When it was announced in early 2006 that developer 4A Games was developing a game based on the immensely popular Metro series of novels centered around a post-apocalyptic Russia by acclaimed author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Fans were admittedly a little hesitant.
After all, this is a series of novels that had received an incredible amount of praise and international acclaim, with over 2 million people reading the first book on Glukhovsky’s official website before it was even published.
Not only did 4A succeed in creating a game that captured the grimy, frightening, but also hopeful tone and atmosphere of Glukhovsky’s novels, but Metro 2033 was so well received that it even spawned multiple spinoffs and sequels.
However, while a few of these games have been released since the first installment back in 2010, there are some that are much more worth your time than others. Here is a full breakdown of all the best Metro games that you need to try out for yourself.
What Is Metro About?
While there are multiple games and books in the Metro universe, they all follow one continuous story, with most of them revolving around the central character, Artyom, who lives underground with other survivors after a global nuclear holocaust that occurred in 2013, devastating people’s livelihoods and forcing them to flee underground in the tunnels of Moscow.
On the surface, it’s not just the immense amounts of radiation that the survivors need to be worried about, but also creatures that have been mutated beyond comprehension, along with other humans roaming the surface looking to take down anyone they see for supplies, medicine, and food.
Throughout the story, we follow Artyom and his friends as they struggle to survive and build a new life in the underground metro, alongside finding out more about the nature of the nuclear war that devastated the planet and maybe even finding a few secrets that were never supposed to be shared to the masses.
Best Metro Games
Since 2010 there have been many games released in the Metro series, with some being released on consoles and PC and others being mobile and browser games.
If you’re just getting into the series, it can be a little hard knowing which games feature the best gameplay, story, and features that make them worthwhile playing since they are all fairly long in length.
To make this easier, here are a few of the best games in the series that are considered must-buys by the fanbase.
Released: 16 March 2010
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch
The first installment in the Metro series really blew people away with just how well it balanced the life of the underground, and the creature-ridden surface as players are thrust into a world that is incredibly suspenseful and intense, making this a breed between a survival horror and an action game.
The story starts with Artyom being recruited by Hunter, an elite ranger who is tasked with taking down the Dark Ones, mysterious mutants on the surface that are unlike the other monsters.
Along the way, both men and a few stragglers they find along the way are incapacitated by a psychic attack, except for Artyom, who manages to escape and encounters many different mysterious groups and horrifying creatures as he and the other rangers try to understand what happened.
Not only is the story in 2033 incredibly enticing, with unexpected twists and turns around every corner, the gameplay really is astonishing too, with the player switching between roaming around in the dark and grimy underground metro where you can freely talk to characters and upgrade your gear, and the surface which is one of the most suspenseful areas in any game I’ve ever played.
The monsters you encounter are also on a whole different level. Whether it’s moles that have mutated into large and vicious creatures, gigantic bats that roam around looking for their next victim, or the Dark Ones, which are as mysterious as they are frightening, the game continuously throws new challenges at you.
If there’s one word I would use to describe Metro 2033, it’s intense, with this undoubtedly being the most horrifying game in the series that still holds up well today.
- An intriguing start to the story
- Great balance between the metros and the surface
- Plenty of upgrades for guns and equipment
- Darker tone than the other games
- Mutants are scary and intense
- Pacing can be very slow at times
- Side characters can seem a little one note
Metro 2033 (VK)
Release: 10 August 2012
Platforms: Android, iOS, Internet Browser
If you enjoyed the story in 2033, you’re definitely going to want to try out Metro 2033 (VK), a mobile and browser game that is much smaller in scale but still a lot of fun with some intriguing references to the novels it is based on.
Rather than playing as Artyom, you create your own character in Metro 2033 (VK) before running into Mitya, a survivor who teaches you the ropes of survival as you navigate the metro, defeating enemies as you go and making allies or enemies of the people you encounter.
While there is, unfortunately, a lack of monsters in the game, with the only creature-like enemies being mutated rats and the Dark Ones, which can be encountered later in the story, the game does give you a tremendous amount of freedom to interact with the world and the characters in any way you like which can make for a nice break from the main games.
While the huge number of side missions and customization options are undoubtedly a big draw to the game, one of the most interesting features is the inclusion of factions which you can attack to earn rewards or even join and cooperate with to take your story in a new direction, making this a fun RPG style spinoff from the original storyline.
- A lot of customization options
- The faction system is fairly in-depth
- Great references to the main storyline
- Intuitive built-in RPG elements
- Lack of enemy variety
- Not much time is spent on the surface
Released: 14 May 2013
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch, Stadia
Set just a year after the first game, Metro Last Light puts much more focus on the story this time around, and with how rich the world-building and how intriguing the mysteries in the Metro universe are, this really isn’t a bad thing.
The plot centers around the Dark Ones, strange creatures who Artyom seems to have some sort of personal connection with, and who possess some form of hidden knowledge about the world beyond.
When Artyom actually meets a child Dark One up close, each and every faction that dwells in the metros attempts to get their hands on it for their own selfish gain with the Soviet Red Line and the Nazi Fourth Reich battling among themselves, with Artyom and the baby Dark One caught in the middle.
While the story is nothing short of amazing and arguably the best in the series because of how much it opens up the world of Metro, it really is the characters who steal the show here, especially the character of Anna, who is a smart and savvy Ranger who becomes the love interest of Artyom as the two build a compelling relationship that becomes an intriguing subplot as the game goes on.
