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Return to the deadzone
The original STALKER was a bold and innovative experience that although it didn't quite work completely, remained an enthralling and atmospheric game. This is the second standalone expansion to the base game and isn't quite so good but remains well worth playing. It picks up a couple of weeks after the terrifying events of the first game and places players back in the irradiated hot zone of Pripyat that is filled with mutants. The story is all new here, but the gameplay is familiar as you get to explore a large sandbox-style world, similar slightly to the Far Cry games, picking up sidequests, blowing away mutants and all the other sorts of things which these action/RPGs seem to like. This time, there are a couple of new mutants, new weapons and a few other bits and bobs. Perhaps the best change is the overhauled interface which makes things a lot smoother when managing your inventory and other things, while the addition of fast travel is also much appreciated. If you have played and enjoyed the original, then you will probably want to get this too as it provides more of what you love in a solid package. The basis gameplay is as enjoyable as ever, with plenty to explore and some tight shooting. The world remains as well realized as ever, and it is truly a nerve-wracking experience to explore the game. The enhanced interface makes things a lot nicer, and perhaps the game's biggest weakness is the rather weak story. There isn't much really, with some underdeveloped characters and dodgy dialogue. Apart from this though, this is a worthy add-on.