Metro Exodus Mac Review

What is it?: An immersive post-apocalyptic shooter with light survival and horror elements.
Reviewed on: iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2020.) 3.6 GHz 10-Core Intel Core i9. 64 GB 2667 MHz DDR4. AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT 16 GB.
Time Played: 20 hours.
Expect to pay: $30.
Multiplayer: None.
Platform: Steam, Epic Games Store.

​You can find an audio podcast review of the game here.

Introduction

Approximately two years after the original PC release, Metro Exodus has made its way to Mac. The good news is this 3rd entry into the renowned Metro trilogy is well worth the wait.

Story

It isn’t mandatory to have played one or more of the previous Metro games, however you will be a lot more invested in the characters and their relationships if you have. Additionally, a number of events referenced will also make little sense, especially if you haven’t played Last Light. Still, there’s a solid introduction to the key events of the previous game before you get started. I suggest hitting up YouTube for some endings if you didn’t play the prior games.

Once again in the shoes of silent protagonist Artyom, you spend your time on the radio, attempting to find a broadcast briefly heard in a previous game. Convinced there is still life out there, everyone around him thinks he's crazy.

Previous Metro games were very much defined by their claustrophobic confines of the underground metro stations, with brief trips aboveground. Exodus blows this wide open with the majority of the game taking place outside.

After an explosive series of events and discovered secrets that are best left unspoiled you will find yourself in a whole new Metro world. After an hour or so you will find yourself on a journey above ground, leaving everything you knew behind.

Along the way you will have plenty of time to spend with your friends, fellow-soldiers and your wife, Anna. Every character has their own motivations, dreams and flaws. Getting to know them through optional, extended conversations really adds to the  experience and makes them believable characters. It’s a shame Artyom himself isn’t voiced during play, as this consistently leads to strange moments when you are asked critical questions and never respond. It’s not like they didn’t have a voice actor - he speaks during loading screens for diary entries.

Gameplay

Expect more survival action here, with elements of stealth and horror in the mix. There’s a lot of room to choose how you want to play in Exodus. Each main chapter is an enormous landscape, filled with main objectives, side missions and secrets to be discovered. Arriving in a brand new area is one of the best parts of the game, if not the best, as they are extremely different biomes that provide different styles of play.

The new crafting system encourages you to explore and find resources and additional upgrades to your gear. You can just stick to the main mission at hand or wander off to see what you can find. The sense of adventure and exploration is great.

Even on normal difficulty, combat is quite challenging and can’t be approached recklessly. If you want the ultimate challenge, there are multiple difficulties above normal. Bandit scum and enemy factions or cults make up your human enemies. They are fun to fight, but unfortunately the AI isn’t very smart and easily manipulated. They do show moments of brightness, such as calling out your position or throwing grenades, forcing you to move. 

Even with the subpar AI, it’s thrilling to creep around a bandit base, slowly picking off the guards as they grumble about their comrades inside by the fire having it easy. You can choose to lethally or non-lethally take down enemies in melee range while in stealth. And when killing groups, sometimes the last foe or two will surrender, perfect for a knock-out punch!

The various mutants and beasts are a lot more engaging and dangerous. Often found roving in packs, you’ll have to think twice before picking a fight. And god, the horrors found lurking within bodies of water you linger near, or try to cross by boat are best discovered yourself. Let’s not even speak about the mutant spider infested bunkers when your batteries start running out and your gun jams. Right out of a damn horror movie.

While not out on missions or exploring, you’ll spend time aboard the Aurora, the train taking you across Russia. You can visit the NPC’s, mess with the radio, have a drink, or just watch the gorgeous views and dynamic weather. I love it.

I have heaps of praise for this game, but there are some minor annoyances. Movement and combat is generally fluid and precise, but when jumping or running, your character can be very floaty. This led me sliding to my death on numerous occasions. Additionally, it is quite easy to get stuck on odd bits of the environment or geometry. It seems like that shouldn’t be a thing these days, but it still is. And while less common, there are quick-time events which I despise. You can at least adjust how you want to press the keys, such as by tapping or holding it down.

Previous Metro games always had a secret or alternative ending, depending on your actions throughout the game. Metro appears to use the same hidden karma system, but what effects that has on your final ending, you’ll have to find out. I do like that you have choice through action or inaction, but it’s still a disappointment you can’t choose how Artyom reacts, since he never does. This can get jarring when he seemingly has no response to pivotal events happening to him, or even Anna.

Audio & Video

Metro Exodus has some of the best audio I’ve heard in a shooter. The guns roar and you can feel every shot. Fighting underground will leave deafening echoes. Wind will whistle through your ears and the predatory growl of mutants drift across the plains and the tension it creates as they scamper closer.

There is also terrific voice acting. I prefer to put voice into Russian or Ukranian (with English subtitles) for maximum immersion. However, the English voice acting is also top-notch. Friendly and enemy characters have interesting dialogue you will want to listen to.

Visually this is also one of the best looking games on Mac in a long time. The texture quality and lighting effects are really next-level and I often found myself just admiring the scenery in both day and night. The whole package comes together to create a very immersive atmosphere you won’t find in any other Mac game.

To note, there is a PC exclusive special version of the game that is built on ray-tracing from the ground up. Needless to say you will have to play that via Bootcamp, or eventually it will be added to GeForceNow if you want to play that way.

Performance

The game runs splendidly on both Intel Macs and Silicon machines. You still need to meet the fairly strong system requirements, but the optimization is lovely and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a great looking and smooth experience here.

DLC

There are two DLC packs for this game. I haven't played them yet, but they seem well rated. Two Colonels is a short story that takes place before the first Metro game. Sam's Story, the more interesting of the two, takes place after the conclusion of Exodus and seems more meatier, offering around 6-8 hours of gameplay.

Conclusion

A haunting journey through post apocalyptic Russia that’s beautiful and challenging. One of the best looking games on Mac, that’s also incredibly fun as a shooter and adventure. The support from 4A is greatly appreciated. For any Metro fan, this final entry is a must-play.

For newcomers, this is the best version of the series. I wouldn’t recommend it for those who want more freedom or don’t care about story as this game can be linear and story-heavy at times between the semi-open world roaming.

Now only if another European studio would port their third game in the series over…

Rating: 8/10

Awesome

  • High end Visuals & Audio
  • Gun Modifications
  • Immersive setting and environments
  • Silicon Performance

Mixed

  • AI is so-so
  • Can be very linear

Popsnizzle

  • Silent protagonist is frequently immersion breaking