on 5 February 2010
This is a very good game - and it may even nudge at greatness once or twice. It's not perfect of course, but it is very good, exciting, thought provoking, very puzzling in parts (but always logical), difficult and easy, simple and complex, and hugely immersive. To say up front, I've played the Russian-released game, so the cut-scenes are a bit hard to follow (!) for me.
Coming in three large (not huge, but large enough to feel big) maps, how you play influences aspects in the game. I suspect some (particularly experienced stalkers) may feel that the game is a bit easy in parts, and sometimes a little too heavy on atmosphere (versus shooting). Certainly the third map (in my opinion excellently) conveys the desolation and hollowness of a city bereft of inhabitants - trust me, after a while it really does 'get to you' - others may just find it a bit too empty.
For those who have played neither Shadow of Chernobyl (SoC) nor Clear Sky (CS) before, be warned, it can feel like there is quite a bit of 'just walking around' to be done, interspersed with some sometimes quite sudden deaths. Previous Stalker-series players will know well what I mean here.
There are many (many) hours of game play here, and a lot of exploration you will have to do for yourselves to crack all of the game, and all the side-tasks. For those who prefer their game-play to be spoon-fed to them and be supplied 'on rails' (I'm thinking of the Call of Duty'ers), avoid this game as you'll hate it.
The game is very stable right out of the (Russian) box, and looks really nice, with fully functioning dynamic weather and day/night cycles. There are some underground parts to the gameplay - not as many as SoC, but more than CS. Sleeping is woven in well, but not mandated. The nights are inky black and, until you get night-vision, largely sensible to sleep through.
Artefact hunting is pretty key to your survival and progress - but again not mandated if you don't enjoy - both to generate money as well as augment the armour/weapons - all of which can be upgraded to personal taste by the mechanics dotted around. The guns sound fab and seem well aligned to the game. The ballistics are fab, seeing a target hit (and damaged) by a ricochet deserves 12/10.
There are serveral truly excellent set-piece tasks to think (as well as fight) your way through, and some very tense periods of exploration to do - I shan't spoil them by saying more! Albeit it's not as scary as SoC - the only game that still scares me!
Like I say it's not perfect thought - the head wobble/bobble is a bit excessive (fixed by a mod), the weapons wear out far far too fast (fixed by a mod), the flashlight is a feeble joke (fixed by a mod), the HUD is a big bulky and intrusive (fixed by a mod), all the text (in my game) is in Russian (fixed by a mod), the players field-of-view is too narrow (fixed by a mod), the iron-sights of the guns also need a mod to work properly... are you getting the picture yet... for, as with all the Stalker games, the modding cummunity is already very active on this game - and with this excellent base to work from, I think we can expect much.
Oh - and it has on-line game play too... Well I'll stop now, there's really a lot to enjoy in this game, and it marks a good evolution of the Stalker series! Only minor worry, GSC don't seem to have found publishers easy to come by - I suspect a facet of the previously unreliable 'fist releases' of SoC and CS. No such problems here - it's working first time!!!
Summary: if you like open and multi-faceted games where you can do what you want, and explore and play the game as you choose to, then buy this game - it would be rude not to, and you'd be missing a little gem!
on 6 February 2010
Call of Pripyat shares none of the frustrations of Clear Sky, it brings back the FUN of the original game, and improves upon it in a multitude of ways. Yes, this is still Stalker, and the game mechanics are similar: open world, shoot blokes, avoid mutants, hunt anomalies etc. But the faction wars are toned down, and you feel like you actually stand a chance from the off. At first you are somewhat fragile, but not stupidly vulnerable. I started venturing out to places and noticed that, like the better-tuned RPGs, there were areas that I could just about tackle, but others for which I'd have to improve myself before I could return to them. Feels just right.
There are two weapons slots, in which you can put whatever you like. This was curiously limited in Clear Sky. The main plot arc isn't entirely linear, the first 5 "quests" for it can be tackled in any order. The "world" comprises 3 large, distinct areas that are naturally shaped and do not feel like long corridors. Keep walking in any direction and you'll see one completely different thing after another, a wrecked ship, swamps (very scaled down compared to Clear Sky), chasms, bridges, burned farms, anomalies, plateaus, and buildings.
Call of Pripyat is designed to be "open world" immediately. Day and night cycles are still there, and you have a permanent clock in the main hud. Clear Sky got one thing right with artifacts: hard to find. This is still the case, and detectors are required, making for a tricky but compelling challenge whenever you attempt it. Earning money is tough, but a little easier than Clear Sky, and feels about right. Shotguns are no longer nearly-useless, and the new Protecta is a solid, satisfying weapon. Weapon upgrades are present again, but futher tuned, and even more essential. Some of the dread and scares of the original game are present, if not to the same extent. There are a lot of things that, if not frightening, are certainly odd and will put you on edge. There's more "weird" in this game than "scary", put simply. How many FPSs engage your imagination as much as your trigger finger?
