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S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl

version: euro (uk), collector's radiation edition - year: 2007 - developer: gsc game world - publisher: thq - format: pc dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: slight

The UK metal-box limited edition includes a survival guide, a bonus DVD, a map and some unlockable multiplayer content.

 

How cosy!! I even tried to flush, but it didn't work...

 

There are tons of cool weapons in this game, but you'll hardly be able to carry more than a couple at any given time

 

Some sections have an incredibly scary atmosphere, and the attention to detail in the graphics is simply unmatched. Luckily, the flashlight never runs out...

 

Damn, this guy has been waiting for the subway for what seems to be a long time...

 

I should get myself one of these suits for the next WW

Review - Stalker was in development for 5 years and it came out of the offices of a Ukranian software house.

Interestingly, this is reflected in the game which is set into the ruins of Chernobyl after an imaginary second explosion. You wake up in a post-nuclear world, where radiation is the only real ruler of the land (or the zone). Confined in the zone, you interact with groups of adventurers (or Stalkers) with which you can become friend or foe. You can simply ignore them too.

There is the army, which is supposed to keep the zone under control and there are various armed factions which struggle to impose their rule.

And the mutants. They come out at night, horribly deformed beings. Humans or beasts? It won't matter. Shoot to survive. In this lonely universe characterized by an almost overwhelming sense of decay, the ugliest face of human technology will make you feel uncomfortably abandoned, a pawn of a huge chessboard. You're just one element of the universe you live into.

Your freedom of action is initially disorienting, while levels stretch for many km. You can choose to undertake your main mission objectives or you can simply advance by completing side-quests. You can play it stealth, by using silencers and shooting down lights or you can play it messy. The choice is yours.

You begin your quest by asking people around, what's this place you're trapped into? In the distance, something seems to scream his anger against his horribly mutilated existence. You realize you need a weapon. You start-off by collecting Soviet-manufactured guns and ammo. Ammo is scarce, and you plunder it from corpses. Weapons are unreliable, use them for too long and they will jam mid-clip…Quickly take cover and reload. If this starts happening too often, you'll need to sell your gun and buy another one in better condition.

Once you start finding newer weapons, more ammo, more health packs, you'll collect them avidly only to realize that you start getting out of breath more often until you'll be eventually unable to move. 50 kg is your weight limit, but collect a better suit and you can get up to 60 kg . Still not enough to carry all of the items and weaponry you need. Tough choices are ahead. What to keep, what to drop, what to store? Realism in the gameplay, realism in the graphics, and an atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Stalker is an atypical FPS which has a very strong personality. Chances are the first few hours of play will either overwhelm you or frustrate you. Why can't I carry more weapons, why mission objectives often seem to contradict one another. Why can't I run without getting out of breath, why can't I use vehicles? All legitimate claims, but just hang on for a little bit more and you'll be rewarded with a unique playing experience which you won't forget anytime soon.

Stalker will confront you with your own choices and your own fears as you'll venture deeper and deeper into the horror, or ‘man-made hell'. In its race for technology, something went horribly wrong and Humanity lost control over its own creations. The consequences seem to be hard to assess as radiation and anomalies seem to become more frequent and more pervasive.

There are multiple endings but only one which is a true happy-ending. You'll have to care about people, and care about your surrounding to actually see it, but given the universe you'll live into, it will be something very hard to do. Stalker provides some insight about human nature, and the answers it provides will often be unpleasant…

In the end, Stalker offers a unique gaming experience almost on the same level as FarCry and its only real flaw is the bugged multi-player which still needs some serious fixing.

Bottom line: a huge world to explore full of weird inhabitants to interact with, but that sense of ever-present loneliness will be your real companion....8/10

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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