What is your relationship with S.T.A.L.K.E.R?

#1 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

I'd like to start off by saying that this game will be one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had. The words "unique" and "brilliant" do not do this game justice.
 
After several years of attempting to access and enjoy this game, I managed to beat it in two weeks (21 hours total), which ended last night.
And I really felt the need to discuss this game. It's a confusing title that I seriously do not know the purpose of. I mean, You start off as the amnesiac guy who's only purpose is to kill Strelok, you work for these STALKERS whose boss is the trader, you do some side quests that show you the beauty of the world of Stalker and the amazing, amazing award-worthy atmosphere and environment. Then shit gets real and you work with these STALKER people towards breaching the zone to the north by going into a series of FUCKED UP underground factories and labs, encountering the most shiver invoking mutated creatures ever seen and acquiring the different samples and documents to help the trader and the barkeep to breach the zone. 
 
And then, all of a sudden, 

When the credits rolled I really didn't know the purpose of this. Yes, I enjoyed the atmosphere, I spent nights in the dark with my headphones on just bathing in this game's universe, the shooting and looting and inventory management was so much fun, the storyline seemed promising, but then the part in the spoiler tag happened and I found myself just.. confused and unsure what the hell this game is about. 
The only thing the ending made me think about was, whether dodging all the "I wanna join this faction!" dialogue options made me miss out on some great guild-ish action, and I was also left wondering why my ending was the way it was, and what exactly lead to it. Because apparently the game has like 10 endings, and mine was the "be rich" one, and I have no idea what led to it. 
 
And so, this game is finally over, a chapter of my gaming life has ended, simply because I always considered this game to be some sort of endless mindfucking maze that, well, never ends. I can't believe I will uninstall it now and never look back. 
  

It's time to fire up Call of Pripyat, but until I do, I'm really interested in your relationship with the game, how much you played it, whether you beat it or not, what do you think of it, etc..? 
Edit: Since some of us will post about beating it while others will post about playing it, please put all your spoilers in a spoiler tag
#2 Posted by TekZero (2691 posts) -

I don't have a relationships with stalkers, they have a relationship with me.

#3 Posted by mylifeforAiur (3489 posts) -

Stalker's atmosphere is amazing. The all-encompassing eeriness, the oppressive drabness, and the tangible-yet-subtle loneliness -- it's all enough to make an environment all the more fun and painful to explore... For hours and hours. Good hunting, stalker.

#4 Posted by BeachThunder (12427 posts) -

Started playing it, got confused and overwhelmed, stopped playing it D:

#5 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8607 posts) -

Loved it, never had the urge to finish it tho, but I will someday.

#6 Posted by jetsetwillie (857 posts) -

my relationship with STALKER is a dusty old DVD case sat on a shelf that i've not touched in over 2 years, after trying to get into it 2 or 3 times and just getting bored and annoyed.

#7 Posted by Eurobum (247 posts) -
@AhmadMetallic: The game is about creating a place, not as much as creating a plot.  It's either truly open world or an interactive movie, when it comes to design choices.

Stalker was inpired by a 60's book which used aliens to create the zone and a 30 year old movie that used supernatural, spiritual nonsense to create the mystery around it. Both were released before the year 1986, when the nuclear blow out in chernobyl occurred.  So every ending or explanation is contrived in its own way. Whatever you learn in the game are just rumours or stories. The whole thing is a mystery not to be resolved IMHO.
 
Тhe alternative endings are easily done if you have some old saves, or just look them up online. Even though there is a "right" ending, I already forgot what it was ;D.
 
The best thing about the original is the A-live system, which uses travelling animals and stalkers as independent unscripted agents in the world, making it possible for a lot of funny stuff to happen. For instance the back and forth struggle between bandits and stalkers on "Garbage". It is possible to throw these guys some better assault rifles, then watch how they do. Unfortunately the open world simulation went unnoticed or it went over people's heads and never quite took of in terms of working as intended, later games have abandoned it AFAIK.
#8 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5818 posts) -

I bought it on sale despite knowing my I wouldn't be able to play it on my current PC.
 
