Actually, there’s little point raiding every single corpse for guns, because traders will sensibly only purchase items that are in reasonably good nick. Pick up a clapped out old rifle from a zombie and you’ll have to actually spend more than you’d make to make it sellable.
So Call of Pripyat is a difficult one. It’s clearly a better game than Clear Sky and the original, plus it’s definitely more accessible, being as the easier settings are actually made with non-experts in mind. The graphics are generally better and, despite the potential performance issue we flagged earlier, it is more stable and robust than its predecessors. The additions are all welcome, with nothing that feels tacked on or unnecessary. Artifact hunting is more interesting and enjoyable too. So why the lower score?
It’s because playing COP is just like playing the original. Nothing has really moved on, even if that means the game itself is still just as engaging and good as ever. But we expected more and we wanted more than just a glorified update. If at any point while plowing through the previous games you experienced burnout, you definitely don’t want to pick COP up. It’s just going to reinforce all the negative things swirling around inside your mind. All the same problems are, basically, still there, albeit ameliorated slightly by a few new ideas, but there’s nothing you won’t have seen before. There are a few new mutants, but nothing mind-blowing.
However, if you haven’t or indeed can’t get enough of the Zone, everything you want is right here. The map is completely new, so there’s loads of new bits to explore and Pripyat itself is one of the best things yet seen in a STALKER game. Things don’t get much more atmospheric than sneaking about the deserted streets when it’s pitch black. For this and many other reasons, Call of Pripyat is a great game. It’s just sad that, with a bit more effort it could have been the eye-popping classic the series could create.
Feb 2, 2010