Exterminating two unfortunate merchants met shortly after arriving on the field, our equipment makes an instant quality leap. It was an accident. Nobody will believe it. But it is not certain that someone has to know and those who live in the area know very well what they can encounter. The first safe place on our way is the Skadovsk, a ship aground where a community finds shelter that can provide us with most of the basic services and, perhaps, some information.
The starting area is a vast swamp that hosts gigantic rusty wrecks and before arriving in Pripyat we will have to cross the industrial area, Jupiter, where large buildings follow one another as far as the eye can see. Three large maps make up the play area. These are large areas that contain several missions geographically limited to the map itself. It is therefore rare to have to traverse too long stretches and encounter annoying uploads during a quest. The Zone is densely populated and full of shelters, occasional allies, items for sale and points of interest that are often characterized by rather complex and well-modeled constructions. The GSC guys also improved their A-Life artificial intelligence system. Stalkers venture out in search of artifacts and when paired up they cover each other's backs. The comrades patrol the conquered positions. Carnivorous animals drag and eat corpses. Wolves attack in groups and flee when alone to charge back once the pack is gathered.
All visible at an enviable distance that allows us to fantasize about that light that wanders flickering beyond the mountain and to be dazzled by the silhouettes in chiaroscuro that a sudden lightning has printed on our retina. Unfortunately, the wars between factions have been eliminated but the inhabitants of the Zone always have some good reason to take up arms. A terrible but alive and vivid world still plagued by emissions. The air becomes heavy. The sky is tinged with unnatural shades. The inhabitants of the area begin to run as the radioactive dust begins to burn the corneas. Undeniably the landscape and the number of people fleeing around us manages to magnify the experience of emissions in Call of Pripyat.
Tired of the boring routine?
The missions are numerous and above all they offer varied objectives and are pleasantly seasoned with different cutscenes. It is therefore not recommended to jump them and run towards the epilogue as soon as you have a good equipment. In fact, the repetitive tasks of Clear Sky seem to be a memory, even if obviously some recovery quests are inevitable. Different goals can be achieved in different ways, for example by informing the target of a murder or a theft and obviously betraying the original employer. Instead, we can decide to act as honestly as possible even if most of the honest assignments have very little.
In certain situations Call of Pripyat it almost comes close to a survival horror. Several creatures, two of which are introduced in this chapter, cannot be dealt with simply by shooting wildly and when you enter the underground passages, prudence is worth even more than equipment. In these cases it is essential to keep an eye on the sound indicator to avoid attracting unwanted attention and it is good to remember that crossing a bush or walking in water are actions that cause a lot of noise. The radiation detector is also vital but in Call of Pripyat has been replaced by a color-changing marker. The detection is therefore less precise even if the sound indicator should be more than sufficient to calculate the level of risk. The radiation signal now appears on the right, along with other icons that indicate the status of the armor, the condition of the weapons subject to wear, the size of the equipment and various and possible such as the need for food.
The dress does not make the monk, it makes the soldier
Call of Pripyat puts at our disposal a wide range of weapons, grenades and medicines to enable us to survive the area. The PDA that reports creatures and points of interest in the circumstances and supplied there are obviously torch and binoculars. These are not simple accessories but vital tools for seeing enemies in the dark or at long distances. Being surprised by heavily armed thugs or mutants with too many teeth in their mouth is not on the list of pleasant experiences. Equally important is the detector that we can find in different variants. The better the model, the better the detection of anomalies and the position of the artifacts that are often found inside.
Most of the weapons are a direct legacy of the previous STALKER while the armor has undergone some changes. Each defensive gear has pros and cons in relation to the model and fabric. The differences concern environmental protection, space and the presence of bonuses such as regeneration. In addition, the less robust armor, even if equipped with many bonuses, needs several upgrades before they are actually effective. Obviously, once the possibility of investing resources to enhance our clothing was introduced, the guys from GSC Game World also gave us the opportunity to talk about them again. The aiming model respects the laws of ballistics and seems to be the same as Clear Sky even if pistols and submachine guns seem slightly more precise. Each bullet has credible physics, and long-range shots, subject to the law of gravity, are as satisfying as they are difficult.
In 1920x1080 resolution, with our test configuration, the framerate of Call of Pripyat it turned out to be quite fluctuating. In some situations the counter has flown over 160 fps and then plummeted towards 30 frames in areas particularly rich in vegetation and human or animal life. The fighting in the industrial zone reached its lowest point. But even with 25 fps the title proved playable and the slowdowns were almost unnoticeable.
Not handsome, charming
The only noteworthy news concerns the DX 11 support for those who have purchased a latest generation Radeon and can thus enjoy softer models and more realistic water. Therefore, the ultra-defined textures of Clear Sky are back and unfortunately the washed-out textures that affect the overall visual rendering also return. But it is the flat and grainy tufts of grass that represent the lowest point of the engine and unfortunately cover a large part of the territory. The character models, on the other hand, still defend themselves well, especially considering the free roaming nature of the game, but they are also tremendously not very expressive and practically devoid of facial expressions. On the contrary, the models of some mutants are now too poor and ugly to get by at the dawn of 2010.
In short, very little has changed from Clear Sky and even the defects are the same, including a depth of field useful to give depth to the scene but too marked and sometimes annoying. Yet in certain situations the GSC-branded engine leaves you speechless. Lightnings cast hundreds of extremely realistic shadows, rays of light fill the air and every moment of the day has its own brightness, its own specific atmosphere. In addition, the surrounding elements help to distract us from the elements of poor quality. Huge cracks in the ground emit exhalations that distort the air, gusts of wind sweep the vegetation, steel monsters tens of meters high fill the gaze and beautifully animated crows streak the sky. All obviously supported by the usual, and extremely varied, sound sector. The samples are credible and accompany counters, detectors, detonations of thirty different weapons, growls, animal sounds, screams and explosions. Some rustle too perhaps but well hidden by a soundtrack of excellent workmanship and contextually perfect. Unfortunately, while the most important dialogues are dubbed in Spanish, the environmental comments of the characters, at least on our version, have remained in Russian.
Clear Sky's playability and cosmetic enhancements meet Shadow of Chernobyl's balance and accessibility. The result is a title that maintains the complexity of the series but is more accessible, more enjoyable and more alive. To complete the picture we find a series of articulated missions that guide us along the road to Pripyat. A rather complex and demanding road to tell the truth and which may perhaps discourage casual players but which will certainly leave fans of the series satisfied.
- More curated missions
- More accessible and less repetitive than Clear Sky
- Extremely impressive
- Swinging textures
- Some elements of the engine not in step with the times
PC System Requirements
- Operating System: Windows 7
- CPU: Intel Core i7 920
- RAM: 6 GB
- Video Card: GeForce GTX 275
- Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7
- CPU: Athlon 2200 o P4 2.0 GHz
- RAM: 512 MB RAM
- Hard Disk: 5 GB of free space
- Scheda Video: 128 MB, GeForce 5700 o Radeon 9600
- Operating System: Windows Vista, Windows 7
- CPU:Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 o AMD 64 X2 5600+
- RAM: 2 GB
- GPU: 512 MB RAM DirectX 9 o 10, GeForce 9800GTX or Radeon