STALKER was a massive hit when it came out. Set in a fictional near future, it revolved around events in “The Zone”, a common way to refer to the Zone of Exclusion around Chernobyl. In the game’s fictional timeline, a second major disasted in Chernobyl causes the military to completely cordon the zone, at the same time creating a self-sustained area inside it, where bands and organizations fight against each other for dominance and survival. Call of Pripyat is the second expansion to the original, set shortly after the events of the first game.
In Call of Pripyat, it’s assumed that the first game ended with the player destroying the organization controlling The Zone (as the game featured multiple possible endings). There have been various additions to the gameplay, such as upgrades to the weapons and changes to the trading system. There are now also daily “emissions”, a new type of anomaly caused by the disasters in the area, which causes deadly outbursts of radiation, forcing the player to seek cover.
A much-requested Free Play mode has been added as well, which allows you to continue playing the game and exploring its world freely after you’ve finished it, completing some of the “perpetual” quests and enjoying the game’s atmosphere – which, by the way, is in some aspects even better than the previous games.
Graphics and System Requirements
The X-Ray engine has been slightly upgraded for this version, bringing in some new post-processing effects, and new eye-candy such as water realistically flowing down walls when it’s raining – if you’ve got a computer that can support it at the highest levels of detail, it will be a fantastic experience, guaranteed. The game portrays both outside and indoor environments very realistically and in a captivating manner – and the new effects utilized for anomalies are just spectacular.
Despite that, Call of Pripyat’s overall system requirements are actually lower than those of the previous two – apart from eye candy, the engine also received a lot of optimization, it seems. This is always great to see, as many developers nowadays tend to concentrate on buffing up the graphics quality without any regard for how much they’re shrinking their potential customer base.
The game does have a few bugs and glitches, as the developer is known for releasing products like that. However, the latest patches fix most of what could be troubling you, and the game becomes a smooth and enjoyable experience. Online play is there but not very heavily accented, as the primary spotlight here is the single player experience – though still, you may want to have a few rounds blasting other people with the game’s guns (mostly the sniper rifles, due to the way it’s balanced).
A solid game that grabs you and just doesn’t let go until you’ve beaten every single side-quest and explored every last ruined factory. It’s not just your regular shooter, it’s an absolute masterpiece that really deserves more attention than it’s received.