The gameplay is also just as intense this time around. While it might be a little more linear, the difficulty has been ramped up a notch, with players now being able to more freely decide if they want to take a stealthy or a more aggressive approach to both the human and the monsters, which are just as gruesome and threatening this time around with a few new variants that you can fight, making this an excellent sequel which has been praised particularly for the story it tells.
- A fantastic and compelling story from beginning to end
- The characters introduced are likable and well developed.
- Excellent world-building
- The gameplay remains intense, and progression is rewarding
- Ending is satisfying
- The game is more linear than 2033
- More enemies introduced would have been nice
Metro 2033: Wars
Released: 8 September 2014
Platforms: Android, iOS
For many people, it’s the survival aspect of the Metro series that makes the story so compelling, especially since it is based on a post-apocalyptic world that is eerily realistic with humans trying to salvage what shreds of humanity they have left.
Metro 2033: Wars is a mobile game that focuses on this area of the story with the player stepping into the shoes of Arseniy Skadov, a commander ruling over a portion of the Moscow metros who must organize their garrisons and squads so that they are able to live comfortably while also having enough resources to fend off any mutants that manage to crawl underground and those that roam around the surface.
While the gameplay is a lot different from the regular first-person survival style we are used to seeing in the mainline games, it still manages to capture that feeling of desperation and mystery that Metro is so beloved for.
Players must ensure that each of their settlers has enough food to make it through the next few days, along with completing side missions so that they have enough supplies to go out onto the surface and scavenge resources.
There are even other factions that you will need to decide to cooperate with or take down, making this an addictive and very engaging spinoff that carries over a lot of the themes found in the mainline games.
- The resource system is very challenging and fun.
- Factions keep the game intense and engaging
- A lot of side missions to get involved with
- Easy to learn how the game works
- The world-building is quite weak.
- The surface is rarely seen in the game.
- Mutants are easy to defeat
Released: 14 May 2013
Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, PC, Switch, Stadia
When trailers were first released for Metro Exodus, while the game certainly looked good, no one could have anticipated just how engaging this game would be, with many people saying that it is the most immersive game they have ever played.
Immersion really is the main focus here as 4A Games aimed to make the most realistic post-apocalyptic world ever seen, and they certainly succeeded, forging several open-space environments that feel as tense and suspenseful as the other games, but also a lot more spontaneous.
Some of the realistic features added include weather changing in real-time, creatures roaming around and hunting for food, and an incredibly realistic mask system where you must patch up any cracks that appear after enemy encounters, along with checking your radiation levels consistently.
The design and pacing of the game are also a little different this time around.
While players will spend a little bit of time in the underground metros, once they reach the surface, that’s where you will remain for virtually the rest of the game as you travel through 4 completely different and unique areas, completing errands, killing mutants, and uncovering more about the Dark Ones along your journey.
While the cast in this game is just as loveable as before, despite being a little cheesy at times, it’s the immersion that really blows players away here, with each of the 4 areas keeping the game feeling fresh and new the more hours you sink in.
Whether you run into an electricity-worshiping cult while on an errand or attempt to make a desperate escape from a hive of oversized mutants, all these situations are completely optional, making this truly one of the greatest open-world games released in recent years and a welcome addition to the Metro series.
- Outstanding levels of immersion
- Fantastic selection of enemies
- Optional missions make every player’s story different
- A huge number of guns and equipment
- 4 areas all feel unique and fresh
- Lots of dialogue can affect the pacing
- Not much development for side characters
- Long loading times
Which Metro Game Is The Best?
After looking at the positives and negatives of some of the best Metro games that have been released thus far, is there one that really stands above the rest?
This primarily depends on if you’re more interested in story or gameplay. However, when it comes to both of these factors, Metro Last Light and Metro Exodus are often considered by fans who have played the games to be the best.
Metro Last Light does have a better story, which is much better paced and features a tremendous amount of world-building, however, the gameplay can seem a little too straightforward for some players.
Metro Exodus, on the other hand, pays a little less attention to the story. Still, it excels in its gameplay, making for an incredibly memorable gaming experience where all of the characters, mutants, and locations feel real and believable.
While these two games are therefore considered the very best in the series, all the games mentioned are well worth trying out, even if it’s just to learn even more about the world of Metro and the mysteries it holds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will There Be Another Mainline Metro Game?
4A Games have openly stated that they are working on a brand new installment in the mainline Metro series of games that will make use of the next-gen technology of the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.
With that being said, however, 4A Games have kept more specific details under wraps. The only bit of information they have given away is that they are hoping to introduce a multiplayer mode alongside the single-player for the first time.
Only time will tell If this will take the form of PVP or co-op, however.
Is A Metro Movie Being Released?
The Metro 2033 movie began production back in 2020 with a planned release in 2022. Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, however, production had been pushed back, with the movie now being planned to be released in 2024 instead.
What Is The Best Selling Metro Game?
Since its release in 2019, Metro Exodus has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling game in the series.
A lot of this is due to not only how well received the game was by reviewers who received review copies but also because of how much effort 4A Games put into the advertisement for the game, with new trailers being shown at game conferences for several years leading up to the release.
Are The Metro Games Only Based In Moscow?
The only game that deviates from Moscow and allows places to travel outside of the city is Metro Exodus. Players are able to travel to the Caspian Sea, the Volga River, and Taiga, which is commonly referred to as a boreal forest or snow forest in the West.
While these locations are not far from Moscow, they offer a much-needed change of scenery which also play a very important role in the story of that game.