S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call Of Pripyat – First impressions

I have to note that these are only my first impressions of this game and i’ll make a more detailed review later, when the game hits it’s international release. But before that, this article will stand as first impressions and will contain general information on the newest Stalker, before i pronounce my final verdict. So.. is the new game as good as the previous ones? Is it that buggy? Is it that atmospheric. My first impressions are – yes on all paragraphs. The new Stalker is true jewel for any FPS fan out there.. and not just..

I’m writing this after having played the game for a few hours on the Russian version of the game, patched to version 1.6.0. The game was released in Russia and Ukraine on the 2nd of October. The release date for Germany, Austria, Switzerland was November the fifth. The game will hit it’s official release for the rest of the world in Q1 2010. This version of the game i bough off the German Amazon.

First off, i have to point out that ever since the release of Shadow Of Chernobyl i’ve been a huge Stalker fan. And, as such, the latest edition to the series made me more than happy. Call Of Pripyat doesn’t make any general gameplay changes compared to the previous versions of the game. What the new game does is hand you a bigger world, new story, some improvements and a few light gameplay additions. In general, Call Of Pripyat is a lot more polished than the previous games and is perfect for both new players and hardcore fans. The game is more balanced, more accessible and has more content. The new game takes place just after the end of Shadow Of Chernobyl(Clear Sky was a prequel). The military forces of Ukraine have found an open route to the zone and have decided it’s time to take action.  Their plan, known as project “Fairway”, is to take control over the CNPP reactor. The first part of the plan is to scout by air using the map plans of the zone. Despite all that, the operation fails. Most of the choppers sent by air, crash. In order to collect more operation, Ukraine’s Security Service send their agent into the Zone center. This is how the game begins. You find yourself in a dangerous, new environment where anything can happen. From now on everything rests on your not-stalkerish shoulders. The zone is different. Much different. It’s up to you to survive the dangers.

The most noticeable change in the new Stalker is it’s interface. It’s improved a lot and now features hotkeys, a better inventory, a better pocket computer and is much more user friendly. Surprisingly, the graphics haven’t moved an inch. All they did was make everything darker. Not that they aren’t good, but no improvements on that paragraph other than the better looking effects. The emissions(blowouts) now also look better and more realistic. When one happens you are advised to find shelter and stay there until it’s over. Another thing to be noted is that now everything in the zone is photorealstic replica’s of the actual world. The faction wars also play a much larger role now. As you progress you will sometimes witness encounters on different factions. The ones i was a part of were all stalkers vs bandits. This brings up a thing that bugged me while playing. As long as you stay neutral, you can wait until one of those factions wars are over and just walk by and loot everything, making like a coward. A rich coward. The game is now considerably more polished than the previous ones were. For nearly five hours of gameplay(most of which went in explorations) i didn’t notice a single bug. I don’t know. It could just be me. But the problem with the game being way too heavy for some PC’s remains. You’d expect after an engine has been used in three games now that they will optimize it a bit.

But the Stalker is still one of the most atmospheric games of this year. It’s a game that can frighten you just by looking at it and take you into a state of extreme joy at the same time. My first impressions of the game were more than positive. Maybe GSC Game World finally got smart and gave polishing the game more time. The truth is one – Stalker is still a competitor for the title “FPS of the year” and can do things blockbuster hits like Modern Warfare can only dream about.

To be continued..

Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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