or the fan-favourite Tihar: a pneumatic sniper rifle that fires ball bearings for silent, long-range kills. The Tihar has its very own set of upgrades available like increasingly airtight seals, keeping up air pressure in the pneumatic system. Your equipment can similarly be repaired or upgraded at a workbench, allowing you to increase your protection or mobility with upgrades to your helmet or armour or make life a little easier with additions like a compass to your wrist bracer. Outposts also provide a new feature to players: rest. You can change the time of day depending on how you want to approach your next challenge. During the day enemies may be spread out on patrol and easier to pick-off however you too will be more visible in the daylight. Attacking an encampment at night might mean enemies are sleeping or huddled around a camp a more concentrated threat, but you’ll benefit from a stealth approach. Even in such open environments – claustrophobic, close-quarters combat is never far away. Players will still experience the tense, frightening encounters that have made Metro what it is today but these moments of pure, anxiety-inducing combat are seamlessly embedded into the wider, open levels. With Artyom and the Spartans a considerable distance from Moscow, they will start to discover how radiation has affected different lifeforms across the country. Humanimals are a new mutant to Exodus; fierce and unrelenting. The A-shot serves as an effective close-range weapon for this frantic, breathless type of gameplay a marked distinction from more tactically demanding human encounters. Anna went off the grid. Any ideas? Anybody know anything? She was going to check out those antennas 200 metres from the Aurora. On her own? What the hell? And what did you all do? Arytom, get there on the double. Miller over and out. Artyom’s wife, Anna, the Spartan Order’s top sniper, has gone missing and players now have a new directive to find her. Mission updates will be marked on a player’s map, a physicallised object that you can access at any time Metro avoids the clutter of HUD and UI wherever possible communicating all critical information through tangible, tactile objects to increase immersion. Whilst night time can provide cover, it brings its own set of challenges a Watchman on patrol can spell danger and if not dealt with, it will call its pack to ambush you. And in a world rife with dangers, a more mysterious threat is that of the anomaly a roaming electrical phenomena that expels radiation and will kill you if it gets too close. Artyom…I heard you call me…it was so great there… But I…heard you….and couldn’t leave you… Upon finding Anna, it’s clear the effect of radiation in an enclosed environment has taken its toll. Artyom will need to find a way to open the doors in order to get out in time before the gas mask filters run out. Although much of the surface is breathable now, Metro Exodus retains the claustrophobic, gas mask gameplay that the series is known for where your Nixie watch ticks down the minutes and seconds of air left to breathe. In comparison to previous Metro titles, players can craft new filters in the field if they have sufficient materials to do so but it will always be under constant threat of mutants and limited resources in this haunting, atmospheric, setting. If your gas mask gets damaged you also have the ability to make a temporary field repair although until you can find a workbench your vision will be somewhat compromised. Nothing a little duct tape can’t handle for the time being though. One of the key new aspects of gameplay in Metro Exodus is the dynamic weather system and a day/night cycle that offers tactical opportunities. At the midway point in the level, Artyom must steal a train carriage to add to the Aurora so that they can transport the additional survivors that have joined the Spartan ranks. With the darkness of nighttime and the storm providing cover, players will want to whittle down the large number of bandits on guard, one by one, as they keep to the shadows in a stealth assault. The trainyard is just one of many settings that demonstrate the progression seen in Exodus from previous Metro games. The classic Metro gameplay elements of human and mutant combat, stealth, and resourcefulness, all set in tense, frantic and often claustrophobic environments, are ever-present. Juggling the charging of your battery to keep power flowing to your night vision goggles disabling tin can traps, keeping air pressure in the Tihar high, all whilst staying alert to the hostility around you, are all part of the unique and highly engaging gameplay that has made this series so revered. Attention to detail is another contributing factor to that status. Everything in Exodus is built on real-life lighting, materials and physics. A knife thrown into enemy armour may not penetrate deeply enough to kill them. Just like you can extinguish lamps, shooting them will cause them to explode and a fire to spread. As a player you will need to hone both your aim and tactics in order to successfully navigate your way through the game. This was just one brief stop on an epic journey across post-apocalyptic Russia. Metro Exodus offers a world of stunningly rich environments to traverse and explore, new and overhauled gameplay mechanics, and unsurpassed attention to detail. For fans of the series and newcomers alike, the gripping next chapter in Artyom’s story promises countless hours of tense and exciting exploration ahead.