Game Club?

#1 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

I have this game in my backlog, anyone want to put together a game club and play through it? I'd be great to discuss the story with others who are completing it at the same time and its a good motivator to give this interesting game some playtime. We'd agree upon a start date and then set some weekly milestones. Aiming to finish the game in about a month. Starting in a week or two? Please reply if interested! J

#2 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@JohnnyH: I'm in. I have played some of it already(The first two missions.) but i never really finished. I'm going to sleep now, but PM about details, like difficulty, and things like that.
#3 Posted by Zrais (143 posts) -

I actually bought it today! I'd be interested. PM me as well.

#4 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Some interest, that's awesome. We'll start next week, Feb 6. I'll do some hunting around to find some good weekly milestones for us and post/PM all those interested.

For anyone else who happens to be reading and has finished it - what would you peg the game's length as?

#5 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

@JohnnyH: It took me around 14 hours on my first playthrough.

#6 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Good stuff, thanks for the info. What difficulty were you on?

#7 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

@JohnnyH: Normal. Also, I should mention that I wasn't going full stealth (I tried at times), so that could add some time.

#8 Posted by AlexW00d (6186 posts) -

It took me about 9 hours to play through the game on normal and I really really enjoyed it.

You're playing on PC right? You should be...

#9 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Thanks Guys for the comments.

My copy is for Xbox, not sure about the others. If people do the playthrough on different versions, it will be interesting to compare notes.

#10 Posted by believer258 (11663 posts) -

I got rid of it a while back. This thread and recent interest makes me regret that decision. I'm not entirely sure why I traded it in...

#11 Edited by pweidman (2299 posts) -

Played it and liked it a lot on 360. 15 hrs or so on normal. All the tools for stealth in the game are pretty damn awesome, but you play it how you want...all options are open. Discussion about the story and the ending(s) should be fascinating to say the least.

#12 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Great to see so much interest! Hopefully more people will sign on for the club.

Ok, next question - I believe the game has 7 chapters + a prologue. Let's say we want 4 milestones, so is it fair to divide it evenly (every 2 chapters), or is there a better way to break it up?

#13 Edited by valrog (3671 posts) -

I'm not sure, because Chapter 2 is relatively long compared to some of the other chapters. Also, it should be interesting to see how the experience will be differ for everyone (There are two endings if I recall correctly, and they are dependant on your actions throughout the game (Unlike Singularity for example...)).

Unfortunately, I won't be able to join you (Though this thread has made me want to play through it again), but I will be here.

Some Metro OST is needed in this thread. Watch at your own risk. (Doesn't contain any spoilers, but experiencing the music in the game itself for the first time is... Breathtaking)

#14 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Ok, our Club officially kicks off this week. Your task is to play up until the END of Chapter 2. Then you should pop back on here and put up a post about your impressions of the game, and respond to anyone else's posts that interest you. Of course our goal is discuss the game, so let's try to get that going. Also, please put up a note about what platform you are on, and what difficulty you'll be doing.

Extra credit for anyone posting in Russian.

Ok gang, let's go.

J

#15 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

For the record - my playthrough will be xbox 360 on hard.

#16 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@JohnnyH said:

For the record - my playthrough will be xbox 360 on hard.

I'm going this way too. X360 and on Hard, because that's the way of REAL MEN! YEAAAAAAH! To The End Of Chapter 2, right? Okay then.
#17 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

I'll try to hop on this (if Kingdoms of Amalur doesn't steal all my time).

I'd likely play PC version on easy.

#18 Posted by Zrais (143 posts) -

I will do my best, I have a 3 month old and found out wife is working some in the evenings this week! I'll probably get a lot of time on Thursday, so I'll catch up.

Sorry about that..

#19 Posted by NaesPeden (8 posts) -

Just picked up the game. I will try to get through chapter 2.

Online
#20 Posted by 49th (2692 posts) -

Hm, cool idea, I've just started playing but I'm up to chapter 4 already.

#21 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

@Zrais: No worries, whatever you get time for is cool.

#22 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

@Rolyatkcinmai and Good stuff, thanks for joining up. Throw up a post on your impressions when you get a chance.

#23 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

I got up to Chapter 3 last night. The atmosphere in this game (on PC at least) is unparalleled. It reminds me in some ways of Dead Space. That said, I'm glad I'm playing it on PC with DirectX 11 and everything maxed out. Playing it on Xbox just wouldn't have the same atmospheric appeal. The graphical difference is immense. A good set of headphones, though, can make this as eerie as Amnesia.

