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Don't Just Stand There, Etc: The STALKER Bundle

Discounts on the STALKER trilogy (which seems like the wrong way to categorise the series somehow, but never mind) tend to wheel around pretty often, but this is particularly good deal for the whole set. There a certain games which are buried deep in RPS’ DNA, and the semi-open world, post apocalyptic survival/horror/action STALKER is one of them. If you haven’t played them, you are everything that’s wrong with humanity missing out some of the most ambitious and atmospheric shooters of all time.

Bundlestars is offering all three games (as Steam codes) for $9.99/£5.24, which works out as $3.33/£1.74 per game. Can’t grumble about that. For the record, my favourite of the set remains the original, Shadow of Chernobyl, as some of its locations and events are burned into my memory forever. Third game Call of Pripyat is probably the “best”, however, in terms of coherency and stability. Middle game Clear Sky is very ambitious but to my mind felt more mechanical, as well as being especially bug-ridden even by this series’ wobbly standards. I honestly don’t know how much of that stuff got patched out subsequently as I’ve not been back to it, but there’s certainly no shortage of fan-made fixes and mods.

In fact, the mods are almost the reason to get this package. Amazing things have been done with graphics, balance and features alike, as well as taking Stalker closer to a genuine survival experience.

STALKER’s just incredible – not without issues by any means, but truly a landmark PC game, and one which strove for so much more than shooters with a thousand times the budget or staff ever did. If I had more free time, I’m sure I’d spend much of it simply wandering its alternately beautiful and bleak Ukranian wastes. Here’s Jim talking about the first game’s long-lasting essential appeal, way back in 2008, and then again in 2011 after the series had apparently met its end.

In fact, we’ve written so much about the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series since RPS began in 2007, but we were rather… liberal with how we tagged our posts. I’ve just spend a morning consolidating and fixing everything, and now the whole archive of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. coverage is available here. See earlier pages especially for tons of thinkpieces, interviews, retrospectives, mod guides and more about this remarkable shooter series. You can also click the individual game names (as per the tags below) for more specific coverage on those.

Oh, the bundle lasts for the next six days, by the way.

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