No post-apocalyptic world is sunshine and puppy dogs, but the world of Metro: Last Light is a truly terrifying one to behold. Nuclear warfare has evolved the world into a hostile one and left humanity behind in the evolution cycle. The dark underground of the metro is the last haven for mankind and even then, the humanoid nosalis lurk in every darkened corner.
Silent protagonist Artyom makes his return in Last Light, now plagued with the guilt of having massacred The Dark Ones, almost ironically parallel to humanity’s fate, in a hail of missile fire.
With The Dark Ones gone, a new otherworldly threat is fast approaching the metro, evidently worse than anything that Artyom has experienced before.
THQ’s Global Brand Manager Mark Madsen walked RipTen through a few moments of Last Light in a meeting room far from the E3 show floor. He pointed out three things to focus on within the demo: the dynamic weather effects, survival horror elements, and the Eastern European interpretation of the post-apocalypse (which comes packaged with ghosts and the supernatural.)
It begins with a flashback. It’s confused and the colors are faded. Artyom’s mother calls out his name. The chug of the subway faintly cuts underneath her voice. The memory of the pre-apocalypse is only there for a moment and the dull sepia tones begin to fade away for the present day. An unidentified man calls Artyom with similar syncopation and it becomes clear after a few moments of gaining your bearings that you realize he’s Artyom’s companion. Their destination is on the surface. When nuclear fire first started, there was a plane flying into the heart of Moscow that was sucked into the blast.
Moments later, Artyom–you and your friend throw on your gas masks and make the venture to the surface. You’ve apparently acquired a new watch. It’s digital—the numbers emblazoned on the watch’s surface clearly display down to the seconds how much time you have left before your gas mask starts to runs on empty.
As you and your companion take your first few steps out of the underground and to the surface, it’s clear that time’s passed. The city’s still dead and gray, but the first tufts of green have begun springing from the cracks in the cement. There’s hope in the future, for the planet’s adapting and recovering from the woes that man’s brought down upon it. But that feeling’s only there for a second before you begin to wonder, if plants can adapt to this hostile world, what else is out there?
The sky’s quickly overcast by growing clouds, morphing and twisting to cover the widest surface area possible. It’s obvious that a storm’s coming. You didn’t even need your companion to point that out.
There’s an arc of lightning across the sky before the boom of thunder follows it. You have tinnitus—ringing in your ears—from how loud the thunder’s roaring. Flecks of water spatter across the glass of your gas mask, streaking downwards. You reach up and wipe away the streaks to try and improve your visibility.
Suddenly, a familiar sound of rapid clicking…a Geigar counter…reminds you that that the rain’s radioactive. Your companion reminds you of this too, before taking off running for shelter.
A few moments of dodging the rain and the nosalis, your companion begins to describe the plane wreckage to you. You nod along with your companion’s description of the plane, not paying attention until he warns you that it’s rumored that the souls of the dead are still trapped in the wreckage. The thought makes you uneasy and you and your companion both take refuge from the rain within part of the downed plane.
It’s no surprise that the plane’s a mess. There are cobwebs lining almost every part of the wreck. You scrounge for your lighter and set the cobwebs aflame. You’ve already encountered mutant spiders along your trek to the plane… there’s no reason to take that chance again.
You both make your way through the main cabin of the plane. The skeletons of the passengers are still strapped to their seats, still contorted in their last throes of life as they realize that they’re doomed to die by nuclear fire.
But something’s not right here. There are fresher bodies here—the bodies of scavengers who seem to have died by… suffocation?
You enter the pilot’s cabin, where the two skeletons of the pilot and the co-pilot rest. Your vision suddenly tinges. You’re witnessing the last moments of this flight. The pilot and the co-pilot frantically jam the buttons on the plane’s cockpit controls, trying to make the plane respond. From the plane’s windows, you can see nothing but the nuclear blast.
The plane begins to nosedive towards the center of the blast radius. The pilot and co-pilot scream as the plane’s windows blast apart, sending debris into the cockpit.
Just as suddenly as the vision came… it’s gone. You slowly regain your bearings, but as you do, you hear the choking wheezes of your companion. Whirling around, you see that in his hallucination, he’s pulled off his gas mask.
You grab up his mask from his spasming hands. Defying his weak resistances, you force the mask back over his head. He takes deep breaths, before coming back to sanity. It dawns on you both how why the other scavengers died. They too were compelled by their hallucination to remove their mask.
You and your companion decide to make your way back to the city square, away from the ghosts that haunt the plane. There’s no rest respite to be had, as a demon barrels into you, catching you off-guard as it lifts you upwards and drops you.
You land hard on the cement floor below, red fogging up your vision as you make impact. More nosalis are coming and you both have no choice but to flee for the safety of the metro. As you make your return, fellow humans holding flame throwers fend off the nosalis as the doors of the metro shut behind you. And just for a moment, you are safe…