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First Impressions: STALKER 2: The Heart of Chernobyl

First Impressions: STALKER 2: The Heart of Chernobyl

Source: Steam / GSC Game World

June 19, 2024
Author: Matej Nesic

The radiation meter has been buzzing for a while, but now an actual video of the game has been released!

The AA GSC Game World development team has surprised us a lot with their new trailer for STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl. The game will be released on September 5 for PC and Xbox, and good news for Microsoft console owners is that it will be part of your Game Pass subscription from day one. In the meantime, let's see what we can expect in the region this year!

First of all, let's go back in time a few years, when the shadow of Chernobyl appeared from a hidden corner of science fiction in 2007 with a slight exaggeration. The first part published by THQ left something to be desired, which took the form of a lot of bugs, and even a real power plant that sweated while running the game. However, the profession, as well as the established fan base, has been lax about quality, let us add, absolutely rightly so, because very few productions have been able to present the post-apocalyptic world in such a stunningly unique way. The bleak shadow of the Chernobyl zone affected players so much that it felt like a visceral experience to visit well-known locations from reality. The city of Pripyat was designed in incredible detail taking into account the technical standards of the time, but it was true to every aspect of the construction that the GSC team managed to create something very unique.

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Of course, there were some advantages, because the Ukrainian studio managed to make a really good FPS game reminiscent of the Eastern European world for the first time. An enthusiastic fanbase also developed in Hungary, perhaps precisely because the game's visual world was not at all foreign to its Western counterparts. The built environment seemed much clearer, we were able to visit several buildings during our adventures that appeared to have been moved from one of our country's industrial cities. The sequels expanded on the story of the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but after the release of Call of Pripyat in 2009, there was silence for many years.

Source: Steam / GSC Game World

The best thing about the story is that the game built a camp around itself over the years, which has not left the world of Stalker forgotten to this day. Now, in 2024, Chernobyl's core might just be garbage, and fans of the series wouldn't care at all. The game is no longer under the turf, because players and independent experts are also looking forward to Stalker this year. In the new trailer for the game, we can also see the unique atmosphere that we are used to before, with the difference that the visuals are absolutely overwhelming, thanks to the Unreal Engine 5 graphics engine.

In the video, the area looks impressive, and we can also see familiar locations, such as the swamp, the basement of the Agroprom Research Institute, or the bar of the Skvadovsk ship. According to promises, the city of Pripyat will be designed in more detail than ever before, which is good news for those who like to spend their visits in the region wandering around. It would probably be a chilling experience to look at the famous Ferris wheel from below as it rusts and retains traces of its passage.

The light and shadow effects and pond rendering are stunning, though NPC movement and the appearance of mutants haven't improved as much as environmental detail. The “vampires” who move invisibly and attack us out of nowhere are probably still taunting us. Although the “vampire” does not appear in the video, the “controller” still appears, forcing us to experience its psychosomatic effect on our brains in a more modern guise. These anomalies seem strange enough, reminiscent of the good old days when one wrong move was enough to end up in a “meat grinder” spiral. There will also be no shortage of volcanic eruptions in the area, so the sound of air defense sirens will also indicate that we are not walking in the best weather in the designated place.

What is certain is that we get a new story, with a new hero, but we can meet old acquaintances from whom we can again expect requests in the form of missions. We don't have to wait long for the ominous crackle of the anomaly detector to ring in our ears once again, as we walk through the dangerous areas of the area and throw bolts.

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