It’s Good To Stalk, etc

By Jim Rossignol on September 1st, 2007 at 8:50 am.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is now available on Steam. It was one of the most interesting and atmospheric PC games of this year, and you really should play it – if just to have an opinion on it. It’s up there for just $30, so give it up to the Ukrainians. Needless to say, I’ll be talking more about Stalker later in the year.

In the meantime: what do you want to see from the Stalker expansion pack?

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15 Comments »

  1. Acosta says:

    I was lucky enough to review it for one magazine I work, and was really surprised. Well, I had a good feeling because some time before I went to Ukraine for a presentation of the near final version of the game and looked really solid and promising already, but when I started to play, alone, is when I started to feel The Zone.

    Is one of the most amazing and chilling places created for a videogame, is not only big, but it´s feel so complete, so full of details, it was like it had life at its own. The A-Life worked great to make sure the places were always interesting and having so much room to explore with so different areas was really an experience.

    There are some moments that touched, like the first time I went to the bar, there was something depressing in the ambient, but at the same time it felt warm because it was one of the few places I could feel as human, at some moments of my playtime I was wishing to be there taking Vodka while I was running for my life in a swarm. Other unforgettable moment was Prypiat for obvious reasons, the place is just fascinating in real life and the team did an amazing work bringing it to the game.

    About Clear Skies, I just want more Zone, more sites to explore, more Prypiat. Just more Stalker, I would be happy with just that. I feel this is a game that is only possible when you have been stuck five years creating content and tweaking the engine, is difficult for other games with more reasonable developing times to have such an scenario so interesting, big and full of details as this one.

  2. Acosta says:

    Ah, and going down through the old installations and ruins of The Zone has been probably one the most terrifying things I have done in a videogame.

  3. John P says:

    I can’t wait to try out that mod featured in last month’s PCG – I can’t remember what it’s called… the one which takes out a load of colour from the textures and makes everything look more.. dead? Should be good!

  4. arqueturus says:

    What do I want from the Expansion Pack?

    Same game but without the inscrutably shit interface. Stalker on paper is every bit as ambitious (possibly more so) as Bioshock but it had all the polish of a dull turd.

    cheers

    arq

  5. jamscones says:

    At the risk of being stoned to death by FPS whores, I’d like to see the RPG elements of STALKER emphasised in Clear Skies. I don’t necessarily mean character stats, since the original already did a good job of allowing character customisation via your gear and artifacts. So, more focus on the gear you accumulate, through variety, means to trade, upgrade and customise your kit would be most welcome. Expanded options to interact with your fellow Stalkers, such as trade, hiring, joining factions, quests etc.

    I want stuff that deepens the existing experience, and elevates it away from pure shootyness. A slightly more coherently delivered story would also be welcome.

    Finally, I’d like to see the anomalies made more profound in effect, but reduced in frequency. One of the things that surprised me when I first left the starter area in the original was how many anomalies there were littered around the landscape. I had got it into my head before the game was released that they would be things you’d need to be careful to watch out for and avoid – and indeed they were, but only in the sense that you had to zigzag around the landscape every few steps, which was more irritating than tense.

    It’s a shame for STALKER that Bioshock was released, as otherwise it would have been my GotY.

  6. Lorka says:

    What I loved about Stalker was the sense of weight, a kind of deep heaviness to the world. For those of us following it’s fraught development, finally seeing it out is like tentatively opening the first pages of an enormous, dusty hardback. I feel a kind of reverence as the old school load screen lists the technical aspects of the bar’s progress. It’s one of those enthusiast’s ‘what’s a USP?’ kinds of projects we barely see any more.

    Stalker turned away hardcore shooter fans in it’s early stages because, with low accuracy guns, it could feel like the mechanics were flimsy. That should change – clearer feedback for bullet trajectories? Wow, that sounds specific. I don’t even play FPS. :O

  7. Inflatable Moron says:

    Stalker was the first game since Fallout to make me lonely. It created a game world that i never felt comfortable in. It’s a bleak, desolate, horrible place and thats an incredible achievement. I’d like more miscellaneous quests, more character put into the NPC’s and a larger space to explore. I’d also like it to run on a Geforce 6600 without wierd sky smearing, that would be nice. Are GSC Gameworld still planning on releasing the patch for Stalker which adds a main storyline free game mode? Or did i just make that up?

  8. andreadst says:

    STALKER really is an amazing game, but Clear Sky really needs more polish and better level design. I never completed the game since when I got to the nuclear power plant, I realized that I didn’t have enough equipment and couldn’t go back!

    @Inflatable Moron, the patch 1.1 should bring freeplay but there’s no indication about when it will be available (patch 1.04 just got out and it took a long time coming)

  9. James says:

    I can’t love a game where you die through not eating. How about dying through not using the lavatory, or from shock after getting shot in the face eight times. Ridiculous!

  10. jess says:

    this game seemed really awesome, but i cant even get inside the first building, its impossible

  11. Alec Meer says:

    I find that sometimes Stalker defaults to crazy-super-idiot-hard difficulty setting. Check that in options – might be the cause of your problems.

  12. Seniath says:

    Well, I finally picked this up, off Steam, natch. However, it refuses to start, and just hangs and “Preparing to launch STALKER…”

    *rage*

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    I got that with Steam. A re-download sorted it out.

  14. Seniath says:

    I feared as much. Oh well, at least I’ll have the Crysis demo to play around with whilst waiting for it to redownload. Damn you, 100Kb/s rate cap -_-

  15. Seniath says:

    Nope. No joy. Have emailed tech support to whine a bit :(

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