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Old 08-20-2008, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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standardman's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Manchester, England
Posts: 3,690
Nice idea, may as well use this thread to talk about a game I'm more than little obsessed with at the moment.

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. I blame my fascination with Chernobyl on the movie and book this game is based on so buying it was automatic.

The game itself is a flawed gem - it's atmosphere is unparalleled and it's large areas, population of different factions and day/night/weather cycles make it feel persistent. Unfortunately, it's also very buggy.

To remedy this I'm using the mod Oblivion Lost, which takes Oblivion as an inspiration and makes the game completely non-linear with non-playable characters having their own behavior; organising groups for raids and exploration, nuclear blowouts can happen at any time, nights are scarier, the wildlife is more vicious and it's a generally improved and more hostile experience.

Upon starting a new game with this mod, I played like I did the first time, merrily setting out with my pistol and low body armor to explore. I got killed fast.

The second time, I waited in the small abandoned village some Stalkers used as a makeshift base until bandits attacked. After the Stalkers in residence fended the bandits off, I took weapons and supplies from the dead and tagged along for a raid. I defend myself against packs of mutated wild dogs and cats and watched for anomalies as it started to rain, occasionally meeting other groups going about their business - some friendly, others hostile.

The raid itself was easy as my quarry's focus was on the wildlife that had started to get closer to the disused housing they called a base - a few grenades and we were free to take the supplies we needed, the remaining animals fought amongst themselves.

Once the raid was over and rain had cleared, I heard gunfire and shouting brake out in the distance. Running over a train track toward the sound, I saw a conflict between two factions in and around a dilapidated farmhouse. After watching for a while, I decided to align myself with one side and joined in.

Gunfights in STALKER are brutal and unforgiving, enemies outflank you and yell to each other in Russian, a well-placed shot can kill you and wounds must be bandaged else you'll bleed to death. I decided to use the faction I was 'helping' as a distraction and got to high ground, from there I picked off anyone who ventured out of cover as the gunfight raged below. Eventually, no Stalkers were left and I scavenged what I could carry from the bodies, selling it on for money to buy anti-rad, food and better armor.

I stopped at a campsite for the night and watched my fellow Stalkers sing Russian folk songs around the fire and play guitar, occasionally stopping to defend against mutants and bandits. At dawn I set off to explore The Zone.

TL;DR - it's good.

Last edited by standardman; 08-20-2008 at 08:16 AM.
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