Wot I Think: Call Of Pripyat

The third Stalker game, Call Of Pripyat, has been out in Europe and Russia for quite some time, but it has only just made the leap to English-language release. The UK version due on Friday. I’ve recently completed that edition of the game and my account of that experience follows.

Call Of Pripyat is almost certainly less frightening than the original, much-lauded game, Shadow Of Chernobyl. It doesn’t quite muster the extreme tension of the underground “dungeon” sequences, even though it returns to them on occasion. Nevertheless I found myself rigid with adrenaline as I entered one of the tougher complexes in the game, at night, low on ammunition. I expected trouble, but I figured I’d wing it.

Stalker has a 24-hour day-night cycle, and CoP finally features sleep as one of the basic features of the game. I could have skipped forward and gone to this hostile venue in daylight, but instead I thought it might be a good idea to creep around a biohazardous post-Soviet military facility in the middle of the night, during a lightning storm. Through the rain and thunder I could hear something lurking in the ruins, and the fear rose the longer I couldn’t see it. I swept my flashlight about, leaned around corners, peered into the gloom… There was definitely something there, but HOLYFUCK! I blasted my now-cold tea across the desk. Unbeknownst to me, my cat had silently entered the room behind me, and chose that moment to leap up onto the desk. Having mopped up the mess, I took my stalker back to base and got a good night’s sleep before trying again. As I said, Call Of Pripyat is on the whole less frightening than the original, but it is nevertheless and experience that engulfs you with atmosphere.

In case you’ve been trapped under a radioactive concrete slab for the past few years, I should explain a bit about what Stalker is. There was once a book called Roadside Picnic, written by the Strugatsky brothers in Soviet Russia, and published in 1977. It was about contaminated zones on the Earth – places which had been radically warped by a brief alien visitation. It didn’t take long for people to associate this fiction with the zones of contamination and pollution that existed all across the Soviet bloc. When the book was was made into a film by Andrei Tarkovsky in 1979 it wasn’t hard to find appropriately polluted settings in Estonia. By the time the 1986 nuclear plant incident at Chernobyl created a huge exclusion zone within the Ukrainian countryside, many people were familiar enough with Roadside Picnic to point out that mankind had once again managed to make its own zone, thanks to our own high technologies going haywire. People even became real-life “stalkers”, going into the zone around Pripyat to live, scavenge, or to give tours to visitors.

Skip forward to 2007 and we get to see this mythologisation of the Chernbobyl incident used as the backdrop for a videogame. it’s a ready-made inspiration for a Ukrainian team, who wanted to make an ambitious shooter in which everything as good as it could be. Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl therefore takes its environmental templates from the abandoned Chernobyl zone, its science fiction setting from Roadside Picnic’s tale of supernatural artifacts and anomalies, and its videogame mechanisms from Western shooters and RPGs. This ambitious hybridisation of ideas – and the limiting factors a budget and an inexperienced team – created an open-ended survival shooter that is brutal, glitchy, clumsy, weird, and ultimately brilliant. It’s a singularity that could only have come about thanks to both its ideological ancestors and real world events.

Call Of Pripyat is the third game in the series, each one being built incrementally on the achievements of the former. Clear Sky was a flawed remix of the original game with some new areas and an ill-fated faction system. Call Of Pripyat is again the same engine, models, textures, and fiction (it’s set after the events of SoC) but this time it’s an entirely new game. The maps in this new game are only three in number, but each one is around three times larger than the original levels from Shadow Of Chernobyl. In many ways this is the zone as so many veterans of the original wanted it to be: wide-open, filled with more weird corners and creaking ruins, ripe for exploration and horror. It’s in the same X-Ray engine, which still looks fantastic, but seems even less optimised than before, and stutters and locks up in a way that previous games do not, on exactly the same PC.

