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Like a lot of people I though that CoP was a good but easier game than its predecessor, so I was all over a mod that's all about the difficulty. Unfortunately too much of the challenge here comes at the expense of fun, which is exasperated by the mod dropping in difficulty sharply after the first area.
There's a lot to like about the mod though, and I'd say it even does a few things better than any other mod out there. Specifically:
Weapons - I have no problem with the more game-y weaponry of the vanilla game, especially since the AI and levels are designed around and probably work best with them, but the more realistic guns here actually work very well. They're even more satisfying to shoot than the default, while not being so realistic that they all feel too similar to each other, and on top of that the increased weapon damage really brings out the stealth elements in the game, and make it feel a lot like LURK.
AI - This would make or break the weaponry, so good thing it's in top form here. Most importantly it walks the fine line between being challenging and being unfair, and it overall feels like the AI is fighting on the same level you are. Also important is that stealth seems to be greatly improved over vanilla, and I only had a few instances of the AI hearing me through walls or seeing me when they shouldn't. Good stuff.
Mutants - Unlike the 1.0 release wild dogs are difficult but balanced and don't make you explode by barely grazing your leg. Likewise the rest are great, the only ones that could use some improvement are the zombies, who despite being walking bags of dead tissue go down just as easily as stalkers. Seems like they could stand to be able to absorb a few more body shots for added difficulty since they aren't putting their internal organs to much use.
Unfortunately Yanov and Pripyat are unforgivably dull thanks to a lack of difficulty and the mod removing a lot of what made the game work in the first place. Overall it's pretty uninteresting.
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