The audio mixing on conversations could use some work and I've definitely encountered a few minor bugs, but it seems like a remarkably polished game for being so Eastern Bloc. I wish everyone was just speaking Russian instead of using Russian accented English, but what can you do?

The game is a lot more scripted than I had imagined it being, but in a good way. It's a very guided experience, but like I said, the atmosphere is just astounding. I wish I had played this when it first came out.

Here's a screenshot I took (Steam Cloud);

It looks more like a painting than a screenshot, but that's just how good this game looks on PC. You can see my other screenshots here (as I take them).

#24 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

Oh I missed this thread!

I wanna join in, this will (probably) function as research for my Bachelor Thesis (topic still needs to be finalized and signed off on)! That's a great opportunity!

#25 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

@DeF: Sounds great. Welcome aboard. What program is your thesis in?

#26 Edited by DeF (4808 posts) -

@JohnnyH said:

@DeF: Sounds great. Welcome aboard. What program is your thesis in?

by program you mean what subjects I'm studying? I'm studying English and Media Studies and the course which serves as the base for the paper is about Utopias/Dystopias. I wanna write about how actually "being" there changes the perception or the experience of the place/story as compared to other media (with examples of Metro 2033 and its book, BioShock and Atlas Shrugged and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with the real life event and influences from the Stalker movie and Roadside Picnic novel). I also wanna do a correlating blog along with my research and preparation since it's game related.

I'll start playing Metro tomorrow, hopefully I can catch up to you guys :)

#27 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

Hey, I'm late to the party, too. Just saw this thread and happened to start the game over the weekend. On chapter 3, so if you've got room for another, I'd give you my impressions.

#28 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

@stryker1121: Of course you are in Sir. Post away. Extra credit for references to Dostoevsky.

#29 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

Raskolnikov something something...hmm i'll have to bust out my copy of Crime & Punishment..

#30 Edited by valrog (3671 posts) -

@Rolyatkcinmai: Are you playing with English voices? They say some things in Russian (Hence the accent), but you can play entirely with Russian voices with English subtitles (Or any of the combinations, which I think is pretty cool and will do that in my next playthrough). Or do you mean the actual Russian voiceovers have English accents?

#31 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

@valrog: I didn't realize there was an option to load Russian voices. The menus seemed pretty bare.

#32 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -

So, i finished Chapter 2 today. AND, OH MAN, THIS IS AMAZING. The game is a pretty simple FPS set in a post-apocalyptic Russia, with a few different mechanics that really help the immersion. For example, you need to use a gas mask sometimes, because the air is... Well, not so breathable(This word exists?)... Also, the currency here in this world is ammo, which brings way more weight to the combat.
And i think i'm supposed to talk about the story, right? Well, the story is nothing special, at least from what i've seen, the star here is the atmosphere. The atmosphere is perfect. You always feel hopeless, even in combat. Survival Horrors should learn from that... Being able to fight back does NOT mean you will feel like Rambo. You just need to make the combat work. There's also a little stealth element in the game, but i don't like it very much because... Well... I can't stand the tension, i get really nervous. That's why i think Chapter 3 will screw me, but oh well! I guess i'll have to discover that next week.

#33 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Ok, I've finished my homework too. Got up to the end of Chapter 2. I agree with and that the atmosphere is a big seller here. I really like how the small settlements are characterized by the warm lighting, the music, and the background dialog. They feel very much alive and perhaps not inviting but at least livable. I noticed this most whenever I stepped out into the tunnels - the atmosphere is well created here - dark and foreboding. The two settings complement each other, or perhaps help to contrast each other is more accurate.

I enjoyed how the game mechanics work within the story - the bullets as currency feels sensible and I can see it become hard to choose between them later on. The gas mask mechanic is so well done - I loved the laboured breathing, the freezing up of your visor and the fact that the mask itself can take damage. They are all essentially just ways of driving the player forward but they are so well worked into the game and the story that they don't feel artificial. There's a similar mechanic in Bad Company 2 campaign (where you move from warm house to house while trying not to freeze) but there it felt so much more contrived and gamey - here it works.

