S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl is an FPS, immersive sim and survival horror game, and at the same time the fully fledged second installment of the series initiated in 2007 by S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. The combination of an interesting story with excellent, although very challenging gameplay brought financial success to the developers of the original. The game received two standalone expansions (prequel and sequel to the events presented in the original game) - Clear Sky and Crypt Depot - and together they sold more than 4 million copies. Despite this, we had to wait a very long time for the official continuation. This time GSC Game World studio went with the times and resigned from releasing the game exclusively on PC, moving its work also to the ninth generation consoles.
The plot of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl once again takes the players to the dark areas of Zona - a vast area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, whose accident in 1986 resulted in one of the biggest ecological disasters in history. The Ukrainian studio, however, decided to bend the real look of the Zone, arousing both terror and fascination, enriching its territory with warring factions, murderous mutants and deadly anomalies. The roots of these changes can be found in Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's famous novel Roadside Picnic, as well as in its unofficial film adaptation, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.
In the game we play as a hero named Skif. After another explosion occurred in Chernobyl reactor in 2006, a powerful energy source appeared in the center of Zona. The protagonist decides to cross the border of the Zone and as a lone stalker unravel the mystery of the mysterious power. How this expedition will affect him depends on our actions. The story told here has a non-linear structure and difficult choices we make during the game have an impact on its course and ending.
It is worth mentioning that the plot of the second S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is not directly connected with the story presented in previous S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.
In S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl we observe the action from the first person perspective (FPP). The authors give us an open world, which is one of the biggest maps in the history of video games. It includes both densely overgrown, wild areas surrounding the power plant and cities (like Pripyat and Chernobyl-2). Exploring it, we complete tasks pushing forward the plot, as well as undertake various missions and side activities.
The Zone is deadly, and yet it seems to be a living ecosystem. Mutated life forms and hostile humans, as well as ever-present radiation and physics-warping anomalies force stalkers to be constantly vigilant. For this reason, we often have to make proper use of over 30 weapons (a rifle, a pistol, a shotgun or one of the more futuristic tools of murder; each weapon can be upgraded or modified), as well as bolts and the so-called gilka (Ukrainian word - a branch, one of the gadgets that help in detecting anomalies). As we progress, we also get our hands on various artifacts, with the rarest hidden in the most dangerous places. One of them is jelly - a blue substance that restores the protagonist's weakened strength.
The A-Life 2.0 system is responsible for the realistic behavior of the mutants and humans that inhabit it, thanks to which the Exclusion Zone is subject to constant change, including changes that the player does not witness.
Unreal Engine 5
In contrast to previous installments of the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl uses Unreal Engine 5 technology. The change was dictated not only by the decision to increase the number of hardware platforms, but also by technical problems that were often caused by the resource-intensive and buggy X-Ray Engine. The game offers the highest quality graphics and uses modern solutions, including ray tracing.
Game mode: single player
Expectations: 8.6 / 10 based on 3280 votes.
Age restrictions S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl: 18+
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl System requirements
PC / Windows
- Intel Core i5-7600K 3.8 GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 1600X 3.6 GHz
- 8 GB RAM
- graphic card 6 GB GeForce GTX 1060 / 8 GB Radeon RX 580 or better
- 150 GB SSD
- Windows 10
- Intel Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 GHz
- 16 GB RAM
- graphic card 8 GB GeForce RTX 2070 / Radeon RX 5700 XT or better
- 150 GB SSD
- Windows 10