Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl for Free

Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl is available for free on GameTap.

The only thing is, you’ll have to put up with the ads and of course, you can’t use mods.

If you want to read more about what you can't do, you can head over to the article on Rock,Paper,Shotgun. Honestly, they have the nerve to call Stalker: Clear Sky "the rubbish one". It wasn't that bad, once you loaded the several patches.



Stalker: Call of Pripyat Screenshots and Specs

Stalker: Call of Pripyat has a new website, and on it is a bunch of four new screenshots as well as some information on the game including an encyclopedia of sorts detailing the factions, enemies, dangers and items found in the game.

The screens seem to indicate that the other stalkers you find in the game will now have typical stalker behaviour, like using detectors to find anomalies and artefacts. The character detail, especially on the Dutyers, looks better too, I think.

In addition to this, system requirements have been released for the game:

Minimum System Requirements (ignore this)

* Intel Pentium 4 2.0 Ghz / AMD XP 2200+
* 512 MB RAM
* 128 MB DirectX 8.0 compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 5700 / ATI Radeon 9600

Recommended System Requirements

* Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 / AMD 64 X2 5600+
* 2 GB RAM
* 512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card / nVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 4850





The Perfect STALKER: Less bugs upon release

This originally appeared when I typed it on the TTLG forum last year, in order to explain my point:

"S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is nowhere near finished

I’m very disappointed with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. To think that they released this eagerly anticipated title with all the promise of enhanced graphics and gameplay, and what do I get? A rushed, very raw and buggy title; what a waste of money and time it has been trying to get this game to work.

There’s no point in raving about the game and how it looks and plays if you struggle to even get it to play. It keeps crashing to the desktop all the time, and I even have the patch! You think this would have been the first thing they addressed.

Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl felt raw and unpolished; not the best game and not the worst, but it least it was more stable. I swear it’s been a long time since I’ve come across something so half-baked in a game, and it’s a major title too! It’s got so many damn bugs, it’s unbelievable. 

Clear Sky should have spent another few months in the studio so they could play test and work out all these problems before hand. They should rather have released it next year when it was properly done; this is more what I’d expect from a beta version. 

If they have any sense they will fix it up quick and proper! And if there’s any hope of a third game in the series it, they had better learn from the mistakes they’ve made, and spend more time on it, too. Clear Sky is more of a shoddy expansion than a true ‘prequel’."

So, what I expect from Stalker: Call of Pripyat then, is the reverse. Something that has actually been finished before being released and doesn't require you to download patch after patch after patch. Clear Sky is all ready up to version 1.5.09, and those patches are over 50 MB each- a waste of data in my opinion, although the last two are mainly for multiplayer.


The List has been Updated

The list, otherwise known as "Things That Could Make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 the Perfect Game" has reached the one hundred point mark.

96. Better translation into English.
97. More contraband items, like cigarettes, drugs, some explicit magazines.
98. Brothels in run down areas.
99. Full body awareness, like F.E.A.R.
100. Player can carry a radio or has an mp3 player on his PDA for some mood music.


Things That Could Make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat or S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 the Perfect Game

