"I hope it gives you f**king nightmares" - those were the last words we heard from THQ brand manager Mark Madsen, before we got to see the new gameplay demo from Metro Last Light.
We had already been briefed that this demo would be a bit different from the shooting heavy demo that THQ showed last year
and that they folks at 4A are trying to chance the pace of the game to get past the shooter fatigue that seems to have settled into the FPS market.
This year THQ wanted to show off the scarier side of the game and that it wasn't another Resident Evil horror game. Instead the game has a distinctive Russian flavor as it's approach to mysticism and ghosts is decidedly Eastern European.
The big theme of the demo seemed to be flashbacks and reflecting on the past. The game starts out with Artyom having flashbacks to a poster he saw before the bombs dropped on Moscow, slowly fading into the wreckage of station. From there he and a companion climbing out of the subway system below Moscow and experiencing something rare in this post apocalyptic world, sunshine. The light is gorgeous but is almost immediately gone as clouds roll in and a radio active rain begins to fall. The new graphical tweaks in the game make the bleak world even more depressing as there's an extra level of bleakness to the game.
After wandering around the wasteland and picking up a few extra gas masks and filters the duo made their way into a large passenger aircraft that had crash landed. As the two made their way up to the cockpit flashbacks of the frightened passengers last moments flickered across our vision culminating in one large flashback when you reach the cockpit. It's there that you see the city from the airplanes perspective, the large mushroom cloud in the back is flanked by outgoing missiles. We saw the EMP burst hit the plane and watched it crash into the city. It's only then that you snap out of the flashback and realize that Artyom is struggling to breathe as his mask has come off. Fixing the mask he turns around and notices that his partner has done the same thing and you managed to save him before he succumbs.
There's no explanation as to why this happens but as the two exit the plane they notice plenty of other people who have died because they got caught up in the flashback. It's a spooky moment and certainly something I'm hoping we see more of in the final game.
From there the demo consisted of the two escaping to another Metro station while under attack from mutant wolves. If you played the first game you remember their howl and I'm happy to report that's made it's way to Last Light.
I'm also happy to report that the game looks like one of the best FPS games coming down the pipeline. I know a lot of people are stoked about the standard dudebro shooters but Last Light looks great and hopefully the game will gather more attention than it's predecessor did.