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Video Game: Metro 2033
"You reap what you sew, Artyom: force answers force, war breeds war, and death only brings death. To break this vicious circle one must do more than act without any thought or doubt."

Metro 2033 is a First-Person Shooter with Survival Horror elements based on the novel of the same name, released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and Steam. Set in Moscow twenty years after a devastating nuclear war, much of the action takes place Beneath the Earth, as humanity now shuns the surface wasteland in favor of living in the remains of the Moscow Metro system. The story features the 20-year-old Artyom, who embarks on a journey to solicit help from the Rangers before his home station is overrun by the mysterious and unstoppable "Dark Ones".

Along the way, Artyom faces danger from not only the Dark Ones, but also the "normal" mutated wildlife that prowl the tunnels, unpredictable and deadly electrical anomalies, the hostile environment of the surface and, of course, unfriendly humans (from bandits to militant Soviets and resurgent Nazis). Oh, and there are ghosts. You see the silhouettes and hear the screams of people who aren't there.

The world is bleak and resources are scarce; weapons are mostly cobbled together and the trading currency of choice is pre-war military-grade bullets, giving intrepid Disaster Scavengers (and the player) a choice between taking on threats with substandard ammo or literally shooting money.

A sequel to the game called Metro Last Light was released in 2013.

The game features the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Playground: And how! While Artyom is walking through a ruined district he starts to hear voices and see things that are not actually there. At some point he comes across an old and rusty playground. Suddenly a freaking Flashback Echo happens. After a couple of seconds a vision vanishes and Artyom notices that the Dark one who was stalking him for a while was behind all that crazy stuff (cue awkward silence).
    • When the flashback ends, a swing seat keeps moving as if a child was playing here just a second ago.
    • If Artyom takes his mask off during this flashback, he gets a silent approval from the Dark ones in a form of a positive moral point that affects whether or not he can make a choice at the end of his journey. However if he acts agressively, i.e. attacks the illusions, he gets a negative one and the Dark one's voice will say "He doesn't understand".
  • Abnormal Ammo: Zig-zagged. Military-grade (A.K.A. Shiny) 5.45x39 rounds are normal in other games, but here they are the only form of currency, which means that using them literally means you're shooting money away. You'll be using reloaded ammunition for most of your guns.
    • However, the Hellsing pneumatic gun launches large darts. The Tihar air rifle and the Volt Driver both use ball bearings as ammo.
  • The Ace: Miller/Melnik, Hunter, Khan and Ace.
  • Achilles' Heel: Super Nosalises in "Cave" are afraid of the light.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The only form of currency is pre-war, military grade ammunition. Ammunition you could be using for an extra edge in a fight... but then you'd be literally shooting money. There're a few nice guns to be found if you take the time to look around, however. After a certain point in the game though, there's no place to buy anything, so you're definitely encouraged to use it against tougher mutants you come across.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Bourbon is presented much more sympathetically in the game than in the book, going from a sleazebag opportunist and coward who planned to kill Artyom to a Cool Old Guy Big Brother Mentor who takes a bullet for Artyom instead.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Moscow subway is full of people with common names such as Boris or Peter. And then there is a prostitute Snezhanna. Her name is changed to a simple Nikky in the English dub, however.
    • Snezhana is actually a legitimate, although rare, Russian name, meaning "snowy". There are more that play the trope completely straight, but in most cases it's subverted as half the characters are known only by their nicknames.
    • Moreover, Snezhana is exactly the kind of corny, faux-fancy name that (equivalent to) "white trash" Russian parents could give a girl - or that a prostitute could invent for herself as an exotic moniker. It's not a "stripper name" like Nikki or Candi, but very, very close.
  • Afterlife Express: Complete with bright lights and the shadows of passengers in the windows.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Both played with, ultimately being averted at the library. At the end of the level, Artyom is knocked into an elevator by a Librarian - which approaches him menacingly. Artyom is saved by a much larger Demon, who pushes the Librarian aside, and also take interest in eating Artyom. Luckily for Artyom, the Librarian then returns and the two mutants have a short-lived but evenly-matched battle.
  • Anachronism Stew: Game world looks more archaic than it should be considering nuclear war occured in 2013. Most of pre-war items are taken right from the Soviet Seventies or even Fifties.
  • Anti-Villain: It is implied by some NPC dialogue that a good proportion of the "Nazis" and "Communists" you kill are forcibly conscripted or otherwise immensely desperate sods, and two of them have a heartbreaking conversation about their families, their children, and their plans to flee to Hansa:
    Nazi 1: Do you think we could do it? Take the families and make a break for the League?
    Nazi 2: You know what happened to the ones that tried.
    Nazi 1: I know. Bastards.
  • Artifact Mook: Averted, Librarians remain in the library, Nosalises don't leave the tunnels and Dark Ones aren't encountered as normal gameplay enemies at all.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Somehow, the AI is surprisingly smart and good on Ranger Mode.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The loading screens suffer from this. The tips, while they are supposed to be related to the game and how the player died, aren't. This leads to the tips suggesting approaches to deal with anomalies or ghosts (both of which only appear a handful of times) when the player dies to something else.
    • The A.I. of human enemies for this game was widely mocked, as they often do things like run back and forth between cover points at random without actually stopping to use the cover to shoot at anything, even when being shot at. This problem seems worse in the PC version than the Xbox360 version.
  • Artistic License - Physics: The Volt Driver, while based on sound principles, would be woefully ineffective as a weapon in Real Life. It would take hours to charge a single lethal shot with the depicted hand crank, the ball bearings have ballistic properties that make them poor ammunition, and the rails would require frequent re-machining just to keep in use which is not something that the survivors in the tunnels have the luxury of doing. Still, it is really cool.
  • A Taste of Power: The prologue section, where you have powerful guns and a relatively high amount of ammo.
    • Except on Ranger Mode, where you can barely scrounge one full magazine for your primary firearm even if you turn the entire tutorial level upside down.
    • For comparison, on the easiest difficulty setting the player gets 400+ bullets.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Scoped guns. There is seldom enough distance to need a scope, and the scopes themselves aren't anything to be thrilled over. They're cloudy, dirty, smudged, and oily.
    • To some extent, the Tihar and the Hellsing become this later on. While the Tihar's ammunition is inexpensive to purchase and the Hellsing's ammunition can be recovered from corpses, they both rely on compressed air to fire, which requires the player to manually operate a built-in pump to recharge the reservoir. If they are not charged frequently, each subsequent shot is noticeably weaker than the last and will eventually become so weak as to barely make a dent in anything. Weapons in the other slots (such as the VSV and Revolver with the Silencer attachment) can do the same job without compromising your close-quarters combat ability, especially as the Tihar and the Hellsing take up the same weapon slot as the shotguns. But since the VSV and Silenced Revolver aren't available until the player is more than halfway through the game, they're still a fair choice when the alternative stealth approach involves throwing knives.
    • Grenades. The only indicator of how long until it explodes is how much of the fuse has yet to be burnt, grenades are fairly rare and expensive, they don't pack much of a punch, and throwing them the right distance and time will take practice.
    • Military-grade ammo until a certain point in the game. It makes short work of pretty much everything on any difficulty, but using before the final act will mean you'll have little/no money for vital supplies, which can make the game unwinnable even on the easier difficulties.
    • The Ranger DLC introduces the Automatic Shotgun; while it's more than capable of clearing a room of Librarians, be prepared to both spend a fortune on shotgun ammo and to almost never use the thing.
  • Badass Boast:
    Hunter: You can go like lambs to the slaughter but I'll hold on to what life I've got with teeth and claws, and I'll take more than a few of your "Homo Novus" with me to Hell!
