The Volga (Russian: Волга) is a river that flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, making it the longest river on the European subcontinent. It serves as the main setting of the Volga chapter.
Located in the Volga's drainage basin are over half of the Russian Federation's largest cities, including its capital Moscow. Along this river are several of the world's biggest reservoirs. The Volga has attained a symbolic meaning in the culture of Russia, sometimes dubbed Volga-matushka (Волга-матушка, Mother Volga) in the country's folklore as well as its literature. It is considered by many to be the national river of the country, similarly to the Vistula (Polish: Wisła) in Poland or the Dnieper (Belorussian: Дняпро, Ukrainian: Дніпро) in Belarus and Ukraine. Its importance is so pronounced that even after the apocalypse, it waters are still used as trade routes.
As Artyom and Anna travel aboard the Aurora eastwards from the Moscow Metro, they come across the Volga early in their journey. There they must face Silantius and his techno-phobic cult of crazed fanatics, who worship the Tsar Fish. The Volga, or one of its tributaries, is one of the areas that Artyom can traverse using the rowing boat. Following the nuclear contamination of World War III, the river water sustained heavy doses of radiation affecting especially its bottom dwellers. As a result, alongside the Tsar-fish, the shore banks are crawling with Shrimp. The dry parts are inhabited mainly by Watchmen which are always in groups of at least 3 and can sometimes be seen fighting off the shrimps. Both creatures appear to be less active during the day (although still present, just in a sleep state or less aggressive). One can also find packs of lurkers and the occasional Demon in the wilderness, but the somewhat urbanized sections of the region are ruled by the humanimals.
Bandits have also set camp in the area, looting traders and harassing the local cult members. Some fanatics states that even having a big numerical advantage, the Tsar-fish guard still loses to them due to their far superior weapons and armour. There is a total of 6 bandit camps on the region: an electricity pole used for shelter by some men (Stephan's guitar quest takes you here, there's also an imprisoned cultist that can be freed once all the bandits are either dead or unconscious), an old warehouse where the bandits keep some cultists captive (witch again can be freed once everyone have been dealt with), an unfinished concrete structure used by snipers for over-watch, a small train depot witch you have to visit during the main mission, a construction site that once housed a pack of bandits but have been overrun by humanimals, and a gas station converted into a small outpost.
Aside from bandits, the player can also come across two peaceful fanatics fishing in an island on the center of the map (only accessible through boat) in vast contrast with the hostile ones found at the church and at the bridge.
- Although Krest mentions that during the day bandits go out on patrol, no such behaviour is noted during the actual gameplay with bandits being confined to their outposts all the time.
- The level takes place in the ruins of Zavodskoy Rayon on the outskirts of Saratov.