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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Reviewed on: PC

GSC Game World
Publisher: Viva Media / Deep Silver
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Every time I think about the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, I can’t help but think about actor David Morse. Now as weird as that sounds, the two really are quite similar. You know David Morse, even if you don’t know his name.  The Massachusetts born actor has made a living for himself playing bit parts in action flicks like The Rock, The Hurt Locker and 12 Monkeys, hell, the man is the only known actor to play both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln – but somehow he never seems to get the respect he deserves.

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series is similarly underappreciated. Built on strong mechanics, incredible effects and gorgeous visuals; the FPS franchise is one this generation’s most solid but it never caught on with mainstream markets the way other franchises did.  With S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat, the third game in the series, Viva media has outdone everything that’s come before. Sure, the story is a major snooze-fest but when a game looks this good and is this fun it’s easy to forgive.

In Pripyat, you play as Ukranian Security agent Alexander Degtyarev investigating why a number of helicopters have crashed into the area devastated by the Chernobyl disaster, otherwise known as “The Zone.”  If you’ve played the other S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, you’ll know that the zone is a weird place, filled with mutants, freaks and very little resources to survive. Perhaps this is S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s biggest strength; it’s one of the finest examples of the immensely popular FPS/RPG genre.  Unlike other similar games (I’m looking at you Fallout 3), you’ll have to deal with realistic human problems while traversing the zone; you’ll get tired, you’ll get hungry – you’ll even feel the effects of radiation on your character thanks to the effects of the Chernobyl incident.

"...Call of Pripyat is unquestionably the most advanced of the series."


Make no mistake about it, the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. titles have always been large games. To its credit though, Call of Pripyat seems to be the most stable of the series. Even on lower settings, the game’s visuals seem to hold up, though they are beginning to show their age a bit.  When I played the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I didn’t finish because of the horrid amount of crashes and corrupted files that popped up, but I didn’t experience a single crash this go-round. This is even more impressive by the fact that Call of Pripyat is unquestionably the most advanced of the series.

The best part of Call of Pripyat is the tense ambiance the game creates. This isn’t a corridor shooter, and you won’t be able to telegraph your enemy’s attacks; The Zone is a moody, unpredictable environment that can change in one step.  You’ll encounter quite the mixed bag of mutated creatures and freaks, including a few new additions to the series (like the Burer – a dwarflike poltergeist, which use their mind to fling objects at you). The AI of these creatures tend to be on the higher side; and while the game has its moments where the game feels unfairly balanced, it’s not nearly as bad as its predecessors.

It’s a good thing the game’s enemies and landscape are so interesting, as the story doesn’t do much to keep you interested until the game’s final hours. That’s not to say that the developers didn’t try – there’s clearly a renewed sense of storytelling here, the writing is more straightforward and the production values are much more cinematic, it’s just that the story tends to be quite predictable and frankly quite boring.  Until the game’s last chapter begins, you’ll find yourself forgetting (or just not caring) just what’s going on. Sure, the ending is a real nail bitter, and you’re going to want to finish it in one sitting, why couldn’t the entire story be this good?

"Outside of the game’s main story, there’s a lot to do in The Zone."


Outside of the game’s main story, there’s a lot to do in The Zone. I specifically enjoyed the game’s artifact hunts.  Finding each of these small little treasures almost forces the player to traverse the game’s world again. To avoid a bit of frustration, go back for the majority of the artifacts after you’ve completed the game’s main quest, you’ll have free-roam of the entire zone.

Like its predecessors before it, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat is a solid FPS that goes beyond what we expect from the genre.  Besides its mostly forgettable story, the third game in the series fires on all cylinders, creating a lasting and memorable experience that’s sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished it. Actor David Morse may not get the attention he deserves, but if there’s any justice in the world, this game will. 



CHEATS USED: Unlimited Health, Ammo, Stamina, Weight, Super Speed, more

The trainer for S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat is a literal Swiss army knife of cheats. In The Zone, you’ll need every resource you can find to survive – so what’s wrong with a bit extra? The trainer has cheats to give you unlimited stamina, health, ammo, weight and speed along with a way to remove those pesky radiation effects.

When using the trainer, I found it very helpful to take advantage of the game’s customizable hot keys in the game’s tougher areas. For instance – know you’ve got a pack of mutated dogs heading your way? Be sure you’ve got unlimited stamina and speed mapped where you can access it quickly; then change them up to better match your next situation.



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