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STALKER Call of Pripyat Review

by GSC Game World 0 text

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Chernobyl adventure gone wild

"S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat" is the third installment in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, a video game franchise celebrated for its deep integration of first-person shooter and survival horror elements within a highly interactive open world. Developed by Ukrainian company GSC Game World, this sequel builds directly upon the events of "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl," following the aftermath of the catastrophic second explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The game plunges players into the eerie and desolate landscapes of the Zone, a heavily contaminated area surrounding the disaster site, now teeming with mutated creatures, rogue stalkers, and supernatural phenomena. The narrative begins with the player assuming the role of Agent Alexander Degtyarev, an undercover operative posing as a stalker to investigate the mysterious crashes of five military helicopters in the Zone. Unlike its predecessors, "Call of Pripyat" boasts a more polished storyline and refined gameplay mechanics, making it a standout title in the series. The game's structure favors exploration and interaction with the environment and NPCs, featuring a non-linear storyline that allows players significant freedom in how they approach objectives and solve problems. ### Gameplay 7/10 Gameplay in "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat" is a compelling blend of tactical shooter mechanics with survival horror and role-playing elements, set within a sprawling and perilously unpredictable environment. The game refines its predecessors' mechanics, offering more balanced combat and an improved artifact hunting system, integral to the game's survival aspects. Players must navigate the Zone's treacherous territories, which are divided into three large open-world maps: Zaton, Yanov, and the City of Pripyat itself. Each area presents unique challenges and mysteries, populated by a variety of creatures and hostile factions. The AI of both foes and fauna is notably improved, creating a more immersive and challenging experience. Resource management is crucial as equipment degrades and supplies like ammunition and medical aids are scarce. The game's survival elements are heightened by the realistic simulation of day/night cycles and varying weather conditions, which directly affect gameplay. The artifact detection and collection system has been overhauled, requiring the use of specialized equipment and adding a layer of strategy to the exploration. The freedom to make choices that influence the game's outcome and the dynamic nature of the Zone, where random events can occur, contribute to a richly replayable experience. However, some players may find the game's pacing and open-ended structure somewhat daunting, as the lack of direction can at times lead to frustration. ### Graphics 8/10 Graphically, "Call of Pripyat" marks a significant improvement over its predecessors. Utilizing the X-Ray Engine 1.6, the game features enhanced lighting effects, detailed textures, and more dynamic weather systems that contribute to an incredibly atmospheric experience. The depiction of the desolate Ukrainian post-apocalyptic landscapes is both beautiful and haunting, enhancing the game's immersive qualities. The attention to detail in the environments, from the decaying structures of Pripyat to the overgrown forests surrounding the Chernobyl plant, is commendable. The visual fidelity is particularly evident during weather transitions and in the realistic rendering of water and shadows, which significantly enhance the game's moody aesthetic. While some character models and animations remain clunky, they do little to detract from the overall visual experience. ### Storyline 8/10 The storyline of "Call of Pripyat" is more cohesive and engaging than in previous entries. The narrative's focus on a covert military investigation gives the plot a clear direction and a strong sense of purpose, which complements the game's exploratory nature. The story benefits greatly from its setting; the haunting, real-world backdrop of the Chernobyl disaster adds layers of intrigue and gravity to the narrative. As players delve deeper into the Zone, they encounter a cast of well-developed characters, each with their own motivations and backstories. The interactions with these characters and the decisions players make influence the storyline, leading to multiple endings. This branching narrative structure not only adds depth to the gameplay but also encourages multiple playthroughs to explore different outcomes. ### Multiplayer 6/10 While "Call of Pripyat" excels in its single-player campaign, the multiplayer aspect is less robust. It offers standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, and artifact hunt modes, which are fun but do not particularly stand out in the crowded space of online shooters. The multiplayer servers are not as active, which can make finding games challenging. The modes available do provide some entertainment value but lack the depth and innovation present in the single-player experience. ### Issues and Community Feedback Players have reported various technical issues, such as bugs and occasional crashes, which can disrupt the gameplay experience. The modding community has been proactive in addressing some of these problems, providing patches and mods that enhance stability and add new features. Community feedback has been generally positive, praising the game's atmosphere, complex mechanics, and story depth. However, criticisms often point to the steep learning curve and the need for better guidance within the game's vast open world. Some players have also expressed the desire for more developed multiplayer modes to match the quality of the single-player campaign.

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Conclusion 7.5

"S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat" is a worthy successor in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, offering an immersive post-apocalyptic experience enriched by its challenging gameplay, atmospheric graphics, and a compelling storyline. While it could benefit from more polished multiplayer modes and a smoother learning curve, it remains a standout title for fans of the genre.

Pros and Cons

  • Engaging story
  • Atmospheric graphics
  • Deep gameplay
  • Clunky animations
  • Limited multiplayer
  • Steep learning curve

Player Quotes

"An unforgettable trek through the Zone."

"Graphics are top-notch, immersing you right into the desolation."

"Could use more guidance, easy to get lost and frustrated."

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Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.