Fortunately that does not seem to matter, because there’s enough essentially new Stalker game here to keep me transfixed for hours. The larger areas are filled with a kind of strangeness that the previous games didn’t seem to dare to deliver. Anomalies are no longer simply semi-visible areas of radiation or crackling electrical hotspots, they’re great holes in the earth, or pits filled with spirally flame, or haunted slices through the landscape: places where standing water curves like a hill, or where it looks like God took a blowtorch the landscape. Overall the environments feel less detailed than the previous games, and they’re obviously fairly recycled in terms of texture and theme, but it does feel like the team are more comfortable with creating their own world this time. Some of the locations feel a little arbitrary, but equally there are areas that are lavish in their dereliction. Pripyat itself (the abandoned city of Chernobyl) is fully explorable, and while you can’t roam about the interior of every building, you do come and go from this dark heart of the zone, and find yourself exploring it over time. Things like the rotting children’s playground and once-playful statues are now mired in the sinister murk of abandonment.

Call Of Pripyat manages to strike a commendable balance between open-ended messing around in the world, and the core story of lost military teams. You play a major, a special military agent, who has been sent in on foot to investigate the loss of a number of helicopters. You do hook up with the military from time to time, but the overall story is still of you as a lone stalker within the three new sectors of the zone. You find yourself ill-equipped for the task at hand, you are forced to work alongside other denizens of the wilderness, and skirmish with mutants and bandits, much as before. Only this time it feels rather more like an RPG. All those side missions do add up to quite a lot of material, and many of them are essential to getting the materials – and people – you need to complete your mission. You aren’t just relying on weapons. Although the faction aspect of the previous games has taken a back seat in CoP, you do need to get Stalkers on side for your descent into Pripyat. One of the key scenarios sees you assembling a small team of men to travel through a gas-filled tunnel into Pripyat itself, and this entire sequence is about as ambitious a scripted sequence as we’ve seen in any of the Stalker games.

I’d argue that this all amounts to is the best story we’ve seen in a Stalker game. It’s sprawling and undramatic in places – and there’s still some wacky English voice acting – but there are so many individual events, and so much mounting mystery to what’s happening in the zone, that you can’t help but find yourself a little bit invested in finding out what’s going on.

What the design team have not done is fiddle too much with the basics of the game. You remain Mr Motorbike-Legs when getting about, but the larger zones mean that your stamina huffing out is far more of an issue than it might have been before. I think I’d have been tempted to buff that a little in testing, but I suppose it’s not a major issue. Combat has been tweaked a little from Clear Sky, but all the basics remain solid and recognisable: enemies seem slightly too tough, but combat is otherwise realistic and brutal. The AI will attack where it last saw you, and cover and flanking and essential to victory. Enemies use grenades, but it’s far less of a problem than it might have been, and you can usually take the blast, or just about manage to duck out of range. There are a handful of new weapons in the mix too, although this time the focus is definitely on upgrading and maintaining particular firearms. By the end of the game I had spent so much on my stalker suit and main assault rifle that there was no way I could reasonably consider trading them in for anything else that the game world could cough up. This repair and upgrade is performed by a number of technicians across the game, and you will need to go on missions to find these guys tools. The location of these items is deeply obscure, however, and it does take some serious rooting around – or lazy Googling – to find them. Things like this mean that the game rewards deep exploration. It’s huge, and you’re going to want to see it all – and do all those side missions – to make the most of it.

It seems fairly certain that this is the last in this particular Stalker trilogy. GSC have said a few times that a genuine Stalker 2 is something they see in the future, and I think Call Of Pripyat may point the way to that game. It also points the way to some epic modding exploits. I couldn’t read this game as anything other than ludicrously fertile fodder for Stalker’s energetic modding communities, and I’ll fascinated to see what overhauls they can come up with.

