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

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Starwars, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. Starwars

    Starwars Mildly Dipped

    Sep 17, 2006
    So, the release date for this game is a few days away, but some stores are already selling it (around here at least). Apparently the russian version was released as early as last week. Picked up a copy this morning, and have played a couple of hours. This will probably be a long post.

    I have mixed feelings about the game so far.

    I have a semi-old rig, and I'm very pleased that I can get STALKER running really smoothly. I could even turn on a lot of the bells and whistles, as long as I keep the dynamic lighting off (completely kills my system if i turn it on). It looks really good to my eyes, not the absolute shiniest. But the setting and atmosphere obviously makes up for it. I'm really happy that I can run it as smoothly as I can, I wish more developers would choose this approach instead of having the absolute best graphics possible.

    Anyways, the best thing here is obviously the atmosphere. They've managed to convey the ruined and torn apart feel of the zone very well. Very well done.

    The game also actually feels dangerous. If you run into a pack of dogs, and they decide that they want you for dinner, it's not a good idea to stand there and try to kill them all. Alternatively, you can manage to scare them away by shooting at them, or if you kill one or two of them. It seems that a lot of the 'animal life' don't have anything valuable on them, so you don't really want to mess with them unless you're really in a tight spot.
    I really like this, it tends to emphazise the whole survival aspect. It's not like Oblivion where you can just stampede right through the deepest wilderness without a care. You should take care in STALKER, and that's a great thing.

    The AI is good from what I've seen so far. The dynamic system actually allows for some quite cool, unscripted events to happen. I'm not sure if this will manage to 'stay fresh' when you've played the game a lot, but for now, it feels exciting. You can find STALKERs (both friendly and hostile) out in the wilderness. Sometimes in groups, sometimes on their own. Occasionally you'll see them fighting off animals, or each other. This can provide golden situations for the player as you can loot the corpses afterwards, and again... Unlike a lot of other games, it feels good to get your hands medkits, bandages, ammo and weapons here.

    There are also some bad points.

    The writing in this game is... wow. It's atrocious. Absolutely terrible. It's just really dull and uninspired, and the characters completely lack... character. I also saw a rather clumsy mistake, two words with no space between them ('very bad' becomes 'verybad' for example). I hope there won't be more errors of this kind, but it just feels really sloppy, I don't think they spent to much time on this. Perhaps it's the translation to English that is bad, I really don't know, but ugh.

    As for the quests, there seems to be quite a number of your standard fed-ex quests. Go there, kill that, retrieve the thing, bring it back and get the reward. I know this isn't a RPG, but again... the writing really hurts the quests as well. Even standard 'fetch quests' can be made somewhat interesting if the writing is good, but it doesn't seem like this is the case with STALKER.

    One thing I really wished for in this game, was that you would be able to find lots of old journals, and 'lore' about the history of the zone. Again, I have to stress that I haven't been playing this for very long, but I'm starting to doubt that there will be much lore in this game (outside the main quest). And if there is, I have a feeling that the horrible writing will make it less interesting than it should be. Sad but true.

    Finally, I have to say that STALKER is, well... It's a FPS. And when I played this game, I remembered why I don't usually buy these types of games. I just don't find FPS very fun, and also, I really suck at them. This is a bit frustrating as I find myself getting owned over and over again when battling other STALKERs in this game, I just can't hit anything. Hopefully I will get better, otherwise it might destroy the game completely for me. Even at the easiest difficulty I have no trouble at all getting myself shot to death.

    I'm still having fun with it, and I'm definitely gonna continue playing. But for anyone thinking of buying it, I would definitely try it out at a friends house first.
  2. keyser Soeze

    keyser Soeze Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 15, 2005
    Good little review.

    I agree with what you had to say.

    As you said, the enviorment is very nicely done. They have really captured the "torn apart feel".

    The AI in this game is very good, one of the best i have seen. The enemy moves nice from cover to cover and tries to flank you. They also spread out in a smart way when you attack them. This make every engagement a fun endeavor.

    The world around you changes when you are not around. Some camps change owner etc.
    It can happen lots of unscripted things, and this is almost always positive..

    For example i attacked a small recon squad infront of a military base. After this i went back to my base that where nearby. The next thing i know im stuck in a firefight between the soldiers who counter attacked my base. It was a cool feeling when something like 15 STALKERS defended against 10 soldiers.

    I don't think you need a monster computer to play this game.

    I agree on that the writing is terrible, but i can live with that.

    Some people might complain about the GFX. And it is pretty outdated, yes, but i find it pleasing never the less.

