Hands-On Metro 2033 & MotoGP 09/10
©2010 Grant Smythe
THQ invited the game media into their Sydney PR rooms recently in order to get their collective hands dirty on four of their newest titles due out over the next few months.
Arthur dealt with two games in an earlier Hands-On, Super Street Fighter IV and Lost Planet 2.
My job here however is to take a long hard look at the two other titles THQ are publishing, and both in genres I prefer: that being First Person Shooters and Racing genres.
The two titles in question are, Metro 2033 and MotoGP 2010, which were my favourites of course, as Lost Planet 2 and Street Fighter IV just were not up my alley, and never have been really. This time our time spent with the games was not in our usual room at Mango’s Sydney offices.
• Metro 2033 Combat (eu)
We were instead scurried away into a small, confined and industrial style room on the ground floor. Airconditioning and plumbing pipes criss-crossed above our heads as electrical and other cables wound their way around the upper structures, fitting not far above our heads.
It was a very intimate space, yet also quite dull and dark, lifeless almost, with an air of confinement that you would find in some dark underground facility. Which was quite fitting actually, especially given one of the games on show. Even though it was ‘just a room’ that they hand handy to use, the room just fitted in perfectly with that one title in particular, Metro 2033.
• More Metro 2033 OXCGN Articles and Hands-On
- Metro o2033 – Fallout 3 Comparison
- Metro 2033 Pre-Alpha stages – we take a look
- Metro Lands on the 360 in 2010 – Finally
- Hands-On time with Metro 2033 and MotoGP 09/10
- OXCGN to get 4 Hours Hands On with Metro 2033
While it wasn’t obviously set out to be that way, it certainly did add to the atmosphere as I sat down to begin my time with Metro 2033. The level we were shown was at the beginning of the game, where we start by becoming familiar with the controls and working our way around the maze of underground tunnels, rooms and living quarters that made up the Russian Underground Metro 2033.
To finally sit down with the game was something I had been both looking forward to, and also dreading at the same time. Like all new games, there’s a level of anticipation and hope that the title will produce something new and exciting, while at the same time provide a new experience that other games had not done before.
I personally take each game as a unique experience. I’m not there to ‘compare’ a game with another, nor its earlier iteration, or with what others may have said or written about the game in question. My job is to tender my own ‘personal experience’ based on my years of gameplay with other ‘similar’ titles, used simply as a yard-stick. This is how I approach all games, which is probably why I sometimes disagree with many so-called reviews or previews of games.
I also knew there was the possibility of disappointment in there as well. Would it deliver the experience I was perhaps hoping for? Would the game look and feel like something I would expect from a game of this caliber for this generation of hardware? Would there be an engaging storyline and plot that would have me drawn into it, unlike other games that deliver great visuals or excellent multiplayer experiences at the expense of a good plot and structure?
• Life Underground – Metro 2033
Metro 2033 will certainly have many people saying “what-the” when they slip it into their console and begin their journey through the Russian Underground known as Metro 2033. And not in a bad way either.
The game has come a long way from its early Alpha and Beta video footage shown back in 2008. It now looks polished, clean and exceptionally well detailed. You can not help but be drawn into the world that these people now live in far below the surface of the postapocalyptic war-ravaged surface world of earth. Many of the inhabitants have spent their entire lives down here, and now some are venturing back up to the surface in order to complete some tasks that have been set for them to help the entire underground world of Metro 2033.
To give you an idea of the sheer size of the game you only need to look at the opening screen where it shows the Metro’s huge labyrinth of tunnels and stations. Looking at this is nothing short of ‘amazing’.
As an example, while we were there playing the four games for almost 2 hours (we each only had about 20-30 mins at each game), each media rep played on further from the previous player in Metro 2033, and we barely moved past the 3-4 little stations in one small off-shoot of the maze of tunnels. It could only be described as something akin to the entire Sydney Metro Rail System, albeit completely underground. Visualise the crammed underground in dark, dimly lit corridors spread over miles and miles, then you’ll have a slight idea of what to expect.
The whole underground facility was alive with activity, from simple activities like butchers preparing meat and selling their product to passerbys, store owners going on about their business in makeshift stalls, to parents tending to their children who had been hardened by years of life underground. Plus the level of authenticity was everywhere.
Every sign, poster, wall marking and direction was written in what I believe was Russian. You can make out what the areas are by the visual clues within the signs, such as the armoury having Guns, Food or Health. But don’t expect English words spread all over the walls; it is after all deep under Russia’s capital city and part of their huge Underground Metro system.
All this made it feel even more strange and somewhat foreboding.
