by Goran Damnjanovic, Gaming Columnist
Published in Gaming on 22nd March, 2019
A list of essential tips for playing Metro Exodus. The game can be punishing for the uninitiated so make sure to check out this guide, it's pretty helpful.
Metro Exodus came out just a few weeks ago and it is the first entry in the series to feature wide, open world maps that can be freely explored. No more are the narrow and dark corridors of Moscow metro where horrid monsters lurked in shadows. Those same monsters can now be found on one of the game's huge semi-open world maps, which doesn't make them less scary.
Metro Exodus is all about exploring the vast remnants of our civilization that was wiped in a massive nuclear war, exploring the infamous surface that was even more dangerous than underground in past games.
But while the game completely shifts its approach when it comes to exploration and level design, it is still based on the good old survival shooter formula like previous two games, featuring a constant ammo scarcity, deadly enemies, and breakable weapons.
Maps are vast and filled with resources but it is up to players to explore and find those hidden riches because the game doesn't force anyone to wander around and look for loot. Most of the time you do main missions that take place at specific points on maps meaning that, if you don't have the fearless spirit of exploration you will have troubles fighting all those wicked mutants and human enemies.
This guide is designed to provide important tips for playing Metro Exodus, tips that should make the game a bit easier and a lot more enjoyable. Because games like Metro Exodus can be much easier if you're ready to wander off the beaten path, if you are willing to take risks for better rewards.
In most cases, exploring will definitely be rewarding. The post-apocalyptic world of Metro Exodus is filled with dangers but this guide should make them a bit less scary, a bit less challenging, and a bit less daunting. Let's start.
One of the things I really don't like about Metro Exodus is the fact that the game doesn't support manual saves. All you have is the imperfect checkpoint system and quick saves. Now, the checkpoint system is imperfect because you don't know when a checkpoint is saved.
I found out that sometimes the game won't save for dozens of minutes and was discouraged a couple of times to discover that, after I got killed, my last checkpoint save was like 20 minutes ago, which is always super frustrating.
So, instead relying on the game to save your progress and without manual saves, you simply must create constant quicksaves. Save before every gunfight, before entering every building, right after leaving the train, right after ending a gunfight, right after you embark on a new exploration excursion.
In other words, save all the time. Metro Exodus is filled with hidden dangers, with unseen death traps, with a thousand different ways to get killed in a second. So to prevent yourself from destroying your keyboard, mouse, or controller, make sure to save every minute if possible. Keep exploring.
Exploration is the key ingredient in Metro Exodus. This time levels aren't designed as linear underground labyrinths or linear sets of open corridors placed on the surface. You have complete freedom to go wherever you want this time so use that.
The good thing is that, unlike most other open world games that are literally cramped with thousands of different POIs (points of interest), Metro Exodus usually features just a couple of POIs on each of its large maps. This is great because you aren't simply flooded with icons every time you open the map. It's also great because you have just a couple of icons to reach and explore meaning that you can explore the whole map over the course of just one hour or so.
Now, once you go exploring make sure to follow a couple of basic rules. Strip search every room and double check it for resources and parts because more often than not dead bodies, backpacks, and other objects that hide valuable items are pretty easy to miss.
Next, when you find a weapon strip it from all parts in case you don't want to pick it up. Also, you should always have at least five to ten minutes worth of air filter because you never know when air will become irradiated. And finally, always make sure to have ammo for your two weapons, in case some slumbering horror is hiding deep inside the building you're exploring.
Next, use binoculars. You will be trained on how to use them during your time on the Volga, it's pretty simple. I advise everyone to, as soon as they reach a new map, find some high point and reach it. Once you climb on it use binoculars to scan the map. Once a POI is scanned you will hear a click sound, so check the map to see whether it was marked with a large X. And don't think that you can scan the whole map from one point, no matter how high it is, so make sure to scan your surroundings every once in a while.
You will receive a gas rifle pretty early in the game, but I advise everyone to simply disregard it except in case you don't have any other ammo type on your disposal. The gas rifle has to be pumped every minute or so in order for the pressure to be high enough to kill enemies and those metal pellets aren't really deadly unless the pressure is at the max.
Instead of relying on your gas rifle for close encounters, use it for sniping. That way you can be sure that the pressure is at max before every shot, making the rifle deadly for most human foes. You can nail some nice headshots that way. After you equip it with upgrades, the rifle can be used for close quarter combat but the damn gas pressure makes the weapon tricky to use until you find a beautiful upgrade called airtight pump. With it, you won't have to pump the damn rifle every time before taking a shoot.
You see, airtight pump preserves the pressure right until you fire a shot, which can make the gas rifle a real death dealer by overcharging it and then landing a headshot from afar. Another excellent upgrade for the gas rifle is called the automatic pump. It keeps the pressure near maximum all the time, even after firing but it doesn't support overcharging the rifle.
