If you’re an avid gamer, chances are you’ve heard of the first-person shooter series “Metro” based on the book series of the same name. They’re adored by critics and loved by their fans, and for good reason.

But what if you played the Metro games a while ago and can’t remember the synopses? What if you need a quick refresher on what happened across the three mainline entries?

That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to get a quick overview of the Metro trilogy, which includes “Metro 2033,” “Last Light,” and “Exodus.”

Metro Franchise: The Setting

Before we dive into the plot of each mainline entry in the Metro series, we should establish the context for all the games. Metro is known as a post-apocalyptic franchise, so let’s clear up why the world ended in the first place.

The beginning of the apocalypse in the Metro universe started in 2013 when a multi-nation nuclear where thousands of nuclear warheads rained from the skies. In the series, this is referred to as World War III or “the Beginning.”

It’s hard to find clear details about the event, as the story of the apocalypse in the Metro games is given by Russian survivors following the conflict. The game takes place in Moscow, where a nuclear bomb hit the city.

Who initiated World War III in these games isn’t clear, but Russia was just one of many nations crippled by the nuclear holocaust. Regardless of who started what, the world of Metro became a barren nuclear wasteland.

Post-Apocalyptic Moscow

A nuclear winter followed the war, as a lack of sunlight and critical radiation levels either killed all plant life or greatly mutated them. There were some humans who survived the attacks, and they soon became mutated as well.

These mutated humans are known in the game as Dark Ones. They possess resistance to radiation and share a hive mind. There are also mutated animals roaming the wastelands as well.

During the initial attack, soldiers took refuge in tanks and other equipment. Meanwhile, civilians hid in pre-made bunkers or metro train stations.

These underground Metro stations are the starting point of your journey in the games. The Metro inhabitants aim to reclaim their lives while finding everything they can to survive.

There, factions were created among the survivors, and with that came alliances and eventually conflict. The main protagonist of the games, Artyom, finds himself navigating these conflicts in the Russian Metro.

Metro 2033

“Metro 2033” is the first game in the Metro series, and is based on the 2005 Metro 2033 book by Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was released in 2010 and takes place a few decades after World War III.

As mentioned before, you take on the role of Artyom, a young man who was born right before the war. It takes place over the course of eight days and revolves around a plot to exterminate the Dark Ones.

The plot begins when Artyom and Alex, his adopted father, learn about a new mutant species that are threatening humanity. A group of soldiers called the Spartan Rangers plan to head out and face a new threat, the Dark Ones.

One of the Rangers, Hunter, asks Artyom if he could take his ranger token to a man named Miller if he doesn’t return. Hunter doesn’t return, prompting Artyom to venture to the Polis station where he intends to find Miller.

Artyom’s journey involves fighting off different factions and even surviving a capture. Other rangers assist Artyom getting to the Polis station, even dodging a conflict between Nazis and Communists along the way. 

Artyom helps out a few survivors at Hole Station and fights through another Nazi stronghold before he reaches Polis. There, he teams up with Miller to venture outside and destroy the Dark Ones once and for all. 

Metro: Last Light

Three years after “Metro 2033,” its sequel, “Metro: Last Light” was released. It takes place a year after the first game, with Artyom now a Ranger. His group occupied the facility used to destroy the Dark Ones.

The plot is kickstarted when a mystic named Khan visits the facility and talks about surviving a Dark One attack. Artyom and Miller’s daughter, Anna, are sent to kill the creature.

They find the Dark One in question, though it’s discovered to be a child. Artyom is then captured by a Nazi group, then escapes with the help of a group called the Red Line. 

Artyom is immediately captured by the Red Line after his escape and finds out that they’re targeting the same facility the Rangers are at. He escapes the Red Line with the help of Khan and locates the Dark One.

Through flashbacks, Artyom discovers that the Dark Ones actually saved him from mutants when he was a child. He becomes determined to protect the child Dark One and to take it to Polis. 

Artyom is then confronted by a Ranger traitor and his Red Line captors. The child Dark One discovers their plan to destroy all non-Red Line members with a special weapon. 

The game provides the player to uncover two endings: both have the Red Line fall. In one ending, Artyom dies while another reveals that there are more Dark Ones who become the key to humanity’s survival.

Metro Exodus

“Metro Exodus” is the third installment of the Metro game series, taking place in 2036. The game follows the ending in which the Dark Ones awaken and help humanity and where Artyom lives.

Artyom and Anna flee Moscow using a train confiscated from the Hanza, a powerful group in the Russian wasteland. They’re joined by Miller and the other Rangers.

He reveals that NATO took control of most of Russia after the War. The Russian government tricked the world into thinking there were no other survivors to prevent more bombing.

They receive a radio transmission to rally survivors at Mount Yamantau. The group travels across the country to the rallying point, only to discover that the transmission was a trap set by a cannibal group.

With Anna suffering from illness, the group survives the cannibals and seeks out a safe, radiation-free zone. In the “good” ending of the game, Miller sacrifices himself to save Artyom from sickness.

The Spartan Rangers admit Artyom as their leader as they succeed in saving Anna. The game ends with Artyom returning to Moscow to reveal the truth about the outside world.

Metro 2033 to Exodus: The Full Recap

Now that you’ve gotten the recap for Metro 2033 and the other two games in the series, you’re ready to take on the next game in the series. Make sure to use this guide whenever you need a refresher on the franchise!

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Also, be sure to read our articles about the other great post-apo games, as well as the Wasteland series.