The first time I tried to play Metro Exodus on the maximum possible difficulty, Ranger Hardcore with full immersion and HUD disabled entirely (except for the crafting menus of course), I became frustrated and stopped playing.
That is because I made a big error of judgement approaching situations in the game, in what is essentially a true-to-life experience: I went in guns blazing, hoping to kill all the enemies and loot them all, much like I would on easy, or in, say, Warframe.
What a mistake that was. I couldn't get past the first gunfight in the Jamming station in Moscow. Of course, if you must flex and say you beat them all on Ranger Hardcore with no HUD, then that's great! But unlike you, I suck at shooters.
So how would Artyom actually approach these situations? (If you ask my friend, who has read the books the Metro games are based on, he will agree), that is: you don't fight them at all. Artyom should try and sneak past them, with minimal confrontation in order to survive in this harsh world. Historically, I have not been a huge fan of stealth games, and Metro Exodus on maximum difficulty does place a lot emphasis on stealth survival gameplay, but I will say this is surprisingly enjoyable, it is also extremely immersive.
You have to think about things like how much ammo you have in your magazine, of course with no HUD - you can't just see magic numbers appear on your vision. Instead, I have found that looking in my backpack and selecting the magazine on rifles like the Kalash; here you can actually see the remaining cartridges in the magazine through the cut-out designed specifically for that purpose! I.E, the game developer has taken the time to realistically model the number of cartridges in the magazine for you to see.
It's things like that, and the vastly more tactical approach to combat and objectives that makes the game feel more tense, and I absolutely love that experience. Metro Exodus is truly the best game I've ever played, and with nearly 200 hours in, I am still finding new things (seriously) and having plenty of fun.
In this series, I record my entire playthrough of Metro Exodus, from start to finish, and both DLCs; Two Colonels and Sam's Story, on the maximum possible difficulty of Ranger Hardcore and no HUD. I used a new game plus, and I start with the Helsing (Crossbow) as part of the selectable options - I need a comfort blanket, and I can pick the bolts out of my foes and re-use them, which is extremely handy when you have only a handful of rounds in your pocket for your rifle or shotgun.
I switched PCs part way through, from 2600X to TR 2950X. You can always look on the OSD for performance statistics to see how it performs. The game is on maximum possible settings at 1080p with DLSS disabled. (Extreme Quality + Ultra RT + Hairworks + Advanced Physics + Normal Motion Blur).