Posted: December 21
Hundreds of hours invested in this on the disc version purchased many moons ago. STALKER is a bleak, nightmareish vision brought to life even more so with the huge collection of community made mods available.
This was the first game in the trilogy of games the other two being Call of Pripyat and Clear Sky (a prequal). Both of which are also incredible, CoP more so.
When you leave the Cordon for the first time after speaking to Wolf, walking up that path towards the road, turning and seeing your brothers slowly disappear into the distance, hearing the wind howl around the barrel of your creaky old shotgun, suddenly hearing some sort of demonic cry far away to the east and a chill creeps down your back. The sun is low in the musty sky - but just up ahead there is an old abandoned mill to explore, just make use of the fading light.
For me this game creates an atmosphere I've never felt before (or since, other STALKER titles not including) of a world gone to hell - the Zone, a huge area of land around the defunct Chernobyl reactor, now infested with nightmareish creatures deformed by radiation, different collections of (human) mostly factions wanting to kill you on sight and rob your last tin of tuna. Secret underground labs where horrific experiments happened before everything went to hell. Deserted farm buildings where blood hungry things lurk in the dark. STALKER is all about tension and fear, but also survival.
There are mods you can get that improve just about every aspect of the original game, textures, weapons, music, audio, bugs ironed out, even previously unnavailble areas.
I love STALKER, it's tremendously satisfying to survive in the Zone, it's terrifying, compelling and full of detail (if you also read all of lore/diary entries that Marked One enters into your PDA throughout the game.
For anybody that likes FPS/open world survival shooters with strong RPG elements, for anybody that loves to become really immersed in their chosen universe, there is nothing quite like STALKER.
Just don't forget your anti rads, and take care of Nimble - he's worth it.