Continuing from Part One, one year has passed since the events of Metro 2033. Beneath the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow, deep in the depths of the Metro system, life continues its struggle to survive and prosper. The so-called threat to humanity, the Dark Ones, have perished in the destruction of their refuge in the Botanical Gardens by the forgotten missiles of D6 at the hands of Artyom and the order of Rangers.
With the Metro believed to be safe, humanity has other plans. As predicted by the fading voices of the Dark Ones, who only wished for peace, humanity continues its path of self-destruction with the factions below.
Metro Last Light continues Artyom’s story, while the novel 2035, could be considered the adaption of the story in Last Light. While some story is lifted from 4A Games continuation, the novel explores other areas and plays out differently.
Metro Last Light follows on from the epilogue of 2033. The story begins with Artyom's recounting his journey to the surface as a child, he tells his side of the story and how the world came to be after the destruction of Moscow. It is learned that Artyom’s sorrow is not being able to remember his mother's face, but he grasps onto the memories of her kindness and care for him. After this remorseful introduction, Artyom is back to his days of old, surrounded by other dwellers sharing stories next to a fire as they each stay on guard outside his home station of Exhibition.
Things take a turn and reality twists into a nightmare as Artyom’s vision clouds and his comrades are attacked by Nosalises. Artyom kills them only for their true appearance to be revealed: his comrades. A Dark One then appears and grabs Artyom, but he is suddenly snapped back to reality by Khan who comments on his nightmares, saying that the Dark Ones still haunt his dreams.
A lot has changed over the year. Once forgotten D6 is now the home of the Rangers, of which Artyom is now a member. With Khan’s arrival, he informs him and the Rangers of the existence of a single surviving Dark One. There to try and convince their leader Colonel Miller that the Dark One is key to humanity’s survival, Miller and others are in disagreement and decide that it must be eliminated as it is a potential threat. Khan contests, but is forced to leave, calling to Artyom to save the Dark One and bring an end to the nightmares.
Artyom alongside Miller’s daughter, Anna, is tasked to go the surface and hunt down the Dark One. Upon reaching the surface and tracking its last known whereabouts, they discover it is merely a child. Conflicted with this knowledge he tries to reach out but is rendered unconscious by the creature. In this time, Artyom is separated from Anna and is captured by fascists of the Fourth Reich. Beaten and taken to their base he is to be interrogated and no doubt, executed.
Fortunately for Artyom, an enemy of his enemy is a friend. Captured along with Artyom is Red Line soldier and communist, Pavel Morozov. They both help one another escape the fascists, going through spiderbug-infested tunnels and crossing the wasteland above towards the Theatre station, which appears to be under the control of the Red Line. It is here where Artyom is betrayed by Pavel and taken to the communists base. Discovering that Pavel was a high-ranking officer of the Red Line, he is interrogated. It also turns out that Artyom discovers Lesnitsky, a Ranger who previously was a guard at D6 is really a spy working for the Red Line and has stolen bioweapon samples. Able to escape from the communists with help from the sympathetic son of Chairman Moskvin, leader of the communist faction, Artyom makes his way through the ventilation system of the communist base.
While escaping through the ventilation system, he overhears the nefarious plans of Red Line’s head of intelligence, General Korbut, who wants to overrun D6 and take it in order to rule the Metro. With this knowledge, Artyom needed some way of getting back and warn of the impending attack. Using means of force or stealth, Artyom arrives at Revolution Square and meets an old friend, Andrew the Blacksmith, who assists Artyom by giving him use of a railcar called Regina. Andrew advises him to get to Venice, the flooded Metro station and find Woodpecker who can help. The journey becomes perilous even with the railcar as Artyom encounters more spiderbug liars, watchers hunting the surface broken tunnels and bandits along the way.
Upon arriving at Venice, Artyom discovers Pavel is there too at one of the station’s brothels. He overhears word of a potential threat to Oktyabrskaya station, and after chasing down Pavel through the warehouse of Venice he is able to grab him at knife-point. Pavel reveals he knows the location of the Dark One and is on the brink of caving and assisting Artyom to get to Oktyabrskaya. However, Simon, a local law enforcer finds the two and inadvertently allows Pavel to escape. Simon after learning of Oktyabrskaya station assists Artyom to reach the surface and tells him to go through the marshes to reach a church outpost for assistance in helping Oktyabrskaya station.