But at least I can say I own it.

#9 Posted by Animasta (14726 posts) -

you never should have gone to the wish granter, that was the bad ending!

stalker is amazing, call of pripyat is my favorite though.

#10 Posted by themangalist (1748 posts) -

once my bitch, if that's what you're asking.

#11 Posted by bybeach (5000 posts) -

It is a fantastic game. Once I got into the atmosphere and learned how the game worked, it was easy to get so damned lost in it. And you never knew just how weird it was going to turn, extremely atmospheric game with.. as it was patched, well conceived graphics, gameplay and genre mechanics. Even Some of the trees blew my mind, they looked so realistic in a remnants of mature growth forest, others were planted along roadways grafted at their base, and now grown to huge girth. Just amazing to see that kind of detail. I've had Call of Pripyat on steam installed for a good year. I keep trying to get to it. Or I may go back to Chernobyl, but Pripyat is supposed to be the worthy successor.

#12 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

I think Shadow of Chernobyl is trash, I think Clear Sky is decent and I think Call of Pripyat is pretty awesome.

#13 Posted by matthias2437 (985 posts) -

I love the game, the atmosphere was one of the best I have played in a game (that counts for all 3). I have beat all of them and never really got sick of the gameplay style while playing them. The whole time I was invested in the STALKER universe. I can't wait for them to make another one. Especially if it is using the same engine as Metro 2033 (maybe slightly more optimized).

#14 Posted by CaptainTightPants (2834 posts) -

I have never completed it but I can say that with the complete mod + only going out in the world when it was completely (and I do mean completely) dark. That was such an incredibly amazing experience, enemies couldn't see me just as I couldn't see them. The first to die would be the first one to turn on a flashlight, or the first to take a shot and make their presence known. I would then proceed to use  a bit of stealth to systematically wipe them all out with a sawed off shotgun. 
 
I have yet to complete Shadow of Chernobyl but I do have some fond memories of it.

#15 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I'll let Neutralio answer for me:
 
  

#16 Posted by shadystx (182 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: I own the first two games on steam and have only played an hour or so of the first but it's one of those game I really want to play but keep putting off to play something else.

One day I will play the three stalker games and I am sure I will enjoy them very much.

#17 Posted by theoldhouse (439 posts) -

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKK

quest givers closed the door and it won't open :(

#18 Posted by Hosstile17 (769 posts) -

I guess I am super-weird. I liked Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat quite a bit. But, I think that Clear Sky was my personal favorite. I had a total blast with that game.

#19 Posted by Aetheldod (3735 posts) -

Curiosly I was playing it yesterday ... its a game that I just play when I have nothing new to play , but I enjoy it quite a lot .... its just that Im taking my damn time with it :D

#20 Posted by Village_Guy (2664 posts) -

Love them, I own all of them, despite it being kinda janky and broken... and, man there are a lot of problems with the those games. But whatever I still love them.

#21 Edited by cyraxible (694 posts) -

I love both Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat. I haven't played Clear Sky and have no intentions to, really. Everything I've heard of it makes it seem very nonessential. I think Call of Pripyat is better than Shadow of Chernobyl gameplay wise, however, Shadow of Chernobyl was my first time experiencing the zone and all of its mysteries.

I'm in love with any game that can create an atmosphere like Shadow of Chernobyl did.

#22 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Eurobum:  Great post, thanks for the info. 
 
 
@Animasta@Cloudenvy@matthias2437:  @cyraxible:  Since you guys love Pripyat, did you use any mods for it? The Complete 2009 mod for SoC made it playable for me, otherwise I wouldn't have beaten it. Pripyat is feeling very smooth and less-janky but I maxed it out and the graphics look very 2002.. Any well known graphical enhancement mods? Thanks.
#23 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: Call of Pripyat Complete mod? ; )

#24 Posted by matthias2437 (985 posts) -
#25 Posted by Floope (194 posts) -

Bought it on a steam sale. Ends about there.

