Various charges and bites
Unknown, most likely dogs
Watchmen in Last Light (Watchers, previously), or Howlers as colloquially known by fans and players, are a mutated species of large mammal. They are slightly bigger than the average human, and are covered with dark, grey fur, and have a dark tail.
Watchers resemble Dogs, both in behavior and appearance. The Watcher can commonly be found standing up on two hind legs sniffing the air or baying into the distance. A Watcher's mouth is very odd, it is angled upward and sunken into the face, giving the watcher a face reminiscient of a Bull Dog or Boxer breed of dog. A pair of phalanges adjoin either side of the mouth and have some teeth lining the lower edge. These are probably used to give the watcher a greater surface area when biting, or to amplify its howls.
Watchers are pack hunters. The novel dictates that watchers will stalk their prey, observing them for weaknesses or for a proper time to strike. When on the prowl, Watchers usually move in packs from five to ten. In an exception to this rule, it is not uncommon to see hordes of 50 or more, as seen in Tower, and Echoes. Unless in these massive packs, they are almost never seen in open areas such as empty plains, because they are a potential food source of demons. It is not known if they are hunted by slimeslugs, however, Watchers also fear these creatures. Watchers have no preference as to what time of day they hunt, and are found active at all hours a day.
Watchmen in Metro: Last Light have only altered cosmetically since their last iteration. With an overall heavier design, they seem to have undergone rapid but wholly logical changes in response to the nuclear spring. Of note now, is their more distinct variety in color - now ranging several brighter shades of grey to browns that reach into oranges. These more pronounced colors act in part as camouflage, making them more difficult to see against the browns and greens of the surface. Watchmen in Last Light are also notable as being not wholly savage animals, fully capable of letting Artyom leave their home unharmed should he not fire upon them, remaining docile around Artyom when faced with sharing shelter from the storm, and even working cooperatively with Artyom to attack a common foe.
Watchmen tend to be on the lower end of the Moscow food chain as they are preyed upon by every other mutant in the game save the Lurkers, Mutant Crows, and hatchling Shrimp. This might reveal that they might be somewhat omnivorous as to maintain their massive population because the few Humans and Lurkers they kill is not enough to sustain them.
Watchers are the remnants of some undiscerned mammalian animal; likely descendants of rats, dogs, or even wolves (Exact taxonomy is unknown however due to the significance of mutation upon the Watcher's behavior and appearance). Their behavior resembles such animals, they hunt in packs, they howl, they actively hunt as opposed to scavenging. Further evidence of a canine ancestry lies in The Gospel According to Artyom, where a pack of mutated Dogs depicted as Watchers attack young Artyom.
Watchers are some of the most common mutants living on the surface; they are often seen scouring the city for food and have been seen traveling into the metro if food is available. Although it is unknown where they den, or any of their reproductive habits for that manner, they likely rest or conceal themselves in abandoned buildings, refuse piles, or vegetation; seeing as demons tend to pick off ones caught off-guard in the open. they seem to be defensive of their homes.
Watchers are social predators that scavenge and hunt for any food available. Although not specifically mentioned, Watchers are likely omnivorous predators seeing as they take a low-level position in the Moscow food-web but also actively hunt for prey. The novel discerns that watchers tend to stalk their prey as they hunt them, observing them for weaknesses, and waiting for a proper time to strike. When on the prowl, watchmen usually move in packs from five to ten. In contrast to this average, it is possible to see hordes of 50 or more Watchmen moving about the surface in search of food. Watchmen also appear to be opportunistic predators, as they move in to feed when Artyom is fighting the Bear; only having attempted to bring it and its cubs down earlier.
Watchers are found on, or at the threshold of the surface. In Metro 2033 they are encountered by Artyom in Dead City 1 and 2, Prologue, Alley and Tower. In Metro Last Light, Watchmen replace nosalises as most commonly encountered mutant type; being found in Ashes, Echoes, Regina, Sundown, Nightfall, The Crossing, Bridge, The Dead City, Red Square, and The Garden.
The watcher, just like lurkers and nosalieses, band together in packs of three to seven at a time and try to surround Artyom. This can be rather problematic, as they are met early in the both games, and can prove quick and sizable foes. Even in Metro 2033, where ammunition is hard to come by early, any form of shotgun can be effective against them, as long as the player keeps their aim steady at the head or upper body. This method is encouraged in Last Light also, due to the attack patterns and habit of watchmen to charge at Artyom with their front body as a large target. Try not to miss too much because both Ashot and Duplet demand accuracy due to their small ammo capacity.
When they are howling, players can take advantage of their instinct and score an easy head or chest shot - marking an almost guaranteed kill. This method is risky for constant use however, as if the player waits too long they will miss their chance, and other watchers won't have to howl to attack. It should also be noted that some won't howl at all, they'll just attack without provocation or warning.
Watchmen also seem to be one of the more social mutants as they are almost always seen in a group. Their social behavior also seems to extend to other species to a certain extent as they are shown to form temporary pacts when faced with certain situations. The Möbius trailer shows them working together with nosalises and lurkers to attack a station. They will also form these pacts with humans as shown by Artyom's encounter with the Bear.
In the NovelEdit
Watchers are not mentioned by name in the book but are encountered by Artyom during his trek along the surface from Polis to Smolenskaya. They are again described as having dark grey fur and stand on their hind legs before attacking or when watching their prey. They move in packs slowly and silently stalking Artyom from some distance in the cover of buildings before getting closer and fanning out in a semi-circle shape to flank him. In the novel they are the prey of demons who swoop down and grab any watcher not under adequate protection, which is why they stalk Artyom from buildings.
- Unlike the lurkers, nosalises, amoebae, demons, and librarians, you will not get an achievement for killing a certain number of watchers in Metro 2033.
- There is only one quick-time encounter with a watcher throughout the Metro 2033. In Dead City 1, there is a watcher that feigns death, but when Artyom moves close enough to it, it will lunge at him and pin him to the ground. The player must then press the action button multiple times to make Artyom stab it in the neck or bash it with his knife. Of course, this is entirely avoidable by simply killing it before entering the building.
- A new snow covered version is seen in Metro 2033 redux.