Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror, and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.[2] In March 2009, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[3] The game was announced a few months later at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[4] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[5] When the game was announced, it had the subtitle The Last Refuge but this subtitle is no longer being used by THQ.[4][6]


The game is played from the perspective of a character named Artyom. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro system where the player's character was raised (he was born before the war, in an unharmed city), but occasionally the player has to go above ground on certain missions and scavenge for valuables.

The game's locations reflect the dark atmosphere of real metro tunnels, albeit in a more sinister and bizarre fashion. Strange phenomena and noises are frequent, and mostly the player has to rely only on their flashlight to find their way around in otherwise total darkness. Even more lethal is the surface, as it is severely irradiated and a gas mask must be worn at all times due to the toxic air.[7] Water can often be contaminated as well, and short contacts can damage the player, or even kill outright.

Often, locations have an intricate layout, and the game lacks any form of map, leaving the player to try and find its objectives only through a compass - weapons cannot be used while visualizing it. The game also lacks a health meter, relying on audible heart rate and blood spatters on the screen to show the player what state they are in and how much damage was done. There is no on-screen indicator to tell how long the player has until the gas mask's filters begin to fail, save for a wristwatch that is divided into three zones, signaling how much the filter can endure, so players must continue to check it every time they wish to know how long they have until their oxygen runs out, requiring the player to replace the filter (found throughout the game). The gas mask also indicates damage in the form of visible cracks, warning the player a new mask is needed. The game does feature traditional HUD elements, however, such as an ammunition indicator and a list of how many gas mask filters and adrenaline shots (med kits) remain.

Another important factor is ammunition management. As money lost its value in the game's setting, cartridges are used as currency. There are two kinds of bullets that can be found, those of poor quality made by the metro-dwellers themselves, which are fairly common but less effective against targets, especially mutants, and those made before the nuclear war, which are rare and highly powerful, but are also necessary to purchase gear or items such as filters for the gas mask and med kits. Thus, the player is forced to manage their resources with care.


Template:Plot The story is recounted by Artyom, the protagonist, as he writes it down on an antique typewriter. Orphaned as a child, he was born just days before a devastating nuclear war of unknown cause obliterated modern civilization, leaving at least 40000 survivors in a charred, ruined wasteland. Moscow, where the game takes place, was reduced to ruins, and those who survived did so only by hiding in its Moscow Metro. At the beginning of the game, Artyom, then only twenty years old, is ascending from the metro system with an older man named Miller, the leader of an elite group of individuals known as Rangers - hardened soldiers who are tasked in the safeguard of the Metro. They emerge in the ruins of Moscow, just a short distance from Ostankino Tower, where they regroup with two other Rangers. However, the encounter is cut short by the sudden appearance of a huge pack of strange, hideously mutated rat-like creatures (Howlers). The party defends itself from the monsters, but is overwhelmed by attacking flying monsters (demons). Shortly after, Artyom is charged by one of these creatures, and the screen fades to black.

The game then abruptly shifts back to eight days prior the battle near Ostankino Tower, with Artyom waking up in Exhibition Station, his current home station, where he was brought as a child by his stepfather, a man named Alex. With him, he is introduced to another Ranger, a man known only as Hunter, with whom he fights off a sudden attack of mutated creatures. They are not, however, the real threat, and as Alex explains, said threat comes from the Dark Ones - mysterious alien-like creatures resulted from unprecedented mutations of then-ordinary human beings, apparently capable of driving people insane with their mere presence or of slaughtering groups of armed men with ease. Hunter embarks on a mission to try and find out more about these creatures, and possibly eliminate them. But before leaving the station, he gives Artyom a Rangers' dog tag, instructing him to go to Polis - the most powerful, friendly inhabited station of the entire Metro - and seek help from the Rangers.

