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Video GameS.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl (Series) Preview
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Posted: 3 months ago, last updated 9 weeks ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl is a shooting adventure game where you explore a fictional rendition of the Chernobyl exclusion zone to kill mutated monsters. Alongside the fast-paced and precise shooting, there's a surprisingly likeable cast of characters to pass time around the campfire sharing stories. While it sounds similar to other shooting games like Halo or Doom, it sets itself apart by the vast and detailed open world and branching, non-linear narrative.

You play a lone STALKER (Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers and Robbers), a treasure hunter who enters the deadly area of land devastated by numerous incidents and explosions, in search of fortune and glory. As you explore, you encounter various factions of troops who you can choose to befriend or destroy. Lurking in the shadows are horrific mutated beings who appear and disappear at will, guarding the hidden treasures. It's up to you where you go, how you play, and what risks you're willing to take.

Combat is fast-paced and requires precise timing and aiming. Different monsters have different behaviours and abilities, forcing you to prepare for encounters carefully. You learn how to use the environment to your advantage; by using the columns of old buildings for cover or avoiding a large group of hostiles in a wide open area. With over 30 different weapons to choose from, you have the freedom to experiment and find what selection of weapons works best for you.

Alongside the fighting, there are times when you can explore the vast, often strange, beauty of the 64kmĀ² map and can also interact with the characters you meet, sharing tales over campfires and guitar tunes, deepening the sense of immersion and the relationships you form.

The result is a game that offers a far greater degree of player freedom than other shooting games through a branching narrative that follows your actions, unique character interactions, and a vast and varied map. Created by a Ukrainian game studio, the game was initially slated to release in 2012 but was cancelled, reemerging years later before being delayed again due to Russia's invasion of the country, resulting in many of the developers fleeing or joining the armed forces.

It's the latest in the STALKER series, all of which have similar game mechanics but tell different stories.
  • STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007) PC
  • STALKER: Clear Sky (2008) PC
  • STALKER: Call of Pripyat (2009) PC
  • STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl (2023) PC, Xbox Series X|S

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 31/12/2023

Price: 70% off

Platforms: PC and Xbox Series X|S

Expected Content Rating: PEGI 18

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Players: 1 (32 online)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World and Shooting

Developer: GSC GW (@GSC_GW)




We haven't documented duration data for this game yet.

Play StylePlay Style

You can play this by yourself or as a 32-player online game. STALKER 2 won't have multiplayer when it releases, but the developers have stated that it will be added at a later date. Previous games have all had multiplayer, where up to 32 players can play in teams or all vs. all matches, in a variety of different game modes.

You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has not yet been rated, but we anticipate it is likely to be rated PEGI 18.
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

All previous games in the series have been rated PEGI 18 / ESRB MATURE 17+ / Mature Accompanied (MA 15+).

The developer gives the following Mature Content Warning: "This Game may contain content not appropriate for all ages, or may not be appropriate for viewing at work: Frequent Violence or Gore, General Mature Content"

Skill Rating

12+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. You need to have quick reactions and be able to come up with good strategies as you progress.

Account Rating

  • You need be 18-years-old to to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold for online play, but can then configure family accounts for younger players to play online with Xbox Series X|S.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl usually costs £0.79 to £49.99. 


Steam Store PC £0.79

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl

Steam Store PC £49.99

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

There are the following additional costs associated with this game:
  • In-Game Purchases: Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.
  • You need a subscription to play online:
    • You need to purchase a Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online with Xbox Series X|S.
It's important to set up your accounts and devices appropriately. More information is on our Financial Resources page.
There are three different editions of the game: Standard, Deluxe and Ultimate. The Standard Edition comes with only the game, while the Deluxe Edition comes with the game, an exclusive side-quest, some cosmetic items and the artbook and soundtrack of the game. The Ultimate Edition comes with access to all future extra content (that is planned to include 2 story expansions), the same content as the Deluxe Edition and even more exclusive cosmetics.

You can purchase any content you don't get with the edition you buy inside the game.


We haven't documented accessibility features for this game yet. Our S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl Accessibility Report details system-wide settings that may help, and suggests similar games with accessibility features. Tweet the developer (@GSC_GW) to let them know about our Accessibility Questionnaire.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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