S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is a first-person shooter survival horror game set in the city of Pripyat outside of the derelict Soviet nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine. It is a narrative-heavy game divided into three main parts, Zaton, Yanov, and Pripyat, and involves FPS and tactical elements.
GSC Game World developed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. for the Windows PC platform and released the game in October 2009. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat prides itself on recreating the area around Chernobyl as well as imbuing it with a surreal, horror atmosphere.
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The Game Review
The third game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series of video games, being preceded by Shadow of Chernobyl (2007) and Clear Sky (2008), S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat has a lot to live up to in terms of legacy and it both maintains the traditions of its forebears and iterates on their mechanics just enough to stay familiar. As a survival horror game, this title involves healing yourself using medicine if you take damage as well as maintain weapons which wear down after use.
If you don’t maintain your weapons they can break and become worthless. Armor can also degrade and needs to be repaired before it becomes unusable. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat features an in-game safe zone where players can trade items with non-player characters for better equipment. You cannot sell or trade broken equipment and typically the repair cost for the equipment is the same as its sale price meaning the player is often better off just keeping their money and repairing their equipment as they play.
Like most post-apocalyptic games, the conflicts the player often has with fellow survivors are as harrowing and horrific as those the gamer will have with the in-game mutants and creatures.
Violent gangs inhabit much of the world and they make your life difficult at every opportunity. In the grand tradition of post-apocalyptic games but somewhat strange for a survival horror game, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat features several different factions within it, including Loners, Bandits, Mercenaries, Scientists, Zombified Stalkers, Military, Monolith, Duty, and Freedom. The last two groups are interestingly motivated by different political ideas with the Duty group adhering to a philosophy of control and organization and the latter espousing a pseudo-anarchist line.
Random events pepper the game with one, in particular, called “emissions” proving to be a truly cool experience for players. Basically, the sky turns red and the player has to seek shelter or they will die if exposed to this event. It is reminiscent of the Silent Hill film series in that it is a totality event that impacts everyone, including the player character, and there is no way to avoid them. Graphically, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat maintains a washed out aesthetic that helps to heighten these moments of tension and darkness.