And I found it absolutely reliable, too. No crashes here, on an Intel-chipset-based PC with Windows 7 64-bit and a Radeon 4650.
Realistic but frustratingly small carry limit early on.
That damned view-bob.
Vanilla game could do with more AI spawns.
Short, some are saying 20 hours.
Could do with more dungeons!
Weapons degradation is a more prominent factor than Clear Sky, and if anything happend a tad too "rapidly" for my liking.
You'll wish they mapped more of Pripyat (but what's there is fantastic).
One of the best first-person-shooters crafted from Ukranian soil. A unique, compelling and satisfying experience, and recommended to absolutely everyone. Google for the "SMRTER mod" after you have played the full game, to add more goodies and replayability.
on 15 November 2010
Call of Pripyat is almost as good as the first in the series, Shadow of Chernobyl. There's three huge levels to explore. Levels are nicely done except last one, which feels a bit unfinished. All the characters and monsters are nicely done too. The game has quite a bad stuttering problem however. Stuttering is a feature of the game engine and can not be fixed. You can alleviate this somewhat by enabling vertical sync and rising the refresh rate of your monitor as high as possible. Also when you run the game, check that the game is using two cores (or more), for it is known to use just one core by default. This fix can be performed on the Windows Task Manager / Processes tab / right click and change "affinity" to one core, then back to two or more cores. This will activate all cores and you can get 50% more framerate! As to the game itself, it is much of the same as the other Stalker games. Exploring places and doing missions. It can be boring if you're not into wandering. The game world does feel a bit empty and liveless like all Stalker games do. Not much happens or moves and what does feels scripted. There's no real-world lively feeling into it. Anyway, the game lasts about 30-40 hours and there's plenty of interesting and scary places to visit during that time. In Stalker games you need to add a bit of your own imagination on top of it and just enjoy the scenery. It's a trip to your on mind too. Btw, using your own background music while playing is worth trying.
on 12 July 2012
Stalker COP is the 3rd game of the series and like the others is set in the wastelands of chernobyl. I original resisted getting this due to the problems I encountered with clear sky(bugs and lots of patches) but seeing this game for £2, risk free purchase me thinks. So what did I think, the game is very stable but is quite a hit on your pc. The story is a bit hogwash with no mystery like the first one, but their is still alot to find in the open world with some interesting side quests. The combat and the AI are spot on, enemies are very dangerous and often you will find yourself at a disadvantage. I got halfway through the game then got looking for some mods to make it harder(some people will find it hard enough with vanilla). So dont worry their is a community still bashing away with this game. All in all I was satisfied with he end game and of course the deadly atmosphere which when playing by yourself in a dark room..................mummy?. But yeah to new guys to stalker its definitly a try to get this game but also check out the first one, even tho its now a golden oldie its still the best by far.
By the way if you like it rough, hard and dirty I recommend you check out the misery mod. I got this to make the game alot harder and boy until you learn the ropes you will spend more time looking at the 'YOUR DEAD' screen then you will running away from everything. (very high end pc needed to play misery on high settings)
on 7 February 2010
First install game kept crashing X-Ray engine failure also video very choppy when it was working before crashes.To make this game work properly required updating video driver and direct x as well as deleting the content of the stalker folder and starting again from the beginning. Probably should have thought about updating everything before the first install. Graphics still hesitate at time but overall familiar territory for all Stalker fans. Nothing really new here but some good moments and the odd tricky puzzle so entertaining upto now. Keeping fingers crossed no more crashes. Still not brave enough to switch back to dynamic lighting just in case. Maybe try it when I finish the game.
on 12 February 2010
Shadow of Chernobyl: Amazing game with a slight problem with customisability and a few bugs.
Clear Sky: Amazing game, once you got it working and learned to live around the tremendopus number of bugs and new customisation system
Call of Pripyat... just, wow. Incredible graphics rendering, havn't found a single bug yet, engaging storyline, food/sleep/bleeding mechanics are fantastic, and the customisation features are extensive.
It's got my vote.
on 8 April 2010
I haven't played previous Stalkers before.
The start of the game manages to create a world that only the greatest games can accomplish.
The unfamiliar landscapes. predators, rivals, weather, lack of daylight, anomalies and lack of vital resources all make for a dangerous world where every step can lead to a fatal encounter. The odds can feel stacked against you and the need to work out a way to survive is an incredible driving force. In battles you witness some fantastic random encounters as well as strongly designed set pieces.