To sum up, I know it’s basically meaningless for me to recommend this to people who have played the previous games, because most of them will just buy it anyway. But the recommendation is there to all of you. You should play this. Yes, it is simply more of the same survival FPS we’ve seen twice before, with new and interesting bugs (such as a broken cut-scene in which I found myself hunched over the corpse I had been examining) but this time it feels freer, and more relaxed. It’s been executed imaginatively and competently, and delivers genuine surprises. The rough edges remain, and still they do nothing to diminish its charm. Call Of Pripyat is a vital excursion to the zone and probably the most interesting shooter we’re going to see on the PC in 2010.


  1. DarkNoghri says:

    I really must get around to finishing/starting the original again.

    I think I made it through the first area the second time I tried.

  2. j c says:

    Thanks for the words. It’s nice to know from reading around the web that Call of Pripyat will impress is ways Clear Sky didn’t.

    Curious how this isn’t available on Steam yet, or any other Digital Distribution site. What the heck is GSC’s new publisher doing?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      As I understand it, the game will hit Steam on Friday, along with retail.

    • j c says:

      Oh, good to know then. The US release date is tomorrow based on what I’ve read, so I figured it would be good to go at that point. Still planning to play some other games first, but I just hope BitComposer doesn’t end up screwing this up for GSC.

    • Katsumoto says:

      Hmm I wonder what the price will be like on Steam? I do prefer my games on Steam but I suppose it will be £30 or something silly.

      I’ve preordered from Zavvi now anyway – special edition complete with “MAP OF THE ZONE” (god, I love maps) for 18 quid. Marvellous!

      I can always add it to Steam in the 2010 Winter Holiday Sale when it will inevitably be £6 tops.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Can’t you just add it to Steam using the CD Key you get with the retail version?

  3. choconutjoe says:

    “To sum up, I know it’s basically meaningless for me to recommend this to people who have played the previous games, because of them will just buy it anyway.”

    Yep. Pre-ordered mine ages ago. But now I’m really looking forward to it!

  4. marktime says:

    I’m totally psyched for this game. Clear Sky may have dropped the ball a bit, though it still delivered an enjoyable experience, but Shadow of Chernobyl is one of my favorite games. I can’t wait to get back into the universe.

  5. Mike says:

    Oof. Sounds great, honestly great. I loved what little I played of STALKER, but I will never get any further into it. It’s one of the rare games that is so frightening for me I just can’t bear to play on.


    I think it’s time for GSC to go and do something new, though. They’re clearly very inventive and quite talented. Whatever’s next should be good too.

    • kalidanthepalidan says:

      I had the same experience with the original STALKER. I was so terrified at one point that I stopped playing the game for months. I finally went back to it, but I really had to talk myself into it.

    • JonFitt says:

      In the original Stalker, those invisible beasts scared the crap out of me every now and then. One dungeon I remember had me creeping around while being hunted by lots of troops and the odd invisible beast, and it was extremely tense.

      Oddly, going back to AvP recently, I have found it still gives me the heeby jeebies. From the dated look of it, it must be the sound that’s doing it; the bleep of the motion detector and the scrabbling in the darkness never fails to freak me out.

    • mejobloggs says:

      Yep, original scared the pants off me.

      Funnily enough when it got too much for me to play, my little brother would happily complete that section for me. Just didn’t seem to bother him

      Or maybe I’m just a panzy :p

  6. Centy says:

    It was all sounding good until

    ” It’s in the same X-Ray engine, which still looks fantastic, but seems even less optimised than before”

    BALLS! My Pc just can’t handle that then I can barely get SoC to play nice nevermind Clear Sky, perhaps this is a result of forcing DX11 in at the last minute.

    I couldnt even get past the Freedom base in the original because the AI has a crisis and kept changing what side it thought I was on from one day to the next.

    I think best hope is that, as you say, is that the modders come in and fill in the blanks and as much as I love Stalker that attitude will only get GSC so far I mean with the highly polished Metro 2033 just a month away they will have proper competition in this area and no news on the supposedly Cry Engine 3 powered Stalker 2 will it still be something we go back to in a few months to run through with another mod?

