Virtual world shooter that has delivered on its promise.
After spending six tortuous years in development and teasing players with endless previews and false release dates most PC gamers will think of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as a conventional first-person shooter. But in reality, THQs sprawling adventure is much, much more.
Using the ingenious A-Life system, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is the closest any game has come to creating a living, breathing world; staged in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear facility, the game presents a grotty landscape where life goes on regardless of your presence, with NPCs wholl chat and bicker amongst themselves, ever-shifting weather patterns, and mutant animals wholl attack each other for food and to satisfy their bloodlust. Moreover, every time you begin a game the action unfolds in a completely different way, the games freeform structure also allowing you to ditch objectives mid-mission and choose your own path, leading players towards a series of wildly different conclusions.
Deep role-playing elements, atmospheric visuals and grittily realistic gunplay also help make S.T.A.L.K.E.R. a compelling adventure, and one of the few overdue games that was actually worth the wait.