Metro 2033 is played from the perspective of a character named "Artyom". He’s lived his entire life underground, just longing to one day see the earth restored to its former glory. He aspires to one day be a ranger too, and explores the wastes, but his stepfather doesn’t wish that for him. What he ends up getting himself into could either save humanity, or doom it.
As you do a few small tasks around the metro, you get news that the Ranger, “Hunter”, is returning. You’ve been asked to greet him at the metro gates and help him if he needs it. Shortly after making your way to meet him you find yourself again fighting for your survival. As humanoid mutants start bursting through the ventilation system, and you and a few others are all that can hold them off and keep them from getting to the general populace. Normally, it’s nothing when these creatures attack the metro, but they’ve never come this deep inside before. After you defeat the small threat talk about a new species of mutant, the Dark Ones, begins to develop, and the real story begins.
Hunter (The Ranger that you greeted) is scared that the Dark Ones, and other mutants, are going to completely demolish your home metro, so he sets out to find a way to stop them. But before he leaves, he instructs Artyom that if he is not back the next day, Artyom will need to get to Polis (Basically, the capital of all metros) and seek help. Sure enough, Hunter does not return and Artyom has to traverse the dangerous undergrounds to try to save his people. Without spoiling much of the story, you will travel to quite a few odd destinations, including above ground. You’ll encounter supernatural anomalies, very strange creatures and, you guessed it, Nazis (Don’t ask). And you’ll do all of this in order to, hopefully, save your people, and possibly even all of humanity.
All throughout your journey you’ll run into people and creatures that want to kill you, and you’re going to have to defend yourself. I think we all know what the best thing to defend yourself with is…. That would be a gun. Guns aren’t in short supply around the Metro, but guns that are worth anything are pretty hard to come by. Scattered throughout the different metro stations (Safe zones) will be merchants and they have everything you’re going to need. Trading is a very interesting aspect of the game, mainly because your currency is your ammo. There are bullets that were made in the metros (Dirty rounds) and bullets that are pre-war (Military grade). Everybody wants the pre-war ammo because it’s tons better than what can be produced underground. But, you must come to the decision; do you want to trade your good ammo for better equipment, or keep the bad equipment and have a higher damaging round? It can be a surprisingly difficult part of the game, but it’s one of the parts that really stands out.
If you’ve already heard something negative about Metro, I’m sure it was the gripes about the gunplay. If you haven’t, it’s basically supposed to have a really bad shooting mechanism. I personally didn’t find it that bad and actually had a lot of fun with the shooting aspect. Is it as tight, and responsive as other current shooters? No. Is it as bad as everyone says it is? No. I found myself relying on the throwing knives more than any gun; they’re the stealthy solution to any situation. You’ll have plenty of guns to try out for yourself, some of which control better than others, but you should be satisfied with all of them.
The sounds and music of the game are good, but nothing really standout. Guns sound like real guns, scary mutated monsters sound like…. Scary mutated monsters. You can hear the footsteps of your enemies when they draw near, or sometimes your own breathing after you ran just a tad too much. The amount of small details they added to make it more realistic really show and I actually thought I was really my character more times than I’d like to admit. The music also adds a lot to the experience. It sounds good, it’s fitting to all of the aspects of the game and it can make the game quite unnerving sometimes. I do have one gripe about the music though; it’s that I found it forgettable. Nothing iconic or special about it, it’s just some good background music that fits the mood.
Curse words are heard all throughout Metro 2033, and you’ll hear almost everything (F bomb, sh** and bi*** are all commonly used) in the book, and you’ll hear some of them in Russian. There are games that cuss a ton more, but the language is still there, and there’s no way to turn it off either.
Metro 2033 is a pretty violent game, and it makes no attempts to ever let you choose any other paths (It’s an FPS, what do you expect?). Is it overly violent? No. But it does have its fair amount of death and bloodshed. You have to kill a very diverse amount of beings. Humans, dog-things, ape looking creature (Their names are hard to pronounce, sue me) and a couple of others. There is no dismemberment in Metro, but there is quite a bit of blood. I personally didn’t find the violence that bad, but others may disagree with me.
From what I can tell, Metro gets the “Sexual themes” rating for a very easily avoidable instance. As you are passing through one of the metros you’ll get offered to “escort” a girl to her shack, but if you do (Spoiler) you get mugged and beaten. You then wake up with all of your money gone and there’s nothing you can do about it (Spoiler ends).
I was surprised to find out how much Metro delves into the supernatural. Although none of it is occult, it can be slightly disturbing or scary to some players. Ghostlike beings stalk some metro tunnels, the Dark Ones take you into a “dream” state, and there are strange anomalies that have no explanation for their existence.
Also, just on a small side note, there are characters that drink and smoke all throughout the game. There is even one instance that you and a few buddies engage in drinking, which is done from the first person perspective.