  7. Edd says:

    How buggy is the game? the previous 2 titles on release have been a nightmare at times and I’m thinking of waiting until either they’ve patched the game up again or the price comes down even more

    • Grey Cap says:

      Edd: pretty stable. One or two minor bugs, but nothing serious (not like the first two at all).

    • Muzman says:

      The game’s already been patched a couple of times before the English release, so there’s that. But I guess it depends if Jim’s playing the final English release build as to whether it’ll be slightly better for us lot than for him.

    • Edd says:

      ok thanks guys

  8. Turin Turambar says:

    It’s nice to see confirmation, that this time, they nailed the game, after the underwhelming CS. Will buy.

  9. Cael says:

    I can’t wait to see what the mod community will do with this, it sounds like it has the potential to be even better than shadow of chernobyl.

  10. Spacewalk says:

    What I’m curious about is how much more the game hates you than the first one.

  11. MinisterofDOOM says:

    I never really understood the popularity of the original Stalker game. I tried to play it several times and failed to find anything outstanding. Lots of walking, shooting, and reading quest text. But none of it was done particularly well as far as I am concerned. Not poorly, but certainly not worthy of the praise the game gets. Maybe I need to play more and get to the truly atmospheric bits, but the early parts of the game are so flat and generic I don’t WANT to play more. I shouldn’t have to wade through mediocrity to get to the good parts.

    • skalpadda says:

      The early parts of SoC are a bit rubbish, yes, not least because your equipment is so utterly shit but also (at least for me) because it took a little while to truly get into the mindset of the game.

    • merc says:

      Same, I found the opening parts of SoC underwhelming at best and even downright frustrating. Tried to get into it several times, and every time I never get into it and end up being pissed by various things and give up. Maybe Call of Pripyat will be better, but I just don’t know.

  12. skalpadda says:

    I’m really happy to see you give the thumbs up on this. To be honest I can’t say I mind if the scary bits are dialled back a bit. While they were certainly a very memorable part of SoC and successful at what they were doing, a few of them also had me so stressed out that I had to put the game down and go watch TV to calm my nerves.

    I never went back to Yantar.

  13. Lewis says:

    Jim, you are the only person I know to have experienced more bugs in Call of Pripyat. In the whole game, I found one: an animation glitch on a bandit. Compared to Clear Sky – which I literally couldn’t finish, thanks to the same crash bug happening again and again – I found it to be delightfully constructed, despite its expected shakiness.

  14. Grey Cap says:

    The early bit of SoC, rubbish? Gaaah!

    My fanboyism aside, they’re pretty demanding games- not just because they’re pretty difficult, all that atmosphere we gush about isn’t necessarily for everyone.

    skalpadda said:
    …because it took a little while to truly get into the mindset of the game.

    I think many games invite you to impose yourself on them, not the other way round.

    • skalpadda says:

      Well I meant from a gameplay perspective. You’re given an absolutely rubbish gun (no one firing up the game for the first time will know you can get an early assault rife by looting the military) and a leather jacket for protection and then you’re expected to actually go assaulting a bandit camp and take out fast moving targets (dogs, boars). I didn’t find the actual running and shooting much fun until I got to Garbage and Agroprom and I’ve seen plenty of people saying it put them off the game entirely.

      What kept me playing though the first bit was purely a fascination with the game world, which is fantastic from start to finish.

  15. Taillefer says:

    I can’t wait to head back into The Zone. It’s arrived at just the right time as I haven’t played a decent FPS for a while, or any FPS for that matter; it’ll be refreshing for both the style and the play.

  16. Psychopomp says:

    Well, that’s a relief.

  17. Dlarit says:

    I’d been hoping this new stalker would include ai npc stalkers…
    I know they have been in the other 2 but they always seemed scripted, I’d love to see the AI stalkers just exploring on thier own or talking my quests if I was too slow. Also then leveling up equipment as they are sucsessful or fresh blood stalkers entering the game if they die, that worl would truely feel real.