    • Miller also gets one after seeing hangars in D6 filled with dozens of tanks, MRLs and SCUDs perfectly preserved underground.
    Miller: Our heritage, our future, how much power is here. With all of this we'll rule the Earth once more! We won't have to live like rats, with sword and fire, we'll win back the sky and the sun! We can climb out of the dirt, rebuild the cities and the Metro tunnels will be once again filled with fast silver trains.
  • Badass Beard: Several, especially Ulman and Khan.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • When you realize that Miller had been in the Soviet Army, which had been dissolved 42 years prior to the events of the game and about 20 years before the nuclear holocaust. He would have to be at least 60.
    • The old man from the Hole station. You can find his body and his spear gun in the arsenal of the station and a long line of dead lurkers with arrows stuck between the eyes at the shacks.
    • Sasha's uncle also counts.
    Sasha: They jumped at him, but he started shooting, and then the big nosalis bit him in the neck. But uncle is really strong, he killed him with his knife.
  • Bad Future: After the nuclear war, humanity's only refuge is the metro system, and even that isn't safe with all the bandits, political fanatics, nosalises and lurkers running around, attacking stations and travelers. The outside, with its toxic air, radioactive water, Demons, Watchers and Librarians, is even worse. And that's not even counting the paranormal activity...
  • Bayonet Ya:
    • The semiautomatic shotgun can come with a bayonet, which is a rather effective way of saving ammunition. When it is without a bayonet, you just smack things with the butt of your gun. In Ranger Mode, expect to use this more than the primary fire itself.
    • The Volt Driver has a secondary fire mode that works like an electric bayonet. The best part? When charged up, it can kill most enemies with only a single hit.
  • BFG: Many.
    • DShK mounted machine gun. It uses 12.7x108 mm bullets and leaves big holes in concrete and flesh. Sadly, no Ludicrous Gibs. Also a very limited supply of ammunition, roughly a hundred bullets (Unless you are riding a stolen Nazi cart. During this part of the game it can only overheat and never runs out of ammo).
    • The Heavy Automatic Shotgun fits that trope too. Basically, it is a DShK that was modified to use 12x70 ammunition and is light enough to be carried by a human. Initially it was available only in a pre-order version of the game from Gamestop, but the Russian community made it available for all versions shortly after it's release.
    • The Volt Driver, which fires ball bearings as ammo, which is the cheapest type of ammo and it's also a fairly common pickup. It comes complete with a Secondary Fire mode that uses absolutely 0 ammunition by delivering a huge jolt of electricity directly into an enemy. And to make this even cooler, with the Ranger Mode DLC, you can pick this up very early in the game.
  • Before The Dark Times: Pre-War Earth.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Artyom was captured and nearly executed by Nazis, Rangers Ullman and Pavel come into the room and swiftly eliminate the captors without firing a single bullet.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Subtitles in the English version differ greatly from the Russian ones, especially during Artyom's narration that accompanies loading screens. Sadly, several localizations are based on English translation, not the Russian original.
    • None of the songs in the game are translated. Instead different language settings use different songs. Bourbon's song in Riga is Sodatushki in the English dub, but it is replaced by Vladimirsky Central in the Russian version.
  • Blast Out: Bourbon and the bandit leader at the Suharevskaya station (called "Dry" in the English version). Both die.
  • Blob Monster: Giant Amoebas
  • Blown Across the Room: Zig-zagged. Bodies generally react to shots like you would expect them to (unless you shoot them with a DShK machinegun). Ragdoll Physics often glitch though, as they don't seem to collide with non-terrain features all that well.
  • Boom, Headshot: Although a number of enemies wear protective headgear, aiming your shots at the head/neck region is a very effective tactic against humans.
  • Boring, but Practical: It is possible to go through almost the entire game only using your knife. With enough patience and evasion, almost everything can be killed with enough knife strikes. Yes, even the librarians will fall if you do it enough.
    • There is quite an array of weaponry to choose from, but you will find that when you have ammunition available, that almost every fight is won with either the semiautomatic shotgun or with the AK-74.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Actually there are three different ones, Librarians, Demons, and Plated Nosalises.
    • The Librarians are found only in the Lenin Library. It is possible to stare the normal grey-white ones down in order to avoid confrontation for a short time, but the black Librarians found in the deep parts of the Library will attack you anyway and they are even tougher.
    • Bitc- I mean Demons, are the deadliest enemies in the game. Strong and fast, they're pretty much dragons without the fire breath, although their sharp claws and massive wings allow them to swoop down from the skies and carry off their unfortunate prey. When encountered, the best way to deal with them is to either hide until they go away or run for cover: getting caught out in the open with one of these bearing down on you is tantamount to suicide.
    • Plated Nosalises are the toughest form of Nosalis and they sport some sort of black-blue shiny plating on their skin and have big glowing eyes. Fortunately, shining your light on them stuns them briefly, so you can use that to score a few hits.
    • All of these, except for the Demons are Made of Iron, capable of surviving being stuck by a sticky grenade.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Whenever there's a Jump Scare early on:
  • Broken Faceplate: Your gas mask will start to crack and break as you take damage while wearing it. As it gets closer to breaking, it becomes less effective, and when it has a hole punched in it, it's done for and you have to find another in less than thirty seconds.
  • Butt Monkey: Artyom.
    • Falls off a rail cart at least three times.
    • During the third time, the rail cart flips over and nearly crushes him.
    • Subjected to a number of incapacitating hallucinations.
    • Knocked out and beaten up by a pair of Nazi soldiers.
    • Often very nearly falls to his doom because the surface or object that was supposed to support him gives way.
  • Cap: There is no limit for ammo (which means that you easily carry a 100 kg equivalent of ammunition) but throwing knives, grenades, sticky grenades and morphine syrettes are limited to five each.
  • The Chosen One: Artyom.
  • The Coconut Effect: Apparently western players won't understand the game takes place in Russia without people speaking with heavy accents and raspy voices.
    • All the different language dubs were spoken by the same guys.
  • Combat Tentacles: The fleshy tendrils that hang down from the ceiling in the Library. The Biomass in D6 also attacks you with these.
  • Commonplace Rare: For a world with a lot of radiation and poisonous fumes, it seems extremely arbitrary that Artyom can only use one particular model of gas mask and only one particular model of filter.
    • To elaborate, Artyom can only use a particular model of full face gas mask. It can be somewhat considered an Acceptable Break from Reality for being easier to execute from a programming perspective, prevent Interface Screw by subjecting players to looking through masks which use smaller viewing windows, and also to make the game more challenging.
    • However, the filter thing makes absolutely no sense. Artyom cannot use a huge proportion of the filters he finds. He cannot take filters from the masks of slain enemies. This makes absolutely zero sense from a pragmatic survival standpoint, but makes even less from an equipment standpoint. Artyom's gas mask uses 40mm threads for its filters. 40mm is pretty much the global standard for modern gas masks and filters, and has been pretty much ever since the 1970's, if not already very prevalent before. Essentially every single filter in the game is a typical 40mm-threaded filter, and any such filter is compatible with any gas mask that uses the same threads. Therefore, it is wholly nonsensical that Artyom will only use a very specific type of 40mm filter, despite the fact that essentially he can use any sort of filter he comes across, provided that it uses 40mm threads.
