Stalker 2: Return to Chernobyl

Stalker 2: Return to Chernobyl

Stalker 2

In the gaming scene, Stalker 2 is almost an urban legend. Originally announced in 2010, canceled shortly afterwards and then revived, many players probably didn't really believe that the post-apocalyptic first-person shooter would appear at all. But he does! As part of the Xbox Showcase at this year's E3, the makers of GSC Game World have finally announced an official release date. There was also a bit of gameplay on top of that. We summarize everything important.

Table of contents

1 Welcome back to the restricted zone! 2 Huge world, luscious system requirements 3 Don't forget: None Only Russian Little surprisingly, Stalker 2 will play again in a fictional alternative version of the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It was hermetically sealed by the military after the reactor exploded a second time in 2006, contaminating the entire area for generations. A couple of years have now passed compared to the original Stalker trilogy. How many exactly, the makers did not want to reveal, but they speak of a "modern world". It is therefore quite possible that the second part will now take place around 2020. Due to this time lag, the story of Stalker 2 stands completely on its own. So you don't need any previous knowledge of the predecessors to enjoy the game. Series veterans will of course find their way around much faster and recognize some things.

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Welcome back to the exclusion zone!

In terms of enemy types, there were already a few "familiar faces" to be seen: The latest gameplay trailer showed, among other things, a flesh, a kind of disfigured pig, but also an invisible humanoid monster with a tentacle mouth - a so-called bloodsucker . What is new, however, are their behavioral patterns: in the future, each mutant will come with several sub-variants, which should make the critters even more unpredictable. In addition, they are now traveling in packs and hunting you. This makes for an even more thrilling gaming experience.

With the Gilk detector, there is a new little helper in the post-apocalyptic struggle for survival, but some old ones from the predecessors are also returning. Source: GSC Game World Of course, this also includes fatal anomalies that blindly tear you apart in the air. To prevent this from happening as far as possible, the developers are giving you some new equipment. The latest trailer presented the Gilk detector, a kind of alternative version of a Geiger counter that you can use to track down the forces of nature. Then there are a number of well-known helpers, some of whose functionality has been revised. In addition, you can of course still throw screws around yourself and thus secure your path.

The holy trinity of dangers is finally rounded off by human opponents. Various hostile factions await you around Chernobyl who want to get your hands on you. In short: The zone is a pretty hostile place, but also an incredibly exciting one. The stalker universe is full of secrets, relics and artifacts - for example the enigmatic jelly, with which you can restore your stamina.

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Here you can find out which games we expect to see gameplay trailers in and around E3. var lstExcludedArticleTicker = '1374082,1373995,1373853,1371457'; Compared to the previous games, the world of Stalker 2 has also been significantly enlarged: The huge open world can be explored seamlessly and without loading times and offers a wide selection of different environments. Real "landmarks" await you like the over-the-horizon radar in Duga. But in Cordon or Pripyat there are hundreds of other locations, some well-known and some new, such as the swamp from S.T.A.L.K.E.R .: Clear Sky. Overall, the map of Stalker 2 will cover an area of ​​64 km², which thanks to "A-life 2.0" should offer an even more realistic life simulation. Day-night changes and dynamic weather are also included.

Also known from Chernobylite or Survarium: The radar antenna called "Woodpecker" in Duga. Source: GSC Game World

Huge world, juicy system requirements

All in all, the makers promise enough content to keep you at the stagde for at least 100 hours. This is also reflected in the system requirements: Stalker 2 will need an impressive 150 gigabytes of storage space! And your graphics card will also have a lot to do with it. Visually, the first person shooter looks really nice. Thanks to ray tracing and 4K support, the Unreal Engine conjures up impressive reflections, lighting and particle effects on the screen. The game world based on photographs and scans looks almost lifelike. The characters shine with motion capture recordings for bodies and faces.

For character animations, Stalker 2 relies entirely on motion capture recordings. In addition, all figures are set to music, but unfortunately not in German. Source: GSC Game World Speaking of characters: You take on the role of Skif in Stalker 2, a lonely drifter who penetrates into the heart of the exclusion zone to investigate a mysterious source of energy. The story is told completely non-linearly. So you can go your own way and determine your own fate. The decisions made by the player will have both short-term and long-term consequences for the entire game world. Accordingly, there will be several widely ramified narrative strands and also several endings.

A similar variance awaits you with the weapons: Stalker 2 offers over 30 different ratchets, which you can provide with various modifications. You can do it in passing: you just grab a visor and screw it directly onto your rifle. No detour via inventory! Over 100 unique, deadly combinations can be put together, some of which were already shown in the trailer. He introduced the electromagnetic Gauss rifle, for example.

The shooting itself doesn't look wrong either. Fights are heavy and bloody staged, but still look a bit too easy for us here and there. Tactical maneuvers such as taking cover or leaning around a corner are not used at all in the demo. We hope that they didn't fall victim to the red pen. The much heralded, advanced AI has not yet been seen either. The ski in the demo is not even hit despite the wild exchange of fire. Of course, this can also be part of the presentation. So we'll stay tuned here.

The shooter sequences in the latest trailer all looked pretty scripted, so we don't want to allow ourselves a final judgment about the shooting yet. Source: GSC Game World

Don't forget: None Only Russian

The same applies to the survival elements. Up until now it was only said that game mechanics such as hunger, fatigue or radiation should be built into the game as immersively as possible and ensure a demanding struggle for survival. So sometimes it might be better to rest around the campfire and listen to other stalkers banter. Or rather: read it along. The game has German subtitles, but the dubbing is only available in English, Russian and Ukrainian. That is a bit of a shame, but it already has a very atmospheric effect in the trailer.

Not only horror and struggle for survival: Here and there, Stalker 2 also offers a nice campfire atmosphere. Source: GSC Game World Keyword trailer: He also has a nice little gimmick ready at the end: the beep of your PDA. So you can assume that you have a little electronic assistant with you who has a mission overview, a map and much more! Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to see the thing yet. The inventory is still under lock and key, as is the information as to whether there will be a crafting feature for the first time in the history of the series.

There is at least a release date for this: Stalker 2 will be on April 28, 2022 for the PC as well as Xbox Series S and X appear. In addition, the first-person shooter is included in Xbox Game Pass from day one. Also nice: For the future, the makers have already planned official mod support, a free multiplayer add-on and at least two story extensions. They will probably also be available as part of the Season Pass, which you can already pre-order for a hefty surcharge. Unfortunately, the title will not be completely free of microtransactions and other flaws.

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