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PC Game Review

Call of Pripyat


Format: PC
BitComposer Games
RRP: £29.99
4 020628 998059
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 05 February 2010

Ukraine, 2012. A highly contaminated area known as the "Zone" has been cordoned off by military authorities after an explosion gave rise to strange local anomalies. Paramilitary mercenaries and fortune hunters, the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s" risk their lives to trade valuable artifacts found in the area. The Ukrainian military have sent in an advance party of five helicopters to scout the area and gain control, not a single one has returned. You play the role of secret agent, Alexander Degtyarev, operating under cover as a "S.T.A.L.K.E.R"; you must enter the Zone and discover what happened...

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat is a first-person shooter set shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having learned about the open path to the Zone centre, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control. According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched. Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine's Security Service send their agent into the Zone centre.

The game is set in the Zone, which is filled with many dangers including lethal levels of radiation and mutants. The Zone is divided up into three very different areas known as Creek, Jupiter and Pripyat. Each of these locations has a safe zone which various groups of people inhabit. In these places you can find people to trade with or fix your equipment, there's also people that can give you tasks to do such as raiding an area or hunting mutants.

There are various factions in the game which include S.T.A.L.K.E.R.s, your main source of information and aid if asked; the army, which are trying to take control of the Zone, there's also Duty and Freedom factions which are at war with each other, and they mainly take care of mutants and defend areas for money. There are also bandits who cause mayhem in the Zone by raiding places and tricking people into debt.

Throughout the game you will have to traverse areas that are extremely dangerous. These areas are packed with strange anomalies, which and are home to various things, some visible some not, but almost all will cause you damage. Examples of these include bubbles which when you walk into can sometimes cause you harm ( you can get electrocuted or poisoned and there's one that acts like a kinetic force by pushing and pulling the air around you which can suck you in. So, under normal circumstances, avoiding anomalies is a good idea. However, there is a major benefit for braving it and venturing into the anomalies, as they are the home of hidden artefacts.

Artefacts are objects that have special powers, such as allowing you to carry more weight or improving your resistance to electrical damage, but they come with a side effect which can cause you to receive radiation damage if not used correctly. However, some certain artefacts have an anti-radiation ability which allows for the other artefacts to be used with them. You can only use a certain amount of artefacts at once, the maximum being five. The number of artefacts also depends on the armour that you are wearing.

The game is filled with many different types of weapons in including handguns, snipers, shotguns and assault rifles, and under each category there are a number of different weapons to choose from. As you'd expect, every weapon handles differently and all can be modified - this can be done in two different ways; either by using attachments, such as suppressors or scopes, or by upgrading them using a mechanic who will give your weapon certain advantages such as reduced recoil or an increased rate of fire. There are three stages to a weapon's development and each stage requires you to get the mechanic tools.

The mechanic can also upgrade armour, which is obtained throughout the game. The armour in the game does various different things such as providing damage protection to bullets attacks from mutants and chemical/radiation attacks, it also determines how much you can carry. There are several types of armour which include general S.T.A.L.K.E.R suits (which provide moderate protection and mobility), exoskeletons (which provide extreme levels of protection to impact damage bullets etc. and have a massive carry load, but suffers from a lack of mobility), and bio-suits (which provide a high protection to hazardous substances, and still provide moderate protection and mobility).

Most of the weapons and armour in the game are obtained from going on missions and buying from vendors but there is also another way to get your objects and that's by finding stashes which are hidden in secret locations all over the game - such as under rocks, on high ledges, insides deserted cars/trucks or hidden away in plain sight but obscured by something. Most of the locations of stashes in the game are given to you by other people but some can be found if you hunt around. All of them are worth seeking out.

There are many mutants in the game, including dogs, people and boars. There are also other mutants, that don't look so much like their old selves, such as hamsters which look like they were rats before but have longer legs and massive teeth and sound like there twice as big as you. There's also bloodsuckers, which have the shape of a human but massive tentacles covered in spikes protruding from their mouth. Some can turn partially invisible, while others, most commonly dogs tend to group together, which makes them incredibly difficult to kill.

One of the best things about this game is how atmospheric it feels. It's also one of the most realistic games around. Almost everything about the game is real, such as a day and night clock which can be used to let you know when certain missions can be attempted. You also have to do things like eat at certain times and even sprinting is affected by how much you are carrying.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat is one of the most atmospheric games out on any console with the extreme realism, freaky mutants and customisation of guns and artifacts this game adds up to be a masterpiece. It's a game that can be played over and over again in many different ways.


Carl Simpson

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