Standalone Stalker mega-mod Dead Air is here to help tide you over until Stalker 2

Stalker 2 is in development, and at the moment, that's all I'm prepared to say with confidence. Developer GSC Game World quietly confirmed that the long-awaited sequel is indeed a thing earlier this year, but at the moment it's not expected until 2021. So in the meantime, why not have a go at Dead Air, a newly released mega-mod for Stalker: Call of Pripyat. 

Dead Air comes to us from the folks who made Call of Misery, a notoriously difficult Stalker mod. But while Call of Misery was a big influence on Dead Air, it does way more than ratchet up the difficulty. As the Dead Air team explains on Moddb, "it changes all aspects of the game, from graphics, audio, and special effects to various gameplay and AI features." 

The graphical overhaul is the most noticeable upgrade. By adding color balance sliders and adjustable post-processing options, Dead Air lets you liven up Stalker's dreary scenery or tone the colors down further to make it extra dreary. The mod also has a particle system which adds realistic fog to the great outdoors and dust particles to the great indoors. 

Dead Air doesn't add any new story content, but it does tinker with Stalker's basic systems. Melee, for instance, has been greatly expanded with more weapon options, as well as a quick knife attack which you can use even when you're not actually holding your knife. Stealth has also been rebalanced so that it actually friggin' works. Crazy, I know. 

"The player’s stealthiness now depends on the weight of their gear, active light sources, and weather," the Dead Air team says. "Now, relaxed enemies (unaware of a threat) will not spot the player so easily if they are properly outfitted, careful, and skillful enough." 

The revamped stealth system also ties into Dead Air's audio rework, which realistically echoes and muffles sounds. The mod is also chock-full of little details like light sources that stay active when you drop them and an easier way to reload weapons via your inventory. 

You can find the files and installation instructions for Dead Air here. If you want to see the mod in action, YouTuber Al's Gaming has you covered. And if you're hungry for more Stalker mods, have a gander at ABR's stunning graphics pack

Thanks, RockPaperShotgun. 

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.