  • Computer Voice: D6 crane keeps informing Artyom of his progress in a calm pre-recorded female voice while the biomass tries to break into the cabin.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception/ The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards will occasional walk past you hiding less than a foot away but step on some glass or knock some cans over? They all set fire on your exact position.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The preferred past time of some Metro inhabitants, generally trying to make sense of a post-apocalyptic world. Notable musings include the guy that speculates that ghosts and the like now exists because the nuclear war blew up Heaven and Hell.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Scopes on pneumatic weapons and firearms. There are only two levels in the game big enough for long-distance sniping, glares and oily thumbprints on the optics obstruct vision in the dark and the zoom is excessive for even medium-ranged combat. The scoped Tihar rifle looks awesome though.
    • Some players have a habit of keeping their gas masks and nightvision goggles on at all times despite running the risk of damaging the gas mask or suffering the tunnel-vision caused by the goggles. It's more a matter of the player failing a spot check, since the game doesn't hold your hand on these things.
  • Cool Car: The Ranger's vehicle. In the book it was a regular firetruck that broke and was abandoned in the depot while the Moscow burned, in the game it's a modified GAZelle truck.
  • Cool Garage: A fortified orthodox Russian church.
    Ulman: This is the first and so far the only human outpost up here...
  • Cool Guns: The AK-74M and VSK-94 are as close as your get with real weapons (Aside from a rare woodland camo and worn down wooden handguards instead of plastic ones that were present in the Beta version), but the AK-2012 is highly reminiscent of the P90.
  • Creepy Child: One of the child models in the game looks disturbingly similar to a Type 3 Screamer from the 1995 film with the same name. It even seen holding the same teddybear on promo screenshots.
  • Crapsack World:
    Artyom: The sun on my face... Fresh air in my lungs... The grass beneath my feet... I've heard of such things, yet I live in a world without them.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Right after Artyom escapes the communists in Arsenal Station.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: After slaughtering or sneaking his way through an entire station full of Nazis, Artyom is captured by quite literally the oldest trick in the book - a man hiding next to the door and hitting him with a stick.
  • Cyanide Pill: Conscripts are issued one, just in case. One claimed that he would never get captured, so he gave his to another comrade.
  • Cycle of Revenge
  • Dark Is Not Evil: But you only see it if you manage to get the "Enlightened" ending.
  • Deadly Gas: D6 is filled with it. Artyom has to climb the crumbling catwalks and kick-start the ventilation system to clear it out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: One of the soldiers in Frontline, whose interruptions are very much contrary to the Commissar's grandstanding.
  • Diegetic Interface: It doesn't rely on any sort of digital HUD —it's post-apocalyptic Russia, so no Powered Armor for you). Damage causes your vision to red out, while low air makes it go blurry. There's a button for looking at your watch (which shows both time left before you need to replace your gas mask filter and has a sensor for ambient light level, to help you sneak), while another brings up your journal (showing you your current objectives and a compass pointing toward it). Your lighter serves both as a source of light and as an objective pointer, its light flickers towards your task under the non-existant air flow. The only non-diegetic part is your weapon selection and ammo counter, and even then, on most weapons you can see how much ammo you have left without looking at the HUD ammo counter.
    • You have an ammo counter except on Ranger Hardcore, where you have to check your journal or your wristwatch in order to get a definite count.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Ranger Mode.
  • Dirty Communists: The Communists, called the Reds, are definitely presented in a negative light.
  • Disaster Scavengers: Stalkers.
  • Disc One Nuke: The Ranger DLC release has the Volt Driver (home-made rail gun stolen from a caravan) as early as Chapter 2: Lost Tunnels. It kills Librarians in five shots or less when overcharged (and most other foes in one), uses the cheapest ammunition in the game, and its Secondary Fire can kill most common mooks in one hit without expending any ammunition.
    • Also from the Ranger DLC is the Heavy-Automatic Shotgun, which is effectively a shotgun that fires like an automatic rifle. It eats through a full clip of ammo in seconds (20 rounds in about 8 seconds), is incredibly expensive to use, and limits use of the shotgun/secondary slot later on; however, provided you're not too distant, anything that can be killed will not survive a full clip.
    • Military ammo also qualifies for this; it's available from the intro onwards, and will kill any non-boss pretty fast. The only reason it isn't a game breaker is that it doubles as currency, and overuse means you'll literally be wasting money.
  • Driven to Suicide: Doctor in the Hole station hospital.
  • Do Not Go Gentle:
    Pavel: Take this you bitches!!!
  • Downer Ending: The default ending, in which Artyom opts to destroy the home of the Dark Ones and is left to wonder whether he did the right thing.
  • Easy Level Trick: On the mission Frontline, if you listen to the right conversation you can find a shortcut that takes you right to the other side of the level, missing out most of the harder parts of the mission and making getting the no casualties achievement for that level much easier to get.
  • Eldritch Location: The entire metro is one, in the "ordinary building" variation, seeing as it's a man-made, perfectly mundane object/system, that turns into the trope during the game's backstory. The mutants can be semi-explained away as a product of the radiation, although real radiation does not cause such fundamental changes. However, there is obviously *much* weirder, inexplicable stuff going on in a lot seemingly deserted tunnels...
  • Emergency Weapon: Trench knife. Also throwing knives and Hellsing. Sort of. If you don't forget to pick up knives and arrows you will never run out of ammunition. The knife can be used to kill almost any foe, except for amoebas, bandits, and demons. As you would expect, you're going to use this a lot more than firearms when you're playing ranger mode.
  • Escort Mission: Two formal ones, both towards the end of the game. The first is difficult to fail as you have plenty of backup otherwise, whereas the second requires you to play in a very specific (and rather vague) way to keep from having your escort be overrun by amoebas. It's not too infuriating if you run through the Meat Moss before him and simply allow him to catch up, as he's capable of taking care of himself most of the time. Story-wise, Bourbon essentially hires you to escort him to where he wanted to go, although only the first few levels before Market station play out like this, and even then does not impact the gameplay. Afterwards, you get split up, briefly reunited, and are split up once more.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: Mostly averted. All primary weapons use the same ammunition and thus deal the same amount of damage, the only difference is their rate of fire, accuracy and magazine size. On Ranger Hardcore difficulty each firearm is capable of killing most mutants and mooks in a single hit, so the player can base the choice on aesthetics alone.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: From your fellow humans, wildlife and plants to the very earth you walk on and air you breathe.
  • Evil Gloating: After you get captured by Nazis, lampshaded a few seconds later.
  • Evil Phone: Twice in D6 bunker: In an airlock during Prologue and in the main chamber during "D6" chapter. The place was abandoned and decaying for at least twenty years, the government was destroyed during or dissolved shortly after the third world war, yet the phone rings when you restore power and press some buttons on the control panel. The player can't answer the call and other NPC don't seem to react at all though.
    • Game files refer to that specific sound as "d6_signal_4.ogg" and beside several scripted events it's supposed to happen at random. And it does.
    • It's possible this was based on the mysterious transmission signals people noticed in the area of Moscow. These signals are theoritized to be a part of a Russian fail-deadly "Perimeter" system nicknamed Dead Hand in the West.
  • Expy:
    • Byakhee (demons) and Formless Spawn (Ameobas) from Call of Cthulhu.
    • The Dark Ones to Half-Life's Vortigaunts. Both species are lanky semi-humanoid beings, whose hands have only two fingers and no palms to speak of, and oddly-shaped faces. Both also have psychic abilities to some level, seem to share a collective conscience of sorts, and have a bad reputation with humans at first.
  • Fingerless Gloves: In the game, Artyom starts off wearing a pair of knit fingerless gloves. The suit upgrades also change your gloves: full-fingered black leather gloves for the stealth suit, fingerless olive green combat gloves for the heavy armor.
  • First-Person Shooter
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a lot of little things you're not going to notice on your first time through the game. Like, how the silhouette of a Dark One is standing on the tracks during your handcart caravan to Riga starting out (while everyone around you passes out and things get weird), or incidental conversations between people.
