Developer GSC Game World has arrived at Gamescom 2023 with the first ever playable demo of Stalker 2, and outlets are starting to go hands on with the highly-anticipated Game Pass title this week. One of those is Xbox Wire, where the team has come away suitably impressed by what's playable at the show.
An in-depth preview discussing the chunk of Stalker 2 that's playable on the show floor says that the upcoming title "makes a hell of a first impression", with its Unreal Engine 5 world "packed with detail" - at least from what's been shown so far. Here's a lengthier snippet from Xbox Wire:
"STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl makes a hell of a first impression – the opening moments see your player-character, Skif sprawled across the floor of a rad-blasted forest, looking down, and seeing a mutant dog chewing on their leg. Cue a panic, a jammed gun, and the dog being fortuitously picked up by a nearby atmospheric anomaly and, well, exploding. Like I said, hell of a first impression.
Along the way, GSC Game World makes clear the power of Unreal Engine 5, imbuing beauty to a distinctly nasty world – The Zone (the name given to this alternative Earth’s post-nuclear Chornobyl Exclusion Zone) is packed with detail: abandoned buildings cut through with low, wintry light; threadbare forests broken up by oily, shimmering bubbles of warped reality; and pockets of quiet humanity being scratched out in the wilderness."
The demo wasn't all show, no trousers either. The outlet was impressed with how much of Stalker 2 that GSC Game World made playable, especially for the game's first ever public hands-on demo.
"The most surprising element for a showfloor demo is the freedom you’re offered. Developer GSC Game World makes clear that this is a tiny slice of an enormous game, and still work-in-progress, but barring a short scene-setting conversation with a mysterious stranger – who directs us to speak to some locals – the demo makes no demands of you to do anything other than explore."
Ever since we first locked eyes on Stalker 2 it's been one of our most anticipated Game Pass titles, and although a lot has happened since GSC's sequel burst onto the scene, we're still incredibly excited for its arrival. Oh, and previews like this certainly aren't toning down our hype levels!