I’m not much of a Metro fanboy, to be honest; I’ve always found the series’ unapologetic approach to linear gameplay stifling. Given that previous titles have been restricted mostly to subterranean railways, an open-world sandbox was perhaps a little too much to ask for. Nevertheless, it all felt a little claustrophobic and while I know that’s precisely the point, I’ve spent far too much of my gaming life being told what to do and where to go that I’ve had a gutsful.

However, Exodus has wheeled the story into pastures new here – quite literally. Alongside the title’s typical one-track mind, this instalment lobs in a handful of sandbox areas in which our put-upon hero Artyom can rummage about for vital supplies and shoot the face of the surface critters.

So there’s life above post-apocalyptic Russian ground. Who knew? Well, Artyom did but no one in the Metro believed him. Now, though, it’s clear civilisation has been cracking on in spite of the fairly shonky living conditions up top.

And there are secrets, don’t you know, and irradiated beasts. New friends, new enemies, spiffing new adventures.

To be fair, the sandbox areas don’t add a whole lot to the main story, and there’s little significant to find in them. Indeed, mostly fights and a waste of ammunition await, but they are a welcome change from being squeezed into Metro’s single path of progression.

There’s a decent selection of modifiable weapons and a crafting system that eliminates the need for a workbench, thank the blazes.

Graphically, the Metro itself is a dull as usual, but above ground more effort has been made, and the train on which you lay your hat is packed with vibrant characters with seemingly endless chat, and good chat at that. Not your usual three responses on a loop.

And it’s these people which make Exodus such a joy to come back to. Come for the mystery and world exploration, stay for the people and their journey with you.