"Are you mourning the death of first-person shooter single-player campaigns?" asks Huw Beynon, head of communications at THQ as he begins a hands-off demo walkthrough of a new 15-minute section of its survival horror shooter, Metro: Last Light.
"This is our bid to combat shooter fatigue," he says as he shows the player entering the claustrophobic confines of the Moscow Underground. "We are crafting a single-player experience that players will remember for years to come. Metro Last Light is more than just a shooter," he enthuses.
Ironically, the demo actually showcased some fairly typical shooter gameplay, albeit with an emphasis on making your shots count due to the scarcity of ammo.
In between frantic skirmishes against werewolf-like mutants, time was spent exploring the underground and the devastated city of Moscow anxiously searching for ammo and air filters, which you need to use so you don’t choke to death, while bracing yourself ready for the next fright.
In the demo, you can cut the atmosphere with a knife as blood drips from the ceiling and the lead character navigates the dark tunnels anxiously before surfacing into an impressively-detailed city that lies in ruins. It’s clear that production has been ramped up since the last game in the series, showcased largely by the new weather effects such as rain and lightning which add to the already creepy atmosphere.
Mutants can jump out at any moment from out of the shadows and these moments were sufficiently scary enough to make us jump a little in our seats. The really scary moments, however, look likely to be the times when you have only one bullet left in your clip, yet have a horde of mutants attacking you.
What the demo does showcase really well is Metro: Last Light’s blend of challenge, exploration and FPS play, indicating that it should feel much different to many other first-person shooters out there.
Our only gripe is with the terrible Russian accents and unconvincing dialogue. If it turns out to be this awful throughout the whole single player game, we may have to play with the sound turned off. Now that wouldn’t be very scary, would it?
Metro: Last Light will launch in Q1 2013.