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2020 Ford Ecosport Review

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City-friendly sizeSpacious enough interiorBack seat head roomUpmarket stereo availableDISLIKES
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The Ecosport SE represents the best combination of features, drivetrain, and price. Make sure you select the optional blind-spot monitors too.

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Metro Exodus Preview

Here's our preview of upcoming horror FPS Metro Exodus, following a six-hour gaming session at a private London event in early 2019

Should I Buy Metro Exodus?
Despite the AI issues that we hope are fixed by launch, it’s a game that we’ve found ourselves yearning for since going hands-on. We can’t wait to play the full game in a few weeks time and deliver our final verdict and rating.

Price When Reviewed
  • $59.99
Metro Exodus is mere weeks away from release, and fans can’t wait to get their hands on the tense first-person shooter. It’s set two years after the events of Metro: Last Light, and tells the story of Artyom and the Spartan Rangers’ journey across Russia in hope of finding somewhere to settle down once and for all. It’s certainly one of the most anticipated games of the year, but will it be one of the best first-person shooters?

We at Tech Advisor were invited down to a London-based preview event where we were able to play around six hours of Metro Exodus across multiple maps, giving us a decent idea of what the game has to offer. It was admittedly not release code so there were bugs and glitches that shouldn’t be in the final build, but we won’t know for sure until release in February.

For now, we present our Metro Exodus preview, based on six hours with the game.

Release Date And Platforms
Metro Exodus certainly isn’t far away, with the game scheduled for release on 15 February 2019 across PS4, Xbox One and PC.

If you haven’t already, you can pre-order the game right now from the likes of Amazon, GAME and Best Buy, with every pre-order customer also receiving a panoramic poster depicting some of the creatures you’ll be going up against in Exodus.

Metro Exodus is the first game in the Metro series that sees Artyom, Anna and the rest of the Spartan Order venture out from the tunnels of the Metro to explore post-apocalyptic Russia. The aim? To find somewhere free of radiation to finally settle down. Of course, being a Metro game, it isn’t as easy as jumping on a train and heading off into the sunset.

Metro Exodus offers a nice middle-ground between a tight narrative-driven linear story and an open world survival game that allows you to approach any given situation in a number of ways. The game is split into four environments, each representing one of the four seasons, and while you can explore freely whilst there, you can’t go back to previous locations once you’ve moved on – as far as we can tell, anyway.

Much of our time in Metro Exodus was spent in the freezing depths of the Volga. The bleak wintery location is the first that you’ll experience in Exodus, and while it may look baron initially, there’s a lot to do if you take your time and fully explore the environment. There aren’t side quests like in other open world games, but there are lots of points of interest to explore, radioactive enemies to go up against and increasingly complex weapons to scavenge.

Each location is unique, not only in design but the kinds of mutated creatures you’ll come across, anomalies and even dynamic freak weather events. We were caught in the middle of a huge sandstorm during a fight in the dry, arid Spring section of the map, bringing with it extreme radiation damage and low visibility. The good news is that it affects bandits and other inhabitants in the exact same way, allowing you to be louder and get closer without enemies being alerted to your presence.

The lack of a HUD means that all the information, from the pressure of your air-powered rifle to the location of the next objective, are provided via physical in-game objects. The map is a physical item that you pull out and inspect, and instead of an on-screen compass, you have to keep an eye on the compass on Artyom’s arm.
It’s a similar story with gas filters; whenever you put a gas mask on, the timer on your arm will display how long you’ve got left until you start breathing in radiation. It’s easy to miss in the heat of battle, and helps fuel that anxious, uneasy vibe that the Metro series is famed for.

And believe us when we say that Metro Exodus is just as anxiety-inducing, claustrophobic and tense as earlier games, despite leaving the tunnels for the open world. This is achieved by creating tight, dark areas within the larger environment that are usually filled with monsters of all shapes and sizes. There’s one particular giant spider-infested building in the Volga that we won’t be forgetting in a hurry, and we actually jumped more than once during the preview.

It’s only possible because the tense gameplay is backed up by amazing sound design, both in terms of atmospheric audio and the game’s dynamic soundtrack. You’ll hear the scuttles of oversized spiders, the screeches of mutants and dynamic communication from bandits during shootouts, helping immerse you into the bleak environment (as well as scare the absolute sh*t out of you).

Apart from the thrill of being scared, the main motivation to explore the desolate wasteland is to scavenge. You’ll find scavenge-worthy items scattered across the environment, all of which can be used to create items like home-made bombs, throwing knives, ammo and even upgrades for your suit that can add new functionality. The highlight of the crafting system is that you can craft most items (including medkits and replacement gas filters) wherever you are, with a dedicated crafting bench only required for high-end items.

Not only can you craft items on the fly, but you can customise your weaponry too. You can scrap guns that you find laying on the ground to acquire new parts that can completely change the performance of your weapon. Want to make your revolver semi-automatic with a makeshift barrel, reflex sight and silencer? Or do you want to fire explosive ball-bearings from a home-made air rifle? Those are some of the tame weapons that you’ll come across early on, and it gets better from there. 

All parts used in the makeshift weapons should work in real life too, giving the game a little more authenticity – though how authentic a game about a post-apocalyptic world full of giant man-eating bugs is, we’ll leave for you to decide.

Be under no illusion; Metro Exodus is a tough game by design. You’ll run out of armour. You will die over and over again. You’ll run out of ammo during a firefight. But, over time, you’ll learn how to survive in post-apocalyptic Russia. That difficulty extends to firefights too; you’ve got to think tactically and use stealth whenever possible because if you run in all guns blazing, chances are you’ll get your ass handed to you. You’re not some kind of superhuman like most protagonists in shooters, and it’s refreshingly challenging.

Metro Exodus is not without issues though. Despite being little under a month away from release, we do think that the NPC AI needs work. Not necessarily with human survivors as they act, generally, as you’d expect. They’ll flank you in battles if you stay put for too long and will communicate your last-known location amongst each other for a more life-like experience.

The issue comes with mutated creatures; movement can be unnatural and erratic, making them hard to hit, and while you may argue that that’s how heavily-mutated beings act, we don’t think it’s the case. We’ve seen mutants charge towards us, stop mid-charge and stand there motionless while we shoot them in the head. Alternatively, we’ve seen mutated sea creatures scuttle from side-to-side so fast that they were almost impossible to hit, so it’s clear that something’s not quite right.

Early Verdict
Despite the AI issues that we hope are fixed by launch, it’s a game that we’ve found ourselves yearning for since going hands-on, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the full game in a few weeks’ time to deliver our final verdict and rating.



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