28 February, 2010

Postcards From The Exclusion Zone (Stalker: Call of Pripyat)

written by Blain Newport on Saturday, February 27, 2010

I decided to take another trip to Stalker land with the latest installment, Call of Pripyat.

Here are the marshes. If you look at the expanded version you can see that they stretch out for a great distance. It's strange though. The original Stalker was a bunch of linear maps stitched together. Now that the game is actually more open, with three large areas to roam around in, it feels much smaller. You always start in a fairly centralized base which means it's never more than five minutes to anywhere. Whereas traversing the first game probably took an hour.

Stalker is all about bleak and hostile environments. This one's so hostile you can't even live in it without a self-contained air supply.

This is an anomaly. The basic premise of the Stalker games is that the Chernobyl disaster caused a bunch of really bizarre stuff to happen. These anomalies are very dangerous, but they often contain radioactive artifacts which can give you special abilities (usually resistance to the type of threat the anomaly itself presents).

I don't know. The original felt exotic and strange. The later games may play a bit better and have fewer crash bugs, but they don't bring enough to the experience to feel worthwhile. Clear Sky brought in faction wars which were largely broken. I honestly don't feel that Pripyat brings much to the table at all. I'll finish it because I'm avoiding real life right now, but it seems like the first Stalker (Shadows of Chernobyl) is still the best by a wide margin, especially if you're willing to install some mods.

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