There is only one drawback to the Stalker series: it is too short. There are only three main entries so far, and I feel like it’s not enough. You may have seen the trailer for the fourth installment, STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl. It’s upcoming out in 2022 as an Xbox Series select and looks great.
Before that, the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World showed the dominance of video games. They successfully blended RPG, action-adventure, survival, and first-person shooter to create a story-driven survival horror shooter.
The Stalker Series
Stalker stands for scavengers, trespassers, adventurers, loners, assassins, explorers, and thieves. It is an acronym that describes the tone and setting of the series. The location is an alternate Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. The game’s story clarifies a second explosion after the one in real life.
According to in-game lore, the Ukrainian area was part of the USS; various secret laboratories were conducting experiments on psionic abilities in Chornobyl. It made a catastrophe in 2006 that caused a weather phenomenon and mutated local animals and plants. The original historical explosion occurred in 1986.
In addition, there is the Duty faction and the Freedom faction. The former believe that the Zone must be destroyed; the latter believes that the Zone should be accessible to all. Look, there’s a military perimeter around the Zone to keep mutants and humans with psionic powers at bay.
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Stalker: Chornobyl 2007
The first game presents the Zone, a dangerous place that only Stalkers love to explore. It debuted in 2007 for Windows. The stage is inspired by two source materials and chosen from Arkady and Boris Strygatsky’s Roadside Picnic and Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Stalker.
You play as the Marked, a man who has lost his memories. He wakes up with a message on his PDA from him, where he speaks Kill Strelok. Ignorant that he is Strelok, one of the best-talented Stalkers alive, he begins a journey to find himself.
The map spans 30 kilometers of ruins through Chornobyl and the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. The designers also moved the city of Pripyat to the area and modeled its real-life counterpart.
However, it is not an open world. Instead, the game arrives through pockets of semi-open maps laced with filling screens. The Marked One has an inconsistency detector that beeps when it detects psionic energy to safely scout the area. Additionally, Strelok can collect artifacts that increase and decrease attributes.
Stalker: Clear Sky 2008
Clear sky also debuted in 2008 for Windows. THQ stepped down as publisher, and Deep Silver stepped in. If you’re unaware, Deep Silver is the developer of the Metro games.
The new protagonist is Scar, a mercenary who seeks to prevent a group of Stalkers from reaching the center of Zones. The center houses the banned Chornobyl nuclear power plant, and only Strelok has come to the area and lived to tell the tale.
Either way, the game uses many exact locations as the last game while introducing new areas. In addition, it adds the possibility of customizing weapons and armor, and Lastly, it allows players to engage in faction wars.
The survival horror elements are still there too. Ammo is scarce, scary, and the mutants are crazy. For RPG items, players must manage inventory, choose quests, manage armor types, and take care of defense stats.
Stalker: Call Of Pripyat 2009
Call of Pripyat started in 2009 for Windows. It is the next of the series before its long hiatus.
The third entry takes place soon after Clear Sky and Shadow of Chernobyl. There is a path open to the center of the Zone, and the government decides to take control through Operation Fairway. In addition, the government plans to investigate the territory and thus dispatch military force.
You play as Chief Alexander Degtyarev, a stalker and SBU agent. You travel to the Zone after the personalise military operation failed, and the aim is to hunt for the crash site of five helicopters. This story opens a new interior around the nuclear plant, and the ghost town of Pripyat is also the primary setting. As before, you play in semi-open pocket areas connected by loading screens.
The gameplay remains similar to the previous one but adds a sleep system in addition to hunger and thirst. Also, it adds other realistic shooting elements like weapon damage, limited economy, repair costs, and the like.
Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl 2022
Heart of Chernobyl is the next sequel in the STALKER trilogy. It will be released for Windows and Xbox Series in April 2022 and will be available on Xbox Game Pass from day one ( PC and console ).
Initially, the creators wanted to release the game in 2012, but they canceled it a year before its release. In 2018, the game surfaced again under the publication GSC Game World. The developers use the new Unreal Engine 5 for their graphics.
Do I Need to Play the Stalker Games in Order?
You can play either game as a standalone experience. By reading my series description, or any other guide, you have the information you need.
The three main games are interconnected as they live in the same confined space, which means they share plots, stories, characters, and places. However, the connections within these games are minimal. If you don’t want to play them in order, experience the series by following their default release dates.
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