  • From Bad to Worse: Just when you thought things weren't going well...
  • Gallows Humor: Pavel and Ulman are known for their somewhat grim sense of humor.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Subverted. Any time you have a companion, they can theoretically be swarmed, and they can die. In an early-game case, Bourbon can die in Dead City if he is mobbed too heavily by Watchers, but you pretty much have to be trying on purpose for this to happen. The amoebas can kill Miller in D6 if you don't assist him with them. If one of them dies, you fail the level, and the game hangs a lampshade on the subversion.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Anyone (including you) in a heavily irradiated/poisoned area. Also of note is that it's possible to shoot off the gas masks and/or their filters during one level on the surface, suffocating them. But what the hell, why not. The people you're killing on that level? Neo-Nazis!
    • The Nazi troopers wear gas masks, even indoors. In fact, their distinct gas mask (different in style from the ones everyone else wears) is the one shown on the front cover of the game. Since the game factors in all barriers, items, and stuff on a body when calculating damage inflicted, these masks act as a form of armor, capable of stopping at least one 5.45 or .44 bullet.
  • Genius Loci: The Catacombs. You apparently stumble into one with Bourbon; the tunnel he originally planned to take was sealed off, forcing you to detour into a small side room where the nosalises refuse to follow. It turns out that it's full of the dead bodies of other explorers, and as Bourbon tries to find a way out, he begins to hallucinate something singing to him. As his hallucination gets worse and worse, you start seeing the room as a dark alley, with a slowly-opening gate at one end increasingly shrouded in an ominous pink and purple atmosphere. However, thanks to Artyom's psychic resistance and a little help from a Dark One, you manage to escape from the room's deadly grasp.
  • Gone Horribly Right: When calculating damage inflicted by weapons, the dev team made it so that every piece of armor, bit of ammo, magazine, and such on enemies absorbs a certain amount of damage from gunshots. This is responsible for the frequent reviewer complaints about enemies inexplicably becoming bullet sponges. The effect becomes more pronounced when shotguns are introduced. The game doesn't treat the spread as a single massively damaging projectile. Rather, each pellet is treated as a single weak projectile with poor armor penetration, just like in real life. The result is that well-armored opponents can sometimes require more than a half dozen shotshells to down, but can easily be killed by three dirty 5.45 bullets.
  • Go Out with a Smile: The dead soldier with a broken gun on a pile of nosalis corpses at the airlock of the Hole Station is smiling.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: Everyone - the guards, the bandits, most of the Nazis and Reds, even Artyom himself - is, for the most part, doing what they have to do to survive.
  • Guide Dang It: You obtain the 'good' ending by listening to conversations, lingering in hallucination sequences and so forth...the problem is that the only indication you've achieved anything with these actions is a brief, unexplained flash on the screen and a whisper.
    Khan: You reap what you sow, Artyom. Force answers force, war breeds war, and death only brings death. To break this vicious circle one must do more than act without any thought or doubt.
    • 4A Games team made an armor attachment system that worked just like it should: Every pouch, helmet, magazine or armor plate honestly did its job and substracted a certain amount of damage dealt by a projectile that hit them. But it was never explained to the player, which led to mass confusion and complaints that enemies are literal bullet sponges, while all it took was a single bullet to the neck.
    • You never need to buy any guns you see in shops, because you can always find the same gun, or a better version in some cases, for free hidden on the levels.
    • The Library is a level where you need to spend a lot of time of the surface. Hope you brought plenty of filters!
    • Many people play through the game not realising you can buy special armour.
    • You can buy filters at precisely two places in the game, both of them early (Riga and Market.) This can leave a new player expecting that every civilized station afterward will sell filters, and might only buy a few to save rounds, counting on being able to buy more later when they have more currency to burn. The Armory will be a nasty surprise for a player who is down to their last few filters, if they have any at all after the surface trek to get there.
    • Speaking of filters, the way the game handles filters and the gas mask isn't explicitly stated anywhere unless you decide to look it up online (which seems to be the only way to find out.) When you buy or find filters, the number next to the gas mask in the lower left corner of the screen pops up and says "+##", with the "##" being whatever amount of breathing time the filters added, not the actual amount of filters you bought. An astute player may be able to notice this when they buy filters from Riga or Market Station because the number will increase by ~10 even when you buy just one filter (the filters you buy in the stations are supposedly of "higher" quality and so add more breathing time than ones found on the surface, which will add 3 or 4 if you get lucky). That being said, it's easy to see that the filter system doesn't work intuitively. One would assume you buy filters, which get added to the total in the corner of the screen, and the watch tells you how much time your filter has left. Instead, in actuality, the number in the corner is how many total minutes you have to breath with the gas mask on, the watch tells you how many minutes your current filter has left, and the amount of filters you have on you seems to be infinite until you get down to the last 5 minutes, at which point it will no longer allow you to change filters. Also, the game doesn't tell you how to change filters anywhere. There are three ways: tap the gas mask button, take the mask on and off (which automatically adds a new filter), or just wait until your current filter is completely wasted and then Artyom will automatically replace it. Another untold issue with the filter system is that it seems to cap out at around 40 total minutes or so, and the game won't let you pick up surface filters until you have less than 10 total minutes left. Also, as far as the gas mask itself goes, the game won't allow you to pick up a new replacement gas mask from the ground unless it is in better condition than the one you're wearing, which is not something readily observable when looking at the world model of the gas masks.
  • Groin Attack: Heavily implied in the Armory level, where a malcontent mocks that a Communist soldier is attacking the part that attracts him the most. He returns the favour a minute later.
  • Gun Porn: The game is filled with it, despite the fact that as a Scavenger World, most of them are cobbled together pieces of crap. Probably the best example is the revolver shotgun, which has a complicated reload mechanism because of the fact that only four of the six shells are accessible. The reload animation shows all of this accurately, reloading in the correct order and manually cycling the chamber as necessary.
  • Harder Than Hard: Ranger Mode. It doesn't matter whether you pick Ranger Easy or Ranger Hardcore, you are still going to cringe more that once. The fact that the game is noob unfriendly to begin with doesn't help at all. A list of the notable things it does to murder players includes:
    • Ammunition is extremely scarce. Ammo pickups are down to 1-2 bullets per magazine or pouch from a solid dozen on Normal difficulty. It will be a rare occasion when you fire a gun; you'll be using your knife for almost everything. Unless, of course, you keep your eyes open to find all the military rounds around and make the right deals at marketplaces. Even then, having even a full hundred rounds of any kind in reserve is likely to be the absolute most you will ever have.
    • The HUD is disabled, save for laser pointers on mid to late-game weapons (And those can be turned off in the game settings as well).
    • Damage, dealt and taken, is several times higher. Both Artyom and his enemies, human and mutant, are glass cannons, killing and dying incredibly fast, up to the point of one hit, one kill. Same goes for Artyom's gas mask - it breaks incredibly quickly, making surface or toxic levels far more deadly.
  • Healing Potion: Rather than using bandages or the like, a medkit consists of syrettesnote  of painkillers. Artyom can carry up to five of them in an orange Individual Medkit used by Civil Defence.
  • Heroic Mime: Downplayed with Artyom. He narrates during the loading between the chapters, but otherwise he only speaks precisely once in the actual game, when a railcart is about to fall on him. This is lampshaded by multiple characters who comment on his silence.