Since I used this rifle mostly as a semi sniper (I found something much better later on), I prefer the airtight pump but in case you're using it for close combat the automatic pump might be a better solution.
Open world means long draw distances along with NPCs who are visible from afar. This is great because you can see what you will face if you get closer without alerting anyone. Now, some humans are clearly enemies (like those in marked bandit camps, for instance) but not all human NPCs in the world want to kill you. Now, this doesn't mean you should approach every human you see freely, with open arms.
As soon as you spot humans in the distance, first check out whether they are in a known bandit camp or not. If they aren't, come closer until your aim reticule start showing green or red, and stay stealthy. Once you discover whether they are friendlies (green reticule) or enemies (red) you can start planning your course of action. Oh, and in case they're friendlies make sure to holster your weapon (I don't know the keyboard command but on a controller, you should hold right on the D-pad).
Metro Exodus has four ammo types used by different weapons and by far the most important ammo type for dealing with monsters are shotgun shells. I tried to kill monsters with rifles, with pistols, and with that damn gas rifle and each time I spent more ammo on each mutated enemy than what I planned. The reason is that most monsters move extremely fast and extremely erratic. This makes lots of shots to simply fly past them, wasting precious ammo on air instead of saving it for human enemies.
Instead, you should use shotguns for monsters. Just wait till they come near you and then fire away. Most of them are dead after two shots (I play on normal difficulty so your mileage may vary) and most won't even scratch you before being dealt with. Shotguns are crude and imprecise but they are by far the best solution for close quarters combat with mutants, especially if you play on a controller that provides less precision to your shots than a mouse and keyboard combo.
Another way to deal with monsters is sniper rifles. They are deadly and can be used at a safe distance before you get spotted. So, when you notice a pack of mutants blocking your route, first kill a couple with your sniper rifle (they are extremely immobile when not aroused, which is great for dealing a couple of quick headshots) and once they start coming for you switch to a shotgun and kill the rest once they come near.
Yes, like in the previous two games, Metro Exodus rewards stealth approach. Enemies are much easier to kill, you can find extra information this way, it allows you to search for buildings without being spotted, and it is a great way to save some ammo. But stealth shouldn't be your one and only approach. Sometimes, the good old killing spree, while everyone shoots at you, is a better solution. And sometimes you simply cannot use stealth.
In case you are facing up to about half a dozen enemies, kill a couple without being spotted and then simply mow down the rest. It's way faster that way. Next, sometimes you want to create turmoil because mutants may be nearby, which means that noise from using guns will alert them and make them assault your enemies.
And when you use stealth, the two things are super important to have. First are throwing knives. They kill everyone with a single hit and are great for enemies who are on roofs or other high points. Silenced weapons are the second part of the stealth formula. They work great not only with humans but also with solitary mutants. If you stumble upon an unsuspecting monster, sometimes it is better to kill it with a throwing knife or a silenced rifle than using a shotgun.
By employing silent weapons you won't alarm its buddies and maybe even be able to skip facing them completely. You should use stealth approach to every gunfight but in case you can't, that's not the end of the world.
I already mentioned that you can find additional info by utilizing the silent approach and the best way to do it is by eavesdropping unsuspecting enemies. They are extremely talkative and will definitely say something interesting.
Maybe the location of an ammo stash, or some extremely useful weapon or gear upgrade. Maybe you'll discover the location of their leader, shaving off dozens of minutes you would spend on searching for them. Or maybe you'll hear something funny, making you laugh before silently taking the guard down. Just remember to wait a couple of seconds for guards to start talking before silently killing them.
Automatic rifles in Metro Exodus have a huge kick and if you are one of those gamers who like to empty a whole clip in a single burst, you will soon discover that you didn't kill anyone while depleting all of your AR ammo.
So, instead of wasting ammo by shooting long bursts, I advise everyone to shoot automatic rifles in 3 or 4 round bursts. This way you will save up ammo and will be much more precise. Just aim at an enemy, send a short burst towards them and then repeat. AR ammo is hard to come by and it is quite expensive to craft so make sure not to waste it.
As I already said, stealth is very important in Metro Exodus. Another thing that's important is saving up ammo and the best way to do that is by avoiding open confrontations. Just be sneaky and be familiar with your surroundings. If you know there's a bandit camp ahead do not engage it in case you can take a route that goes around it.
The same goes with mutants - if you notice a pack of them ahead try going around them because they can kill you in a second and even if you manage to wipe them out you will probably spend lots of precious ammo on doing that. Always try to flank enemies and in case you want to see whether or not their camp hides precious resources and ammo, use stealth and try not getting spotted.
Metro Exodus features dynamic day and night cycle and you will find out early during the game that night could be a better time for exploration. Well, it isn't. Humans are awake by day, meaning that assaulting a banding camp or some other building with human enemies can be harder during daytime. But, believe me, nights are even worse.
