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

Good
  • Unique game world that changes hands between the AI factions with multiple game endings
Bad
  • Some bugs and poor UI design that weaken your overall experience
8

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is a FPS survival horror game developed by GSC Game World and serves as the first of several titles in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series which are all set in the mysterious Zone region. Blending historical real world events with a fictional storyline players have great freedom in exploring the world to complete their quest.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is set in an alternate reality around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the well known explosion event that damaged the surroundings. In the game this area is referred to as ‘The Zone’ which has become a region of great threats as factions have moved into claim land given the wealth of scientific knowledge available through mutants and a series of strange unique anomalies that have surfaced in the area.

For your story within the world players take control of a man known as a stalker who is suffering from memory loss and is branded with a tattoo that leaves the NPCs you encounter to refer to you as the Marked One. After being the sole survivor of a vehicle crash players find themselves awake in the hands of a local black market dealer known as Sidorovich who introduces the player to the world through some basic tasks in return for saving your life. Once your debt is paid players embark on the only note left in their PDA which instructs them to Kill Strelok that first requires players to find out who this mysterious person is and where to find them that will send you increasingly deeper into the Zone.

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As part of this progression S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl offers a large open world that players can move through with a high level of freedom to complete the main quest line or completing side quests to gain favour with one of the game factions. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has a variety of environments including wilderness, settlements, military bases and plenty of abandoned buildings to explore and scavenge for supplies so that areas never feel empty as you move from major location to the next.

At these locations players will focus on gathering food, medical supplies and equipment that is important to your survival given combat is a regular occurrence against opposing factions or the various mutated wildlife that has become highly aggressive. While these encounters in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. are mostly a standard FPS experience there is some high level character customisation through the artefact system that allows players to gain statistics such as increased carry weight, radiation resistance, healing and many other useful stats to improve your combat prowess.

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These work on top of your standard equipment choices that let players use an array of firearms and armours with their own statistics to protect you against the different threats of the Zone. Notably as the game takes place in a radiation zone players must be wary of the non combat encounters equally with pockets of radiation that are spread throughout the world with large amounts of radiation exposure will quickly lead to the player’s death.

Summary:

  • A realistic focused survival horror experience in the shadow of Chernobyl.
  • Strong and unique storyline with multiple endings to explore as you reclaim your memories deep within the Zone.
  • Open world to explore at your own pace with threats from mutated wildlife, radiation and opposing factions.
  • Collect artefacts from difficult to reach locations to boost your combat stats or sell to fund your next equipment.
  • AI that will immerse you in the game world with realistic actions as they move across the Zone.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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