    Maybe I’m wishing for something that just can’t be made yet? Where did I put that time machine???

  18. Zerotime says:

    Time to start thinking about getting a working video card for my PC, then.

  19. nutterguy says:

    That 3rd paragraph is why I love RPS. You guys are un-replaceable.
    Also can’t wait to play this now…

  20. smac says:

    Ah, Jim – nice to see someone placing STALKER into its cultural context; it used to bug me that interviews with the developers never mentioned such clear inspirations for the game.

    So I used to bang on about it in forums to no avail – but no need here, oh no; my work is done.

    Actually, done bar mentioning the 1996 Horizon documentary, Inside Chernobyl’s Sarcophagus, about the scientists scurrying about the interior of the containment shell, like rats. Tragically, selflessly doomed rats in lightweight cotton overalls with Marigolds duct-taped on for radiation suits (you think being low on ammunition in a videogame is scary?).

    Looks like it’s up in Youtube-o-vision, albeit in crackle-o-sound; well worth a watch, if only to remind yourselves just how noble a calling science can be:

    link to youtube.com

    Oh, and read the book, folks; it’s great. If a bit Russian.

    • skalpadda says:

      Thanks for the link, that was fascinating :)

    • the wiseass says:

      I also recommend this very powerful journal of a woman exploring Chernobyl and the dead zone on her motorbike:

      link to kiddofspeed.com

    • Muzman says:

      wiseass: For what it’s worth kidofspeed’s been exposed as a bit of a hoax. Or exaggeration might be a better word. She apparently took most of those pictures on guided tours of the zone. It’s still cool stuff though.

      There’s another Horizon doco on radiation from about five years ago. A woman who gave birth to her daughter on the day or the day after of the Chernobyl disaster goes back to Pripyat and visits her old flat (with her daughter who has the usual number of arms and legs).
      They don’t have to wear suits or anything. Nor are they attacked by shreiking mutants. It’s quite disappointing.

  21. stormbringer951 says:

    It’s better optimised. Especially if you use the nHancer you can find on the forums (if you have an nVidia card). My PC can barely run Clear Sky, but it is perfectly capable on CoP.

  22. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Stalker cat is stalking.

  23. Sarlix says:

    Excellent read Jim, I have my pre-order down.

    And in-case anyone is wondering: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stands for:

    Scavengers. Trespassers. Adventurers. Loners. Killers. Explorers. Robbers.

    Edit: @ smac Thanks for the youtube link

  24. Nero says:

    Thanks for your impressions. Time to preorder it now I guess. So, English voice acting huh? No option for Ukrainian with subtitles? Oh well, can’t wait to get into the world of STALKER again.

  25. Sarlix says:

    *Heavy Russian Accent* Hey Marked One!

    Sorry couldn’t resist….

  26. FunkyB says:

    SoC was unplayable for me. No sound attenuation, dialogue choice automatically selected, shadows glitching across the floor, NPCs disappearing leaving quests uncompleted…

    I bought it on release, but had to wait about 2 years to play it, relying on a community patch to bugfix it. Enjoyed it lots though once I finally got to play it!

  27. FunkyB says:

    Gah, my first reply fail :( I was trying to reply to Lewis’ post.

    Still, I’m glad it sounds like they’ve tightened up their Q/A.

  28. tomeoftom says:

    Shadow of Chernobyl (played initially with the Complete 2009 overhaul mod) had me utterly enraptured with it at almost every stage. It was simply incredible in so many subtle and esoteric ways, capturing feelings I couldn’t have known how to feel; giving me the most absorbing senses of existence, isolation, and purpose I’ve ever seen in a game.