    Khan: Keeping silent? You're turning into a ranger.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted. Both the player character and all of his allies happily wear helmets whenever appropriate, only removing them in safe areas such as towns. Even then, Artyom himself is never seen without one in the cutscenes.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. There are many atmospheric moments featuring kids living underground, including an entire level dedicated to carrying a very chatty young boy on your shoulders, as you attempt to reunite him with evacuees from his station.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Spectacularly averted. Save for the VSK-94, which is pretty close to this trope in real life, silenced weapons are still fairly noisy (the revolver sounds like a firecracker going off), and enemies aren't oblivious to this sound. Using a silenced weapon versus an unsilenced weapon is the difference between enemies going "Something's up. Stay alert and check it out," versus "Someone's firing a weapon right over there. Get to cover!" rather than keeping you from being noticed at all.
    • There's only two truly silent weapons in the game, throwing knives and the pneumatic speargun, so they fulfill this role in gameplay.
  • Hospitality for Heroes: Lampshaded by Miller in D-6:
    Miller: Same old story... you save the world while sitting waist-deep in shit and nobody gives a damn.
  • How We Got Here: The game begins with a section pretty close to the end. Most of the game is leading up to that initial fight up until a Demon lunged at you.
  • The Hunter: Hunter and the Order he belongs to. "Any danger should be eliminated by any means necessary".
  • Hyper Competent Sidekick: All of your partners are this. More or less whenever you are travelling with someone you don't even need to fire a shot; just stand back and wait for your buddy to get the kill. Very rarely though they will still get overwhelmed, although in most cases on the next try they will still solve the problem themselves.
    • This is averted with Miller when in D6 though. He will die from the amoebas if you do not help. And he will run ahead faster than you can kill them or the pores they spawn from. D6 is a lot of trial and error due to this.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Zig Zagged. You can carry only 3 types of weapons at once: primary (assault rifles of all sorts), secondary (shotguns/pneumo guns), a revolver, a medkit containing five syrettes, five pipe-bombs of each kind and five throwing knives. Ammo count is unlimited though, so a careful player can easily stack up several hundred rounds by the end of the game.
  • Idle Animation: Stand in one place for a while and Artyom will fiddle with whatever he has in his hands. Some of these are rather amusing, like two guns' parts coming loose, or Artyom tossing the Bastard up in the air and wonder where it went when it takes too long to fall down. See this video.
  • If I Do Not Return: Hunter to Artyom. It kickstarts the whole plot.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Very much averted by human enemies, especially soldiers. They will hit you consistently at least 2 out of 3 times if you don't use cover.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: The unknown .44 revolver, to the point of becoming almost a Running Gag on the series' wiki. Not only is the type of bullet it uses only widespread in America, but revolvers nowadays aren't that widespread outside of the US. There hasn't been a .44 round manufactured in Russia for decades, and Metro 2033 is set in the ravaged remains of Moscow in an alternate near future. All other guns are excusable by virtue of being either, a) Homemade Inventions as seen below, or b) rare and valuable Pre-War guns.
  • Improvised Weapon: Bastard assault rifles and Duplet shotguns, as well as the Hellsing and Tihar airguns, are cobbled together from junk. The bullets don't fare much better. A pre-apocalypse weapon is a very valuable piece of hardware, as Bourbon invokes by using his AK as a bargain chip.
  • Infant Immortality: Zig-zagged. On one hand, no child is ever seen being killed or dying, with one child making a lot of noise in a station infested with rat-mutants, and yet being alright until Artyom rescues him. On the other, it is outright stated that children are killed whenever Mutants break into a station, and one of the ghost silhouettes in the lost tunnel is of a child fleeing a nosalis and screaming for his mother.
  • Infinite Flashlight: No matter the charge level, Artyom's flashlight will never go out because of low battery power. Cranking the charger only makes the light brighter.
  • In Medias Res: The prologue level takes place towards the end of the game. You then go back to the start of the plot and work your way back to that scene.
  • Interface Screw: Some of the surreal sequences can evoke this. Also, the small, low contrasts fonts are not easily legible on smaller screens.
    • The "escort mission" with Sasha causes the game to ratchet up the mouse acceleration, making precise aiming much more difficult. Justified by the fact that Artyom is now lugging around a child on his back.
    • As Artyom's gas mask filters get closer to being expended, the gas mask's goggles start to get a little fogged up.
  • Intoxication Ensues: There's one scene where you and a buddy are stuck just below the surface in a room with an anomaly. Your friend starts babbling about "the Great Gate" and "marvelous songs", but Artyom's resistance to anomalies means that you don't see what he's seeing, so he seems high or drunk.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Ostankino tower
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Noncombatants are never found outside fortified stations, and Artyom holsters his weapons whenever he enters a safe zone, making it impossible to harm them.
  • It's Up to You: Downplayed. It occurs a few times, but not to the point where Artyom is the only one who does anything.
  • "Join the Army," They Said: Troops on the train to Frontline. Mentioned word for word.
  • Jump Scare: Surprisingly scarce, though they do happen. The games focuses more on Nothing Is Scarier to create tension.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The player can nab almost anything useful that is not nailed down. This is justified when stripping dead bodies of their weapons, ammo, and supplies between stations as this is a Scavenger World and nothing should go to waste, but the player can also find a few rounds of ammunition (and the occasional firearm) lying about in inhabited stations and nab them without anyone there noticing or objecting.
  • Kick the Dog: The Communists executes a soldier who found a secret way into the Nazi base, charging him with desertion.
  • Kill It with Fire: Thrice - chapters 1 (Flamethrower), 5 (Flamethrower) and 6 respectively (MRL).
  • Knife Nut: On the harder difficulties, it is advisable to conserve ammo by using your knife where possible.
  • Large Ham: The Commissar on the frontline level. He tries to start off the welcoming of new recruits by singing The Internationale, but gets interrupted. He then gives a grandiose speech with a comedically high pitched nasal voice and mispronounces his r's like w's (An obvious parody on Vladimir Ilyich Lenin himself). It's filled with propaganda and then cut short by a soldier snarking. He finishes by telling everybody to get their shit together.
    • Several minutes later a different Commissar orders an execution of a man who found and marked the secret passage under the rails on the basis of suspected mutiny as if it's a daily routine. After that he casually asks an executioner to check if the passage actually exists.
  • Laser Sight: Some high-grade weapons have these equipped. On most difficulty levels they are unnecessary as the crosshairs are more reliable indicators of where your shots will go. However, on Ranger Mode, the Heads-Up Display is disabled, and they become essential for lining a shot up from the hip.
    • In a more practical sense, the Rangers guarding Polis make a justified use of these by hiding in the darkness and then focusing them on someone approaching so they know they are being targeted until they identify themselves.
  • Last of His Kind: Most of the Metro residents believe themselves to be the last viable population of humans on the planet, with a Ranger going so far as to proudly proclaim their surface base in Moscow to be the only aboveground human settlement left on Earth. They're wrong - a perceptive player can overhear some incidental dialogue revealing that there are at least two other places where humans survive, specifically the St. Petersburg Metro tunnels and Siberia.
  • Last Stand: Defenders of the Hole station - Children of the Underground.
  • Licensed Game: Of the eponymous novel.
  • Lies to Children: Dialogue of a father and his son on Exhibition station during Chapter 1. Also a bit of a Tear Jerker.
    Boy: Daddy? When mommy will come back?
    Man: Soon, very soon...I wish she saw how grown up you are now...
  • Lighter and Softer: The game does take place in a dreary, dark and filthy Crapsack World, but compared to the novel, the game world is downright optimistic and hospitable.
  • Limited Loadout: You can carry only 3 types of weapons at once: primary (assault rifles of all sorts), secondary (shotguns/pneumo guns), a revolver, a medkit containing five syrettes, five pipe-bombs of each kind and five throwing knives.
