Metro Last Light PC Technical Review



Company: Deep Silver
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Sean Ridgeley
Date: May 13th, 2013

Graphics options, visuals, performance

Graphics options

Last Light includes an acceptable eight graphics options, including standards like Vsync, Motion Blur, and Anisotropic Filtering, and then more luxurious options like Supersample Antialiasing, Tessellation, and PhysX (which, oddly, is found in the Game Options menu, and not the Video options menu).

The 'Quality' setting unfortunately incorporates 14 settings that can't be individually toggled, including Ambient Occlusion, Shadow Filtering, Soft Particles, and more. File editing offers no means to do it manually, though it's likely only a matter of time before a method surfaces.

The list is serviceable, to be sure, but lacks a Field of View option, and anti-aliasing implementation is vague and not very configurable. By default, the game uses Analytical Anti-aliasing (AAA), which combines FXAA with proprietary 4A tech, though this isn't indicated in the menu, so many gamers will be left thinking they're not using any when disabling SSAA. More, enabling SSAA does not disable AAA, so it's very much an all or nothing scenario.

Visuals

Visually, Last Light finds itself up there with the best of them, boasting high resolution, greatly detailed textures (excluding the odd one that's low resolution, they're 2048x2048), immersive, deep lighting and shadowing, and bonus features like PhysX for good measure (the latter of which makes for more realistic destruction of some objects, and enhances particle effects). Fans will find the game to be a graphical feast through and through.

Performance

With all settings but SSAA -- which drops framerate by about 25fps -- at maximum and with PhysX enabled, I saw a pretty consistent 80-100 frames per second (fps), with drops to about 45 in very intense scenes like the one below. Stuttering is occasionally noticeable, though not severe; a patch or driver to improve it would be very welcome, but in the meantime, most should be able to dig in right now and enjoy themselves nearly as much. Note NVIDIA has released its 320.14 beta driver as of today, which is said to boost performance in Last Light by 10%.

The intro video is obnoxiously long, though can be skipped by navigating to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Metro Last Light, creating a folder named 'skip', and adding the legal.ogv file to it (this is the safest method). Alt-tabbing is not quite as responsive as it could be, though it's nothing to seriously complain about. On the plus side, the game auto-pauses itself when you do alt-tab. Also, there's the appreciated option to exit to the main menu or desktop, both of which prove extremely quick.

Load times are virtually non-existent with an SSD cache.