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Platform: PC Download|Change
Price:$5.29 - $44.91
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on April 27, 2007
A well done FPS!.

This game is set in the future, with a plot that begins around the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is a game of intense action, atmosphere and involves some strategy and choices.

As with any game there are positives and negatives...let me explain

The Pros:

1.)A great selection of weapons and ammo (with the better ones becoming available as you proceed in the game). Some are better than others and some are quite heavy (you have a limit to how much you can carry).

2.)Different armor is also available at different points in the game.

3.)Realistic "fog of war" occurrences; weapons jam (with increasing frequency as they become worn); your player tires and gets hungry affecting his ability to perform.

4.)Great atmosphere; spooky ambient lighting in dark halls and tunnels, in the outdoors you have rain, lightening and night time; and then there are always the unexpected attacks (anywhere) by an assortment of men, animals and mutants.

5.)Enemy AI that is realistic: their guns need reloading and occasionally jam; they hide behind objects when shot at; they sneak up from the unseen side; animals attack in packs and from behind while one or two distract you from the front. All in all an enemy that appears to "think" about what it's doing instead of just standing there and blasting away at you.

6.)Although the game requires you to the complete main missions to proceed in the game, you can roam around the country side unrestricted. As a bonus, however, there are several side missions that you can do (these are optional and not required to finish the game but may give you substantial rewards in money or items)

7.)Easy save and load feature.

8.)3 different endings, depending on the choices you make near the end of the game.

9.)Some re-playability; you may want to try different endings, side missions and other weapons and armor.

10.)Many hours of intense, hectic game play.

Cons:

1.)You'll need fairly good hardware and lots of RAM to run this game as it was meant to be played.

2.)No vehicles to ride for battle or transportation purposes. (and annoyingly, towards the end, you must walk back almost to the starting point to get an important piece of info) or you can't get into the last 2 endings.

3.)Maybe, just maybe a little too hard even on novice (especially towards the latter part of the game).

4.)You'll need at least 9GB of disc space to load this game.

5.)I found there were occasional crashes or freeze ups after long periods of play.

Suggestions; (SPOILER)

1.)Early on, go to "Dark Valley"; this will give you a chance to
a.)obtain a sniper scope (useful a little later) and
b.)while here, do a side mission that requires you to "rescue a fighter's friend" (here you'll find, in the same building as the "friend" (but in another room), a piece of great armor and many useful and powerful "artifacts".

2.)Take every bandage you find; medkits will heal wounds but do not stop bleeding (and if you don't stop bleeding, well...you bleed to death).

Conclusion:
This was a game that I really enjoyed (even though the novice level could be a real challenge at times); it featured my favorite type of game, that being, a FPS with some RPG upgrades. If you liked such games as Deus Ex, System Shock or Dark Messiah, I'm sure you'll pleased with this game. 5 Stars.

R. Nicholson
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VINE VOICEon April 1, 2007
This is one heck of a piece of software. Don't think I've seen anything like this before. Nope, not perfect, but pretty incredible. First off, it takes a while to get used to the whole concept. Folks who wrote a review after playing it for only an hour didn't see enough as usual.

Second, looks like you can play this thing for months, and almost never repeat yourself. It is totally open ended, a huge landscape to play in, almost boundless (in the spirit of FarCry, but much much more)

The whole thing takes getting used to. The weapons, the weight system, the health approach, the copious amount of bad guys who just never stop coming. LOTS of subtleties. This is not an overt shooter like HL2, Doom etc. This is a whole world in which to live, breath and survive.

Yep, its a little buggy. But the devs seem on it as the first patch showed up within weeks of release and definitely made a difference. For such an ambitious piece of software, I can see why it took so long to finish and test, and why there would be bugs first time out. There is so much interwoven complexity, I'm blown away. The dynamic interaction between all the elements in the game world are almost real.

The "AI" are pretty awesome, with each one having a strategy it seems. Some are dumb, and just do repetitive things, but others sneak up behind you and blow you away. Really cool!! They also can whack you when you're eating, reloading, or other tasks that most shooters protect you from while mid task.

The people who built this colossus deserve tons of credit, both technical and artistic. This game is no small feat.
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on February 7, 2008
I seldom give anything a perfect score in a review, and I should definitely qualify my rating here by making a few statements about the performance and the bug issues in Stalker.

This game is a hog. It doesn't have Crysis quality graphics, but it still wants a near Crysis-worthy machine to play smoothly. I played it, the first three times, on a computer that did not nearly approximate the requirements it actually needed, but despite the terrible performance, I was utterly enthralled.

