Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is gorgeous and your PC probably can’t run it

Posted on May 13, 2021

Remember about fifteen years ago when Crysis was released? Everyone said it was the best shooter of all time and scrambling to upgrade their computers so they could actually play it. It became the benchmark for PC gaming at the time, putting to the test your build and coining the phrase “But can it run Crysis?” Well, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition for the PC is the second coming.

Metro Exodus is already a fantastic game, with incredible visuals and a captivating doomed wasteland atmosphere. Underneath the apocalyptic and barren Moscow, Artyom and other struggling survivors are becoming sick of the tunnel life. As you venture out into the world above, searching for possible survivors and a better place to live, the cold and dark tragedies roaming the land begin to twist their grotesque heads. Our full review by Elliot gets into the nitty-gritty of why the original game is so magnificent.

So, the developers at 4A Games thought, “why not crank it up to 11… hundred?”. The new edition is completely free for current owners of Metro Exodus on PC and is available as of 6 May. The upgrade is so significant that the team needed to introduce it as a separate instalment instead of a downloadable overhaul.

“…an almost unbelievable visual upgrade, making this icey and terrifying world even more realistic.”

The Ray tracing in Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition is superb. The technology is a lifelike way of rendering lights and shadows within a moving video game scene using complex algorithms to trace light and reflect it off objects. It’s often compared to what big-budget movies and TV shows use to blend amazing computer graphics into real-life footage. The Two Colonels DLC that released in August 2019 served as a good example of how Ray Tracing looks in Metro Exodus. While short, the absolute carnage with a flamethrower Artyom causes in The Two Colonels showcases the true fidelity of Ray Tracing. Now that level of fidelity can be expected throughout the whole adventure.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition for the PC boasts “emissive surfaces with area shadows” and an “infinite number of Ray Traced light bounces”. Every atmospheric and transparent surface in this upgrade has ray tracing technology applied to it, as well as full lighting model support and colour bleeding from every light source. The result is an almost unbelievable visual upgrade, making this icey and terrifying world even more realistic.

The dark corridors underneath Moscow are full of deeper and richer shadows. The dim lights, smoke lingering into a soft haze, and the flickering flames of community hubs add layers of reality to scenes. Light reflecting off Artyom’s weapons and the objects of this doomed world resonate fuller and clearer colours that haven’t been seen before in PC games.

Unfortunately for many of us, getting a hold of hardware that can enable this technology to its full capacity is slim to impossible. The new generation of graphics cards, the Nvidia RTX 3000 series and the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series, were introduced at the end of 2020 to exceeding demand. With the best lighting, resolution output, stable framerates, and powerhouse pieces of hardware these cards are, they’re harder to find than a PlayStation 5 and double or triple the cost. Additional manufacturing impacts and shipping delays, as well as increasing popularity in cryptocurrency mining which requires high-end graphics cards, has only added to the shortage.

And thus, I hereby declare Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition the new Crysis. The upgrade is literally not playable for anyone without a graphics card that can use ray tracing technology. The minimum PC specs require at least an Nvidia RTX 2060 or relevant AMD GPU, a CPU with at least four cores and hyper-threading and Direct X 12. These requirements are staggering but make a lot of sense when you see the game running in its full glory.

Another thing to mention is that this upgrade is not playable on Linux or Mac operating systems and not compatible with AMD Super resolution technology. According to the developers, Windows is required to play the PC version with ray tracing via Nvidia’s GeForce NOW and AMD’s tech is not compatible with these rendering techniques. It’s another blow to the demographic able to play this game but also raises its legendary status.

Improvements to the Enhanced Edition also include GPU FP16 support and thousands of optimised shaders, support for DLSS 2.0 rendering and 4K textures to really squeeze out every single ounce of beauty in the visuals. 4A Games has posted an incredibly in-depth blog post that explains all the technical changes and why for anyone interested.

For the first time in the series history, a Field of View (FOV) slider is now in the main game options. Any FPS player on PC will scream about how important being able to customise the FOV is and the Metro games missing this feature is almost sacrilegious to some. Along with several bug fixes and polish on the top, this is truly the most immersive first-person gaming experience available right now.

Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition will be coming to consoles, too. It will run at 4K and 60 frames per second with full ray tracing lighting on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. With significantly faster loading times taking advantage of the speedy Solid State Drive storage and some DualSense controller features, the console versions should be an equally fun time. Despite a slightly lower visual fidelity, Metro Exodus will release on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X on 18 June 2021.

Overall, this game is the new benchmark for PC gaming. It sets the bar for visual quality and performance, all attached to an already fascinating story with exciting gameplay. My only question left is “can you run Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition?”