We often write lists of reasons why big, prominent non-VR games should absolutely get official VR support. Examples of ones we’re still impatiently waiting on include No Man’s Sky, Kingdom Come Deliverance, and Destiny 2. With that being said, it does happen. Just look at Hellblade VR, Skyrim VR, Fallout 4 VR, and Borderlands 2 VR as examples. Usually there is some sort of key justification for it all beyond just “this would be cool!” and this time with Metro Exodus is no different.
If you want to see what I think of the game from a non-VR perspective as a whole, you can read my review here. But consider this both a plea to 4A Games to consider implementing at least head tracking support, if not a full VR version, as well as a list of lessons for game developers on how to make your VR games (or non-VR games!) more immersive.
The main reason why I think Metro Exodus is a good fit for VR is the existing experience 4A Games has with VR development. Arktika.1 is a cover-based VR shooter that features a lot of the same tones as their flagship Metro series and even has an eerily similar art style.
We were generally positive in our review of Arktika.1, but since the movement is all node-based teleportation it loses out on some of its potential. Now if 4A could use that prior experience to then deliver Metro Exodus in a VR headset — again, even if it’s just head tracking — that could be huge.
Metro Exodus is one of the most atmospheric and downright palpably tense games I’ve ever played. From start to finish you can feel the oppressive nature of the situation as the characters around you are desperately fighting for survival. Walking through the wasteland evokes such a powerful sense of both sadness for what was lost and hope for the future. It’s extraordinary.
The team at 4A did a masterful job of crafting this world with a great mixture of tight, claustrophobic tunnel environments and wide, sprawling open areas to explore. It’s one of the richest and most detailed game worlds I’ve seen in years and experience it in VR would be magical.
What is often lost when a game tries to expand its scope in the way Metro Exodus did from its predecessors is focus. But that isn’t the case here. Metro Exodus is one of the most expertly paced games I’ve ever played. You probably spend only a little over half your time actually shooting things like you would in most other shooters.
Everything else from talking to characters, sneaking around, cowering in fear, exploring areas, and more is peppered in to alleviate the tension and spread out the action. It’s refreshing to see a game that understands immersion and emotional impact is about more than just throwing endless monsters at the player.
Deeply Emotional Characters
Speaking of, the characters in Metro Exodus are wonderful as well. Voice acting is top-notch and facial animations are some of the best in the industry. The thought of being able to stand face-to-face with Anna, the main character’s wife, as she discusses your future together or gazes out over the wasteland aboard your train, the Aurora, would be something truly special.
In VR bad acting and bad animation stick out worse than the screen door effect, so a game that has those notes masted so effortlessly would be incredible to see inside a headset.
Focus On Deep Immersion
Finally, Metro Exodus has an extremely minimalist HUD that feels like it was almost made with VR in mind. Want to know how much time is left before you need to change your gas mask filter? Look at the timer on your wrist. You do the same to monitor radiation levels. Crafting things requires pulling out your backpack and the world around you doesn’t stop.
There is even a dedicated “wipe my mask” button and if you take a lot of damage it could get damaged and start letting toxic fumes in, requiring you to patch it. It’s a very slow-paced and deliberate game that, while still very immersive on a flat screen, would be truly amazing to play in a VR headset.
Are you a fan of the Metro series? Let us know what you think of the games and what you think of Metro Exodus once you play it down in the comments below!