Reviewed for: Xbox 360
Also available for: Windows PC
From: 4A Games/THQ
ESRB Rating: Mature (blood, sexual themes,
strong language, use of drugs, violence)
By Billy O'Keefe
Give 10 nitpickers 10 hours each to run through "Metro 2033," and each probably would emerge with a unique laundry list of missteps. There's no multiplayer. The gunplay is just a touch off. Checkpoints occasionally appear before unskippable (and, upon failure to reach the next checkpoint, repeating) cutscenes. The running animation looks hilariously wrong. The voice acting cuts out when it shouldn't. Human enemies have weird, sometimes amusing A.I. patterns, and they occasionally can withstand a perfect headshot and continue functioning like it's a bee sting.
But a staunch dedication to atmosphere — and a willingness to do anything, even to the player's occasional temporary detriment, to creatively make that ambience sing — is perhaps the one thing that makes grievances easiest to forgive. Despite dealing with themes (Nazis, Soviets, mutants, post-apocalyptic wastelands and subterranean warfare) other games have wrung dry, it's this attention to mood that makes "2033" not only forgivable, but an arguable must-play.