    This is where STALKER fails terribly. The accuracy and dmg system in this game is laughable. You can empty 2 mags at one enemy 5m infront of them, and they still wont die. And trying to kill something at long range 50m+ is just like playing the lottery.
    It is not your fault, its the game thats fucked up. I have played many FPS games online for years so i know how to aim, and in this game it doesn't really matter how good you aim, cus the bullets wont hit where you aim any way. This is really killing the game for me atm. Im playing on the hardest setting and its almost impossible.
    I love a challenge but sneaking around lobbying nades and knifing/SG takes forever. And it just feels stupid.
    I really hope they fix this in some MOD/patch.

    For you who want to play STALKER because of the RPG elements i would say, don't bother. This is an Open ended FPS with a few RPG infuences.

    If they fix the aim/dmg issue, this game could be very very good. But as it is now its only okej.
  3. DirtyDreamDesigner

    DirtyDreamDesigner Venerable Relic of the Wastes

    Apr 15, 2005
    Are the loads long?
  4. Starwars

    Starwars Mildly Dipped

    Sep 17, 2006
    I haven't been able to play past the first 'map section' yet (been busy), but the initial load is pretty long I suppose. But once the section you're in is loaded, there is no more loading at all until you move into another section. I don't think the game loads things when you are exploring in the same way Oblivion does, where you get a 'hiccups' in the gameplay occasionally.
    It shouldn't be a problem since the sections are rather large.

    There are quite a lot of reviews out now in case anyone is interested. Most of them seem to place the game somewhere around a 8/10.
  5. keyser Soeze

    keyser Soeze Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 15, 2005
    The loads are pretty short.

    The zones are often made up by made 2/3 small loading borders. And for me it takes maybe 5sec to load between them.

    The there are longer from zone to zone. Maybe 10-15 sec.

    And as Starwars said the the initial load is longer.

    My speccs:

    AMD x2 4200
    ATi 1900XT
    2 gig ram

    Playing it in 1280x1024, with everything on max.

    I might add that the aim gets better in the game as you get better weapons and that makes it mutch better.
  6. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    my 2 (euro)cents:

    bad immersion overall:
    - money is worthless. collecting artifacts for money, who cares? i've got 300.000,00Ru and the most expensive suit ingame atm is 9.000,00. same with the guns. i don't bother picking up stuff i don't use, not even to sell (i don't even have a sidearm since i just switch between 2 longrifles).
    - missions are too often repeatable and bland. no sense of accomplishment.
    - mob respawning is directly after leaving a zone. if you just fought off a bandit camp and return to the same place, you can be damn sure they'll all be back. only things that don't respawn are scripted events.
    - too populated... there's too many people outthere. i think i've killed like 150 soldiers and 300 bandits. yay me. they just instantly return. i doubt that'd go unnoticed...
    - the english is horrible. sure the spoken stuff is meant to be 'russianised', but the written stuff is even worse! the spoken conversations is far from being remotely similar to what is written in the text.
    - i caught the personal plot very early on. it's not hard to catch on, yet it's impossible to act on it.
    - accuracy on some guns is pretty 'iffy'. ironsights are pretty useless, you're better off shooting from the hip + dodging. this of course does not apply to scopes (although it should be noted that AK's + PSO scopes still gives you pretty shabby accuracy, other guns however more than give you decent accuracy)
    however, those who say they can't hit anything need to re-evaluate how they fire. it is fairly easy to do long range stuff, even with an AK Krinkov (the short one, don't know the ingame name). of course, you shouldn't expect to hit anything beyond 25 meters with a pistol...
    - 'Arena' difficulty is laughable at best. i bet i could've done it as a rookie. (you need to have a certain 'level' to compete til the end)
    - also, couldnt help but notice that the ejection ports on pretty much all guns are on the wrong side of the gun Wink

    - i've gotten to the point i dont care about bandits anymore (on normal). they can't hurt me... no use wasting good/expensive ammo. with a few endurance artifacts equiped & decent armor, you can simply run past them at every turn. same goes with normal animal critters. just keep running like there is no tomorrow. (and don't overload your char because you won't be running for long before you tire. travel lightly and you'll never need to rest.)

    is there hope:
    - there should be a lot of good mods for it soon enough. only little needs to be changed to turn it into a real winner.

    personal problem:
    - i leeched my copy and it now has a gamestopping bug... my map bugs (after you meet 'Doctor', for those who are playing), and loading a new area crashes. (please note that i did BUY the game, but i decided i didn't want to wait on delivery Wink 3 to 5 days)
    - i hope this problem is with the hacked version & not the real one, obviously.
  7. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    Please note that we don't give a shit why you do that, there will be no fucking warez talk. It's a really fucking simple rule, so why can't you bloody idiots obey it?
    Fucking hell.
  8. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    it's legal to own a copy of software you own, so fuck off... want me to show you order & payment details or what? sjeez...
  9. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    That's not the fucking point and it has nothing to do with legality. There's a very simple fucking rule here: no warez talk. It's really fucking simple. 'I leeched it' is warez talk, again: really fucking simple. Don't break the fucking rule!
    You've been here for years, now, SuA. You really, really should know this.
    Bloody hell.
  10. Banko

    Banko First time out of the vault

    Sep 9, 2004
    With regards to the people complaining about lack of accuracy, the guns here actually have real ballistics. Where the bullet is in a parabola so if a person is far away you'll have to shoot up a bit.

