Face-Off: Metro: Last Light


May 4, 2013

With the release of Metro: Last Light, developer 4A Games brings to the table the most technically dazzling game since Crysis 3 first graced our screens three months ago. Building on its in-house 4A Engine that debuted with cult hit Metro 2033, it's something of a technological wonder, with DirectX 11 features like tessellation, cutting-edge lighting effects and advanced PhysX realising its barren, Pripyat-inspired environments.

The last game ensures that the prowess of the 4A engine is a known quantity on PC and 360. However, this sequel crucially marks the Kiev-based developer's first foray into the world of Sony's PlayStation 3 - giving us a conventional simultaneous triple-format launch. Given how deeply current mid-to-low GPUs are confounded by Metro 2033's rigorous "Frontline" benchmark sequence, the idea that console platforms can handle the more advanced Last Light at even basic settings is an uncertain one.

Similar technical showcases on PC such as Crysis 3 and Battlefield 3 haven't necessarily fared well in the transition to PS3 and 360 in the past, with effects pared-back or removed, native resolutions dropped, tearing added, and even a locked 30FPS being an untenable target once the going gets tough. Pushing back the technological boundaries with next-gen engines inevitably results in a hit when the same game is scaled back to current-gen platforms.

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