#26 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3245 posts) -

STALKER and I? We loooove each other. Thing is, she's on a long business trip and she'll return in a couple of years, hopefully with a new work promotion of STALKER2.

#27 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

It was a fun game, kinda janky, but unique. Still is vastly overrated. It's a 3/5 for me. It did some cool new things, didn't really execute on them well, but delivered a solid experience.

#28 Posted by el_tajij (718 posts) -

The first game was amazing and literally felt like it'd been taken straight out of my 'dream game' desires, unfortunately - I thought it was let down a little bit by the Far Cry 'perfect shot' enemy syndrome, where they would hit you from years away with no problem. I got up to red forest and I don't remember why I stopped playing. I recently bought Call of Pripyat but it doesn't work on my system, so looking forward to buying a new system and getting into it!

I wish they would bring it to consoles!

#29 Posted by TACOBOY (61 posts) -

lost my save games twice due to computer problems(back when i had xp) thinking about reinstalling it and giving it another go because the 15~hours i played of it was amazing,its everything i wish fallout 3 was and everything deus ex tried to be(no offence to the deus ex fans out there but not being able to hit what i aim at made me go insane in deus ex)

#30 Posted by arch4non (443 posts) -

The STALKER series is quite the anomaly. Where some people play their MMORPG sitting around in a main city hoping someone notices their armor, I'm out in the zone searching for artifacts. While some people are focused on achievement hunting, I'm out in the wilderness experiencing completely unique occurrences simply by walking from Point A to Point B. Sometimes I'll sit around a campfire and keep an eye out for bloodsuckers, other times I'll stumble upon Freedom and Duty having at it, every now and then I'll find a lone Stalker bleeding out with all his friends dead and I'll toss him a medpack and vodka.

Unlike a game like Fallout, the weapon ballistics in STALKER are quite nice and fulfilling to use. You're never grinding experience, rolling dice, or handing the controller to something like VATS. The Absolute Nature, Absolute Structures, and AtmosFear mods also give the graphics a facelift. Where other post-apocalyptic games are brown, flat, and devoid of life, STALKER is bursting with wilderness creatures and dense fauna.

There's a thriving community with lots of stories and fan art. With STALKER 2 coming out next year things are only going to get better.

#31 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12123 posts) -

I've played a few hours of it and tentatively liked what I've played so far. Currently, my minor holdups involve the fact that the early guns seem kind of trashy from an accuracy standpoint, especially since I have trouble telling if I hit someone with the weapon or not.

#32 Posted by Mesklinite (816 posts) -

I want to love them. But I can't stand them.

#33 Posted by Spoonman671 (4773 posts) -

I played about 8-10 hours worth of Shadow of Chernobyl before getting fed up with the shitty AI.  That's when I jumped into Call of Pripyat and loved it.  Some of the weapons feel a bit weak, but the combat is satisfying none the less.  I played about a half hour or so of Clear Sky, just to get an idea of whether the game felt more like Shadow or more like Pripyat, and my impression was the latter.  I look forward to jumping into Clear Sky as soon as I get a break from current releases, though I admit I'm not looking forward to the whole faction wars thing.

Online
#34 Edited by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

Cough.

SoC's probably my favourite PC game. I've played through it countless times, with so many mod variations and it just won't get old. Hell, I just came off it now. Using a AMK/graphics mods merge with Lurk weapons/animations at the sec. It's probably my most beautiful trip through the Zone to date. CS can be alrightish, but it's not really what I want from a Stalker title, CoP's damn good but it's lacking so much in the horror side of things compared to SoC and the few underground sections you do including the Pripyat tunnel are pretty shitty, especially when compared to the glorious horror that is the SoC labs and the first time you go to Agroprom underground and see a, you know, for the first time.

