Second game from S.T.A.L.K.E.R. trilogy takes place in times before S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, when the Zone is filled with the factions that fight between themselves for the control over the area and we are put in the middle of those conflict as an outsider, mercenary at the beginning not linked to any of the factions, but with surprising characteristic - ability to survive the emissions.
The reality of the Zone is pretty much the same as in the first game, but few new locations were added (Red Forest, Swamps, Hospital, Limansk), some of old removed (f.e. Rostok) and only slight changes to the basic gameplay were made (like the fact that artifacts are visible only if you have the detector). The emissions from the center of the Zone are the new element in the game - they force player and other stalkers to drop everything and find a cover after receiving a warning. And not without the reason - the emission will kill all living creatures that will remain in the open area exposed to the phenomena.
Again we take part in a journey that will lead us into the center of the Zone (near the Chernobyl power plant). On the way we have to look for the factions that will defend their territories, deadly anomalies that can kill us and mutants that will attack us. Not much changes were made to game itself - many side missions are available, but at the same time they are very simple and often require very little skill to accomplish them.
Unfortunately the game is much simplier, lacks the atmosphere and depth of Shadow of Chernobyl - the Zone is full of people, so we no longer have the feeling of being stranded in the hostile area. The mutants take much smaller part in the game, with only small groups of them prowling in limited areas. The whole concept of the game was switched from horror / mystery / survival game the Shadow of Chernobyl was into a very simple FPS (first person shooter) with Chernobyl in the background.
5.2 / 10
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There are areas on Earth where things happen that are escaping any logical explanation - tiny little crystals that are able to give energy to start the car, gravity traps that can kill or mutilate human being within second, unexplained phenomena inviting and dangerous at the same time.
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