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The game is set in Ukraine (South of Russia) in the abandoned city of Pripyat. Next to the city is the Chernobyl NPP that cause all the mayhem at the start of the trilogy. I picked up the game a couple of months back and I must say this is by far the best Stalker I have played. Like it's predecessors, Stalker Call Of Pripyat is a dark, gloomy post apocalyptic hell zone. You play the role as Major Degtyarev, you were sent to the zone disguised as a common STALKER to search for disappeared helos (Helicopters) that were sent to recon the zone by the Ukrainian Military.
This game's requirements are really high, I play on a laptop and I can just about play it on the lowest settings, this has not made me stop playing the game. On the lowest settings the game is might I say pretty ugly, but by the way I look at it most of you guys looking at this might have a professional gaming PC. If you don't I must suggest you download some gaming aids to make the game run smoother so you could be able to nudge the quality up a notch.
Call of Pripyat has a wide range of armament at your disposal to use against the horror the game throws at you. This consists of 50 weapons (Including the unique ones), 5 weapon mods to attach to your guns, and a standard knife. This game also has a wide range of armoured suit for you to wear, from the humble Leather Jacket to all mighty Exoskeleton. Throughout the game you will be able to find artefacts, think of it as a drug that you attach to your belt. To find these helpful items you need to venture into anomalies. Anomalies are places on the map that have been severely mutated by the tragedy at the Chernobyl NPP, these places are really dangerous and you must be heavily supplied with meds and bolts to survive through them. When you eventually find your way through these areas you're rewarded greatly.
The only thing I can say now is that if you buy this game I hope that you enjoy it, I also hope this review has helped, it was my first shot at one so send me some helpful feedback!
If you're looking for a bit of spooky post-apocalyptic gaming then a STALKER game is worth picking up.
Out of the three games Call of Pripyat is the first I didn't get fed up of, well, right until I discovered that Pripyat isn't fully modeled like in the previous two games, but rather fenced off as an army base.
I've yet to play a game that has an atmosphere as chilling - you find yourself in empty laboratories, warehouses and trecking across marshland. The fact that there's a creepy ambient soundtrack/noises to accompany and knowing that there could well be a mutated THING around the next corner adds to the atmopshere.
The game is also totally open - you can explore as you like for hours on end - it's a great game to play late at night if you're in the mood for it.
All being said the story seems distant and it's not exactly the most inspiring either - something about helicopter crashes.
Lastly, whilst the game's engine is an improvement on the stability of the previous two games it still isn't up to scratch. The game's framerate constantly dips during normal play and if you're unlucky you can sometimes get the odd crash to the desktop.
All in all, it's worth playing one of these titles. Since "STALKER 2" is in the works (which'll supposedly have an entirely new engine) it's worth just playing one out of the current three titles and waiting for that IMO.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is very familiar territory to those of us who have followed the series from its beginning, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing - if it ain't broke don't fix it! That said, there have been numerous small improvements to the game world and its inhabitants which make CoP the most finely tuned and accomplished outing yet.
The graphics have been optimised a great deal and offer support for DirectX11, if your GPU supports it. In Clear Sky, the previous game in the series, switching on all of the updated DirectX10 features in the graphics settings would pretty much cripple the the game and reduce your FPS to single figures. Not so with CoP, which is built upon a highly optimised and updated version of the X-Ray engine. The models, scenery and special effects look only marginally better than in previous games but this was never a problem given that even the first game in the series, Shadow of Chernobyl, sported some beautiful landscapes and a wide variety of NPC models. The main improvements in CoP come in the form of higher FPS (frames per second) and overall game stability.
~ [ Storyline ] ~
Set in a future in which further Chernobyl disasters have occurred you enter The Zone (the area of exclusion set up to contain the effects of the disaster and the ruins left behind by a largely evacuated populace), which has been the basic start point for each of the previous games in the series. In this game Pripyat, a city within The Zone, is your destination.
You no longer play as Strelock, or whatever his alter-ago may have been, but as a military official sent in to investigate the crashing of several military helicopters in and around Pripyat. You must interact with the NPCs who populate the game's massive world to find out information about reaching the helicopters, and in the process you find yourself learning a great deal about the city and the individual stories of those who survive there.
The storyline is fascinating and enthralling, and the atmosphere created in the game is perfectly matched.