The game is linear but I appreciate the credit they give to the player by not giving us waypoints or 'follow' on the HUD. I can see the point of that at times in open world, but here they let you figure it out. Without them, I feel the game is more immersive and the player is given a lot more credit. Both of which I appreciate very much. It always stuns me that they spend millions on level design in a game like Call of Duty, but they either don't trust their design or their players enough to let them move through it naturally - they have to grab you and lead you. A good design should pull the player invisibly. Half Life and Dark Souls seem to get this right. And here it works two ways - the Hero is new to these areas - you aren't supposed to know the path immediately. Thus the game tells the story more effectively, and the player is connected more with the hero at the same time.

That's about it - the story is just getting going, so hard to say much about it. Has promise. Question for the group - at the beginning of chapter 2 I gave a bullet to a girl called Nicki just because I was curious to see how far the developer would take it. Had it been a western game, I wouldn't have bothered but being from Eastern Europe I felt there was a chance this game could get a little blue. I paid for it. What did you do?

J

#34 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@JohnnyH: I gave the bullets because i'm a cool guy, and that's what cool guys do. Also, i believe the exploration here also works because of the traps. Man, traps fill me with dread... You want to know what's in that room, but you don't want to die, obviously. It's a pretty fun thing.
Also, i like the fact that... I CAN JUMP IN THE HYPE TRAIN FOR METRO: LAST LIGHT! Wooray! Ok, i was already interested, because the prologue for Metro 2033 was the first thing i've ever played in a 360, but now, i want to see where they will take the series.
#35 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

OK, week 1 down, and good posts so far. For Week 2, we will be playing up till the end of chapter 4. Those of you who are not quite done can always catch up. Its certainly not a long game commitment so far.

Thanks everyone for participating, and remember - nothing says happy Valentine's day like a radioactive throwing knife to the sternum.

#36 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

@JohnnyH: Having a little trouble getting on w/ the game tbh. Still on Ch. 3, and enjoy the oppressive atmosphere, sense of danger and even futzing around with the gas mask, cuz it's a mechanic i've never seen before. But my god what should be the core of the game - the shooting - is loose and baggy and putting me entirely off the experience. Guns have no weight and movement overall feels like you're on casters. I really want to like this game but I'm not feeling it right now.

#37 Edited by valrog (3671 posts) -

@JohnnyH: Glad to hear you enjoy the game.

I gave Nikki a bullet as well. I didn't realize that she was hinting at prostitution, and when I did I already got knocked out cold. I also gave bullets to the random beggars, seeing how I was well off. Well, at least better off than they were. I felt sorry for them.

@stryker1121: I don't know, I felt that the gunplay was rather compelling. Each weapon handled differently, even to the point where you would notice a difference depending on what bullets you loaded the gun with. That's a great attention to details.

#38 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

@valrog: not ready to give up on it yet, just b/c the atmosphere is compelling and i've never played a shooter set in Russia. (Missed STALKER on PC unfortunately!) The guns are pretty cool looking, but to me the impact isn't there when i score a hit. And the slippery feel of the controls is annoying..though maybe i'll play w/ the sensitivity and see if can muscle through..

#39 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

I'm making slow progress, I played till the beginning of chapter 2 last Friday ... I plan on catching up tomorrow! :)

#40 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

I haven't forgotten. I'm hoping to have some time for this today or tomorrow.

#41 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

Ok, week 2 down. I think that I'm not the only one who has fallen behind a bit in our club. I don't see any posts from people who have gotten to the end of chapter 4. I think for next week we'll just put the milestone at the end of chapter 5, that will hopefully give us time to catch up. Then we can finish off with chapter 6 and 7 in the last week. I think 7 will be short. Sound good?

So far I have only finished chapter 3. I have a few notes that I wanted to get some feedback on -

1) for I haven't found the shooting to be off in my playthrough. I know some of the guns appear to be inaccurate at range but I think that's a game mechanic. I tested out my pistol for a bit in a shooting range in chapter 1 or 2 and I couldn't hit the bullseye when aiming directly at it. I do feel the movement is a bit off - I have a very hard time evading those little traps and whatnot - even though I see the tin cans or string I still can't seem to reliably move around it. Maybe that's looseness. Anyone else?

2) Chapter 3 starts with a segment which I'm sure can be played out in stealth - did anyone do this? I tried 10 times at least to do some silent takedowns and I could never get more than one or two guys before they heard me and everything went loud. I played it out full combat which was fun but I was little frustrated when I couldn't seem to silently use my knife. I haven't invested in any silenced weapons (see 3) other than the throwing knives.