  • Living Memory: As Khan explains, the dead in the tunnel between Dry and Cursed stations are forced to relive their last moments, over and over again. Those that are killed by these occurrences end up joining them... human or not.
  • Living Shadow: How the Silhouettes present themselves.
  • Lost in Translation: A minor case but crucial to the plot: Hunter's adage if it's hostile — you kill it originally was any danger should be eliminated by any means necessary. This contrasts with the words of Khan who tell Artyom that not everything that is dangerous is necessarily hostile.
  • Lost Technology: MRLs used to destroy the Dark Ones' hive. Also any pre-war weapon, especially the AK 2012.
  • Lost Superweapon: D6 is filled with them: operational train cars with autopilot, tanks, MRLs, SCUDs and so on.
  • Made of Explodium: Amoebas.
  • Made of Iron: A lot of things in the game. Artyom himself survives multiple severe injuries and then gets right back up afterwards, but only in cutscenes.
  • Meaningful Name: Artyom is the Russian masculine form of the Greek name Artemisios, relating to the Greek goddess of the hunt. She obviously had to have excellent aim, as Artyom himself is said to have by Hunter... but two of the possible Greek cognate words for "Artemis" can also be read as "safe" or "butcher".
  • Meat Moss: Ameoba hives, Biomass.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Not a single woman is seen dying in the entire game. Possibly justified by the fact that women are more useful as baby factories than as warriors.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Artyom is occasionally assumed to be a member of the Rangers, once after (optionally) freeing a group of POWs from the Nazis and again after returning a child to his mother after a mutant attack.
    • Captives call him "Охотник" in the Russian dub, which is a direct translation of the Hunter's monicker.
    • That doesn't come off as unexpected if Artyom chooses to purchase a set of heavy armor in the Armory, since it appears to be the basis of the easily recognizable Ranger uniform.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Artyom again, by a Nazi patrol.
  • Money for Nothing: Subverted. Around three quarters into the game, you'll run into your last shop, with no way to go back to it. Military grade rounds start appearing much more commonly and in larger packs from that point on, justified in that you go from scrounging through places humans still inhabit to searching through the ruins of untouched military installations. Fortunately, this means that now you can shoot that military-grade ammunition at your enemies without fretting that you're literally shooting money!
  • More Criminals Than Targets: Averted, unlike similarly themed games. You only encounter a very small number of bandits throughout the whole game, consisting of two small encampments with less than 15 men each.
  • More Dakka: Averted. Ammunition is always precious, so the only way to use automatic weapons effectively is to fire in only short bursts. You can easily run out of ammunition if you aren't careful. On Ranger Mode, where you have to fire all weapons one shot at a time and count every single round fired, it gets even worse.
  • Mysterious Protector: In one level, you may notice that some guards are being sniped by a pneumatic rifle before they can see you. You get to meet the guy covering you by the end.
  • No Bikes In The Apocalypse: Averted. A primary means of getting transportation around the metro tunnels is by taking handcars powered by working a lever.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Averted. Last Light uses the book ending as canon.
  • No Scope: You will want to use your weapon's sights every time you fire. However, it's an enforced trope when using any of the shotguns, as the double barrel uses one fire button for each barrel, the semiautomatic shotgun has a melee attack mapped to the aim button, and the heavy shotgun will fire no matter which trigger is pulled. Fortunately, you can use a HUD crosshair to make up for this.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: Both highly realistic and highly effective.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Several times as the plot progresses. And just like in the book, Artyom eventually recieves more and more control over his body during those, progressing from just watching at unfolding events to breaking from the nightmare on his own volition.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is not easy in any case, but Ranger Mode pushes the difficulty right into the absurd.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Almost completely averted, since most of the voice actors in the English version of the game actually are Russian, but one man who lets you into the Armory station is quite obviously voiced by an American. This character speaks with an American accent even in the book, however; Moscow being the biggest city in Europe, it's not surprising that there are foreigners around even After the End.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: A large part of the immersion of the game comes from the fact that not everything that spooks you is actually dangerous. Or visible. Sometimes, just to be a dick, the game will either force you to go off on your own...but not meet anything. Other times, the game will randomly trigger an environment noise, like a hatch banging, a train whistle, a rattle of loose stones, or, worst of all, a nosalis or lurker roar...and then nothing happens. It is truly terrifying.
  • No Swastikas: The Nazi faction's symbol is a big "C" instead of any actual Third Reich-related imagery. This C is the Moscow Metro sign for stop/no entry, symbolizing the Nazis' attempts at getting rid of all ethnic groups other than their own. Beta version Nazis sported a three armed swastika used in the book.
  • Obvious Trap: Almost every trap is clearly visible and has a thick rope as a triggering mechanism, which is hard to miss when you're moving carefully. If you're involved in a fight or frantically searching for a new mask filter, however, you can stumble into one. Justified by the fact that these traps are presumably meant for dangerous wildlife, not people. There's only one trap that is actually very hard to notice, and it misfires, so triggering it only gets you a "click".
    • The exception here would be broken bottles, or other ground clutter that makes noise when you step on it— on stealth levels, these can be deadly (alerting the enemy to your position), and you have to be very careful to avoid them.
    • The traps are instant death if you're not used to being careful and paying attention to the environment.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: On the second map of Dead City. After going down stairs, you spawn in a room that implies you went down some form of tunnel. However, there are two rooms behind you that contain dead bodies with some ammunition you may collect.
  • Oh God, with the Verbing!: "Enough with the talking. Get out! Form up!"
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are a lot of namesakes around the subway and it's easy to get confused if you don't pay attention.
  • Optional Stealth: The game is essentially this trope. You have a (useless) knife and a (lethal) set of throwing knives, almost every weapon is silent or has a silenced variant, and you can purchase a set of black stealth armor that helps conceal you from enemy vision. On the other hand, you have an arsenal of grenades and can purchase such weapons as a heavy automatic shotgun if stealth isn't your thing. However, it's certainly encouraged to sneak around, and the Golden Ending requires you to not only use stealth, but to not kill a single enemy on some of the infiltration missions.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Faceless shadows that have to relive their last moments forever. Touch one and you will join them.
    • Which is in turn a nod to the source material, where it's suggested that the nuclear war blew up the afterlife as well.
  • The Order: The Rangers. They seem to focus their considerable talents on countering threats to the Metro as a whole, like the Dark Ones and the Nazis.
  • Pacifist Run: Completing certain missions without killing any human opponents earns you a morality point that influences whether or not you can get the good ending. In fact, one can finish the game without killing any humans except for the obligatory unskippable massacre at the Lost Tunnels level, but it takes a lot of effort. See the pacifist/stealth walkthrough playlist.

    4A Games confirm they did a stealth overhaul for Last Light and plan to let the player do a full stealth run as a viable option, unlike M2033 where there were certain moments where Artyom had to shoot his way through.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Done and lampshaded by Miller in D6.
    Melnik/Miller: Just like in old Hollywood movies about Soviet Union!
  • Pipe Shooter: Justified since the entire game takes place in underground tunnels. Communities are very cramped and crowded. That said, there are some surprisingly large alternate routes through the bigger levels, such as "Frontline."
  • Please Wake Up: Sasha and his uncle.
  • Plot Armor: When you go out to the surface in order to reach the Library, you attract the attention of a Demon which won't die no matter how you hurt it. Once you're inside the library and it appears in the window, you can kill it.
  • Practical Currency: MGR's, the Metro's universal trade coin, can be fired from any assault rifle, and deal a lot more damage than the more common dirty ammo.
