||Having followed very little pre-release coverage for Metro 2033, my expectations going in were almost wholly based off one piece of info I'd heard about Ukrainian developer 4A Games: The team was formed by devs who had previously worked on S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Knowing that, I steeled myself for an open-ended shooter full of ambition and technical issues. The ambition is there in spades, but Metro 2033 is an impressively polished and extremely linear experience that makes for an excellent debut...Metro 2033 takes place in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, but you won't spend too much time on the city's bombed out, radioactive surface. The citizens of the fallen city have taken to the abandoned subway tunnels, and aside from a few excursions topside, most of your time is spent in these grimy passageways...One downside to the game is a much-touted unique feature that isn't fully developed: the ability to use bullets as currency. The weapon selection is a very standard set of pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. Though you can buy gun upgrades (scopes, silencers, etc.) and items (med packs, body armor), I rarely found myself willing to spend ammo instead of hanging onto it for later; vendors simply didn't carry interesting enough stuff to make me conflicted...Despite those nitpicks and a couple frustrating late-game sections, Metro 2033's greatest success is the consistency of its pacing. You're constantly encountering new factions, discovering interesting new locations, or being tasked to do something you haven't done before. With this stellar first effort, 4A Games has handily risen above its team's past efforts in terms of approachability and fun, if not innovation. Metro 2033 is almost certainly destined to be a cult hit. If you enjoy single-player shooters, you owe it to yourself to get in on the (below-) ground floor.