It also has more bugs than any game I have ever played. I was very fortunate and did not experience nearly as many bugs as some, and most of what I encountered did not stop or ruin the game. I have heard people complain many times that they couldn't finish the game at all because of various bugs, and I believe that can be the case sometimes. There are now several patches and many issues have been fixed, but its still got troubles.

All of that said though, I still think this is among the most amazing video games experiences I have ever seen, if not the most amazing. I have never played a game with this much intensity, this much atmosphere, or this much imagination. The concept is a breath of fresh air in a very tired genre, and the execution of the idea is incredible.

While it is clearly a shooter, Stalker manages to be the very experience I have been looking for in an RPG for years. It lacks many of the elements I associate with that genre of gaming, but it makes up for them by simply feeling like a genuine experience. If Stalker appeals to you at all, it is almost certain to suck you in and make you feel like you are "there" in the Zone.

It is a huge, sprawling game with a mysterious story, and the play is very non-linear. For the most part, you can spend as much time exploring and surviving in the Zone as you like, and the dangerous "treasure hunt" that is life as a Stalker can be very appealing. Its the kind of game that has places in it that you want to revisit and look deeper into, and its also the kind of game where you can do exactly that.

Few games have ever given me as many scares and surprises either. When I finished playing Stalker the first time, I immediately started again, and the second and third times were all unique. The A-life system that gives the Zone its personality is not perfect, but it tends to be very aggressive and quite random, which means that the Zone is never the same twice.

Stalker introduced me to the original Russian sci-fi novel, "Roadside Picnic" upon which it is based, and the book is fantastic and highly artistic too. So is Andrei Tarkovsky's movie, also entitled Stalker, based on the same novel. And if you like good atmospheric ambient music, Robert Rich and B. Lustmord's tribute album, "Stalker," is also quite good.

This just seems to be a fantastic and ever expanding concept. If you are willing to take the rist that the bugs won't ruin it for you, if your computer can run it, and if you like to be challenged by a game that defies the conventions, then this is worth investigating.

And later this year, GSC is going to release a prequal, Clear Sky, which promises to be just as amazing!
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on January 9, 2008
I dont know why people have had problems running this game. I bought the game, installed the latest patch of course (1.004), and run the game just fine (1024x768, low graphics settings, max view distance) on a 2.4 ghz dell, 1gbRAM, with a lowly PCI GEFORCE 6200!! No crashes ever! Anyway, on to the review..

I've been an FPS junkie since Wolfenstein 3D. Not since System Shock 2 has an FPS had me this addicted. Anyone looking forward to Fallout III should pray that it turns out this good. It is a genuine open-ended FPS with RP elements, real-world weapons (although w/slightly changed names, they are easily identifiable), challenging AI, realistic physics, HL2-like graphics quality, and an overall immersive atmosphere that makes you feel as if you were really wandering through the bleak wasteland of the forbidden zone surrounding the Chernobyl reactor. (A real place, the zone)..I remember a dark night during a thunderstorm, happening upon a lone figure under a bridge, huddled by a campfire..the sad song he played on his guitar was cut short by my bullets..for he had on his back the first AK i had seen in the game..I remember the twinge of guilt i felt..but thus is life in the zone.
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on November 20, 2007
Shadow of Chernobyl is the most phenomenal first person shooter I have played in nearly ten years. I have played single player FPS games since the original Wolfenstein 3d and can remember a few games that really did new things for the genre. Wolfenstein, then Doom and Quake I - II, Halflife, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Medal of Honor, Call of Duty I & II, and Far Cry, all pushed new ideas, new engines, and new game-play elements. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is the next game to push a really new element of realism into the FPS mix.

Actually, there are three elements that really make the game stand out over its same-gen FPS competitors. One is the open world, where you can go anywhere you can survive, shoot at just about anything that bleeds, pick up side missions enough to fill up real-time days, and get into more hairy situations than you can shake a stick at. Some people have said that the world could be bigger. Sure, the world could be bigger, but it can already provide up to twenty hours of non-repetitive exploration. So, I'm personally content to wait for an expansion pack to give me more areas to check out.

The second element I really love, as a long time FPS gamer, is the element of realism they've added to the shooting game. Shooting from the hip is extremely inaccurate, and reeling off an entire assault rifle clip is about the best way to waste ammo in the game (kind of like in reality). Circle strafing is not going to work very well in this title. If you want to shoot and hit something, your playable character should be in a stable shooting position, firing down his aimed sights. Even doing this, you'll have a challenge learning to handle guns that fire rounds that fly in parabolic arcs (though the arc is not as extreme as the designers originally intended). An enormous amount of research went into the creation of the bullet physics for this game. Every gun fires rounds in a slightly different manner. Different types of ammo will result in a flatter trajectory out of the barrel. This game is the closest thing to a free-range shooter simulation I have ever seen, and I am grateful to have seen it, regardless of the negative reviews complaining about inaccuracy that I've noted online.

