Graev’s thoughts on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadows of Chernobyl

Well I’ll tell you right now that I’m a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic. Movies, video games, books… It’s all good. As long as it has radiation and mutants then I’ll probably find it interesting. STALKER really seemed to spring up out of nowhere for me. Apparently it’s had a rather large following and development cycle, but I was oblivious. As soon as it was released and I heard about it I was immediately intrigued. I must have been living under a rock for years because I had never heard of Chernobyl. You’d think they’d mention at least once in my years of schooling, but it never came up. Well anyways, back to the game…

Feeling the need for a Post-Apocalyptic fix I decided to purchase STALKER. In case you were unaware, it seems STALKER is loosely based off the Nuclear meltdown in Russia. Kind of taking an alternate reality approach with mutants, weird anomalies, and individuals known as “STALKERS” entering the “ZONE” in search of profit. You take the role of the “Marked One.” You fall off a truck full of dead people and find yourself with no memory and only a PDA with the message: “Kill the Strelok.” You get sent on various missions to recover artifacts, documents, kill other stalkers, and the like. The game is pretty open-ended it seems. Or at least they give you the feeling that it is. The area is fairly large and immensely atmospheric. You’ll get a very creepy and derelict feeling in most parts of the game.

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At its core STALKER is a FPS. It’s not the best at what it does, but it gets the job done. Apparently the weapons are meant to have a more realistic feel, having low accuracy and such. I never found it to be much of an issue. What might be hard for some people is the difficulty of the game. While I like my share of difficult games I usually like to just sit back and enjoy myself without trying too hard. However with STALKER on what I assume was the “normal” setting, I found I had to reload quite a few times. It was worse in the beginning but as you get a hang of things, get better weapons, guns, and artifacts it really becomes easier.

I’m not quite through with the game yet but I’m getting there. I start up intending to play for a little bit and find myself lost in the game as hours go by. If you are looking for an interesting new FPS experience or just love post-apocalyptic games, then definitely pick up STALKER. This is unless you can’t get over the many bugs and difficulty.

Technical Score: 73/100

Fanboy Score: 85/100