3) I can't afford anything! I haven't bought more than a health pack or a pipe bomb so far in the game. I just can't seem to amass more than 50 or 60 bullets. Are you buying lots of stuff? The end of 3 lets you pick up a stealth or armor pack but I couldn't afford either. I feel its going to start getting really hard to progress unless I can get some upgrades soon.

I got a definite Half Life 2 vibe in chapter 3 - the mix of regular FPS segments and then some horror segments, and then some supernatural segments seemed to be the HL2 recipe (minus the platforming). There's even the defense of the barrier, which was similar the defense of the wounded Alyx in Ep 2. Also, the character Khan was very similar to Father Grigori. This is not a knock - I think this works in this game and you couldn't crib from a better source. But I was wondering if anyone else got that?

Ok, I'm going to work on finishing chapter 4. (and 5)

J

#42 Posted by stryker1121 (1346 posts) -

@JohnnyH: Unfortunately i've decided to put this game on the back burner for now. My give it another go before ME3 arrives, but right now I'm trying to knock out Deus Ex: HR instead. Not to repeat myself, but there's just something off about the game's movement and shooting that overshadows the cool atmosphere. And yes right now I'm at the beginning of CH. 3. Tried to stealth it, too, and ended up having to go full combat mode, getting myself promptly killed.

#43 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

@JohnnyH: I wouldn't worry about upgrades (the suits make a difference but not a major one), nor would I purchase much at all from storekeepers. You will want to stockpile military grade ammunition to use for the last few chapters of the game, due to their increased damage. Keep an eye out for hidden caches and bullets lying around the levels.

#44 Edited by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

@stryker1121: Sorry to see you go. /drink for our fallen comrade.

J

#45 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

I've been trying to play through this for quite a few nights now - I'm still on Chapter 4. I must have spent over an hour just trying to clear the first part of 'war' - the stealth in this game is quite tricky. Seems like the moment I'm spotted I simply get insta-killed. And there doesn't seem to be an effective way to take down someone silently with the knife. Shouldn't there be a take-down move or something if you attack from hidden? Seems like that's a mechanic in a lot of stealth games (deus ex HR for sure). It was quite frustrating for me - I eventually got through it, and got an achievement for not killing anyone but only because shooting people lead to me having to repeat the segment again.

Other than that, its still good but I'm not as into it. I just got to the next stealth part at the end of 4 (I think) where you are outside and dodging Nazis. I turned it off there, just tired of the sneaking mechanics. I did get a bunch of better weapons that were lying around, and the air weapons are a fun twist. There's another cool defend segment again. The stuff with the kid was pretty creepy. But I dread those sneaking segments.

Let me know if you are still playing this one - I'm trying to finish it before Mass Effect 3 comes out but that looks like a long shot now. Or, if you've finished this game - am I over the hump in terms of stealth levels or is there more/worse to come?

J

#46 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

@JohnnyH: I think you got past all the stealth parts (Well, after you deal with the Nazis). I don't know, I didn't feel a need for a take-down ability. Using a silenced gun can help a lot, seeing how knife kills aren't guaranteed (And can be especially hard to pull of if enemies are wearing a helmet).

Yeah, sneaking past Nazis can be hard, so I just decided to open fire and be done with it.

#47 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

man, it's been really hard to keep up. I haven't found time to sit down and catch up yet but after I finish Alan Wake's American Nightmare today, I'll definitely pick it up! nothing's gonna stop me today :)

#48 Posted by DeF (4808 posts) -

@valrog said:

@JohnnyH: Glad to hear you enjoy the game.

I gave Nikki a bullet as well. I didn't realize that she was hinting at prostitution, and when I did I already got knocked out cold. I also gave bullets to the random beggars, seeing how I was well off. Well, at least better off than they were. I felt sorry for them.

about the bullet donation:

I finally finished chapter 2 yesterday. As far as I know there were 4 options to donate/give people bullets. 1) the child that wants to lead you to the guy you're supposed to meet 2) the child that begs and gets turned down by the locals 3) the old beggar next to the tracks 4) the hooker. Is Nikki number 4? I only gave one bullet to the child that got turned down by the other guys because I felt bad for him. I was really reluctant to give up any bullets this early in the game.