According to Steam I've played 183.7 hours of SoC and 93.8 hours of CoP. I owned SoC retail for a year before I bought it on Steam too, welp.

#35 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

  

#36 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@arch4non said:

The STALKER series is quite the anomaly. Where some people play their MMORPG sitting around in a main city hoping someone notices their armor, I'm out in the zone searching for artifacts. While some people are focused on achievement hunting, I'm out in the wilderness experiencing completely unique occurrences simply by walking from Point A to Point B. Sometimes I'll sit around a campfire and keep an eye out for bloodsuckers, other times I'll stumble upon Freedom and Duty having at it, every now and then I'll find a lone Stalker bleeding out with all his friends dead and I'll toss him a medpack and vodka.

Unlike a game like Fallout, the weapon ballistics in STALKER are quite nice and fulfilling to use. You're never grinding experience, rolling dice, or handing the controller to something like VATS. The Absolute Nature, Absolute Structures, and AtmosFear mods also give the graphics a facelift. Where other post-apocalyptic games are brown, flat, and devoid of life, STALKER is bursting with wilderness creatures and dense fauna.

There's a thriving community with lots of stories and fan art. With STALKER 2 coming out next year things are only going to get better.

This is such a sexy post.
#37 Posted by Liber (648 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic said:

@arch4non said:

The STALKER series is quite the anomaly. Where some people play their MMORPG sitting around in a main city hoping someone notices their armor, I'm out in the zone searching for artifacts. While some people are focused on achievement hunting, I'm out in the wilderness experiencing completely unique occurrences simply by walking from Point A to Point B. Sometimes I'll sit around a campfire and keep an eye out for bloodsuckers, other times I'll stumble upon Freedom and Duty having at it, every now and then I'll find a lone Stalker bleeding out with all his friends dead and I'll toss him a medpack and vodka.

Unlike a game like Fallout, the weapon ballistics in STALKER are quite nice and fulfilling to use. You're never grinding experience, rolling dice, or handing the controller to something like VATS. The Absolute Nature, Absolute Structures, and AtmosFear mods also give the graphics a facelift. Where other post-apocalyptic games are brown, flat, and devoid of life, STALKER is bursting with wilderness creatures and dense fauna.

There's a thriving community with lots of stories and fan art. With STALKER 2 coming out next year things are only going to get better.

This is such a sexy post.

Did he say Stalker 2 coming out next year ? is he Marty Mcfly ?

#38 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2699 posts) -

I played STALKER when it first came out, right up the point that I realized quests were timed. I then tossed that shit.

#39 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

man I finally need to get around to playing those games ... I have them all sitting here ... (retail and the last two on steam as well)...

it all sounds so intriguing!

#40 Posted by cstrang (2381 posts) -

I played Call of Pripyat almost a year ago. That game was absolutely spectacular.

#41 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8607 posts) -

I could say something cliche...
 
But I'll just say the Stalker games are bloody brilliant.
 
Sneaking past those vampirelike mutants in Call of Pripyat is insaaaane.

#42 Edited by bybeach (5000 posts) -

I'm now playing Call of Pripyat everyday, and it does absolutely rock. I'm not quite at Pripyat, still setting things up. i luv the rpg elements of this, having a fight go poor with a Bloodsucker because I was using slugs in my long barrel shot gun, should have been using shot in my other semi auto-short barrell that I use. I find You have to run backwards (more or less) till their shimmer can be seen.

As for relating to my charactor, I am pretty much that stalker. It's a bit like stepping into any alien or fantasy world and establishing who you are, despite I have absolutely no knowledge of East Euro, Ukranian or Russian culture, language etc first hand beyond superficial.( this I hope benefits me when I start Witcher 2, which the devs have said uses old tales, lore and such)

And like ppl say, your work is not done, there are what, 3 or 4 endings? I forget. The Wish granter is still well short of the final ending. Which is a good thing.

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