Metro 2033 is a well-made and pretty-looking advertisement of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s eponymous book. It is a visually advanced project that uses cutting-edge technologies including tessellation for DirectX 11 solutions. Its system requirements are high, especially if you want to play at high resolutions and maximum graphics quality settings. Alas, the game is nothing more than satisfactory in terms of level design and gameplay. Perhaps the fans of the survival horror genre can find their fun in crawling along dimly lit underground tunnels and shooting gigantic mutant rats, but we guess the gameplay is rather too linear and monotonic. On the other hand, we can’t say it’s the developer’s fault because the game was not conceived as a freestyle adventure with multiple endings. Instead, it rather accurately follows the events of the novel. The level design had to be restricted as well because of the same reason. As the result, the Moscow underground in 2033 is not as diverse as Fallout 3 which gave you more freedom to travel about. So, despite some cultural background, the game is not a new Fallout. In fact, this niche has long been occupied by S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with its community that has developed its own language, memes and other attributes of a full-featured subculture.
It is easy to make graphics card recommendations for Metro 2033: if you want to comfortably play at the highest level of detail and high resolutions, you should choose one of the Radeon HD 5800 series cards. The senior Radeon HD 5870 is going to perform well at resolutions up to 1920x1200. The Radeon HD 5850 makes the same resolutions playable but at a lower speed. The Radeon HD 5830 allows playing comfortably at resolutions up to 1680x1050. The expensive and noisy Radeon HD 5970 can only be recommended for users of large 30-inch monitors who want to play at the native resolution of 2560x1600. The relatively inexpensive Radeon HD 5770 will be optimal for playing at 1280x1024 and 1600x900 whereas the less advanced graphics cards will call for dropping the level of detail down to the Normal mode. The same goes for nearly all of Nvidia’s solutions, including the GeForce GTX 295 which cannot deliver a playable frame rate at resolutions higher than 1680x1050. Alas, we don’t have any good news for Nvidia’s fans who want to enjoy Metro 2033 fully. And we are not expecting any until the release of the GeForce GTX 400 series.
Like in most other games we have tested, installing a more advanced CPU cannot be of much benefit in Metro 2033. We could only observe a positive effect from that in the Very High mode together with FSAA. But as we’ve said above, FSAA is no good in this game, leading to a performance hit without improving the image quality. A Core i7-920 or similar processor on the Intel LGA1156 and AMD Socket AM3 platform is going to be just fine for this game. Instead of upgrading to a faster CPU, you should instead spend the money for a better graphics card like Radeon HD 5850 or HD 5870.
Summing up our experience with Metro 2033, we can say again that is makes a good advertisement for Dmitry Glukhovsky’s books. Developed by the same folks who created S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the game’s engine delivers pretty visuals but has high system requirements. The gloomy atmosphere of the original novel is conveyed brilliantly but Metro 2033 is no Fallout in such features as nonlinear gameplay, level design and in-game events. It is even inferior to the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series in these aspects. The fans of the survival horror genre are going to appreciate the new game, but RPG players will surely stick to Fallout 3 (whose add-ons have much lower system requirements, by the way).