To be honest, this mechanic makes this feel much more like an RPG-light to me, you are faced with choices and character interaction that has actual meaning and consequence for you. The atmosphere really sells it. In the market station there was this kid looking at cages with rats asking his parents to get one so he can set it free later on. This was really depressing and kind of sweet at the same time. Like the hell version of a pet store.

So far unlike @MikeGosot, I really loved the stealth aspect of combat when fighting humans. The first time you meet them after your partner takes out that drunk thief with the knife was extremely tense and frightening situation. He basically showed you how to do it and you had to then take that information and apply it to a tunnel full of enemies you could barely see. I managed to take out the second drunk dude by stabbing him and then went down the right path and took out the guy with the shotgun sitting on the floor also by stabbing him after which I got discovered though. I love how light and visibility plays a major role. Someone spotted me and while fleeing I ran over the broken glass. After replaying this section quite a few times I finally decided it's impossible (probably) to go through there without having a full on firefight. So I just took down the first two silently and then took cover while taking out the rest with my pistol (which seems most appropriate for humans so far).

I'm really loving it so far and the blending of RPG, FPS, Horror and basic Survival make me really excited that there's a sequel coming next year!

#49 Posted by JohnnyH (19 posts) -

For the sake of closure, I came back to Metro 2033 and finished it just last week.

I felt bad not getting it done - I think I ended up getting distracted by Mass Effect 3 and then never got around to coming back and finishing it. I believe I had also just finished the tricky stealth mission "war". After coming back I dropped the difficulty to normal and breezed through.

Overall, this is a great game and it is easy to recommend at its current price. After hearing about the mess that Aliens: Colonial Marines turned into - Metro does so much correctly that it could easily have been used as as a reference in how to make an Aliens game. Especially the later levels where you explore D6 ; they share the same basic premise. Anyway, here's some random thoughts from the last few levels of the game. If anyone else finished it, I'd love to read your comments as well:

- the stealth seemed tough to me, so ended up doing most missions as stealth until discovered and then blasting my way through. The weapons are the normal fare, but so many of them have their little quirk to them that make them belong to metro. The pneumatic weapons that you have to pump up yourself, or the auto-shotgun that's secondary fire is you holding your breath.

- the karma system should be the model for other games - it measures what you do, but keeps it in the background to not break your immersion. There's the obvious stuff like helping those to ask for it, but also little touches like not walking away while an NPC is talking, or if you move toward or away from the unknown in the dream sequences. I read about it all later on the wiki and I thought it was just terrific that the developer trusted the player enough to just let them play and not bombard them with karma meters or metrics. An NPC tells you that your actions have meaning, and its up to you to follow through.

- there's lots of little touches throughout the game which help build immersion in the world. Changing gas mask filters, pumping your battery charger, even clicking the lighter to read your to-do list in the dark become so natural for the player and serve to build on the excellent visuals and sound to pull you in. I believe we discussed the sound and visuals in earlier posts.

- the combat is a bit dicey, its not the strong suit and dropping the difficulty made these parts less of a bother. I'm hoping for improvements in Last Light. Both final battles are quite annoying - one has you using an overhead crane and another is sort of an NPC escort during a full out assault by some monsters. The crane one isn't well explained, hard to control, its quite weak and is just something to memorize and get through. The escort is annoying because straying even a few extra feet from your NPC is an insta-death. So, lots of room for improvement here.

- The final levels - library, D6 and tower were all interesting and had their own unique elements. As I said, D6 was a highlight for me because it uses so much restraint at the beginning in not hitting you with the enemies right away. It lets the eeriness of empty base build throughout the mission. (The spores which release balls that chase you were not interesting to fight and I was glad to get through that part). The library I could see as being very difficult on the hardest settings if those monsters come after you. But the idea that you had to stare them down while walking backwards and trying to remember where all the holes in the floor were was great!

- the final weird semi-dream stuff was pretty cool. Its was an interesting departure from what you had been doing before and a good way to end it. I chose to save the monsters and I wish I had a little more to go on at the end in terms of closure, especially considering the story is told by a Artym as a memory from his younger days.

Anyway, if you are still reading - Metro 2033 initially might appear as collection of tired tropes from a busy genre - survivial horror, FPS, post-apocalyptic but when you get into it this is one of the most original games I've played in years. Its worth your time.

Thanks everyone for playing/reading along! Love to hear everyone else's thoughts - even if you didn't finish it.

John

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