Published on May 15th, 2013 | by Dan
Review – Metro: Last Light w/ Detailed PC Port Information
The video above contains the game review proper, but Ajay has taken it upon himself to delve deeply into the PC port features of the game below. Enjoy, KBMOD!
PC Port Details
Before we get into the extra details that I didn’t have time to fit into the video, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has shown my content such great support over the past few months. KBMOD and its fans have been fantastic and I really hope you continue to enjoy the reviews!
As I mentioned in the video, Metro: Last Light is a PC game through and through. It features some of the most advanced effects in gaming such as tessellation, advanced PhysX affecting cloth and destructive environments; huge amounts of volumetric effects such as fog, steam and smoke. It also includes the highly intensive supersampling anti-aliasing (SSAA) that will future proof the game for some time. It is full to the brim with detailed character models and textures and the shadows on ‘Very High’ sport a resolution of above 9 megapixels. It is incredibly hard for me to think of a game that looks as good as this.
Let’s talk performance. The preceding game in this series, Metro 2033, was infamously un-optimised. Metro 2033 was one of the first games to implement these new effects and as such the performance suffered greatly. They simply didn’t have the knowledge nor money to really make it a feasible option for users at the time to use (unless they had extreme specs). Luckily for us, it’s 2013 now and these types of graphical effects are popping up all over the place. With the support of NVIDIA, Last Light has been well optimised and I’m happy to say it works well (at least with NVIDIA cards). AMD cards have indeed had issues, but turning PhysX off (which was on by default) solved this for some people. Newer drivers should help alleviate issues as well. As for graphics setups, single cards won’t be able to make use of the highly intensive SSAA option (akin to the ‘ubersampling’ option in The Witcher 2) but a single GTX670 and 680 and AMD equivalents will have absolutely no issues maxing this out. For those still running high end 500 series cards, you have nothing to worry about. From the 560ti to the 580, you will still be getting playable framerates on ‘high’ to ‘very high’ settings despite not being to use the advanced PhysX and tessellation options. There are some strange performance hits at times, however. I found myself dipping from 80 to 30 frames when walking through a seemingly bland room. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what the issue was – it may have been the game loading in the next area in the background or perhaps there were some extreme cases of tessellation on items around the room that I failed to notice. Regardless, it was an incredibly rare occurrence but I felt it should be mentioned all the same.
The negatives of the port are mostly arbitrary. The sound options feature only an option for master volume or music volume. However, by navigating to your user.cfg in your installation directory, you’ll find the options for SFX, Voice and Music all separated out to change at your discretion. Personally, I found the developer’s mix to perfect with the music only overpowering voices when heavy gunfire was present. The main issue and the real elephant in the room is the FOV options or lack there-of. Metro 2033 had a field of view of around 65 (not to be confused with the vertical FOV of 45). Whilst Last Light has raised this to what seems to be 70, it is still quite uncomfortable. It certainly wasn’t a distraction nor did it cause any major headaches or nausea but I understand that there any many who are very sensitive to FOVs lower than ~80. The method used to change the FOV in the original game does not work with this game strangely, however, being that it is built into the engine, it would seem highly likely that someone will find a fix in the oncoming weeks. Whether or not 4A Games decides to patch this issue remains to be seen so until there is guaranteed fix, if you suffer severely from playing with a low FOV then you may want to wait until on a purchase.
The next issue is the lack of a full PC options menu. Whilst there are all the basics that you’d expect for a PC title, for a game so packed full of effects, it’s strange that they’d leave out the ability to fully customise them to suit your tastes. The options from ‘low’ to ‘very high’ include a whopping total of 14 settings. For many users, this isn’t an issue but for those who really need to tweak their games to get them running, this is a bit of a disappointment as the only way around this is to manually edit values through the config.
Despite the one major FOV problem, Metro: Last Light does a fantastic job at pushing modern hardware to its limits. Enthusiasts will rejoice at seeing their card’s usage in the 90% realm and those with weaker PCs, despite potentially having the delve into the config, will find a game that scales fantastically and still looks beautiful even on its lowest settings.