Call of Pripyat: Redux is the premiere realism/difficulty modification for the latest game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Version 1.0 (released) brings numerous enhancements and tweaks to the game while retaining its original charm, but making the Zone a much more difficult place to survive. Version 2.0 (in development) will build upon the success of v1.0 and bring a huge range of improvements over its predecessor, including new missions, NPCs, script systems and even levels.
Redux is one of the most promising mods out there for Call of Pripyat. If you are a STALKER fan who loves mods that make the Zone feel as harsh and unforgiving as one would expect then you can stop reading now and hit the download link, this mod gets the job done.
The HUD is very minimal but gives all the info you need while increasing immersion. One problem I have is the glow around the status icons which make many of them look like indistinguishable blobs. You will get used to it but sharper icons would have been better IMO.
The weather is eerie and dark most of the time, if it's not raining there will many times be a thick fog across the Zone. To me the weather is perfect. I believe this mod uses Atmosfear 2.1 or at least parts of it, so it looks damn good.
Weapons perform as then should, nice and realistic. Any enemy that's not wearing an Exoskeleton can be taken down with a few well placed shots. Just remember to keep you head down too. There is much more diversity with the weapons STALKERs carry, which is great when you can get an SVD early on but it is odd to see bandist with RPG-7s so early in the game.
I felt in the earlier versions of Redux the mutants were quite imbalanced, but with the 1.05b patch it is much better. Blind dogs are fast, deadly, and deadly annoying but they now go down quickly with the right firepower. My biggest gripe with the mod has to do with the mutant groups. There have been times when I've been attacked by Flesh, Boars, Blind Dogs, and Pseudo-Dogs all at once and many times you will see packs of Flesh and Pseudo-Dogs roaming together. This just doesn't sit right with me, Pseudo-Dogs should be hunting Flesh not hanging out with them.
One big thing that should be mentioned is that the Upgrade system is gone. I wish that the mod author had put a better system in place before scrapping it. You can find more Unique weapons which kind of makes up for it.
In conclusion great atmosphere, great shooting, great mod.
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.