You'll hear the word Stalker, you'll hear of Stalkers in Metro 2033 and Last Light. S.T.A.L.K.E.R if you remember was an ace but buggy post-apoc survival game that took the PC by storm. Metro 2033 and Last Light share some of that DNA and back on the 360 I really loved those games.
They had some issues, like checkpoints and in the case of 2033 - some really unforgiving AI when it came to stealth sections.
The good news then, is that Metro 2033 and Last Light (not a shabby game at all) have been revamped/remastered for the new-gen of consoles. We were lucky enough to get the new-gen Xbox One version for review and it's a pretty awesome remaster of two great games, packaged into one, packed with all the DLC to-date and some new tweaks especially for Redux.
Redux is broken into two games that come on the same disc and are accessible from newly revamped and remastered menus. Both games can be played in several flavours of play-difficulty and modes, including the new Spartan and Survival modes. Spartan gives you a lot more ammo/filters/resources and is tuned towards a more action-orientated experience (ala Last Light) whilst Survival strips back the resources and its more akin to vanilla Metro 2033. Both of these can be played in Ranger Mode (makes the game even harder) and Ranger Hardcore (stripping away things like the HUD and helpers) to amp up the difficulty even more.
The greatest changes in the game are brought to Metro 2033, whilst Last Light has been marginally polished in terms of gameplay, it does benefit from the new 4A Game engine used for both games though and on new-gen looks downright gorgeous.
Here's a bit more of an in-depth take of both games as they stand now.
If you read the previous review of 2033, you'll notice that I really loved the game even though it had faults - it was such a breath of fresh air from the adventures of Sgt McShooty Shooterton, Ranger of the 101st Airborn Shootyman Division. Call of Shooty games as I tend to call them don't really do much to advance the narrative, the gameplay (not even Advanced Warfare does this, seen it all before in Titanfall) and tend to leave me cold these days. 2033 though, that was something different and after I played Last Light I longed to have the same controls/customisation system for weapons and feel overlaid onto Metro:2033.
Little did I know that I would get my wish!
2033 benefits from Last Light's control system right off the bat, the changes are superb and they transform the gameplay. The biggest transformation is in the stealth system, 2033 no longer suffers from the annoyances that are psychic-AI bad guys, they don't automatically know where you are on the map - they might know where you fired from recently, but that's about it. They won't suddenly home in on Artyom with the intelligence of a CPU controlled Cruise Missile.
You can knock out bad guys, or kill them with some nifty takedowns (just like in Last Light) and just having this additional layer of play means you can do neat tricks like swipe their filters off their masks and watch them cough-choke to death. I never tired of using that method (or sniping their masks) in Last Light, so to have that option in 2033 is also superb.
When you couple 2033 with the 4A Engine remaster, the whole thing is now much smoother and visually far more impressive. A lot of work has gone into the remodel here across all elements of the game's textures, landscape, character and enemy models. Lighting has been given a complete overhaul and without going on and on, it just looks great on the Xbox One now.
Animations have been cleaned up too and the mask-wipe feature is in from Last Light, useful if you get a gunky or misted-up mask when you're out and about on those dangerous surface sections.
Sections that might have ended abruptly in Metro 2033 have now been extended and new areas added to smooth the transition into the loading screens. Cut-scenes now put you in the centre of the action so it doesn't break the immersion.
The bottom line: It's a great use of new-gen tech to bring a beloved game into a new generation of owner's hands, really well made, does suffer from the old checkpoint issues - but since stealth is a more viable option now, you can sneak around easier. Of course if things go south, thanks to the new AI, you're able to get back on track much quicker.
Last Light was already a pretty impressive game, it had a better setup mission wise and was full of nice features (like the weapon customisation and mask wipe) that set it apart from 2033. It's even more impressive running under the new engine and using the new AI/tweaks. There's not much I can truly say about Metro: Last Light in Redux, only that it's well worth playing and feels every bit as good as it did when I first fired it up on the 360.
Last Light has a lot of features going for it already in terms of the gameplay and mission design, stealth was really excellent in the game and with the new AI - it's even better.
A little video
On the whole Metro:Redux is well worth it if you've jumped to the new-gen, or you have new-gen and you missed out on the Metro games in the past. 2033's Ghosts level remains one of the most chilling and atmospheric treatments of a haunted underground you'll play outside of Shalebridge Cradle from Thief: Deadly Shadows and it's brought to life even more impressively under the new engine.
I can recommend this treatment, with all the DLC and everything as the definitive Metro experience and it's as tasty on new-gen as it was on a high-end PC.
It runs at a silky-smooth frame-rate and there's no issues with stuttering. Load times are much faster and the whole experience is superlative on the new-gen with better shooting and gun control overall.