We'll forgive you if the Metro games passed you by first time around. Based on Russian novels and made by a Ukrainian studio, Metro 2033 and its successor, Last Light, offered a slower-paced, more atmospheric mutation of first-person shooting compared to CoD's gung-ho theatrics. Now spruced up for Xbox One, they still stand apart. Whether you're walking Moscow's dilapidated underground for the first time or you're revisiting, Redux is well worth your attention.
The most dramatic update is to 2010's Metro 2033. 4A has smartly adapted it to reflect modern standards, porting Last Light's interface into the game. While this doesn't completely reinvigorate things - you'll fight waves of enemies and tackle quick time jump-scares - it makes the game much tighter to control and easier to pick up if you're only familiar with current shooters.
The studio has done an even more impressive job of reworking each title's visuals. Unsurprisingly, the improvements to 2033 are more noticeable: textures have been remodelled, the lighting is much more sophisticated (and harsher, for more of a hyper-real effect), and some scenes have been changed entirely to create a more cohesive Metro experience - we won't spoil any particular moments, but it's great to see such attention to detail. Coupled with a rock-solid 60fps on both games, this is a stellar remaster.
Most importantly, the games themselves are still excellent, avoiding the Bruckheimer-like flamboyance that has consumed CoD and Battlefield, in favour of something darker and more moving. The eerie Moscow underground and irradiated monster-infested streets require you to be patient to survive, conserving ammo and any other supplies you happen to come across.
Outside sequences aren't particularly common but they're relished, and you get to see the full extent of humanity's downfall. Stealth is rarely forced but strongly encouraged - blowing out candles and unscrewing bulbs to cloak your movements is just as wonderful a touch as it was a few years ago. Though risky, exploration is important, as ammo, equipment and side stories lie hidden off the beaten path.
If you've already experienced it then the new visuals are reason enough to return, but Redux also adds two types of play style: Spartan and Survivor. The former caters more towards your standard shooter player, offering more resources to the player, and the latter ups the ante on, you know, surviving, with limited supplies, hardier foes and slower reloads.
A comprehensive rebuttal of the notion that next-gen remakes are only created for publishers to make a quick buck, this is a superbly polished update to two great games. Smart design tweaks and excellent visual advancements mean that life in the metro has seemed more attractive.
4A Games can't turn back time, but it's done everything to ensure that both Metro games feel comparable to today's standards. Beautiful, compelling and distinctly original, Redux is a must.