  • Press X to Not Die: Shows up as "quickly tap (use button)", both in-game and during the cutscenes. In-game, it happens when you're about to get mauled by a mutant and need to shove it away and carve its face off with a big knife. During cutscenes, it's often needed to avoid falling to your death from flooring/ladders collapsing.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: What Dark Ones attempt to do to Artyom when he brings "death" by making him jump off the Ostankino tower.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Most of the Communist and Fascist soldiers enlisted for food and a warm bed, or for the money, or to keep their families safe. Very few of them actually believe in the political message their chosen faction is espousing.
    • The Nazis at least force people to join up.
  • Punch Packing Pistol: The basic revolver is a rather trusty sidearm able to one-headshot a Watcher. Justified in that it's a .44 Magnum.
  • Quick Melee: The Uboinik automatic shotgun performs a melee attack either with the butt stock or a bayonet depending on which version you have. You can hold the button down to do a more powerful strike. It is surprisingly effective and allows Artyom to easily take down humans and mutants alike.
  • Quick Nip: Pavel hands Artyom a hipflask after he and Ulman rescue him from his would-be Nazi executioner.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Massively averted. Survivors live in squalid conditions and metro is a maze of crumpled concrete and rusty pipes. Even most firearms are improvised and only few can afford a still operating prewar automatic weapon. So much so that when, near the end of the game, you encounter a functional subway line with cars that look completely pristine and are apparently still running back and forth on auto-pilot, it's incredibly creepy and the characters all even remark as much.
    • The aforementioned subway station, D6, is a secret bunker deliberately designed to be Ragnarok Proofed. In addition to its still perfectly intact stockpile of tanks, ordinance and other military supplies, many of the electronics are still functional. It also helps that in real life, Russian/Soviet hardware's engineered to last in any environment, such as the incredibly resilient AK. Yet even then, 20 years of neglect have already taken their toll (such as rusting gangways, some of the lights shorting out and the fact that at least some of the automated systems had to be activated manually).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Pleased with how your shotty is destroying mutants, but perplexed why it takes so many hits to kill soldiers? Buckshot has pathetic performance against military body armor.
    • Wonder why MGR is so vastly superior to dirty rounds? Much of ballistic behavior depends upon powder selection and bullet construction. Even the cartridge can affect the performance of a firearm.
    • Hip firing leading to lots of misses? Guns have sights on them a reason!
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Artyom's idle animations show absolutely appalling gun safety.
  • Red Shirt: Played With. A nameless unimportant Ranger NPC almost dies no less than three times, each time being a thinly veiled parody of the cliched "nameless ally gets killed to show how dangerous things are" scene.
  • Regenerating Health: However, the health regenerates a lot slower (though not as slow as in a certain comparable series) compared to contemporary FPSes, so much so that you may want to rely on your good'ol medkits in case things get too intense to let you regenerate at all.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The only handgun available is a no-name .44 revolver and its numerous modifications. Justified since 9x18 or 9x19 ammo is too weak to use against mutants. It still looks weird as revolvers are practically non-existent in today's Russian Federation: civilians are not allowed to own handguns, nor is anything in a pistol caliber available to them.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Watchers and Lurkers.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Double-barreled one. Also one of the most powerful weapons in the game and it is available practically from the start.
  • Scare Chord: Every enemy in has a distinctive audio cue, each of which is heard before an encounter.
    • Lurkers make a very high-pitched which can often be heard near pipes. Only around 50% of the time, will one actually turn up. Another sound: the wet, squelching sound you can hear where one is nearby... and feasting on a corpse.
    • Nosalises growl like dogs, and roar like lions. Like the lurker, sometimes done simply to spook you, at other times it's done to herald an impending attack.
    • Watchers make a wolf-like howl. Hearing one is always the precursor to an enormous horde of them turning up.
    • Librarians make a low-pitched growl. Along with Nosalises, they have a disturbing roar, but even more unsettling is their low, heavy breathing, which can be heard all around the Library.
    • Giant Amoebas make a plopping sound, which is not scary except for the fact it signifies a Giant Amoeba is nearby...
    • The Dark Ones have hissing, rattling voices.
    • The flapping of wings and shuddering roars of an incoming Demon.
  • Scavenger World: The survivors of the nuclear war that reduced Moscow to rubble are forced to live in the subway tunnels beneath the city, venturing above for only a few minutes at a time to scavenge for what few materials can be found.
  • Scenery Gorn: The ruins of Moscow in the snow look absolutely sublime, and vaguely depressing. Gawk all you want, just make sure not to look at the Kremlin!
  • Schmuck Bait: If you pay Nikki, the prostitute, you will get a "big surprise".
  • Science Fantasy: Post-nuclear wasteland with humans surviving off pigs and fungus, fighting mutants and crawling through ruins—more-or-less a standard After the End setting. Then we throw in the murderous ghosts and Afterlife Express...
  • Shining City: Polis, at least by the standards of the rest of Moscow. The largest underground station with luxurious amount of open air, fully functional lighting and utilities, with an ordered layout and filled with Rangers who are all well fed, well equipped, and all highly self-disciplined badasses.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: And revolver shotguns with bayonets are even better!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Metro 2033 the book shows up a remarkable number of times in Metro 2033 the game. An NPC in Exhibition station will apologize for borrowing the book (from Artyom!) for so long, and Artyom's father has a copy as well. Later, in Armory, Andrew the Smith has another copy in his room plus a giant poster for it pinned up on his wall, and there's yet another copy on the train with you when you catch a ride out of Armory. There's actually a mod created by the Russian community that replaces all of these with pornography and cheap detective novels (a mildly NSFW example), presumably to avoid the Mind Screw that comes from Breaking the Fourth Wall or remove the aggressive Product Placement.
    • There are people called Stalkers, who play the same role as Stalkers in Roadside Picnic. Made explicit at one point during the Great Library level, when one of your companions stops to look at the books on a shelf.
      "Hey, Roadside Picnic! There's something familiar!"
    • It may not be a coincidence that the Librarians look like gigantic apes.
    • See Easter Eggs article on the respective game wiki.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Yes, that really is how you use AK iron sights.
    • While AK-74's rear iron sight in real life does not look like the one on the Kalash unless you modify the hell out of it first, the sight alignment and picture are otherwise correct.
    • The AK-74's firing sounds are correct.
    • Shotguns are great for killing mutants with single mighty blasts, so they ought to be great at killing armoured humans, right? Wrong! Shotguns in real life, when they fire out pellets called shot, aren't actually unleashing a cloud of lead which behaves like a single projectile. Rather, the shot acts like a spread of lots of little individual projectiles.
    • The shotguns in the game are chambered for 12x70mm (12 gauge for Americans), and most likely use 00 buckshot. 00 buckshot pellets are equal to roughly .33 caliber, are spherical, and number 9 per shell. For all intents and purposes, the pellets are rather like smallish old school pistol rounds with a bit of a velocity boost; they aren't going to get through body armor very well. Real Life buckshot works by inflicting lost of little hangun-sized wounds, versus a single bullet or slug.
    • The dev team made it so that shot does just as well on body armor as it would in real life, which is why it takes only a shell or two to kill most mutants, but just one soldier can tank a half dozen blasts point blank before going down, but also be done in by just a couple dirty 5.45x39mm rounds.
