Pros: Story, Stealth or Strength, Variety of weapons and environments, variable plot choices, excellent graphics
Cons: Auto-save locations seem haphazardly placed and activate regardless of the current game situation, difficult controls at some points
You play Artyom, a Russian citizen-turned-soldier in a post apocalyptic Moscow. A previous nuclear war forces all citizens of earth underground to live in the expansive metro system (hence the name Metro 2033). The story picks up with you helping to defend our outpost in a far corner of the metro. As the game progresses you find out more about what lead you to the metro, what other creatures exist out there that you need protecting from, and more about other also living in the metro. There are also multiple endings that vary based on your actions throughout the game.
From a graphical point of view Metro 2033, was ahead of its time when it was released, and still maintains that cutting edge look and feel. Shadows feel dark and when using them for cover, feel like they can actually hide you. The sound in this game ads to the immersion. There was never a time where I felt like I was listening to repetitive background noises or repeated conversations. Any and all dialog between enemy soldiers was completely unique, adding tot he plot and also helping you decide which way to travel through the Metro.
The control scheme is pretty similar to other games, however certain weapons require you to use the controls differently than they are normally used. This takes some getting used to, and eventually works really well, but when it is first discovered, can make game-play somewhat difficult. Along the same lines as controls are the multiple ammo types for the various guns available in Metro 2033. As a currency in the game, you collect shiny military grade ammunition identifiable by its shiny casing. Unlike most other games, this currency can also be shot as ammo and is a more powerful weapon. The problem with this is that sometimes it is not obvious that you are shooting the more powerful ammunition until you have quickly blown through half of your cash pile when you didn't need to. Switching to this ammo can happen accidentally when reloading compounding the problem.
Speaking of weapons, there is a wide variety of weaponry in the game. You are given 3 weapon slots, and only certain weapons can be carried in each of the slots, however the different ammo types can spread across multiple gun slots (e.g. pistol rounds can be used in the basic machine gun). Weapons range from a loud modern assault rifle to an air powered silent semi-automatic arrow gun.
Choosing a weapon to use comes down to how you want to play the game. There are achievements for playing it multiple different ways, but basically you can choose to be stealthy, or you can try and blast your way through. About a quarter of the way into the game, you are given a choice to choose between stealth armor and battle armor. Stealth armor is weaker, but helps you stay hidden in shadows and provides you with night vision. The battle armor makes you harder to kill, which is almost required if you don't plan on using any stealth.
Overall, I highly recommend this game for anybody who enjoys a good story and the ability to play through a game with the option of stealth.