    SoC was so good, in fact, that I’m now hesitant to buy Call of Pripyat for fear of diluting those memories – standing, watching the silhouetted panorama of grasslands and dark figures in the rain for minutes on end while dogs bark at the night – you know, that inimitable Stalkery air. Even though CoP might share much of the same resources, it could throw the balance off just slightly enough to lose what made SoC so great. Hence I ask: how exactly does CoP capture that kind of thing?

  29. Dr.Danger says:

    I’ve been playing the russian version for about a month now (despite not being able to read russian, google is a good friend!) and love it to bits. Its certainly very close to what I always imagined the Stalker game to be. It encourages exploration and gives you a feeling of true survival. The only thing I would love to add is more RPG elements and some sort of skill and level system. Sometimes you dont want to fight anyone in the game when there is no point to do it, you’ll just spend more ammo and damage your suit\weapon, if you gained some XP for it, things would be different. I guess it makes it a realistic survival but at the same time i just reload to avoid a particular encounter and take a different route if I want to. Brillian overall, highly recommended to everyone.

  30. parker says:

    If this inspires anyone to go back and play STALKER: SoC, you’d be well served to install the Stalker Complete 2009 mod to go along with it. It doesn’t affect the core gameplay (much) but vastly improves the graphics and atmosphere of the game and adds a few community bugfixes as well. Highly recommended!

  31. Arca says:


    Get used to it.

    The voice acting ranges from alright to weird. I particularly like how the Duty Commander is obviously only just managing to be polite and ends up coming across rather terse and a little impatient.

    • rei says:

      Your information might be of some use to me.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Let’s have a little chat.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Hidely-ho, stalkerino!

      • Dima says:

        Our company specializes in tours to Chernobyl and has all necessary licenses. We’ll prepare all entry permits to the Chernobyl exclusion zone for 1 day, all our guides are English-speaking, and we have very comfortable buses. If you’re ready to go there or you have any questions, please,you’re welcome to link to chernobyl-city.com. We also have a page in Facebook: link to facebook.com

  32. Duoae says:

    I know i’ll probably get shouted at but i was wondering what sort of authentication/DRM the game uses. Is it the same as Clear Sky?

  33. Casimir's Blake says:

    This is a 10/10 game. You can pick it apart like anything, but the fact of the matter is, GSC fixed almost all the problems, and crafted a piece of first-person stalking excellence. The quests are always fun, the maps are fascinating, the shooting has been tweaked to perfection, and the atmosphere and sound design is as compelling as always.

    Between this and Mass Effect 2, 2010 has started fantastically well for PC gamers.

  34. Collic says:

    Hooray, More Stalker !

    It’s a shame to hear the horror aspects have been played down ( I loved that about SoC), but ill definitely take that for larger environments and a game that hangs together better than the previous two.

    I’m not concerned with omission of the faction elements. I didn’t feel they worked in either of the previous games, and just added needless complication and half-finished feeling game mechanics.

  35. Aganazer says:

    Is there still a ton of re-spawning enemies that you need to re-fight everywhere you go? That is why I stopped playing the original STALKER.

  36. Italian Prick says:

    Is there woman in this games this always bothered me in the others STALKER games.

  37. Italian Prick says:

    gah, i forgot a interrogation mark

  38. Lucas says:

    Dying to play this.

    Newegg.com has it for $39.99 with free 3 day UPS shipping. I just ordered mine.

    Amazon is the only other US retailer that seems to be carrying it, but their page still shows “ships in 1-2 months” (though they’ll probably get in shortly), and are notably slow with free shipping and new releases sometimes.

  39. Jeremy says:

    Bit of a typo in the final paragraph: “To sum up, I know it’s basically meaningless for me to recommend this to people who have played the previous games, because of them will just buy it anyway.”

    I played a fair bit of SoC when it was on sale on Steam, and bought Clear Sky when it came out though I hardly played it at all (got it just before Fallout 3 came out and that consumed all my time). SoC was terrifying, but I’m just too lazy to sift through all the mods to find the good ones to fix everything that was wrong with it. That an having gotten more than halfway through and my hard disk crashed, I don’t want to suffer through it again.

