A STALKER Mod worth looking at

Fellow Stalkers are surely aware of the must have Complete mods, available at moddb.com and created by the eminent artistPavel. For the poor, unfortunate Stalkers out there who do not know, STALKER Complete 2009 transforms Shadow of Chernobyl from a game with vision and potential into one of the greatest games to have been put out in the last 20 years, directly rivaling the Half-Life series. The other two chapters of STALKER, the prequel Clear Sky and the sequel Call of Pripyat, have there own Complete mods (here and here).

The stated goal of the Complete mods series is to improve the games in as many areas as possible (from graphics overhauls to AI improvements to new weather systems to much needed bug fixes) without altering the original game play. With Shadow of Chernobyl this is a winning strategy. The game is nearly perfect in concept, it just needs some help smoothing out the edges.

For CS and CoP a more aggressive approach is necessary. These two games suffer from critical problems that make them shrivel in the looming shadow of their predecessor.

Clear Sky has its vaunted Faction Wars mechanic, which is so riddled with bugs and bad design that it fails to live up to its visions of tactical warfare over the Zone and its environs. You can crush your enemies at the heart of their territory and kill their leaders a hundred times, and yet they return a few (in game!) hours later. If they cannot be crushed permanently (and this would make sense because CS is a prequel and all involved factions are present in the following games), then at least give us a few days (a week even!) of respite before they magically come up with a dozen or two new Stalkers to reoccupy their old base. Heck, have your faction actually OCCUPY their old posts and make them fight for it!

Call of Pripyat suffers from a completely different problem: A lack of momentum. From the beginning of the game you are dropped into the middle of nowhere, without any indication of which areas are safe. If you are quick you can catch a pair of Loners, one of which is a Guide, and they can take you to Zhadovsk, the large Loner camp in a boat near the center of the region, but you don’t know if that place is even safe until you get there! From the very beginning you are given such freedom that you don’t even know what to do with yourself.

Now, I’m the type of player that chaffs under a linear design, I do everything I can to avoid the main plot until it is clear there is nothing interesting left to do. At every step of the way I avoid the next main quest objective until I’ve done everything else. Its why I don’t beat the main quest in Elder Scrolls games until I’m lvl 30+ from Morrowind to Skyrim, and its why I had over 50 hours logged into SoC before I finally reached the Wish Granter. (All hail the Monolith!) And yet I was practically begging for more direction. I have lingered for almost 20 hours around Zhadovsk, only finally reaching my second (or was it third?) crashed helicopter (out of five, its your first main quest objective) in my last play through. On top of all that, the inclusion of emissions as more than just a plot device to be used as a big stick for knocking Marked One unconscious so hordes of Military Stalkers can overwhelm a previously vacant facility turning a creepy walk into a deadly firefight, is poorly handled, since the player can barely make it to a destination safely before an emission is triggered. And if you can’t find one of the very (very!) few safe areas in a region, to bad, your toast, load that save and make that 30 minute walk again!

Clearly, these issues cannot be solved using artistPavel’s design methodology. Which is why I’ve been searching for a better mod for these two games for a while now. I tried Faction Fronts, which promised to enhance the original game concept behind CS, but failed in my eyes. It also hasn’t seen any significant news in months, and hasn’t had an update in well over a year.

Which brings us to STALKER PreSky. The aim of this mod is to remake CS to take place prior to the events in CS. The player is just another Stalker, and there is no main story. Freeplay right from the get go and a proper Faction War. I hope. Full release isn’t expected until later this year, but you can get a look at the fairly ambitious features list.

Please share any good STALKER mods you know of in the comments!

Good hunting Stalkers!

[UPDATE] It has come to my attention that Faction Fronts has indeed had several updates, there is actually a 2.0 Beta available. The developer has stopped putting these up on ModDB and is using his own distribution method with a custom, self-updating launcher that ALSO updates the mod. Impressive!

Explore posts in the same categories: Gaming, Modding, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

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3 Comments on “A STALKER Mod worth looking at”

  1. Pripyat Says:

    Come on you guys, When I found these games, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Yes, it had bugs, but, once you get into it, who cares? They are all brilliant. A bit frustrating, but brilliant. Nothing comes close. And, believe me, I’ve tried most of them. Got SHOC, CS, COP, LOST ALPHA, PRIBOI + MODS. I screamed at some of the impossible scenerios, like the gunfight from warehouse to redforest, it had me on edge for ages just at the gate on both sides. The mutants, even after playing for the umphteen time, still make the hairs stand up and when things jump out at you, almost push the whole computer desk over trying to get away. Dread going underground. This is what I get out of it, Problem solving, dexterity, visual, stimulation, memory recall, hearing recognition, etc. etc.etc. Fun, Fun, Fun and i’m 64 years old. Been into computers for over 30 years. I don’t play the easy way either, I play with intent. I try all different types of gameplay with these games to playing not to fire a shot for as long as I can using wits to get everything done, to going armed to the hilt destroying everything in my path, no holds barred. Just remember, there are a lot of people out there who don’t know what their missing. I’m trying to get all the books concerned, but, I would lke to see a movie or series using the original characters with all the trials and tribulations in relation to the all the games of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. None of this, We’ll see”, business. DO IT, REGARDLESS!

    • thestormweaver Says:

      Don’t get me wrong sir, I love the STALKER games, but that won’t keep me from recognizing its faults.

      • Fred Bear Says:

        Yes, point taken and very respected. Playing MISERY now and come across some bug beauties but, because I know the game play, I carry on regardless. Positive feedback,should help things improve as everything does, in time.Cheers!

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