The third element is the AI, and the pure difficulty in overcoming AI driven opponents. Once again, the opponents difficulty has been toned down by developers under direct orders. I think that this is kind of sad. However, they are still the best AI driven opponents I've seen so far (and I include the ones I've seen in CoD4). They'll split up by armament, with rifles providing ACCURATE covering fire, shotguns rush to close using leapfrog tactics and available cover, and miscellaneous armaments circling wide to flank in an orbit of your last known location! This is HUGE. I can't tell you how bored I've become with the flanking maneuvers of other games that are almost purely formulaic. "I'm here so they'll send guys there, across either that open spot or that one over there..." just doesn't apply to this game. STALKER's AI cannon fodder actually use cover, and fire in an accurate fashion. I found I had to use cover in entirely new ways, and continually shift my location and point of fire to keep from getting swamped by a relatively small number of AI driven units with similar armor and weapons. I don't think I can describe how excited I was by this.

The technical aspects of this game blew me away. I loved them. Add on to these the fact that the designers gave me a non-linear game world, upgradeable equipment and weapons, and the ability to play the game in a non-linear fashion, and we have the biggest jump in FPS realism since Rainbow Six proved that some FPS gamers like realism in their FPS games' game-play mechanics. This game transcends the boundaries of traditional FPS games, and I will continue to play it over and over again... until the expansion pack or sequel is released.
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on October 2, 2007
STALKER is a great PC game. Every good thing about this game has a flaw that pulls it down but the game is just too great to be pulled down too far.

The graphics are fairly good. They could be much better. I noticed a fair amount of stuttering but everyone's computer is different. It doesn't even come close to the graphics of Bioshock but it definitely is good enough to not take away any feel from the game.

Mods add a lot to PC games and there's no exception here. Things like vehicles, altering of how much weight you can carry, and changing how long you have to complete a quest add something new to the game. Patches are released every so often and while they fix things they also disabled some mods so hopefully things like that will get worked out.

The AI is intelligent with their fighting tactics but you'll find they constantly walk right into fires or anomolies that kill them. They just stroll right through and take hit after hit of electricity without turning back. (NOTE: You cannot have mods installed to play on multiplayer servers unless that server also has those mods).

The weapons and gameplay in STALKER are what make this game a worthy purchase. The feeling of being in a deserted place like The Zone is great. Searching for weapons and food to survive the harsh baron zone and its deadly anomalies and creatures while also balancing weight. The sound adds to the deserted and lonely feeling. A free roam no quest feature will be put out eventually and that's great because following the laughable story just to be able to explore The Zone is annoying. Although the story is lacking the gameplay is not.

AI glitches, stupid story, and a bland multiplayer bring down STALKER but wonderful gameplay, a large assortment of weapons and ammo, and the feeling of trying to survive a radiated Chernobyl filled with bandits, mutated creatures, and anomalies brings the game right back up. If patches can resolve some of the glitches and get rid of the requirements of doing the story STALKER will only be getting closer to perfect.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 21, 2007
This is the poster-game for innovative ideas, good intentions, and even better vision, that got somewhat lost in the way of development.

The original concept, the crossing-over of game genres, the beautiful graphics, the distant horizon, the RPG feeling (missions, NTCs, journal, etc) of this beautiful FPS game, get mostly ruined by endless glitches of laggings, freezings and overall unfinished development. Luckily, all of the above shortcomings can be fixed by a serious patch.

STALKER introduces a number of very smart gaming ideas, features beautiful environments and manages to create a realistic atmosphere in our room. Nevertheless, this still being an FPS after all, the gameplay is so unbalanced that it feels like swimming in thick syrup: a lot of effort adds up to only little progress.
Nice new weapons that jam all the time. When they don't, it's almost impossible to replenish their ammo. Enemies that seem to absorb bullets like cartoon characters: they go down only after repeated shots!
Your character gets tired and hungry, sure, adds to the realism of the experience - but isn't radiation suppose to cause fatigue as well? None of your enemies seem slowed down one iota...No, I am complaining about the difficulty of the game - it's the unleveled fields that got to me.

Playing STALKER made me nostalgic of the original UNREAL (another game which revolutionized the atmospheric environments at its time). UNREAL however was exceptionally balanced: a head shot with a snipper's rifle would take off both your own head as well as any enemy's head.

Now, I have a pretty decent system (P4 at 3.2MHz with 2GB RAM and a 512MB nVidia 7600GT on an ASUS P4P800), well beyond recommended requirements, yet it was impossible to play STALKER longer than a couple of hours before either the lagging eventually got to me or the whole thing just crashed. The requirements for RAM alone are staggering...