Traversing the marshes, stalked by a Demon and fighting his way through Amphibians, ferocious large-sized shrimps, he finds a small cable-ferry required to cross the irradiated waters. Discovering it requires fuel, he heads towards a wrecked aeroplane in search of any. In his search, he is hunted by the Bog Shrimp, the largest of the Amphibians and holds it off long enough to find the fuel he needs. After refuelling the cable-ferry it heads towards Artyom, in what feels like a lifetime, he must defend himself from the Bog Shrimp till it arrives. While keeping the creature at bay, the Demon stalking him swoops in and attacks the Bog Shrimp, giving Artyom time to get onboard the ferry and escape.
As Artyom makes his way towards the church he finds a message from Anna saying she and the Rangers are the. Pushing onwards, he reaches the church only for the path to be blocked by the return of the Bog Shrimp. With aid of the Rangers, the creature is defeated and Artyom heads inside.
After getting some well-needed rest and recuperation he has an intimate moment with Anna, who no longer doubts him and joins her and the other Rangers to plan their next move. While discussing plans to go through the churches catacombs to reach Oktyabrskaya station, conversations are cut short as the doors to the church are blown open and they are invaded by the traitor Lesnitsky. Pinned by collapsed debris, Artyom watches helplessly as Anna is taken hostage.
Knowing he must save Anna, Artyom goes through the catacombs and through the caverns of the Undercity. It is no easy task as the area is now home to a nest of Nosalis and worst of all, an armoured Nosalis rhino called Big Momma, which is believed to be the cause of the supernatural occurrences throughout the caverns. Able to narrowly avoid being crushed by Big Momma, Artyom baits the creature into charging into pillars supporting the cavern, after multiple shots, he manages to put Big Momma down for good. Unfortunately for Artyom, this has come at a cost as the cavern around him collapses engulfing him in water from above.
Dazed, but alive after being dragged through waters, Artyom awakes inside the Metro and continues onwards to Oktyabrskaya station. When he arrives, he is too late and the Red Line has already paved through the station, infecting the residents with a form of Ebola. With many infected civilians killed by the Red Line, the station almost becomes a burning cinder with soldiers scouring what’s left. When Artyom reaches the end of the station he encounters Lesnitsky holding Anna hostage. Forced by Lesnitsky to remove his gas mask or Anna would be killed, he complies. Lesnitsky then throws Anna towards him and escapes, while the pair with the risk of being infected, they get to Koltsevaya, where they are saved by Hanza soldiers and met by Khan.
Quarantined and feared to be infected by the virus unleashed by the Red Line, they are fortunate to be tested negative. Artyom is accompanied by Khan to a supernatural place in the Metro called: The River of Fate, which is where Artyom sees a vision of the Dark One onboard a train. They now know their next objective. By railcar, Artyom and Khan engage with the train holding the Dark One. In an explosive rescue, the Dark One manages to break from its cage and show Artyom a vision of his mother and childhood. Compelled by this, knowing he is not a threat, he helps the Dark One get to the Sparta Base on the surface. It’s here where the young Dark One’s powers assist his treacherous journey back on the surface. When they reach the Sparta Base, it has been overrun by the Red Line soldiers lead by Lesnitsky, alongside disguised Rangers. This time with help from the Dark One, Artyom is able to combat the soldiers and subdue Lesnitsky. At this moment the Dark One takes hold of Lesnitsky and shows a vision of the ensuring plan of attack to D6. Artyom has a choice to retribute and kill him or knock Lesnitsky unconscious, a choice which will affect the fate of D6.
After learning of the Red Line’s plans, it is learned that Pavel has been entrusted by General Korbut to carry out a mission at Red Square, so Artyom heads there to confront Pavel. While crossing the remnants of the dead city Artyom is surrounded by Pavel and his men, but the Dark One intervenes saving Artyom. Pavel retreats and tries to take Artyom down, hitting back, Pavel is wounded and Artyom has his chance for revenge. As with Lesnitsky, the Dark One steps in and shows Artyom a vision of Red Line planning to use their remaining bioweaponry on D6 during a peace conference in Polis. At this moment, both Artyom and Pavel are pulled into a supernatural graveyard of Damned Souls, the Dark One gives Artyom the choice to save Pavel or leave him to the grasps of the damned. Morality is again questioned and if forgiveness is given to Pavel, Artyom provides him with a filter for his gas mask.
Artyom leaves the Red Square and goes through the Gardens towards Saint Basil's Cathedral and to Polis to stop the peace conference. It’s a dangerous endeavour which leads to combat with a large mutated bear, but with aid of the Dark One and controlled Watchers, the bear flees allowing Artyom to reach the cathedral.
