STALKER 2 is already on sale with this massive preorder deal — here's your ticket to what could be 2024's best FPS game

One of the most exciting game releases coming later this year is STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl, GSC Game World's highly anticipated single player sequel to its original trilogy of STALKER games (ported to consoles earlier this year) from the late 2000s. With its distinctive blend of shooter combat, survival mechanics, and non-linear exploration in an atmospheric open world inhabited by highly intelligent NPCs, STALKER is one of the most unique FPS franchises ever made.

Though STALKER was considered a cult classic for a time, its popularity has grown over the years, and rising interest has resulted in STALKER 2 becoming one of the most wishlisted games on Steam. Notably, you can preorder it ahead of its scheduled September 5 release date, and right now, the Steam version of the game is just $39.69 at CDKeys. That's a huge 33% off its full $59.99 MSRP, and a deal you can't miss if you're planning on checking out what could be 2024's best FPS game and one of the best PC games period.

STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl | $59.99 $39.69 at CDKeys (PC, Steam)

STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl | $59.99 $39.69 at CDKeys (PC, Steam)

STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl will take players back to The Zone later this year, and looks to be the incredible sequel that fans of the franchise have been waiting nearly 15 years for. Thanks to this deal, you can preorder it for a huge 33% off.

Also see: Deluxe Edition | Ultimate Edition | STALKER Trilogy Bundle

STALKER 2 looks absolutely fantastic

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STALKER 2 is the first new entry in the series since the release of STALKER: Call of Pripyat in 2010, and takes place a full decade after the events of the STALKER trilogy. Like its predecessors, the sequel is set in a fictional version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone — a closed off portion of Ukraine around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. In the franchise's timeline, there was a perplexing second disaster in 2006 that led to the creation of pockets of nature-defying phenomena called "anomalies" and equally supernatural mutant monstrosities. Mysterious and miraculous items commonly referred to as "artifacts" were also discovered within the area, and quickly became highly desired items due to various beneficial properties they afforded people who touched them; for example, some artifacts can heal grievous wounds in seconds, while others have the power to cleanse bodies of radiation.

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Though the area was cordoned off by the military, tales of these inexplicable treasures and other phenomena drove hundreds of "stalkers" to sneak into "The Zone" over time, leading to the formation of numerous settlements and factions within its borders. You'll play as one of these stalkers, Skif, in STALKER 2, and will be challenged to survive by exploring, working with factions, completing jobs, scavenging for ammunition and food, and hunting down or protecting yourself from the many dangers that exist within The Zone.

I've always loved STALKER for its gripping moment-to-moment gameplay and its tense, foreboding atmosphere, and everything I've seen of STALKER 2 thus far indicates that developer GSC Game World is cranking these elements up to 11. The sequel's cutting-edge Unreal Engine 5-powered visuals look to elevate The Zone's dark and ominous ambience to new heights, while lethal gunplay, radioactive zones, dangerous anomalies, persistent survival needs, and an "A-Life 2.0" simulation system for the game's AI will all serve to make exploring it an unpredictable experience that constantly keeps you on edge.

The Zone is as beautiful as it is ominous. Which is to say: very. (Image credit: GSC Game World)

My colleague Zachary Boddy got a chance to play STALKER 2 at Summer Game Fest, and said that they "believe STALKER 2: Heart of Chornobyl has all the pieces it needs to become something truly special, and one of the best Xbox games of the year." The vast majority of other previews I've read are this positive, too, and that's only intensified my hype as the game's September 5 release date approaches.

There's much we haven't seen yet — most trailers have been centered around its story and some of its cinematic moments, though there has been a good amount of gameplay shown — but even so, I have a feeling that STALKER 2 will be one of 2024's best FPS games. And if what you've seen and heard of the game thus far has you ready to journey through The Zone like I am, this amazing CDKeys deal on a preorder for it is a must-buy.

While the only version of the survival shooter on sale right now is the Steam one, it's worth noting that both the Xbox Series X|S and Microsoft Store variants will be playable day one on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, respectively. And hey, who knows? Maybe we'll see some sweet deals on these versions and others once the chaos of Amazon Prime Day kicks off in a few weeks.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.