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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2

Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action

About Judy

As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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13. 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2' (XSX/PC)

by Judy on Feb. 15, 2021 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

The explosive combination of first-person shooter, immersive sim and horror is back in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, unprecedented in scale, advanced graphics, freedom of choices and the thickest atmosphere of a deadly adventure.

Chris Barnes: There are moments when playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games that I think, "This is the scariest, most immersive thing I've ever played" — and the game came out nearly 15 years ago.

Since this title is a next-gen Xbox Series X|S exclusive, I cannot wait to see how the devs have advanced the AI, open-world systems, and graphics that have been a staple of the STALKER series.

Tony "OUberLord" Mitera: I have been a massive fan of this series for a long time, and I was sad to see the sequel get canceled a while back. The announcement of a new sequel after all this time is great news, but I cannot help but wonder if it will have the same allure of the previous games. Navigating anomalies and hideous mutants while scrounging for gear amidst a radioactive hellscape is apparently my jam, and the previous games of the series mixed up those elements in a way that few other games have done so well.

Rainier Van Autrijve: There are certain titles that make a lasting impression, whether it's for technical achievements, gameplay mechanics, creating an entirely new genre, or the fact that it's just fun to play. For me, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl made a lasting impression. While it had its share of issues (development delays, cut content, etc.), I loved playing the main game and its two expansions (Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat). That was over a decade ago, so it's fair to say we are way overdue for a sequel! Ukrainian developer GSC Game World has been off the grid ever since, and while a sequel was initially announced in 2010, it was canceled in 2012, only to be revived again in 2018.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 brings us back to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, where all sorts of anomalies, mutated creatures, roving bandits and fellow stalkers try to kill you. One of the series's main features is its A-Life, artificial life that simulates a living and breathing world where NPCs go about their lives even if you are not around. It's now new and improved for the sequel. The original game had all sorts of technical bells and whistles, and GSC Game World promises us more of the same: advanced graphics, horror, freedom of choice, and a game world full of atmosphere.



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