  • Sinister Subway
  • Sniper Pistol: The revolver can take attachments which take it into this territory. Barrel extensions, a rifle stock, and optics can all help and increase its accuracy over long range. With the exception of the optics, these are all worthwhile upgrades since the .44 ammunition of the revolver is powerful enough to kill lesser enemies in one or two good hits, and thus the additional accuracy over distance helps conserve bullets.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the STALKER series. Actually, more like an estranged spiritual brother, in a manner of speaking, since the people behind Metro 2033 left the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. team during Shadow of Chernobyl's infamously protracted development - though now that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 has been canceled, this trope may be played more straight in Metro: Last Light.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Men go out and protect the stations, run the trading caravans, and maintain machinery and equipment. Women stay home and take care of the kids, cook the food, and watch the pigs. See Men Are the Expendable Gender above.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: It's not actually required, but there are a few levels where stealth is the obvious solution and easiest way through. Two of them give an achievement for making a Pacifist Run, but one also has an achievement for taking the exact opposite path.
  • Sticky Bomb: The spiked grenade, which comes with a bit of a twist. The grenade is "sticky" not because of some kind of adhesive, but because it's bristling with razor-sharp nails. Ouch.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the Armory station. The only way to proceed is to walk right into a Red Commissar and get arrested.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Although Mook Chivalry is averted, enemies never flee. There are a variety of reasons why this is semi-justified - the dead bodies of their comrades will be a source of ammo and supplies, they feel that they are as good as dead in the tunnels on their own, or they don't know that they are alone - combat in Metro is a very confused affair, as befits gunfights fought at pistol-shot in pitch-black tunnels around decaying wooden shacks. Also displayed by the mutants, to a degree - unlike most normal animals, they freely attack things much bigger than they are, and don't seem to feel an instinctive urge to flee when confronted with the sight/sound/smell of their own dead.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Reconstructed with one very hungry Demon that chases Artyom through the Alley and sewers below it, crashes a part of the State Library facade at him, crawls in through the front doors and claws at the makeshift barricade, attempts to grab Artyom through the barred window, is scared off by gunfire repeatedly, cripples Danila in the Reading Hall, circles around the building while Artyom makes his way through the Repository, then finally breaks into the halls and gets into a fight with Librarians over Artyom's body while the player falls down the elevator shaft.
    • All the mutants in the game, to a degree. They will continue to attack even if significant numbers of them are shot down, and never flee even when horribly injured. Justified by a little Fridge Logic: the predators are just as desperate for survival as you are - they can't afford to flee from a meal.
  • Supporting Protagonist: It's evident that Artyom is really dependent upon the help of the more experienced veterans.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Boris in the Dungeon.
  • Survival Horror: Oh big time. It's bleak, resources are tough to find, enemies can easily mess you up, and there's plenty of horrors to be found.
  • Tank Goodness: The main Nazi army has a 'Panzer', actually an armored bulldozer with a makeshift gun turret attached to the top. It's still the scariest and most powerful vehicle in the Metro, and the only working vehicle in the entire game mounting anything larger than a machine gun.
  • Take Your Time: Cursed.
  • Taking You with Me: Occurs more than once.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Ho boy, they do. Most infamously, every piece of gear attached to enemies absorbs part of the damage imparted by bullets. The result can be that enemies seemingly can tank several rounds to the head or chest.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There is exactly one named female character, and she's a minor NPC. Oh, and also a prostitute.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The main opposition to the Reds.
  • To Absent Friends: Bandits at the Dry station.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Military-grade bullets, which are used as currency. After about three quarters into the game, though, they lose this status, since there are no more shops after Polis.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Artyom and the player take several throughout the story, going from getting your ass kicked in almost every encounter to fighting on an even level with the resident Badass Normals.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Good luck operating that crane before the Biomass tears it to pieces.
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Surprisingly enough, all the weapons in the game, both the ones jerry-rigged in the Metro and the over-twenty-years-old mil-spec ones left around in extremely hostile conditions, are 100% reliable, even when firing the undeniably dirty ammunition the Metro produces and the Idle Animations showing that they are rather fragile indeedexamples . The worst thing that can happen is the Bastard overheating, and even for that, you have to really abuse it in a way no sane player would ever dohow? .
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Ranger difficulty turns the game from First-Person Shooter to First Person Stealth-Based Game.
  • Universal Ammunition: Most weapons seem to be chambered to accommodate ammunition based on the 5.4539mm design. Justified in that most of the common weapons were built after the apocalypse and specifically designed to use a single kind of ammunition.
  • The Undead: According to Khan, the world got blown up so good that Heaven, Hell and Purgatory were atomized as well. When someone bites it, they haunt that stretch of tunnel forever. There's one tunnel that's so haunted that even the mutants and rats are too scared to go there; Khan comments "This tunnel must re-live its past. And those unfortunate enough to walk here at such a moment, usually join that past." There's one very creepy scene where Khan chants at a bunch of ghosts so that they let you through.
  • Underground Monkey: It's not really noticeable, but there are only five main types of monsters in the game: Nosalies, Watchers, Librarians, Demons and Amoebas. Even fewer in the book, as most of the monsters are only mentioned in ghost stories and are never actually encountered by Artyom.
    • Three of the monsters in-game have subspecies. Nosalises have the black (stronger than usual), winged (more agile and has a special attack) and armoured (fast and very hard to kill) varieties; Watchers have Lurkers (weaker, but faster, smaller and more annoying); Librarians can be found in a black (stronger and more aggressive) variety. They tend to have a distinctive look to them however, so it isn't all that bad.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: There's a good reason why you should save every MGR that you collect instead of using them to buy stuff or to get out of a pinch: You have the options of buying an Armor Upgrade (100 MGRs) and a Kalash 2012 at Polis. Both choices are expensive but worthwhile investments.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: It's rare to see anything that isn't ruined, creepy, or defunct. D6 is the only area that really stands out, simply because it is an empty installation without bodies or skeletons scattered around.
    • Upper levels are clean and devoid of corpses (Plenty of blood trails and piles of spent casings though). Lower levels - not so much.
    • There is a skeleton in the reactor room lying right under the trestle ladder leading to a sparkling fusebox with the pliers still attached to the cover. Guess what happens when Artyom touches it?
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: What caused the war of 2013? All we know is that it was probably between Russia and NATO. To the residents of the Metro though, figuring out the facts hardly matter.
  • Updated Re Release: Metro 2033 Redux was released for the PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 in August 2014. It's basically Metro 2033 redone using the significantly more advanced Metro Last Light engine and assets. One of the toted features is the ability to play in either the classic Metro 2033 play-style, or the more refined play-style of Last Light.
  • Urban Warfare: All your fights and encounters with hostile humans.
  • Vader Breath: you breathe very loudly while wearing your gas mask, and more so as the filter gets worn out.
  • Villain Has a Point: A Nazi soldier at the Black Station rationalizes atrocities committed by his faction as an acceptable evil that will eventually lead to prosperity of the whole Metro. Nazi controlled stations are some of the safest, wealthiest and prosperous ones in the Metro, but are facing empending doom due to aging population. Nazis face extinction without expansion, Metro faces extinction without a unified government and law.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Vladimir in D6.
  • Wall of Weapons: Gun shops have their inventory tacked on for everyone to see.
  • Was Once a Man: It is hinted that Dark Ones and Librarians are mutated humans.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Boss in Mook Clothing super tough Nosalises with the glowing eyes in the cave can be briefly stunned and made vulnerable to attack just by shining your flashlight on them, giving you a few seconds to attack them.
  • Wham Line: The last line of dialogue before the ending cutscene
    The Dark One: "We want peace."
  • X Meets Y: C.H.U.D. meets Call of Cthulhu. Alternately, Fallout (post-apocalyptic nuclear holocaust setting) mixed with equal parts Half-Life (only you can save the world) and Bioshock (substituting subway tunnels for ocean floor ones). It could also be STALKER with a heavy dose of Silent Hill for atmosphere.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: There's a dozen or so faces for the men, and the majority of the Rangers you meet along the plot all share the exact same face.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Several times throughout the story.

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