S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is the sequel to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is the third game in the survival FPS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl in which Strelok destroys the C-Consciousness. Having discovered the open path to the Zone's center, the government decides to stage a large-scale operation to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map the anomalous fields. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched.
Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the advanced helicopters crash. In order to collect information on the reasons for the operation's failure, Ukraine's Security Service send their agent (protagonist - Alexander Degtyarev) into the Zone. From now on everything depends on the player.
The player must traverse through the Zone and investigate the crash sites. As the player progresses he starts learning why the helicopters crashed. The climax of the story begins when the player reaches Pripyat to find survivors of the helicopter crashes. The player eventually meets Strelok, the protagonist of the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game (Shadow of Chernobyl) and learns of the secrets behind the Zone, including how the anomalies change position after each emission, thus rendering the military's anomaly maps for the mission effectively useless.
The game concludes with the survivors, Strelok, and the player leaving the Zone. Before boarding the helicopter the player is prompted whether he wishes to leave The Zone forever or continue exploring the Zone. If the player decides not to leave the Zone, then the game enters a free-play mode. During free-play mode the player can leave the Zone by NPCs at any time he wants.
The game's ending movie differs depending on the actions of the player during the game. How the player handles in-game missions, and whether certain NPCs are alive or not by the end of the game directly effects the ending sequence.
The game takes place in and around the city of Pripyat. The area is divided into three parts known as Zaton, Jupiter, and the city of Pripyat itself. Each of these is a large playable area.
The majority of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat's [commonly abbreviated as "CoP"] gameplay focuses on a unique combination of both post apocalyptic horror, as well as tactical role-playing action, mostly revolving around the "Chernobyl zone of exclusion". 
Receiving damage will usually cause bleeding, which the player must take care of with medical supplies. Similarly, unmaintained weapons and some equipment will be damaged from continued use. The condition of an item is displayed as a gauge next to the entry in the player's inventory. If severely damaged or broken, a red HUD icon will denote this.
The Zone features a limited economy, with traders and inhabitants exchanging goods and services for money and items. The game's trading system differs from the previous editions in that weapons and armor that have degraded past a certain point are unable to be sold until they are repaired, at which point the repair costs usually offset the sell price. Traders also sell information on missions and are keen to be in receipt of documents.
Upgrading has three tiers of improvement, with each one requiring a toolkit to allow for respective tier upgrade/modification. Rough tools will allow the player to access the first tier and fine tools will allow access to the second tier. The calibration tool kits are only found in Pripyat and will give access to the last tier. The upgrade system is similar to that of Clear Sky except that the negatives of upgrades are removed. Upgrading a certain element still causes other options to be possibly canceled.
Various mutant creatures roam the Zone, most of which are hostile to Stalkers and will pursue and attack people who get too close. Artificial intelligence has been overhauled since the previous two games and now offers these creatures advanced and more realistic behavior. One creature in particular, the Snork, a humanoid-hybrid, focuses on guerrilla-style attacks.
Several factions reside in the Zone: Loners, Bandits, Mercenaries, Scientists, Zombified Stalkers, Military, Monolith, Duty, and Freedom, the two latter ones being ideologically motivated; Control and anarchy, respectively. Although not at war, fights will occasionally break out outside designated "Safe Zones". At some certain spots of Zaton and Jupiter groups of Mercenaries, both neutral and hostile to the player, appear.
The player's relations to the factions are commonly neutral. However, Zombified Stalkers and Monoliths are hostile towards the player.
Each day in the game, "emissions" will occur: The ground will shake, an indication of the unstable Chernobyl power plant about to eject lethal radiation. The player will be warned two minutes in advance of an upcoming blowout, and must find a predesignated shelter so as not to be exposed to the nuclear fallout. The sky will turn red as the blowout passes through the player's region, killing everything outside of a shelter. The player can, however, survive outside of a shelter during a blowout if he consumes anabiotic drugs, in which case he will pass out and wake up after the blowout. Blowouts can cause new artifacts to be spawned in the anomaly fields.
Artifacts are found in or around anomalies. Players have to use special detectors to bring artifacts into the visible spectrum, as they are naturally invisible. Every time a blowout occurs, each anomaly field has a chance of creating a new artifact within its wake. These artifacts can be sold, be put into artifact slots that are incorporated into suits that the player can wear and are occasionally given as rewards for services rendered. Primarily, artifacts serve as a means to enhance the player's abilities, dependent on which artifact the player has put into his artifact slot. Most are modular and can be used in conjunction with other artifacts, or multiple artifacts of the same kind can be used to multiply their effects. Most of these artifacts emit harmful radiation, limiting their usage to short periods of time. Radiation-reducing artifacts can be used to counter this effect.
In the free play mode, the player may traverse the zone and finish all of the missions that were not finished. The player is also able to obtain hidden artifacts and unlock achievements.
Call of Pripyat utilizes the XRAY 1.6 Engine, allowing advanced modern graphical features through the use of DirectX 11 to be fully intregrated; one outstanding feature being the inclusion of real-time GPU tesselation. Regions and maps feature photo realistic scenes of the region it is made to represent. There is also extensive support for older versions of DirectX, meaning that Call of Pripyat is also compatible with DirectX 8, 9, 10 and 10.1.
Editions and release dates
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat has a Limited Special Edition, released only in Germany, that features an A3-sized map of the Zone, 2 faction patches, a stalker bandana and a "stalker" lighter, as well as the metal case the game is included in.
Also another Special Edition, released in the rest of Europe, that includes Art Cards, an A2-sized map of the Zone and the Soundtrack CD, was released.
In the US territories, there has been released a Collector's Edition containing a smaller version of the Zone's map, a tech-tree poster and 5 stickers.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat is now available in Canada.
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Call of Pripyat has received generally favorable reviews.
Contrary to its predecessor, Clear Sky, the game has been lauded for its well optimized gameplay with relatively few bugs and glitches, for example, Gamespot said, "The most stable S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game yet also happens to be the most atmospheric and compelling." Other reviews by websites previously opposed to new titles in the series have also given Call of Pripyat positive reviews. While Eurogamer rated the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise's previous installment (Clear Sky) to be a significant disappointment, they gave more positive feedback in their review of the recent addition, saying "Only the slight sensation of datedness prevents this from scoring higher, and no doubt once the mods start flowing the value for money will get even better. But there's plenty here to keep the faithful feeling extremely optimistic about the prospect of a proper sequel. And there's still nothing out there quite like STALKER."
Though the reviews of the game's Artificial Intelligence system were positive, Gamespot did note that the Combat AI at times seemed unfairly good, and that "Human enemies facing away from you have the uncanny ability to notice when you peek out a window behind them and are remarkably good shots in the dead of night, even without night vision scopes equipped." However, "[D]espite a bit of cheating, Call of Pripyat rarely feels unfair."
- ↑ http://cop.stalker-game.ru/ Press release
- ↑ bitComposer Games - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. Bit-composer.com (2009-08-27). Retrieved on 2010-02-25.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 STALKER North American release date announced. New Game Network (2009-12-15)..
- ↑ http://cop.stalker-game.com/?page=game
- ↑ http://cop.stalker-game.com/?page=game
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (pc) reviews at Gamerankings.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-21.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat (pc) reviews at Metacritic.com. Retrieved on 2010-02-08.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Review / PC / Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2010-02-08.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Review for PC - GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-02-08.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Review. Retrieved on 2010-02-08.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Review for PC - Gamespot. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
- ↑ S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Review - Page 2 (PC) Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2010-02-18.
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalkercallofpripyat/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;read-review
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