Metro: Last Light Redux – Ranger Hardcore Mode – tips & tricks for ammo & utility weapons (Metro Redux Series)
This is a short guide with visual examples of dirty ammo and military-grade rounds (MGRs) and understanding how to use utility weapons (grenades, throwing knives, etc.) when playing Ranger Hardcore mode (no HUD) in the Metro Redux series.
I wanted the most challenging and immersive experience possible for my very first playthrough of the Metro series, so Ranger Hardcore was the mode for me. While this certainly made for some exciting and memorable experiences, there were some challenges when managing weapons and understanding how some stuff worked since Ranger Hardcore mode does not give you the benefit of tutorials/in-game help. I had never previously seen what the HUD/UI looked like.
If you’ve yet to play this excellent series and are interested in going about it the same way I did in Ranger Hardcore mode, then this guide is for you. It is the best way to experience the Metro, and I’m glad I chose this model for my first playthrough. I’m sure you will too, but before you dive in, there are a couple of things you should know…
Dirty vs. military-grade, and how to avoid shooting your way to the poorhouse
The most common ammunition in the Metro, the 5.45×39mm cartridge, comes in two varieties:
- Dirty rounds, the default ammo used in most weapons found in the Metro
- Military-grade rounds (MGRs), which function primarily as currency in the game but can also be used as ammo
You only want to use MGRs in combat as a last resort because, as you will be reminded in-game, you’ll be “shooting money.”
A quick word about hotkey usage: the Metro series makes use of dual function hotkeys. For example, tapping F will toggle the flashlight on/off, but holding F will bring up the universal charger (basically a hand-cranked dynamo used to charge battery-powered devices).
The R key is also a dual function hotkey, where tapping reloads but holding changes between dirty rounds and MGRs.
So how can you tell which ammo you have loaded in-game, in case, for example, you unintentionally changed between them by holding R without realizing it?
First, hold Y to look at your watch. This also tilts the gun, so you get a better viewing angle of the magazine. Look closely at the magazine in the following screenshots:
Blue tips are dirty rounds:
Red tips are MGRs:
And that, my fellow rangers, is how you can avoid “shooting money.”
Mastering ‘nades, knives, and other nasties without a HUD
Using/equipping utility weapons without a HUD while not knowing exactly how the system worked was one of my bigger challenges. It was the post-apocalyptic version of Russian roulette.
The following tips will spare you the pain of having to figure out how this system works like I did: trial and error. You can now stop accidentally lobbing pipe bombs at that Reich soldier’s head and use the throwing knives for that stealth kill, just like you originally intended.
Holding the Tab key gives access to the utility weapons radial menu, even though it’s not visible in Ranger Hardcore mode.
This is the key thing to remember: hold Tab and then move the mouse up/down or left/right depending on which item you want to equip. Unique sounds can be heard when making these selections, so with some practice, you can learn by sound alone which item you are equipping. Badass.
Even though Ranger Hardcore is supposed to have no HUD/UI elements, one UI still exists, and you can access it by holding down the M key to bring up the lighter/journal view. You’ll see UI elements for:
- all ammo types and their current amount
- currency (MGRs)
- air filter time remaining
- medkit count
- the utility weapon menu in the bottom left
If you note the white gradient shading on the radial menu when in a lighter/journal view, you can identify which utility item you currently have equipped. The throwing knives are selected in this example screenshot:
If you’ve never played this series, I encourage you to choose Ranger Hardcore for your first playthrough. It adds something to the survival horror experience in terms of immersion and adapting your play style with the absence of a HUD/UI.
If you’ve already played through this series in an “easier” mode, then I hope you can still find some use from these few tips to give Ranger Hardcore a try.
Thanks for reading.
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