Mutants roam around during the night and while you are stealthier when exploring during the dark, there are usually so many monsters around to make a stealth approach virtually impossible. The usual scenario is something in the vein of this - you try avoiding direct confrontation by going around the bandit base, trying to sneak through the back entrance.
Unfortunately, you stumble upon an angry mutant who attacks you straight away. He gets killed only for the rest of his pack to follow him, triggered by his screams. Then, you have to deal with them in a loud way notifying bandits who then start searching for you making a proper mess out of it all and ultimately forcing you to waste lots of ammo and nerves on killing them.
Instead of this dumpster fire, you could've simply arrived during the day, sneaked freely around the base without being attacked by mutants, and then silently disposed of bandits because it's as easy to sneak during the day as it is during the night. The only disadvantage of sneaking during the day is a chance of meeting a patrol, but those are rarer than mutant packs that wonder during the night time. So, sleep during the night and explore during the daytime.
Workbenches are one of the most important objects in Metro Exodus because there you can craft everything. But they aren't so frequent to find on the game's maps.
So, once you discover one do not save up on resources (unless you're saving them for a specific item) and craft those items and ammo. You should always have at least three medkits with you so make sure to craft them if there's a need.
Next, every explorer should have at least ten minutes worth of air filters. And finally, since shotguns are so powerful against mutants, always craft as many shotgun ammo as you can. And even in case you're saving up to craft something powerful make sure to leave every workbench with three medkits and lots of shotgun ammo.
Another thing that you should do every time you stumble upon a workbench is checking up your weapons to see whether they are dirty. Unlike in Red Dead Redemption 2, weapons in Metro Exodus see their stats noticeably lowered when a weapon is dirty and in bad state.
If it is broken enough it can start misfiring, which can completely ruin your day. So, before crafting anything, check all of your weapons and clean them if needed.
Now, I talked a bit about different weapons found in Metro Exodus but it's worth pointing out the best ones so you know which ones to pick up when found in the game.
The second best all-around gun is definitely the good old Kalash. It's with you from the start and equipped with a few mods it can be a devastating tool for most encounters. It's deadly against humans and solid against slow mutants (which aren't many) at close to medium distances. The more powerful version called Bulldog is even better but that one is unavailable during early and mid-game.
Next, we have shotguns. The first one, a basic model called Ashot, has excellent stopping force and once equipped with a double barrel mod it becomes the first choice against mutants. Ashot is great against human enemies in situations when the stealth approach fails.
Just don't put four barrel mod on it; it looks cool but using it will waste all of your ammo pretty quickly. Shamber is a proper shotgun with a large magazine and crushing power. Once you find it never let it go; it simply mows down mutant hordes. Its suppressor mod allows it to be used silently, making it great for quickly disposing of enemies that are searching for you or for lone mutants.
The gas gun is called Tikhar and it is lousy to use because it requires constant attention; you have to pump it every half a minute in order for the gun to keep relatively high stopping power.
I advise against using it until you discover one of the two mods for it - the automatic pump and the airtight pump. The first one keeps the pressure high all the time and transforms the gun into a solid AR with high range and solid stopping power.
The airtight pump preserves the pressure until you shot from the gun, meaning that you can overcharge it and then use it whenever you want for a quick and precise headshot.
You can use it as a sniper replacement with the airtight pump, or as a replacement for Kalash (in case you carry a sniper and a shotgun) when equipped with the automatic pump. One huge advantage this gun has compared to most other weapons is the fact that you can craft ammo on the go, most other ammo types can only be crafted on workbenches.
And finally, we have a sniper rifle called Valve and an excellent crossbow. The sniper is great for long range and it can clear a whole bandit camp without anyone spotting you.
Pair it with a 6x scope and a 5 bullet magazine and you have a superb tool for knocking down enemies for afar. The crossbow is a replacement for the gas gun, and you can craft ammo for it on the go, just like with the gas gun. Combined with a 6x scope and twin frame that increases its range the crossbow becomes a great replacement for a sniper.
When it comes to the perfect loadout, there are two excellent combinations and yes, they both include a shotgun. The first is a shotgun, an automatic rifle and a crossbow with the twin frame mod that replaces sniper (you have two slots for classic guns and one slot for homemade guns - the gas gun and the crossbow).
The second combo is made out of a shotgun, a sniper, and a gas gun equipped with the automatic pump that replaces the classic automatic rifle. I personally use the combination of the Shambar (shotgun), Bulldog (automatic rifle) and the crossbow with a twin frame mod (a stealthy and devastating sniper that can replace throwing knives) because this way I have a huge punch for close quarters, excellent way to kill enemies from distance (I just love taking bandits down one by one from afar), and a superb weapon for medium range against human enemies, used when my cover is blown.