    Also there are various rounds and if you are fighting stalkers with armor you might want to invest in some AP rounds.
  11. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    help, i'm being oppressed!

    "A term used by software pirates use to describe a cracked game or application that is made available to the Internet, usually via FTP or telnet.
    The term "Piracy" is used to refer to "unauthorized use of intellectual property"."

    so basically since I already own the software, it isn't unauthorized use and hence: NO WAREZ. yeah, semantics, i know...

    lol, real ballistics my ass. a weak approximation, yes. (better than most games, ofc)
    but far from being anywhere near real.

    by the time you can invest in decent AP ammo, you've got accurate weapons anyway, so forget the AP and simply go for targeted headshots instead.
  12. Banko

    Banko First time out of the vault

    Sep 9, 2004
    Heh I didn't mean real I was trying to say it's not like other FPS where if your cross hair is on something you are going to hit it. However I would say this has the best ballistics since Operation Flashpoint.
  13. mr. pastorius

    mr. pastorius A Smooth-Skin

    Aug 26, 2006
    Erm, Red Orchestra?

    Anyway, I still need to get my hands on the game, but I find implementations of non-FPS elements quite interesting. Kinda reminds me of Notrium, a survival third-person game with some elements Stalker uses, like encumbrance, food, weather changes etc. Still, I have to see the game for myself to have an opinion that counts.
  14. Bisonman80

    Bisonman80 First time out of the vault

    Aug 29, 2006
    So far Red Orchestra has out-shined all games in both the accuracy of weapons, the execution of firing the guns, and their parabolic travel. And unlike this game, if you hit a guy with one or a couple bullets, he goes down. But this game is fun, no doubt. I'm a FPS fan though..
  15. slamelov

    slamelov Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Jul 29, 2006
    Red Orchestra, Swat 3 and Swat 4, WW2 Online, Americas Army, Operation Flashpoint, Armed Assault...
  16. keyser Soeze

    keyser Soeze Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 15, 2005

    I was starting to wounder if i ever was going to have any use for my $... I have a lot now and i was hoping that there would be some really nice stuff to buy, disappointing.

    Another letdown is the feeling that you are "walled in". I was expecting something like oblivions map size. The accessible areas on the STALKER map is maybe 40% of the entire map :? Pretty lame. Not mutch exploring in this game.

    Try the arena on "Master" and come back and tell me its easy. Im in the fifth round or so. meeting the two guys after the two spetsnaz. They can take like 1½ mag and you can take 3 shots :)

    I liked the games difficulty in the beginning with Veteran/Master. Then you really had to think before you moved, not just run and gun. But after the middle of the game i found this über armour and now im like terminator. Its a hard balance making a game not to easy and not to hard. But i do prefer a game to hard rather than to easy.

    I think the best way to make a game harder is to 1) Make the enemys a bit better. 2) Make more enemys 3) Make the supplies harder to find and more expensive. Most games today dont seem to understand that only making the enemys mutch better makes the game feel very unrealistic.

    :roll: The first guns in this game is not very realistic.
    The first pistol for example can shot shots 45 degrees of the center of the aim , not very common :D
  17. Starwars

    Starwars Mildly Dipped

    Sep 17, 2006
    I agree with most of the above post. Money is way to plentiful, and apparently one of the 'bad endings' is tied to how much money you have (or so I read) and is triggered if you're really rich by the end.
    There's just not much reason to spend the money.

    Also agree that the game actually manages to feel 'claustrophobic' once you've explored a bit. The main path feels to linear. I didn't expect an Oblivion sized game, but I did expect a game that didn't feel like it has... well, levels.

    About the difficulty, I also agree there except that I don't really want more enemies. I think there is way to much life in the Zone already, and there are actually not many moments when there is no lifeforms in sight. This adds to the 'claustrophobia'.

    Yes, make the supplies rarer. At the very start of the game, you think that it's gonna be a struggle to survive, but after a while you will have no shortage of anything at all. It's to bad, since the start of the game feels a lot like how I wanted the game to be.

    Right now I feel pretty disappointed in this game. It has some fun moments for sure, and the setting is fantastic. But there are so many annoyances. To bad.

    Hopefully patches/mods will fix some things.
  18. Thanakir

    Thanakir First time out of the vault

    Mar 21, 2007
    I just finished the game in one way, and I think I got that ending, I didnt actually try to get a lot of money tho.

