Stalker is a first person shooter game set in the area radioactively contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986, and fictional second accident which enlarged the size of the area contaminated and also mutated the inhabitants.
The area radioactively contaminated is called the zone, and in the zone there are many valuable artefacts. Stalker is the name given to people in search of artefacts. Artefacts have properties such as increasing someone resistance to radioactivity, fire, chemicals, electricity, increasing endurance, or increasing health. You can collect artefacts to increase your characters strength or to trade for money. The game has multiple endings depending on, how much of the back story you discover, how much other Stalkers like you, and how much money you collect.
|abandoned industrial facility|
Carrying out tasks for different NPC's such as helping defend a camp, killing another stalker, or finding documents. Exploration is very important in stalker and lots of the disused industrial sites area based upon real building in the zones. This shows and the environment has lots of detail to discover.
You can get more money in the game by fighting in the arena. You get money for winning a fight, but if you lose its game over. Next to the arena is the bar where you can talk to people for jobs, or trade items and information. There are lots of weapons to collect they all have different abilities. As you do more difficult mission you will get better guns. You can loot items from dead bodies to sell but you can’t take everything because of a 50kg backpack limit. You must also take care of eating, if you go too long without eating, a warning icon in the HUD will show. The staple diet of a stalker is tinned food, bread, sausage, and vodka.
One criticism is there is always light any never night time. It would be an improvement if there was a day and night in the game as well as a way to sleep to replenish health. Some of the many community made mods for the game do this. One if the popular mods is Stalker 2009 complete.
The A.I in stalker is hit and miss sometimes you will be shot dead with a single shot before you can even see the enemy, other times the A.I will just stand still and let you shoot them with no reaction. The A.I mostly works ok.
|exploring the zone with Tsunder S14 assault riffle|
Overall I enjoyed stalker, the grim and desperate world has lots of atmosphere, and some parts of the game are very scary. When an enemy is coming towards you, sound is used make you aware, but also does not make it easy to know the direction or the distance from of the attacker. This increases tension and then when you are attacked it is surprising even though you are expecting it. The back story is interesting and the game only scratches the surface of the Stalker world. There are other stalker games as well as books.
The game has a fair few bugs, but it is easy to forgive the bugs for all the good things about the game. The graphics are good, and the soundtrack is also good.