The sense of achievement when you can confidently stride across the hills and through the swamps is great.
Unfortunately that is when things take a turn for the worst. After you have spent time confidently walking across a map and the world is no longer unfamiliar, you are left with quite a dull, poor shooter with an annoying inventory. The game doesn't manage to hold its qualities till the end of each area.
Graphically a mixed bag. Some of the textures, buildings, lighting and weather create a very advanced look. Not always. Walking through the landscape can also look a bit naff.
Artifacts can be both very useful and a waste of time. With an artifact that removes radiation, the right suits and one of the better detectors, finding artifacts can be quick and useful. Without those items it can be slow and only really useful for money. I was never convinced that getting a suit suitable for battles and only picking up artifacts when it became convenient was a bad idea. I would have liked a clearer need and more direction in artifact collection.
Call Of Pripyat is certainly a game worth experiencing but it doesn't manage to sustain its achievements throughout.
on 5 February 2010
This is a first for the Stalker franchise. A release that is immediately playable without any patches!
If you've never played Stalker, its an FPS / RPG hybrid with large freely explorable maps. Doing your own thing is encouraged and if you don't like wandering about a lot you might want to stick to COD MW2 and the like.
When I first installed and ran it I was disappointed. It didn't look very special on my high end PC. It autodetected max settings @1280x1024, but it just looked very flat. It turned out to be due to the static lighting which is on as a default. I switched to dynamic DX10 and it looked MUCH nicer. Stalker Clear Sky had a special mode where distant objects were slightly blurred and up close everything was in full focuse. This seems to be on by default now, and when you see it working properly it is pure class.
And what of the game itself? Well, eight hours in I am still exploring and doing sidequests, of which there are plenty. They are more beefy than before too. You actually feel they are worth doing this time around. I love the fact that you can just wander around the huge map doing your own thing if you want. There doesn't seem to be any of the constant faction battles of clear sky, but your inventory is still there and weapons can be upgraded etc. Anomolies are invisible again, like Clear Sky. Personally I preferred being able to see them but you can't have everything. The overhead map actually works properly now too.
If the rest of the game pans out well it will be great. I am still expecting it to crash at any minute, but they can hardly blame us for that. Looks like the QA guys have done a proper job this time.
on 14 February 2010
Enjoy RPG's? Then just buy this game as it ranks amongst the very best of the genre. Earthy SF with a touch of Tarkovsky, Call of Pripyat is immersive, atmospheric and dreadfully time consuming.
Vanilla, I have all the settings maxed out and the sublime but somewhat monochromatic graphics complete the sense of desolation. The Stalker franchise has a fanatical modding community creating ambitious mods, some of which you might like to experience.
Gloriously stable after the nightmare which was Stalker: Clear Sky, Stalker: Call of Pripyat has yet to stumble over its code even after hours and hours of gameplay.
I haven't yet "finished" the game (if one ever does) and its one weakness over Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl is that the game doesn't have a strong driving point (well, I haven't yet discovered it). With Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl there was a clear sense of purpose; Clear Sky and CoP are slightly oblique in comparison. No bad thing, simply different.
on 4 July 2012
I only play computer games for about 3 weeks in total every year, so I'm no expert. But for the last decade or more a mate has been visiting 2 or 3 times a year for a week at a time and pretty much all we do is play computer games! So we usually buy 2 games, one as our main game and another as a backup in case we either don't get on with the main game or we finish it early.
Having played the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R game many years ago, we decided to try 'Call of Pripyat' this time around.
All in all, this is a pretty good game. It's quite 'open world' and there's a lot of freedom to do what you like. We roughly followed the main mission, completing bits of it as and when we could, but we took on many side missions along the way. After a week of fairly solid playing (6 to 8 hours a day) we hadn't completed the main mission, so it's not a game that will be over in a flash. We like this sort of format but others may not. I couldn't tell you how long the game would last if you concentrated solely on the main mission but probably still many hours.
There are a lot of similarities to the original game but, thanks to advancing graphics and technology, this is a much better game to look at. If you liked the old game, chances are you'll like this too.
- Similar to the old game (which I see as a good point, although some people may not of course),
- Open world (ish),
- Plenty of variety with side missions,
- Reasonable (although not brilliant by today's standards) graphics,
- Involving, by which I mean you can get quite 'into it',
- Long game.
- Encountered one or two freezes that could only be cured by a reboot (not frequent at all but still annoying),
- Walking in the game can be painfully slow, particularly when you're going over a route you know, and I wish there was a faster way to move,
- Reloading a game seems to take a bit longer than some other games I've played (ie. when you die and reload back to your last save).
I mark fairly hard but this still gets a 4 (for reference I rate the latest Batman: Arkham games as a 5).