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This review was submitted by Wyatt Oliver. If you’ve played S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, or just want to ask Mathew more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat (PC) An interesting blend of FPS and RPG, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is PC gamers’ third foray into the Zone - the no-go area around the ‘sploded Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. You play as Major Degtyarev (no, the names don’t get any easier from here), a Ukrainian military agent tasked with discovering what happened to five helicopters that have crash-landed in the Zone around the city of Pripyat.
Loved Stayin’ alive: As with the first two S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, Call of Pripyat abandons the player, leaving you to fend for yourself in the strange and morose wilderness. Whether it be stumbling through the dark, listening to the savage barking of a pack of mutant hostiles not quite far enough away, or deciding between helping a beleaguered Stalker and saving your precious ammo, you will constantly consider your own survival. Despite your military background, and the rifle you begin the game armed with, the distinct impression is that you are very alone and very vulnerable. Oh, this is a good thing.
Pimping out your gear: Several NPCs throughout the game will offer to repair and even upgrade your armour and weapons - for a fee. At the beginning of the game cash-flow is low, so it’s up to the player to decide whether that med-kit is worth pawning for a shiny new scope for your rifle.
Great performance: The game runs well on my fairly modest rig. Bugs? Just a few cockroaches, apparently. Crashes? The only things crashing here are helicopters!
Hated: Being stuck in 2007: CoP uses the same X-Ray engine from the previous two games, albeit an updated version. Shadow of Chernobyl looked great in 2007, but having run CoP on maximum DX10 settings (the game does support DX11) I am not sure the game is on par with similar titles it may be competing with in today’s market.
Voice acting: Actually, a lot of the voice acting for background chatter is not too shabby - as far as I can tell, because it’s still mostly in Russian. Unfortunately, the English dubs for quest givers and notable NPCs are not so great. You can hear the miss-read scripts; the awkward pauses… the Italian-American accent of one character.
Inventory management: Later in the game loot becomes more plentiful, but your inventory weight restriction stays roughly the same. If you’ve got itchy looting fingers and find it hard to tear yourself away from even the most trivial of plundered items, you may find yourself agonising over all the goodies you have to leave behind.
CoP is the sequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, and expands excellently on the STALKER universe, pushing the story of the Zone further. Despite a host of new features that improve the STALKER experience, very little has changed in the formula since 2007. For those who have played and liked previous STALKER games, this is a great continuation of the series. Others unfamiliar with the STALKER franchise might be better off checking out Metro 2033.
Reviewed by: Wyatt Oliver