Artyom's quest begins when Hunter fails to return, and the young man embarks on his journey to Polis. From Exhibition, he travels to Riga Station and then Market Station. To get to Riga Station, he is hired as a guard for a trade caravan heading that way. Little to their knowledge, the usual way to Riga Station is blocked due to a cave-in, so they must take a service tunnel. This is the first time Artyom encounters the Dark Ones. They make it to Riga Station, and Artyom travels to Market station. He meets a shady criminal named Bourbon. Bourbon enlists his help for a perilous journey through tunnels controlled by brutal bandits and the dilapidated surface of Moscow (known as the "Dead city"), where deformed abominations roam freely. After this dangerous trip, Artyom and Bourbon return to the Metro through an air shaft, but Bourbon is captured while trying to sneak into a bandit-controlled station. Forcing his way through the bandits, Artyom witnesses a bandit and Bourbon kill each other, and is then surprised by the sudden appearance of a mysterious and spiritual man named Khan.

Traveling with Khan, Artyom explores some of the most dangerous places of the Metro, abandoned tunnels where no one, neither bandits nor animals dare venture. These tunnels introduce some of the more bizarre characteristics of the post-holocaust Metro, such as shadowy ghosts of deceased humans and even events that are forced to replay their last moments forever. Haunting voices of laughing children are audible from the pipes installed in the walls of the tunnels, and glowing globes of electricity called Anomalies travel the tunnels killing anything in their path. The journey leads both men to a war-torn Cursed Station, where Artyom is tasked to retrieve explosives from the tunnels and detonated them in different places to block waves of mutants that endanger the station.

In success, Artyom part ways with Khan and shortly after reaches Armory Station, one of the many station controlled by a Soviet Communist-like group. He stumbles in on an interrogation and is almost arrested, but manages to escape with the help of a stranger that is killed in the attempt. Artyom hides with a man named Andrew 'the Blacksmith' under a trolley tasked with carrying troops to the border of the Communist controlled part of the Metro, where a war against Neo-Nazi survivors rages on. Here, Artyom must fight his way through the front lines, through both Nazi and Communist soldiers. After fighting his way through, he is captured by the Nazis. The Nazis prepare to execute Artyom, but before they can, Ulman and Pavel, two more Rangers appear. Ulman kills the Nazis with a knife. Artyom presents Hunter's token and Ulman tells Pavel to take Artyom to Polis, and to meet up with him later.

Pavel and Artyom steal an armored mine car, and attempt to pass through the Nazi barricades while posing as Nazis. They are discovered however, and are chased down the Metro tunnels by more armored mine cars and a tank-like train. After making it through the Nazi barrier, the two proceed further into another smaller mine car, but are ambushed again by Nazi troops and forced to flee, by chance reaching a massive underground depot for trains. Upon reaching the depot, the car is attacked by hordes of mutants, Pavel is killed, and Artyom barely makes it out alive. He reaches another settlement, Hole Station, where he is hastily recruited to aid the defenders in fending off a massive attack of mutant creatures. The defense fails. Having received a distress signal from the leader of the defenders, who was heavily wounded in the assault, Artyom is tasked in transmitting it to Polis before reaching it, and has to traverse the now ruined station, filled with mutants. There, he meets a young boy named Sasha, who survived the massacre, and carries him to safety, meeting the other survivors shortly thereafter.

From there, Artyom makes another trip to the surface, this time through Nazi-controlled territory, stopping briefly to transmit the distress call from Hole Station. He journeys through another station, Black Station, where he meets Ulman at the end. After fighting their way through more Nazis, the two ride away in a trolley and finally reach the heavily fortified borders of Polis.

In Polis, Artyom presents the token from Hunter to Miller, and the two explain the threat to the ruling council of the station, asking for help. However, the council dismisses the threat because of lack of resources and men that are needed for eventual war against the Nazis, and because they underestimate Artyom as a superstitious guy from some remote station. Hope is renewed when Miller pledges his assistance to stop the Dark Ones and save Exhibition, along with the rest of the Metro. He proposes that a mostly intact military launch facility, known as D6 can be used to eradicate the Dark Ones with "the same fire that gave birth to their kind." The location of D6 was lost at the onset nuclear war, so the Rangers are forced to travel again to the surface and reach the Russian State Library, whose military archives hold documentation of D6's location.