~ [ Graphics ] ~
As discussed, the graphics are crisper and more friendly to your FPS and GPU. The landscape, as has always been the case in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, is vibrant and photo realistic. The detail in the faces of NPCs and the bricks of every wall is textured beautifully, and the developers used genuine locations within Pripyat as references when they were creating the game world. And it shows.
~ [ Gameplay ] ~
The game is a first person shooter, and you can "equip" a knife, pistol and rifle/machine gun at the same time, but you can carry many more weapons and items than this in your backpack. The weight encumbrance restrictions mean you can't carry more than your spine can manage, which forces you to economise.
Large amounts of money can be earned by searching for much sought-after artefacts, which are strange glowing object scattered around the game's world, using your artefact detector which can be upgraded. Carrying out missions is also your main source if income, the proceeds of which go towards funding your medical and weaponry requirements.
As was the case with the first two games, there are numerous "anomalies" which plague the landscape and will fling you around like a rag-doll if you get too close to them. These are understood to be environmental after effects of the Chernobyl disasters and can be avoided by keeping your eyes peeled and throwing your limitless supply of bolts ahead of you.
Almost everything about the previous games in the series has carried over into the latest, and several additions which were provided in the form of mods by gamers have found themselves in CoP as built-in features. For instance, weapon repair is possible, meaning you get to keep your favourite weapon as long as you get it fixed up every now and again. Sleeping is possible now, which allows you to rest so that pre-determined missions times can be reached and daylight can approach if you dislike roaming around in the dark.
Talking to every single NPC, eliciting identical responses from each peripheral character, is no longer a reality. NPCs travelling in groups will tell you to talk to their leader if you attempt to interact with them, which is a great way of avoiding wasting time with inconsequential characters but it's also annoying if you want to quickly trade for/buy food or medical supplies from them.
Guides who will instantly transport you to various locations on the map were introduced in Clear Sky and they are present in Call of Pripyat too. This is an indispensable feature which cuts out massive time-munching journeys to and from mission objectives.
Almost all weapons can be upgraded to some degree, and if you go on hunts for information regarding upgrades more will become available when you hand said info over to the repair NPCs.
The AI is largely the same as it always has been, which is best characterised as "very ordinary". Enemies are quite tricky to put down, and missions involving the safe transport of friendly NPCs are a nightmare; they die pretty quickly thus rendering the missions a failure, and protecting them whilst also fighting off the dozen or so enemy NPCs is no mean feat, even when the game is on the easiest setting. The new incarnation of the blood sucker monster is almost impossible to kill, and it's usually best to just run away. The inclusion of several other new monsters makes the game even more frightening than before, and for a game as scary as this that's a result!
The gameplay's biggest draw for me is the atmosphere created by the landscape, soundtrack, storyline and the NPCs who roam around either befriending you or tearing you apart. You get a real authentic sense of the experience of Pripyat and its inhabitants, and this sense of involvement is the game's greatest achievement.
The multiplayer element of the game is almost identical to that of previous games in the series, including its quirks and general sense of monotony. I don't usually bother with it much, and apparently nor does anyone else!
~ [ Voice Acting/Dialogue ] ~
In a word: mediocre. Most of the NPCs sound like they've been watching too many Police Academy movies. They tend to say things like "hey bro" a little too often and with too much gusto. The dialogue feels like the translation of the script from Russian to English was performed by Babel Fish and then cleaned up by a third year English student in Ukraine. That said, the dialogue can be skipped and the "gist" of the dialogue is written into your PDA if it's of significance, and if you gain something from the conversation like an object or a mission your PDA will inform you of that fact.
~ [ Stability ] ~
The game was released on Steam pre-patched, which is a good sign; it shows that the beta testing stages were taken a little more seriously than they were during the development of the earlier games in the series. The X-Ray engine has received a substantial overhaul by the developers, and the fruits of their efforts are obvious to anyone playing this game after having played the first two in the series. I don't think the game has crashed once for me, even when using a trainer to cheat. Contrast this with Shadow of Chernobyl, the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game to be released and teeming with more bugs than one of Jeffrey Dahmer's ex-boyfriends, and the difference is immediately obvious.
The system requirements, if you opt to use DirectX 9, are pretty low by today's standards and if you can play the first two games you can play CoP no sweat.
~ [ Conclusion ] ~
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series as a whole is a worthy, respectable and accomplished one, and Call of Pripyat represents the most refined and optimised incarnation of the game's alternative reality so far. With its improvements and the small but significant number of new features S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is a product any serious gamer should consider.