    I only followed the ''Monolith'' questline, and finished the arena, but I don't have THAT much money on me... Still, I'll explain that ending in the end of my post (with a spoiler warning).

    -The graphics are pretty amazing, the special effects on the screen adds a LOT to the atmosphere, the radiation level on the area you are, the anomalies around, the time of the day, the weather and sometime other special things around you (like special experiments in a laboratory near you) will all makes for a different environnement around you.

    It may only make your screen grainier (as if you played on a bad screen), or gives everything a (really) yellow shade, but it makes everything different at all time.

    -The game was kinda hard at the start, but around the middle of the game, everything became a lot easier.

    It was still very easy to die really fast if I didnt pay attention (mainly against mutants or shotung-wielding ennemies...), but overall, it was kinda easy once I got better armors.

    I was only playing the second difficulty option (veteran?), so only one step higher than easy.

    -I thought the factions would be a lot more importants in the game...

    I've seen the ''Loners'' (anybody without a faction), I know the army is in The Zone too, I've seen ''The Duty'' (are THEY the army? I didnt really follow it, I tried to join them, did everything they asked of me, but couldnt join)(various npc in the Duty area told me I should join them, but I never got a option to do so)

    The ''Ecologists'' (science guys, I did everything they asked of me, they didnt talk about me joining them tho), the ''Bandits'' (which all had me KoS it seems since the start of the game), the ''Freedoms'' (they seems to be some kinds of bandits, but probably nicer). And the traders may be a faction of their own, I didnt stop to try and learn if it was the case...

    I did everything that the Duty, Ecologists and Traders asked me to do, I never had any options to ask me to join any faction.

    The Freedom npcs were talking me a lot about how I should join them, but I didnt do anything for them since... Well... I was on a mission for the Duty to destroy the freedom base.

    -I didnt follow the ''Find/Kill'' Strelok questline at all, you can finish the game without knowing anything about it, I didnt know anything about my character at all too tho... Except for some strange dreams, that lack of ''Who am I?'' answers could have been what led me to my bad ending.

    -The game wasnt what I expected it to be at all, but it was GOOD, I was a little disapointed of the game at the start, but after that, I couldnt stop playing it.

    -I didnt had any (or almost any) shortage whatsoever, while I feared it would happen quite often, it may be different once I try it in a harder mode.

    -I'm gonna makes a new game, do more side-quest (I didnt do a lot because of how of a pain in the ass it is to go back on your track to talk with a npc while you're one or two level away), and follow the Strelok quest-line this time.

    The ending I got /SPOILER/

    I get to the Monolith (nicknamed the Wish-Granter, the Legend says that it will grant the wish of anybody but that The Zone grows of 2km each time a wish is granted) and my character says ''I want to get rich!'' (my lack of character development for following the monolith quest-line could be why this happened).

    The top of the building where the character is starts to fall appart slowly, the parts falling looks like gold coins to the character, who open his arm to the ceilling happy to see all that money falls... He ends up under a pile of junk.

    EDIT : The difficulty mode was Stalker.
    And one little thing : The artifact which effect is supposed to greatly reduce Bleeding effect, while making you more vulnerable to 2 other effects (is it Burn and Explosion? not sure) was bugged for me.

    Bleeding effects werent hurting me a lot at first while using that artifact, but they WERENT HEALING AT ALL, in fact, they were becoming stronger each second. A really green bleeding effect should do almost no dmg and heal REALLY REALLY FAST, but with this artifact, it would become more yellow-ish each second, then red, until it became a hemorrage (sp?). So it was pretty bad to keep it.

    My usual setup for artifact was : A artifact reducing radiation, while reducing my endurance, artifact giving me radiation while increasing bulletproof capx2, artifact giving me endurance while reducing shock resist, artifact giving me +600% hp while reducing various resist.

    PS :
    Keep the enhanced armor at the start of the game, the artifact reward isnt worth it.
  19. keyser Soeze

    keyser Soeze Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 15, 2005
    Well i don't want more enemys all in all. But when you do meet them they could add a few more to make it a bit more difficult.

    I think the croweded feeling could have been removed if you would have been abel to move where you cant. Big open areas where there are not many people. And then you have the "centers" where all people meet to rest, sell and buy stuff etc.

    It feels like they didn't have time to make the whole map so they did a shortcut and did levels instead.
  20. Starwars

    Starwars Mildly Dipped

    Sep 17, 2006
    Yeah, that would be a good idea. Bigger areas, and have the deeper wilderness have less NPCs.

    There was a link on another forum where someone had taken the map of the entire zone, and drawn red lines around the places you can actually visit. That makes you realize how limited the game is.

    Still, I'm really torn about this game. One minute I find myself thinking 'I'm in the mood for some STALKER!' and the next I just feel disappointed about it.

    Thanakir (or anyone else who finished it), how long did it take for you to complete the game?