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5/22/2013

metro1‘METRO: LAST LIGHT’ (M)

****1/2

Deep Silver

Xbox 360

In “Metro 2033,” we were given a glimpse of what post-apocalyptic living would be like for our Cold War rival. Huddled together in uncontaminated subway tunnels, the remnants of Russian society warded off attacks from the usual assortment of homicidal mutants stalking through the city of Moscow above. This sequel picks up where the previous game left off, assuming you got the ending that had protagonist Artyom launching missiles to wipe out the mysterious and telepathic Dark Ones. As it turns out, one of these mutants survived, and while this creature must certainly be dealt with, in many ways, he’s the least of your worries. Rival factions in the metro system are growing more and more restless. Civil war is imminent. Is it possible the outcome of this conflict can be determined by a single man? In a word, “Duh.”

Like the first game, “Last Light” is oozing with atmosphere. Everything in your subterranean refuge is covered in a thick coat of grime, background characters with little personal space grumble miserably, and children produce crude crayon drawings of a sunny world they’ve never seen. But unlike its predecessor, “Last Light” isn’t punishingly difficult. You still have to desperately search for replacement gas mask filters when exploring topside, and mutants still charge at you relentlessly with no regard for their personal well-being, but a greater emphasis on stealth gameplay significantly reduces the stress. In some areas, you can tiptoe around, unscrewing light bulbs, and avoid having to fire a single shot. It’s a welcome change of pace from all the frantic running and gunning, as well as an opportunity to admire the extraordinary attention to detail in this bleak, crumbling world. If you love atmospheric first-person shooters, “Last Light” might very well be exactly what you need to say dosvedanya to “BioShock Infinite” for a while.

 

doggbox‘WAY OF THE DOGG’ (T)

*1/2

505 Games

Xbox Live Arcade

Snoop Dogg acts as your kung-fu mentor in this bizarre hybrid of fighting and rhythm games. Gameplay essentially consists of the latter. As you hit button prompts to the beat, a crudely animated brawl between two Blaxploitation combatants unfolds in the background. The graphical presentations in rhythm games have always been somewhat arbitrary, but never so exceedingly cheesy. And in order to obtain a T rating, the frequently expletive-laden hip-hop tracks have been whittled down to nothing.

 

sacredbox‘SACRED CITADEL (T)

**1/2

Deep Silver

Xbox Live Arcade

Combining the simplest elements of fantasy role-playing games and sidescrolling beat’em-ups, “Sacred Citadel” fails to establish its own identity. Up to three characters can simultaneously quest from the left side of the screen to the right, hacking and slashing the various “Dungeons and Dragons” creatures that stand in their way. Avatars consist of warriors, mages, archers and all the other mainstays of the genre, and they gain experience points and level up much as they would in any RPG. But their move-sets aren’t particularly deep, and their collective dearth of personality will leave you longing for the old school charms of Bobby and Jimmy Lee of “Double Dragon.” CV

Jokers