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Zone of Alienation makes it glow (hopefully not from radiation)
I discovered STALKER So C rather late, and while I enjoyed my original run of the game on my brother's pc, I've recently built a pc of my own and installed the Zone of Alienation Mod for a second playthrough.

The result? Amazing. The ZOA has gone through 13 patches since it's release in April and while that causes to the game still be tempermental, what has been added to the game will make you forget the bugs.

Several new real world guns have been added, most noteworthy being the Saiga family of automatic shotguns which make carrying buckshot, slug, and dart rounds more viable much later in the game than initially.

Interacting with other Stalkers has been upgraded; there would be times I'd save the neck of a Loner, Duty, or Freedom stalker and they would recognize me as a friend with the Duty faction not threatening to blow me away for walking towards their base after helping them out enough times. Now if you save one or a group of neutral stalkers from a particularly serious situation, the merchants will contact you via radio saying they've left a gift waiting for you next time you come by.

Emissions only occurred twice in the regular game, like at the Chernobyl Power Plant, but now they occur every now and then which have lingering effects: telltale signs of an emission are an increase of mutants roaming about making walks during the day even more dangerous (night is twice as bad now). Anomalies were in fixed locations before, but once an emission passes, they move to new spots making a previous safe passage not so anymore. On the plus side, this also restores the artifacts you already picked up, and coupled with new artifacts added to the list makes artifact hunting more fun. If you don't want to risk being burned, electrocuted, or blown up by the anomalies, you now have the option to turn stashes which were had fixed locations and contents, to become randomized, so every stash becomes a surprise. The Rucksack Item even allows you to place a stash of your own anywhere you like to store goodies away unless you want to collapse from the extra weight?

This review is a revision, and while I'm not sure if it's good tv tropes etiquette to speak mainly about a mod for STALKER, the amount of work the mod's creators have put into the game is a sight to behold I can't NOT discuss it. Good hunting, stalkers.
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Rough, Unpolished, Clunky, and Absolutely Sublime
I'm going to get this out of the way right off the bat: this series is notoriously buggy, poorly translated, and unpolished. The graphics are nothing special even at max settings, the animations are often weird, and even when fully patched each game has its own unique and wide selection of bugs.

That said, I love this series. It's easily one of my favorite game franchises of all time, even taking into account its many flaws. The game is just fun, even though all the evidence indicates it shouldn't be.

STALKER is brutally, punishingly hard, even on the lower difficulties. Even with decent armor you can't survive more than a few bullet hits, literally everything has weight (including ammunition), your guns can and often do degrade, jam, misfire, or even outright break, your armor protects you less the more damage it takes, your medical supplies are almost never sufficient to survive for an extended period of time, you'll constantly be short of food and probably short of ammo too. Friendlies are few and far between, and they usually have their own agenda and can't be counted on to provide much help. The wildlife will hunt you down and try to kill you. Hostile humans will hunt you down and try to kill you. The environment doesn't even have to hunt you down, it will just straight-up kill you. The atmosphere is dark and brooding, with a tangible sense of dread every time you venture out and an equally tangible feeling of relief every time you make it back to a friendly camp. Few games can draw you in quite as well as this one does. You are weak, you are vulnerable, you are a very low rung on a very long food chain - and before too long, you'll damn well know you are.

Surviving in the Zone is hard. You will die a lot. You won't always know why, or how, or where it came from. But you'll have fun every time, trying to outwit the positively brilliant NPC AI, or exploring the wonderfully well-realized world it builds for you, or any number of the practically unlimited things you'll find yourself doing. The game is a challenge, and overcoming it is genuinely satisfying. And, what's more, it's clearly the product of years of actual, honest-to-God effort. The developers poured their hearts and souls into this product, and really, it's hard not to love it.
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How i stopped worrying and learned to love the game
In 2008 i saw STALKER:SHOC on the shop one day, i was a bit curious about the game but now i love it. everything from it's atmosphere to their unique A-life system which gives you the feeling that anything can happen. when i bought clear sky, I was literally close to throw the DVD at those Ukrainian devs,No offense,but that game, as described by reviewers as "bugged,and "Half-baked".(although the patches did help reducing the freq. of the bugs) now call of pripyat may seem a bit...."linear" but nevertheless it was the epitome of their hard work, it made me impressed and even if one fishes the trilogy there's a plethora of mods out there and now STALKER 2 is coming in 2012, one can be ecstatic as one can experience the part as a Chernobyl soldado. BTW good:story lines, graphics, gameplay Bad:Bugs, and Glitches.
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