    My relationship with these games has been very much one of hope and disappointment.

  40. noom says:

    £17.99 on play.com for anybody interested, (with the usual free delivery)

  41. Arsewisely says:

    the wiseass said:
    I also recommend this very powerful journal of a woman exploring Chernobyl and the dead zone on her motorbike:

    link to kiddofspeed.com

    Wow, that is something.

  42. Kong says:

    Thx RPS. I am still enjoying CS despite its flaws. Good to know that my Stalker experience will not end so fast.

  43. IdleHands says:

    I had similar problems with the original as well. I caught glimpses of why everyone loved the game so much and just as I found myself getting drawn in, I’d be yanked right back out by one of the numerous immersion breaking bugs and glitches. I know there are fan patches to fix the bugs but I really dislike that the game has done so well but the creators aren’t bothering to even fix it to a reasonable level.

    Though if this game is more bug free I may be tempted to get it.

  44. Cooper says:

    I bought Clear Sky on the super extreme cheapness of the Xmas steam sale, but have yet to download it. Still halfway through an OL modded stalker game and wanting to start a new one with the ‘stalker complete’ patch, and have just bought the special edition of this.

    When the hell am I gonna find the time to play this damned stuff?

  45. Vague-rant says:

    Completed SoC a few years ago. Enjoyed it so much but then got so angry when I ended it with a fake ending… It was so unsatisfying. Since then I’ve tried to replay though with oblivion lost, but I can’t seem to get back into it.

    Thanks to the guy who explained what a S.T.A.L.K.E.R was btw, someone once asked me and I had to respond lamely with “they stalk the land?”.

    As for Call of Pripyat, would you say there are more neutral zones? One thing I remember disliking about the first was that the feeling of threat was almost unrelenting. The only safety was the barkeep, and the odd small safe house. Other than that there was about a 50-50 chance of a bad guy waiting to kill you round every corner

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Actually the name “stalker” was coined in the book Roadside picnic, to describe people who illegally entered the zone. The acronym was invented by GSC later, for some reason.

    • Collic says:

      I’ve never understood what the anacronym meant. And I’ve played all of them. Was it ever explained? At least the fear games went so far as to make something up to justify the extra punctuation ( still bloody silly, of course).

    • Zerotime says:

      @Jim: It’s probably also worth mentioning that the Chernobyl cleanup teams called themselves “stalkers”, after the book.

  46. Doctor Doc says:

    Please, report what DRM it use. I want this game bad but I absolutely cannot buy it if it requires activations or anything like that.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      If it’s anything like the original, I’d guess a CD check and that’s it.

      Those East Europeans know that their shit is going to get pirated anyway.

  47. 1nightstand says:

    I’m considering getting the Russian version, if there’s a good English translation out there.
    Has anyone walked that road?

  48. IvanHoeHo says:

    Man, I’m so stoked for this!

    Too bad I can’t find ANY place where I can get my hands on a hard copy in the Canada, and my bandwidth limit’s already almost up because of Mass effect 2…

  49. Durns says:

    So I got the original (SOC) on the Steam sale, and have been playing little bits of it over January (in between playing little bits of the 20 other games Steam forced on me over Christmas (boycott Steam sales!!)).

    It seems incredibly difficult and I die repeatedly to everyone and everything – am I just crap and need to get better, or is this the nature of the game? Playing on Normal.

    • Smithee says:

      Based on my experience, frequent death is a feature, not a bug. The Zone is unremittingly cruel, but that’s part of the charm.

      Don’t give up on it. Take it slow, use cover, avoid getting into fights if the odds don’t look good. If all else fails, run away screaming – that worked pretty well for me.

  50. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Have it on pre-order. Hope it’s shipped in a timely fashion; needz moar STALKER!