At Saint Basil's Cathedral, Artyom is reunited with Khan and Miller. Upon seeing the Dark One, Miller wishes for it be killed, but Khan intervenes. They are told of the Red Line’s true intentions and make their way to Polis. When they arrive talks have already begun with Moskvin only in attendance to draw out the Rangers from D6, leaving it unguarded so Korbut can assemble his army to attack. The Dark One takes hold of Moskvin forcing him to reveal that he was manipulated by Korbut and that his brother was murdered for personal gain and power. This gives time for Rangers to form a defence against the Red Line and the battle for D6 begins.
The battle for D6 is fought hard with devastating consequences and where the morality and choices made define the ending. C'est la Vie, known as the bad ending, will result in the destruction of D6. With D6 overrun by the Red Army, Korbut boasts that it is over, but at this point, Miller orders Artyom to engage the self-destruct system. D6 detonates and the explosion engulfs the bunker and Metro-2. Artyom perishes in the act, taking the lives of the Rangers and Red Line. In the epilogue, years have past and Anna tells the story of Artyom’s bravery and sacrifice to his son and how he saved the Metro.
Redemption, the canonical and good ending, sees Artyom still given the order to set off the self-destruction of D6, but he is stopped by the Dark One. It tells him that there is no need for that. What commences is a scene where the Dark Ones return, surrounding the Red Line and tearing them apart. After the victory, Artyom reveals the casualties of the battle, with Uhlman dying, Miller becoming wheelchair bound and Khan disappearing entirely. In the epilogue, Artyom is seen in a field with the Dark Ones and the young one tells him that it is better if they leave, but they will return one day. Artyom expresses acknowledgement that they will meet again and that maybe, they did earn their forgiveness.
By contrast, in the 2035 novel, the Dark Ones are not present, due to their destruction during 2033. Instead, it follows on from the battle for D6 in Metro Last Light. It follows Artyom’s story once more as tries to live a normal life in VDNKh after leaving the order. He’s now married to Anna, despite Melnik's disapproval. Artyom’s mind is now focused on a transmission he heard from outside of Moscow. With his status of hero diminished, believed by others as insane due to the Dark Ones Artyom is convinced of what he heard from the surface. Determined to find the source, he explores the surface daily, reaching the highest points to try and establish contact. The Metro itself in this time also goes through change. The factions go through reform. The Fourth Reich tries to become more welcoming while still concealing its horrific acts, the Red Line communists suffer an epidemic causing famine across its stations, and the Rangers become close with Hanza after the defence of D6.
Artyom’s journey still takes him through the Metro and in doing so, he encounters Homer and Sasha from 2034. It is indeed discovered that humanity does exist outside of the Moscow Metro and that World War III is still ongoing between the East and West. From this, Artyom’s journey has him discover that the remnants of the Russian government are still in power, influencing the Metro factions from behind the scenes. The inhabitants of the Metro also discover a similar revelation after the Polis Chairman plays a radio broadcast from New York. The Chairman then proclaims that Polis will unite the Metro to defend against the West. However, other powers at Polis threaten Artyom and he flees Polis with Anna. Still determined to leave the Metro, Artyom returns to his home station but fails to convince the residents to join him. It is decided that they must leave the Metro and depart east towards Vladivostok. This bridges the gap between novels and games bringing us to Metro Exodus.
But what of Metro 2034? It wouldn’t be wrong in thinking it would continue from 2033 as a direct sequel, but 2034 is a different story altogether. It does not follow Artyom’s journey and instead follows the stories of other Metro survivors. Hunter who was believed to have died in 2033, returns but is broken and traumatised by the Dark Ones revealing his more twisted cold-blooded nature.
Finding himself at Sevastopolskaya Station, he takes the mantle of a border guard. The inhabitants of the station are at constant threat of attack, with their fate dependant on the supplies they hold, including weaponry, food and other provisions. The caravans that the station relies on upon mysteriously lose communication to the station. With scouting parties sent to investigate going dark as well, Hunter decides to take it upon himself to lead a group in one last ditch effort to find the missing caravans. He is joined by a young guard Ahmed and Homer, an old writer seeking inspiration. They are later joined by Sasha, a young scavenger who is saved by Hunter and Homer after her father's death. Metro 2034 delves deeper into the inhabitants of the Moscow Metro and explores the mental toll of humanity’s pursuit to survive.
Metro Exodus brings Artyom’s story to a conclusion, taking place after the books in 2036. The story follows from the Redemption ending of Metro Last Light. Humanity has begun to rise from the Metro and inhabit the surface once more. Artyom and his wife Anna, as in the ending of 2035, leave Moscow and head towards Vladivostok in the far east to start a new life of freedom.
Metro Exodus arrives for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, 15th of February.