1. Fewer bugs upon release.
2. Faster Loading times.
3. New interesting plot twists.
4. More isolation coupled with the occasional firefights.
5. More emphasis on exploration.
6. More locations (including ones in both SoC and CS, as well as entirely new ones).
7. Increased interactivity with the environment.
8. More side missions.
9. More types of side missions.
10. New enemies, anomalies, mutants and bosses.
11. Make the Zone even more dangerous.
12. New factions in the Zone.
13. Foreigners (Americans, Germans, French, etc). 
14. Female characters in the Zone.
15. Babies and children in the Zone, like unwanted orphans, abandoned kids, etc.
16. The ability to sell information to others rather than just buy it all the time.
17. More people or opportunities to trade with.
18. Ability to recruit characters to perform a job.
19. Working vehicles that you can use, like trucks, cars, bikes
20. Can buy, sell, repair and upgrade vehicles, and refuel them. Fuel would be rare in the Zone, and vehicles would be very expensive.
21. Can drive with other characters as passengers or be the passenger hitching a ride.
22. Make money by offering lifts.
23. Side quests or taxi missions that are vehicle specific.
24. More sand-box style gameplay for those who don’t wish to play through the missions, like GTA.
25. Perhaps, the main character will have some additional features and functions.
26. Enhance on the horror aspect of the game.
27. Ability to use fists.
28. Situations which require melee combat.
29. More melee weapons.
30. Ability to use bits of the environment as weapons when desperate (like Condemned).
31. More interactivity with character.
32. Better graphics.
33. New music and sound.
34. Better composer, like Trent Reznor, Eric Brosius, or Jesper Kyd.
35. New character types like mechanics, translators.
36. Mechanics would work on vehicles, upgrade them, repair them, etc.
37. Translators would work for a fee, translating other people’s speech. Your character might only speak Russian or Ukrainian, and there would be foreigners in the Zone for instance.
38. Characters arriving from the outside.
39. More noticeable differentiation of character rank (rookies, veteran, etc).
40. Make characters more life-like.
41. More spoken dialogue, like Oblivion, when interacting with characters, instead of having to read everything.
42. More weapon slots.
43. More weapons, like AK47s, AKM, etc from Europe and eastern bloc, with weapons from overseas as well.
44. Revolvers and other types of handguns.
45. Machine pistols or submachine guns that can fit in the sidearm slot, and be held with one arm with the locator, like Uzis, etc.
46. Weapons are more effective. Fewer shots to down or kill a target.
47. Wounded or outnumbered enemies react realistically.
48. Enemies can be disarmed, retreat, be extorted for information.
49. Characters have a routine or life cycle and can do things the player can do.
50. The ability to actually find physical currency in the Zone, like Oblivion.
51. Player can become more experienced and not have to pay for everything.
52. Player can ‘level up’, repair own goods.
53. Player can make new bits of equipment or weapons (like Fallout 3).
54. Player can recycle weapons to use for repairing weapons of the same type, like Fallout 3.
55. Player can buy certain items to repair goods, make new stuff, like in Fallout 3, like a workbench.
56. Player can choose a class of character, each with different strengths and weaknesses, to add to replayability (shooter, explorer, engineer, etc.).
57. Option to make things like weight restrictions more or less or nonexistent depending on level of difficulty.
58. Customize your game by checking things that you want in there or not, like UT’s mutators.
59. WYSIWYG Level and quest editor.
60. Better voice acting, maybe some recognizable or famous ones.
61. You can edit what your character looks like.
62. More FMVs.
63. More weather conditions.
64. Weather conditions that realistically have an effect on the character, like rain and wind will make him cold, and sick.
65. Player can warm himself up by starting a fire.
66. Characters who want to talk to you or be with you instead of having to do all the interacting.
67. Ability to contact characters via your PDA.
68. Can talk to or text someone with your PDA/phone.
69. Bring back the encyclopedia from SoC.
70. More civilian characters that don’t have guns, like tourists, scientists, reporters, intruders in the Zone.
71. More useful or important characters.
72. Make the game scarier.
73. Destructive environments like Red Faction.
74. Creatures, mutants or enemies that react differently to the player. Some attack, others run, others stalk, spy on, or scare the player, maybe attack occasionally.
75. More humanized mutants that can taunt the player.
76. Less barb-wire fences
77. Larger maps
78. Maps without enemies, ghost towns.
79. Faction wars aren’t really necessary, and if they do appear, make them winnable and more relevant.
80. Better story.
81. Better developer to work on the game(s).
82. New, better engine.
83. Less stuttering.
84. Less throwing of grenades.
85. Areas in the game are proper size and location as regards real life locations.
86. Make it non-linear, less restrictive.
87. The ability to sleep and pass time instead of having to wait around for certain time-sensitive missions, etc.
88. Better character detail and animations.
89. The ability to create stashes on the fly. If you’re weighted down and you can’t move, you can create a stash by taking a backpack, filling it with stuff, and throw it somewhere. It will show up on your PDA’s map and you can come back for it later. The contents might be stolen by bandits or other stalkers though.
90. Damage models like Soldier Of Fortune, which shows damage to characters, bullet holes, broken bones, torn flesh, bleeding, dismemberment, disembowelment, etc.
91. More blood and gore.
92. Player can dig out bullets, bandage wounds, etc, like Far Cry 2.
93. More bad language and swearing, and in English for some characters.
94. More mod-friendly. 
95. Open-ended gameplay or freeplay (you can still play after completing the main quest.
96. Better translation into English.
97. More contraband items, like cigarettes, drugs, some explicit magazines.
98. Brothels in run down areas.
99. Full body awareness, like F.E.A.R.
100. Player can carry a radio or has an mp3 player on his PDA for some mood music.

Note: A post similar to this first appeared on my other blog, The Atomic Arcade. I will fully work on the list on this site from now on, adding things, and elaborating on things in separate posts.


On S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

It turns out that S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, touted as the second add-on for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, might actually not be “just” an expansion after all.

Bluesnews has settled for “third stand-alone game”, because it might not be a sequel either (please, not another identity crisis!). In any case, they say it will be here sometime in Q3 2009. The game is using the X-Ray v 1.6 engine, and looking at the scans I’ve seen, it looks a bit better than Clear Sky- not to say that Clear Sky looked bad.

One wonders then if S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat possibly IS S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 after all? In an interview with one of the guys from GSC Game World, Sergey, it was mentioned that there would be S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat and probably a sequel as well: “This (Call of Pripyat) is the name of the second add-on for Stalker and will release this year, in Autumn. I can say that Stalker 2 we will develop unambiguously.”



Welcome to the Zone

This is my new, second blog, Anomalous Artefact, and it's meant to be all about S.T.A.L.K.E.R., the games, the atmosphere, Chernobyl, Pripyat, and anything and everything to do with the Zone of Exclusion.

So far, there's the Stalker Store on the sidebar where you can get S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, as well as official guides and other things. You'll also find posts here about the next game in the series, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.

Stay tuned as I'll be working on the blog and adding new things soon.