The boys of GSC Game World are fighting an unfortunately real war, which cost the life of a a game designer on the development team. For this reason, the absence of STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl on our screens was not surprising. Yet the new iteration of the series has returned to show itself, once again underlining the goodness of the work done by the collective and acting as a small memorandum on a 2023 that it will mark the return to the Exclusion Zone. Without further ado, let’s break down this interesting footage and its gameplay scenes.
On the image of a hatch that slowly opens appears a sentence capable of summarizing in a few words all the drama that lies behind a work that is as long-awaited as it is complicated to develop. Made in Ukraine is the brand that takes us back to the Exclusion Zone, to fight against entire factions to get your hands on the precious artifacts of a supernatural nature. Ten years have passed since the historic result achieved by a group of scientists, who managed to get in touch with the noosphere, a sort of collective consciousness that connects every single human being.
However, the incredible discovery has caused only trouble for the Ukrainian population, because the contact with this higher level of thinking has produced a new calamity in the area already affected by the explosion of a nuclear reactor. Nightmarish monstrosities have appeared among the buildings of the evacuated city, while strange physical phenomena make every single step dangerous, but as often happens, not all evils have a silver lining: anomalies have created grandiose artifacts of inestimable valueand it is with the aim of obtaining these objects that the STALKER venture into the Exclusion Zone.
In short, nothing has changed since – now back in 2007 – Marchiato set off on his murderous mission in search of Strelok, giving players a videogame experience that floated between shooter and horror, supported by a peculiar survival scaffold capable of making the STALKER saga unique.
The glimpse that the developers have shown us seems to want to reaffirm their belonging to an unconventional work (comparable briefly only to the Metro saga), which can boast splendid but also extremely disturbing settings, as demonstrated by the short sequences that make up the trailer: there seems to be great visual variety in the next adventure in the Zone, among very vast, claustrophobic or desolating scenarios, propped up by suggestive images of unknown technologies and inexplicable environmental phenomena. Compared to first majestic trailer of STALKER 2 it seems that the quality of the textures and the attention to detail have undergone a small downgrade (given the circumstances, it is legitimate to be more than lenient in this sense), but the scenographic charm remains unchanged thanks to the amazing lighting guaranteed by the Unreal Engine 5, which it makes the abandoned buildings of the city glow with glittering anguish with its dense and believable shadows. The beams of light that infiltrate the cracks caused by explosions and carelessness are combined with convincing effects to convey the anxiety deriving from human and even supernatural dangers.
An atypical shooter
The narrative of this second chapter will continue to be based on the open and non-linear exploration of the Zone and the surrounding areas, with the player left free to live his experience as he sees fit. Between tasks to accept by talking to a diverse cast of secondary characters and clues hidden in a scenario that rewards the most curious usersthe approach to gameplay will remain free of major constraints, but it will not be easy to master.
The soul of a “reasoned” shooter seems to have returned in this sequel, because in the presentation videos the human opponents are shot down with a few well-placed shots, but this is the danger that our protagonist also runs, forced to juggle enemy soldiers and beasts (animal and supernatural) hungry for blood. In some cases even an undignified escape can prove to be salvation, because jumping into a fight without adequate preparation is often the shortest way to game over. The survival component takes care of the shooter soul, which asks the player for attention and parsimony in the use of bullets and equipment found on the field, while a customization system allows you to improve the statistics of the various guns. The trailer closes with a succession of shootings, fascinating anomalies and gloomy settings, while a character disillusioned with humanity lists all the ways it is possible to die within the Zone: they should sound like a warning, but his words only increase our desire to finally see one of the most anticipated sequels of recent years in action, arriving in 2023 on PC and on Microsoft consoles.