I've been thinking about playing STALKER: Call of Pripyat as my chosen game after Ultima 4 for my blog. The original game, Shadows of Chernobyl, was one of the most atmospheric and enjoyable open world games I've played. I normally hate 'open world' setups, but taking place in a fictional Ukranian countryside surrounding the Chernobyl power plant is one of the most compelling setting I've ever tooled around in. The game has a gritty, almost roguelike feel, with instant death coming the second you lower your defenses.

Not only is the release of Call of Pripyat the most refined and balanced version yet, but also one of the most moddable games on the market. Even though it is not as open as other games like Skyrim, the fan base of the STALKER series is so dedicated they have introduced everything from small weight tweaks to complete environmental overhauls. Some players are STILL playing the game since its release and discovering new things.

The emphasis on loneliness and quick and dirty urban combat appeals to me the most. Instead of carefully scripted events, packs of mercenaries, monsters, and bandits wander the entire area looking for the same things you are: supplies, valuable artifacts, and shelter from constant radiation storms. One of the coolest things to ever happen was a result of these systems.

After fighting a mid-range engagement with a small group of bandits, a public radio transmission announced an imminent radiation storm. Both myself and the bandits immediately stopped shooting and high-tailed it toward the closest shelter: an empty factory complex. After running in the door, the entire battlefield had changed. We were no longer hiding behind trees fighting half a kilometer away, we were now packed into a factory floor with abandoned equipment. While the storm raged outside, I tried to stalk and corner the bandits to take them out individually before they could get the drop on me. The entire event felt like a scripted event that would be a major action piece of a level in another game, but this sort of thing happens all the time.

I highly suggest anyone play this game or the original. It is one of the most interesting and compelling shooters I have played in the last decade of gaming.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/29/2012 at 04:20am

After hearing about this game from the totally rad show I was really interested in it. Then days turned in to weeks and it slipped off my radar. After a recent Steam sale I was considering it again, but I blew my budget on the Bethesda pack :)

So is Stalker one game or a game a bunch of bundled add ons? Just wondering how to go about getting it when it's that time. Oh.. I wonder if there is a demo?

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/29/2012 at 04:23am

Actually in retrospect I think they reviewed shadow of Chernobyl.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/29/2012 at 04:59am

There are three complete games: Shadows of Chernobyl, Clear Sky (a prequel), and Call of Pripyat. SoC is very good and set the stage for what it was. Clear sky took it in a more directed focus and had lots of problems and bugs some people don't like. I've never played it. Call of Pripyat takes all of the great things in both games, puts them in a complete package, and optimizes the game engine as much as it will probably ever be. Although the original is well loved, I think everyone considers Call of Pripyat to be the best. I don't think it is connected to the original in any way other than setting, either. I may be wrong, though, haven't played too much.

Jacob_Richardson wrote on 11/01/2012 at 10:31pm

Me and my brother have talked about these games a few times. It will for sure be one i play in the near future. Some of the mods for SoC look incredible.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 11/02/2012 at 02:34am

The Atmos-Fear mod looks absolutely incredible and is available for both Shadows and Call of Pripyat. The only problem is it will push the limits of your graphics card. It also seemed to destabilize the engine causing constant crashes, but when I have more time I may investigate it as I'm sure they've fixed it by now. As you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAomiCEqlzs

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