You play the role of a young Russian man who has been given the task of getting to a surface station called Polic to meet up with an outsider called The Hunter. Along the way there are beasties, lots of them. They come thick and fast when they do attack, and you’d best have your wits about you when they do.
I found my heart racing, palms sweating and fingers flinching as beast after beast tried to tear me limb from limb as we travelled down the long, dark and dank rail tunnels. My time with the game was just way too short, as no sooner had I felt somewhat comfortable with the game, my time was up, and I handed the controls over to another member of the press.
From my vantage point I could see the others had a very similar time navigating the maze, and also in dealing with the various creatures that set upon them, be that both underground or above on the surface. So I did feel a little better knowing that they too had difficulty with those sections of the game.
The visuals will certainly please many and the mechanics are right up there with any of the top AAA titles available now, or approaching release soon. So do not expect some half-baked attempted at a simple port of a PC title, as it is far from that. What you will find however is a well balanced, engaging and rewarding game that will deliver what it sets out to do, scare the ‘bejikens’ out of you at every turn, as well as engage you in the life struggle of those that live in the Metro 2033.
Weaponry is great, but it’s not a matter of blundering around shooting aimlessly at anything that moves. In fact, you’ll need to not only watch out for the various beasts that roam the tunnels and surface areas, but also the other 3 groups out there groups such as the Nazis, The Reds, as well as Bandits that are all out to not only get you, but also wage war on each other in the process.
You’ll find such things as primitive motion detection traps which consist of groups of tin cans suspended from the ceiling on twine. These are a warning for the opposing forces of your approach. Additionally, keeping the lights out, or to a minimum where you can in order to decrease your ‘luminosity’ is also vitally important, as light, noise and movement will also make your presence known to both human and beast alike.
Keeping these things in mind and finding the need to survive, you will find out that hiding can be one of your best defences in some cases, that is of course, if you want to stay alive.
My prediction, for what it is worth, is that this will be yet another silent killer for 2010. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, something sneaking well under the radar to surprise many gamers, both PC and console owner alike. Sadly Metro 2033 it is not available on the PS3, so if you ever planned on buying a 360 for any game, then I think this would be one of those games.
Add this game to say Alan Wake and Mass Effect 2, and you’d have yourself a small group of games that could see you well and truly engrossed for several months. Well, it certainly will keep me busy once it lands in my disc tray.
So make sure you stay tuned for further hands-on with Metro 2033, when we will get a chance to actually spend a decent amount of time in the game world. A little under 30 minutes is not enough time to really get into specifics with any game, especially when it grabs you from the beginning like this one did.
Look for our full review when it is released on March 18th.
Motorsports, oh how I love motorsports, be that on 4 wheels or 2, I love them all. This time I had the opportunity to have a go at the next iteration of MotoGP, their 09/10 edition on the PS3. Yes, we Xboxers do know how to use a PS3, contrary to popular belief.
While others dived into Metro 2033, Lost Planet 2 and Super Street Fighter IV, I took the opportunity to don my imaginary leathers, slip on my virtual helmet and land myself atop one of the bikes in MotoGP 09/10. In the past I’ve had some great experiences with motorbike racing games, and I was expecting something quite stunning from this iteration.
Sadly, this was not the case. Running on such a powerful machine as the PS3, the visuals looked extremely outdated, with chunky lines, unappealing backgrounds, and somewhat drag colours. The human models used in the game as riders and Line Girls and team members was akin to something you would have found in the previous generation of consoles, not in the 3rd year of the current generation of super consoles we have now.
Racing was ‘okay’, not supper fast, although I was limited to the 125cc class, but these little flies can turn out some amazing speeds in real life, both on the track and off. But translated into this game, they lacked something that any good racers needs. A sense of speed and weight.
There were several times that I know I should have come off, or sent other riders flying with inside tail clips, nudging (not deliberate mind you) and just plain stupid braking times. But they stayed upright unless I really laid it over, or did something really stupid.
Mind you, I was using the Arcade mode at this stage, but the sheer lack of feeling in the bikes didn’t make me want to delve further into the game. If push came to shove, then I’d get the game as a rental based on this code, and it’s somewhat premature to say the game is just bad, as it’s still a little while off being released. So there is time to do finer polishing, fine tuning and tweaking, which gets done in the last few months of any games life before release.
I’d like to honestly recommend the game to other bike racing nuts, but at this stage, based on my experience, I’d be doing a disservice if I did. The visuals, mechanics and feeling, all things that matter in a racing game, just seemed to be “off” at this stage. Let’s hope that come release, it presents itself in a better form.
Once we have more code, and the ability to play the game at length, we will certainly give it our fullest attention, so make sure you do keep an eye out for it when we do fling ourselves around the tracks in MotoGP 2010.
©2010 Grant Smythe:
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