Metro Exodus is the perfect post apocalyptic game to play if you're tired of Fallout's wasteland

Two soldiers standing on a train
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

After watching the Fallout TV series I was determined to plunge back into the world of radiation and chaos in any way I could, bar starting a nuclear apocalypse myself. I decided that Fallout 76 would be my best bet, as I have a couple of friends still playing the game, and thought that I could just slot back into it. 

It was pretty fun for a time, especially thanks to the latest expedition Atlantic City: America's Playground, which boasts a Casino district, a flooded city centre full of swamp thing lookalikes, and the Showman's Pier, which hosts a bloody but entertaining game show you can take part in. But after a while, it all started to wear thin. Although the world of Fallout is charmingly quirky, I felt as if it was missing something. Maybe I needed a story that had higher stakes, or a world that was even more gritty to explore. Whatever it was, I definitely wasn't going to find it in the wasteland. But after searching through my Steam library, I finally found the answer: Metro Exodus. 

Metro Exodus was my first venture into the Metro series and, straight away, I could tell that it was everything that I was looking for. I can be quite cynical and pretty self-centered when I'm playing any survival game with high stakes. Before I go out of my way to save someone, I tend to ask myself if they've done anything helpful for me recently. This problem only gets worse if the characters I come across are one-dimensional and uninteresting. I still haven't saved my son in Fallout 4—after a certain point, it's just not my problem anymore.

But that's not the case in Metro Exodus. It surprised me just how quickly I began to like my Spartan Order comrades and even the people we picked up along the way. It's refreshing to actually like the people you're supposed to help, and easily believe that they're like family to one another. Interacting with the crew on the Aurora was one of my favourite parts of journeying through the unforgiving radioactive landscape. 

Abandonned city covered in snow and ice

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Despite all the deadly situations I found myself in trying to rescue or save my new wife, Anna, I never felt like it was a waste of time or my precious life. I felt like every fight in Metro Exodus was for the sake of my friends on the Aurora. I haven't fought so hard to keep everyone alive and well since Until Dawn, but it was definitely worth it. 

Some story spoilers follow. I changed my usual shoot-em-up tune while fighting the cult members in the Volga and the enemies in Taiga, choosing to give them all a nasty headache instead of killing them so Duke and Alyosha could survive, and I spent hours helping the slaves in the Caspian sea and completing all the side missions so Damir wouldn't get hurt. But what goes around comes around, and all my hard work paid off as to my surprise, I got the good ending. After being thrown around by the blind one, my crew came to rescue me. I was only able to survive the radiation poisoning thanks to blood donations from everyone, which was an unexpected yet lovely way to end my journey.  

But besides the fantastic characters I encountered along the way, Metro Exodus just managed to make the fallout of the apocalypse look beautiful. After leaving Moscow and taking care of the cultists in the Volga, I spent a lot of time just looking out over the glistening snow and peaceful landscape—a radioactive lake never looked so good. Then, there was the arid desert where the Caspian Sea once stood. Driving around, dodging sandstorms, and just exploring this dry wasteland was a welcome change from drudging around snow. 

It won't go easy on you, because you're just one small piece in what is now a pretty broken puzzle.

My favourite location to explore had to be the Institute in Novosibirsk: any place nicknamed the Dead City has to be cool. After surviving the desert heat and the house-sized bears in the forest it was actually quite nice to return to the snow. Venturing through derelict apartment buildings and city streets littered with rusted debris, it was clear that this place was hit hard but, as one of the main manufacturers of medicine, that's probably to be expected. 

I love exploring this kind of dystopian city, it's why I enjoy playing post-apocalyptic survival games so much. Wading through the history, imagining what this place could have looked like pre-apocalypse is part of the macabre fun. Novosibirsk has all of this through and through, learning how the residents were able to stay alive thanks to the "green stuff" (which worked as a cure to radiation poisoning) and how this changed their lives was heartbreaking. 

Metro Exodus makes you feel tiny, the vast landscapes and detailed histories about places you've only just stumbled upon remind you that this is a living world, and one that is as unforgiving as it is beautiful. But this is what makes it such a spectacular post-apocalyptic game: it won't go easy on you, because you're just one small piece in what is now a pretty broken puzzle. 

So, if you've got an itch for something radioactive after watching the Fallout TV show, Metro Exodus might not be the most obvious choice of post-apocalypse: but for my MGR, it's the best.

Elie Gould
News Writer

Elie is a news writer with an unhealthy love of horror games—even though their greatest fear is being chased. When they're not screaming or hiding, there's a good chance you'll find them testing their metal in metroidvanias or just admiring their Pokemon TCG collection. Elie has previously worked at TechRadar Gaming as a staff writer and studied at JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs about Smash Bros. or any indie game that crossed their path.