E3 may not have officially started yet, but we've already got a preview in the form of a sequel to 4A Games' sleeper hit Metro 2033, which will be called Metro: Last Light, not Metro 2034 as was thought.
The story continues in the same vein as the previous game, although this time it hasn't been written by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Instead, 4A Games has written the story under Glukhovsky's supervision, to make sure it still stays true to his original vision. It's an interesting decision, and it's the reason why the game won't be called Metro 2034.
It would have been easy for 4A Games to compromise due to he success of Metro 2033, but they have decided to keep things how they originally intended - they didn't want to "westernise" the sequel. It continues to tell the story of a very bleak existence following nuclear fallout, and the above world is still uninhabitable. Because of this, the story will continue to take place largely underground and there will be new stations featured throughout. The story will also take you to old stations from the original, which is nice.
Throughout the demo we were shown, it was clear that atmosphere is still very important. The lighting was immense, and it played a big part in the gameplay. It started off as a stealth mission against the Reich, one of the factions present in the underground network, but it didn't stay that way for long. Here, taking out the lights made infiltration much easier, but it ended up ended up in a huge gun battle against a fair few Reich troops.
From what we could see, the design is solid though. There was enough cover to make things interesting, but it also made it difficult to stick in one place for too long. There will also be other sequences too, like one which took place on a mine cart as you were trying to escape the Reich. It fast paced and tense, but 4A were keen to state that this is only one aspect of the game, and as more is shown, we'll see that they haven't taken the easy route and gone for non-stop action.
The game is still a linear experience though, there are no open worlds. But despite this, the environments will be larger and there will be a few different routes to take. Everything has also been technically advanced, especially on the PC, where all these high-end graphical features will be present. 4A Games wouldn't specify which features would be cut from the console versions, but they were adamant that the core mechanics would be on both.
Multiplayer is now present too, as 4A are trying to make the game more competitive. There won't be any co-operative play, it will be purely PvP and there will be more than just the basic modes like Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag. However, 4A weren't prepared to talk any more about what those modes might be at this time.
Overall, it looks as though 4A Games will build upon what made Metro 2033 the sleeper hit it first was. They aren't concerned with making this into a blockbuster title, they just want to continue doing what they did in the first place. And when the title comes out in 2012, we'll be able to properly see if they succeeded in what they set out to do.