My advice: wait until the next big Patch is available (mind you, patching does NOT support older saved games...)

Recommended only for the next generation of PC systems
(unfortunately, my copy is gathering dust as you are reading this, waiting for my next system).
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on April 4, 2008
S.t.a.l.k.e.r. is the hidden jewel of the year. If you have somehow overlooked this game, may I suggest that you go and purchase it right now. Download the patches and install before playing. Then prepare to leave the real world for a few weeks while you figure out how to get yourself through the depths of S.t.a.l.k.e.r. After about an hours worth of learning curve at the beginning, it will begin to draw you into this land of nuclear disaster and all the high weirdness that comes with it. You will hunt for food, weapons and a seemingly endless assortment of items as you wind your way through this ghostly world. Don't expect to just rush through this game with guns ablaze-ing, as you won't last long. You have to think and fight your way through the madness. The game does have a few bugs from time to time as you progress, but this is easily forgiven as you discover the large wide openness and depth of the story. In my humble opinion, S.t.a.l.k.e.r. will grab and twist your imagination with it's unique storyline in a way that Bioshock or Crysis just can't touch. Don't let this jewel of a game pass you by.
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on September 29, 2014
Don't flinch at the age of this game. Just buy it, and then download the free texture and atmosphere upgrade mods available online. There are also some other minor equipment and convenience mods to explore that will make the game a little more enjoyable. However, they are not by any means necessary. This game stands on its own. Skipping the equipment and sleeping bag mods will just make a game with already challenging gameplay a little more difficult.

I cannot think of another game that has stuck with me, other than perhaps some classic NES hits out of sentiment and a couple of other select titles for their tight design, in over 25 years of gaming. That being said, for its lingering awe inspiring frightful impact, this game stands head and shoulders above other games that I think highly of. This game has the atmosphere and residual impact that Fallout 3 wishes it had.

There are other, perhaps objectively creepier games out there. However, this game exudes a very specific type of creepiness that has stuck with me a couple of years after I first completed it. It very well conveys the feeling that it advertises. You feel alone, generally underequiped, and vulnerable in a landscape filled with mutant animals and hostile opportunistic forces that will pose a significant challenge. This occurs in a world where the day advances into a very dangerous night that you might not even have the guts to confront. Daylight is creepy enough. Rain and other atmospheric changes (especially with the improved atmosphere mod) serve to enhance the feeling of desolation, vulnerability, and isolation. The world is vast, and staying alive is often difficult.

If you enjoy gaming as an experience and not just as a means of killing time, if you think that gaming has enhanced your experience on this planet by even a small margin, then the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to purchase this game, download a few mods, and play it all the way through. You need this experience. There is a learning curve, and strategy is needed on a variety of fronts. However, the time invested will have been worth it.
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This is one of my all time favorite FPS. The reason is the tremendous realism that is present in both the game play and the environments. You see, I bought this game for two reasons. The first is I really enjoy FPS style games. The second is that Chernobyl and The Area of Alienation are fascinating to me. You see, the entire playable map in the game, with only a few exceptions, exists in reality. The Garbage, the Junk Yard, the Red Forest, Pripyat, are all real locations, and they are modeled in this game with extreme accuracy. If you doubt this, do a Google search for photos of Pripyat and The Area of Alienation or read Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl. It's truly impressive that as you play this game you are exploring the real and strange world of the worst nuclear accident in the history of the world.

The realism extends to game play. The weapons in the game are varied and use different ammunition types. They jam, need repaired, and are upgradable with both NATO and other attachments. You can attach grenade launchers, several varieties of scopes, etc...

The AI is better than average. Human opponents will frequently flank, hide, and even charge if they think they have the advantage. There are times when they get confused, and begin to run around aimlessly, but those occurrences are rare.

A few frustrations include some poorly translated dialogue that is at times unintentionally funny. Things as odd as a shotgun being described as a riffle, or a man in The Bar constantly asking "Do you respect me?" I wish that I could have told him no, and then killed him in a dual, just to make him shut his face. Equally annoying are some of the cued dialogue that also repeats endlessly. If you've played the game, "I said come in, don't stand there!" has been ingrained in your mind forever.

There are now some really excellent mods available for the game, which do among other things, improve the graphics, adds back vehicles (why were they ever left out in the first place?) improves the armor decay algorithm, increase what stores sell, and makes weapons available that were left out (again, why?) of the final product. I highly recommend you research and add some of these mods if you're going to play the game.

As an aside, there are more than 3 endings. There are 7-8 at least, but only 2 'real' endings.
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