Miller, Artyom, and Danila (another Ranger) set out for the Library. On the way, Danila is injured and taken back to Polis by Miller, leaving Artyom on his own to find the documents. As Artyom moves through the library, he encounters horrific ape-like mutants called 'Librarians,' quasi-intelligent creatures that were once human. He is forced to battle through many of these beasts, the sole inhabitants of the Library, but he succeeds in retrieving the documents. When Artyom leaves The Library, he is confronted by a Librarian. But before the Librarian can attack Artyom, Miller and another Ranger, Stepan, run it over in an armored car. They take Artyom to Sparta, an above-ground Ranger outpost, where Artyom meets the remainder of The Rangers: Boris, Vladimir, and several unnamed characters. He also meets Khan again, who with cryptic speech hints at the fact that the conclusion of his journey, be it bloody or not, rests only in his hands.

From here, the group of Rangers head to D6. Boris and Stepan are killed fighting their way through hordes of mutants. After reaching D6, a massive military underground bunker, the remaining Rangers search for the missile command center. They find it, but it lacks power. This forces Artyom and Miller to reactivate the facility's reactor manually, forcing them to battle their way through strange amoeba-like entities, possibly the mutated results of biological weaponry. As they complete their task and ascend again, they discover that the base still houses large amounts of military hardware. Miller marvels at the arsenal; it renews his hope of conquering the surface once again.

It is here that the game's prologue turns out to be its epilogue. As the sole survivors of the mutants' assault, Miller and Artyom fight their way to Ostankino Tower, carrying a laser pointer to direct the missile salvo from D6. However, it must be placed on top of the tower to be effective. During the ascent, Miller is injured by a flying mutant, and Artyom must complete the journey alone. Arriving at the top and planting the beacon, he is forced into a powerful hallucination by the Dark Ones. He travels through a bizarre landscape, at the end of which he encounters Hunter's ghost. Escaping the hallucination by defeating a looming Dark One, Artyom's journey ends.

The game has two possible endings. At various points, the game calls for the player to make certain choices--for example whether or not to help a beggar by giving him a bullet or whether to use stealth instead of aggression to bypass a level. These in-game events are marked by brief flashes of light. If the player makes a sufficient number of benevolent choices, the player is offered the opportunity to destroy the laser pointing device at the game's conclusion, thereby saving the Dark Ones from the planned missile attack. It is then revealed that the Dark Ones were not approaching humans to attack them, but to communicate with them, and that they wished for peace between the two species.

The ending voiced-over monologue spoken by Artyom is different depending on which ending is attained. In the events of the normal ending, the Dark Ones perceive Artyom as a threat, and after Artyom succeeds in activating the missile guidance device, he states his doubts regarding the destruction of the Dark Ones. If the Dark Ones are spared, Artyom explains his last-second realization that the psychic hallucinations he has experienced throughout the game were in fact the Dark Ones' attempts at making peaceful contact. He then reflects on the unforeseeable but hopeful future of both species.


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4A Games was founded by people who split off from GSC Game World a year before the release of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, in particular Oles' Shiskovtsov and Aleksandr Maksimchuk, the programmers who worked on the development of X-Ray engine used in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.[8] The game utilizes multi-platform 4A Engine, running on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows. There is some contention regarding whether the engine is based on the pre-release X-Ray engine (as claimed by Sergiy Grygorovych, the founder of GSC Game World[9], as well as users who have seen the 4A Engine SDK screenshots, citing visual similarities, shared resources, and technical evaluation of the pre-release 4A Engine demo conducted at the request of GSC Game World), or whether the engine is an original development (as claimed by 4A Games and Oles' Shiskovtsov in particular[10], who claims it would have been impractical to retrofit the X-ray engine with console support). 4A Engine features Nvidia PhysX support, enhanced AI, and a console SDK for Xbox 360.[11] The PC version includes exclusive features such as DirectX 11 support and has been described as "a love letter to PC gamers" because of the developers' choice "to make the PC version [especially] phenomenal".[12]

