Steam’s annual summer sale is upon us; an event that PC gamers meet with equal parts awe, despair, and joy. I decided to celebrate this festive miracle by purchasing the “Complete Edition” of Metro: Last Light, an excellent F(irst)P(erson)S(hooter) adventure through a twisted, post-bomb Russia, filled with mutants, bandits, and inexplicable phenomena. Last Light came out in 2013, and was a critical and popular success, although it never got the hype and coverage of many of its AAA contemporaries. I could review Last Light, but I’m not going to, because to me, and to many gamers, it’s old news. (I will say this: I recommend it as an extraordinary adventure through a terrifying and incredible place. And you get to shoot stuff, too.) Rather, I’d like to review what is new to me; the DLC missions that make the “Complete Edition” complete.
The DLC “Developer Pack” adds in a level called “DEVELOPER” which has a character and animation gallery, shooting range, and arena, and though a novel attempt at giving the player sandbox control, it wasn’t for me. Much better was the other level added, called “Through the Fire” in the mission, but unsubtly listed as “Spider Lair” in-menu. This level is a pure survival-horror experience, as the player crawls (occasionally literally) out of an abandoned missile silo home to a massive colony of giant mutant spiders, and armed only with a shotgun pistol, flamethrower, and the deadliest weapon of all: the flashlight. The spiders are extremely photophobic, and burn under intense lights. Ammo must be rationed carefully, and a large, dark, dangerous maze of monsters navigated. Excellent, but short, and essentially plot-free.
The “Chronicles Pack” adds in three levels, but the best of which was the mission
“Khan,” giving a full showcase of the Russian Metro’s mystic powers, taking the player on
a controlled, short journey through ghosts, monsters, and mysteries. Although there’s little done, and the plot is incomplete and fragmented, and the player has little agency in choosing where they go, I still loved this mission for the main reason I loved Last Light’s main campaign: its intense, frightening, and fascinating atmosphere.
The winner of them all, however, came in the (otherwise weak) “Faction Pack.” The mission “Kshatriya” features the player as one of the few, crazed souls willing to pull in artifacts from the surface, and his quest to find valuable cultural and practical old world artifacts in and around the Russian State Library, Moscow’s massive institution of culture and knowledge, now ruined and filled with dangerous mutants. “Kshatriya” wins because of its openness, allowing the player to explore and create new paths in a huge, beautiful level, and it wins because of its brutality and difficulty. Exploring can be fun, but you need to pull in artifacts to make money, and you need money to afford the filters for the gas mask that keep out the fatal levels of surface radiation. You haven’t lived till you’ve had to put away your gun and put on your last filter in the middle of a firefight with huge, loping mutant dogs that you can’t even see because of the greasy black rain running down your mask. If you don’t want to try this game (and you should), at least try the “Kshatriya” DLC.