Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels DLC review — A phenomenal side story that pays homage to the franchise's roots

Though occasionally rough around the edges, Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels overall is a fantastic piece of DLC that offers insane bang for your buck.

Windows Central Recommended Award

For developer 4A Games, Metro Exodus was an ambitious project. Instead of sticking to the dark, damp, and linear design of the metro tunnels beneath an irradiated Moscow, they chose to create a new adventure that saw players explore a healing world above ground, travelling through non-linear environments and creating a better future for series protagonist Artyom and his allies. Thankfully, the chance paid off, and Metro Exodus ended up becoming one of 2019's most critically-acclaimed titles.

While Metro Exodus was a step forward for the franchise, the game's first DLC — The Two Colonels — is a love letter to Metro's roots. And while it can occasionally feel a little rough around the edges, Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is nevertheless a phenomenal piece of content that proves Metro's original design philosophies still stand tall.

What you'll love about Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels

The best thing about Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is its gameplay. With its tight, linear level design and its clever blend of horror atmosphere and action elements, this DLC is in the style of the two Metro games prior to Metro Exodus perfected. You play as Colonel Khlebnikov, a high-ranking member of the security forces in the inhabited metro tunnels underneath the city of Novosibirsk. With mutant attacks on the rise and a dwindling supply of anti-radiation chemicals (known as "green stuff"), the society built by Novosibirsk's survivors gradually begins to crumble, and Khlebnikov faces the haunting challenge of both helping his people and saving the life of his son, Kirill. For the most part, he accomplishes this with the help of his trusty flamethrower, which is the new weapon in the DLC. Its high damage makes it a blast to use, but the short range, long reload time, and hand crank-based pressurization system mean that you'll need to be strategic in how you dispatch your foes. There's a section with a standard rifle, too, but the flamethrower steals the show.

Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is a love-letter to the series' past.

The narrative of the DLC is also superb. The name "Kirill" may sound familiar to some players; this is because he's the child that Artyom and Colonel Miller meet at the end of the base game. The Two Colonels ties directly into the main story by giving players the chance to get to know Kirill's father, Khlebnikov, and how he passed away. When Miller goes to his last known location in order to find some of the "green stuff" for his deathly-ill daughter, Anna, it becomes clear that the DLC is drawing parallels between the two fathers and their love for their children. It's a subtle and nuanced story that isn't on-the-nose in any way, which made it incredibly enjoyable. In addition to this, the way the DLC depicts Novosibirsk's metro tunnel inhabitants begin to tear themselves apart over lack of critical supplies is excellent, making it a part of the story that's as tragic as it is thought-provoking.

As with Metro Exodus's base experience, the presentation in The Two Colonels is nothing short of top-notch. The creepy, mutant-infested metro tunnels are brought to life with a mixture of cold grays and slimy greens, which sharply contrast with the furious yellows, reds, and oranges that represent the flamethrower's might. The living space shared by the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse in Novosibirsk is decorated and multicolored, showcasing how they attempted to transform the metro into a place that felt like home. It's all fantastically done.

What you'll love less about Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels

While Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is basically perfect, there are a few nitpicks I have. The first one is that a few of the lines spoken by the characters was performed a little oddly. This is something that's true for all of the Metro titles, honestly, but it nevertheless was a small annoyance. Secondly, the performance of this DLC is noticeably less optimized than the base game, though it isn't worse by much. I didn't encounter anything worse than some mild stuttering (compared to base game's flawless performance), but it's worth mentioning regardless. Aside from these two things, though, the DLC is a treasure.

Should you buy Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels?

Ultimately, this DLC gives you 3-4 hours worth of highly-refined classic Metro gameplay that is wrapped up with a superb story and sold for a fraction of what other developers charge for similarly-sized DLC releases. It really doesn't get much better than Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels.

Unless you aren't a fan of Metro's original gameplay formula, you should absolutely pick yourself up this DLC.

Metro Exodus: The Two Colonels is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC for $8.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.