Dakota Grabowski[who?] was also able to sit down with Luis Giglotti[who?] who describes the game and how it relates to the book, and also gives descriptions of the aforementioned "Dark Ones" who attack you mentally rather than physically. He also talks about how Artyom is "unique", being immune to the Dark Ones. The player also has visions that will give some back story in the form of interactive cut-scenes.[13]

On February 19 THQ and 2K Games announced the game features the latter's Steamworks software and DRM. This will give Metro 2033 achievements, Steam support for in-game DLC and auto-updating.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic PC: 81/100[14]
Xbox 360: 77/100[15]
Review scores
Publication Score C+[16]
Game Informer 9/10 [17]
GamePro 3.5/5[18]
GameSpot 8/10[19]
IGN 6.9/10[20]

The game has received generally favorable reviews, scoring 81/100[14] and 77/100[15] on Metacritic for the PC and Xbox 360 versions respectively. Game Informer praised it, giving it 9 out of 10. GameZone's Dakota Grabowski gave the game an 8 out of 10, saying "The single-player affair is worthy of every FPS fanatics’ time since the 4A Games and THQ were able to put forth a wonderful tale that deserved telling. The world is engrossing as it invites players for multiple trips with the sheer amount of detail 4A Games spent implementing into the environments. Metro 2033 is as pure as they come in the genre and I gladly welcome any sequel that may reach fruition."[21]

X-Play gave the game a 3 out of 5, the reviewer pointed out the game's great atmosphere, attention to detail, and that the game had some truly scary moments. However the reviewer also pointed out that, they "didn't do enough with the creepy atmosphere". Saying that the game would come close to truly frightening moments, but "never truly commits to scaring the audience". The reviewer said that the mapping of the buttons on the controller for the Xbox 360 can be "less than optimal", but the problem doesn't apply to PC users. In the conclusion, the reviewer said that the game was, "over all a respectable effort, provided you don't expect the same level of depth found in, let's say Fallout 3."[22]

GameSpot gave the game 7.5 out of 10 for the Xbox 360 version and 8 out of 10 for the PC version, praising the atmosphere but noting problems with the artificial intelligence and animations.[19]


In June 2010, 4A Games announced Metro 2034 along with plans for a 3D version of Metro 2033.[23]


  1. Trailer: Metro 2033 -- Your Destination for Terror
  2. "THQ Unveils First Person-Shooter Metro 2033". Business Wire. THQ. 22 October 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  3. 4A Games announces its partnership with Dmitry Glukhovsky (Adobe Flash). 4A Games (30 March 2006). Retrieved on 2010-01-09 “4A Games announces its partnership with Dmitry Glukhovskiy, the author of the cult postnuclear novel "Metro 2033" […] he will help create a game based on his novel, writing of its scenario, and working on its concept as an integral part of the 4A Games team.”
  4. 4.0 4.1 4A Games at Games Convention (Adobe Flash). 4A Games (9 August 2009). Retrieved on 2010-01-09 “4A Games is ready to announce our first project which will appear on Games Convention in Leipzig! During the Exposition we will have an exclusive showcase of our product, codename "Metro 2033. The Last Refuge".”
  5. GC 2006 Trailer. 4A Games. 30 August 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  6. 2033™ Official Site
  14. 14.0 14.1 Metro 2033 (pc) reviews at Retrieved on 2010-03-20
  15. 15.0 15.1 Metro 2033 (xbox360) reviews at Retrieved on 2010-03-20
  16. Metro 2033 Review for the PC,Xbox 360 from (2010-03-22). Retrieved on 2010-03-23
  19. 19.0 19.1 Watters, Chris (2010-03-17). Metro 2033 Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-03-18
  23. Computer and Videogames, Metro 2033 and Metro 2034

External links