• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Mar 20, 2007
Metascore
82

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. Broken. Absolutely and utterly broken. Not the game, oh no, it's my fragile nerves that have been shattered. Adrenalin is still coursing through my veins as I type, and what's more, I absolutely love it. STALKER is a thoroughly affecting game, and it's got me by the short hairs. [Apr 2007, p.56]
  2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. leaves you no choice but to engage with story and character, deciphering between friend and foe, the truth and the lie. [Apr 2007, p.94]
  3. The atmosphere of the game is so thick that you can cut it...Even though it all ends kind of sudden[ly], S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is still one of the best First Person Shooters I’ve played in a long time, especially if you like the post-apocalyptic atmosphere from games like "Fallout."
  4. I loved every single challenging, compelling, atmosphere-laden moment of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. It's just so different from everything else that's out there.
  5. I have become so jaded with idiotic titles that this one comes as a true breath of fresh air; with its strong attention to the important aspects of game design. This is the type of game I would go out and buy for myself... if that's worth anything to you.
  6. The combat mechanics – weapon feel, body point damage system, enemy AI, running and sneaking, encumbrance and fatigue – have all been simulated excellently and with real care paid to balance and playability. The end-of-civilization free for all environment is a very exciting and engrossing setting for an FPS.
  7. It's an incredibly rich, unique and innovative take on first-person shooters-yet it's also a flawed game, suffering from a few minor scripting bugs and some rough edges in the gameplay that occasionally interfere with what is, for the most part, an exceptionally engaging experience. But despite its imperfections, it is a truly groundbreaking game, captivating in its complexity, its mystery, and its vividly realized world that stands as a milestone in both imagination and engineering.
  8. Its setting is superb, its gameplay tense and convincing, and it boasts what are definitely the best fill-your-pants moments in a PC game for quite some time. It's hard to see how it could have turned out better.
  9. Better than anyone could have honestly hoped for. [May 2007, p.68]
  10. From its alternate reality setting and realistic gun mechanics to its trading system and action horror formula, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is radioactive rareness.
  11. That the gameplay itself is not of classic status is a shame, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is still a game that anyone with am interest in first-person shooters or richly detailed, immersive game environments should seriously consider buying.
  12. The bravest, most futuristic survival horror game since "System Shock 2"...A singularity in the landscape of PC games, it deserves careful exploration. [Apr 2007, p.90]
  13. An epic game with a dark twist. Fans of games like Oblivion should have no problem spending a long time on this one.
  14. It's got some quirks, but S.T.A.L.K.E.R. delivers a dynamic and impressive first-person gameplay experience you won't soon forget.
  15. Installing and playing through S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was like discovering and opening a long-forgotten Christmas present. [June 2007, p.54]
  16. The game starts off a tad bit slow, but once you are engrossed in the story nothing is quite like it (except a movie that is a tad bit similar to this game). I will be returning to this game once some more mods come out and when the vehicle mod is perfected.
  17. Despite its shortcomings, STALKER is definitely one of the “must play” titles of 2007, whether you’re a FPS fan or not, even though you might do it just for the single-player part, with it’s incredible atmosphere and unique game experience.
  18. The things it does well (environment, story, character) definitely outweigh the shortcomings (tough ranged combat, uneven framerates). The multiplayer has the makings of a classic, and GSC is evidently working at improving it, since their first patch was mostly multiplayer fixes.
  19. As a brave experiment in all-action shootery, STALKER has certainly succeeded, though with its dearth of personality and many peculiar foibles, you can't help but wish that the publishers had granted GSC some extra time to polish their creation. Oh, hang on a minute... [Apr 2007, p.56]
  20. 85
    An immense treat that offers fresh and innovative gameplay experiences. If I had to level one complaint against the title, it's the fact that it's missing the little bit of extra polish that gamers have come to expect.
  21. The game can be difficult to master though, so new people to the genre might struggle at first but patience should be used because this could become the classic start to this engines long use in games.
  22. You’ll likely split your time fairly evenly between cursing the problematic UI and localization, and marveling at the outstanding ambience or frantically trying to shoot or sneak your way out of a jam. If you’re willing to slog through some frustrations, you can find some diamonds in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.’s rough that you won’t find anywhere else in video gaming.
  23. 82
    By itself, the game is a fascinating achievement, even if you trip over technical cracks more than you should.
  24. 82
    It's certainly a little rough around the edges, but spend a little time delving deeper into the 'Zone' and you'll find you've chiseled away at a beauty.
  25. The mostly-open, Fallout-style post-apocalyptic world is really engaging and its basis in a real-life event makes it that much more interesting, but the frustrating gunplay, high difficulty, and lack of transportation can get on your nerves pretty often.
  26. Its troop AI is better than that of "FEAR," and environmentally more aware than that of "Far Cry." [May 2007, p.84]
  27. 80
    The clunky interface, numerous bugs, fractured story telling and underdeveloped ideas do distract from what could well have been a real classic, but the fact that GSC have come through development hell to produce a game as memorable as this is quite an achievement.
  28. It's a warped behemoth from the Ukraine, and one of the scariest games on the PC. Stalker will remind you of all kinds of prior games, and yet it will also defy your expectations. Like the mythological Chernobyl zone it is based upon, this game is a treacherous, darkly beautiful terrain. Not everyone is going to enjoy venturing into the zone, but some of those who do will find what they've been looking for.
  29. It's a survival horror game with incredible ambition, so succeeding in a few areas is still very commendable.
  30. 80
    The game's "exclusion zone" setting, a no-man's-land roughly 30 square kilometers surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, is very much "Mad Maxim": post-Soviet road warriors just beyond the containment dome. Bleak as the end of the world (or at least life as we know it), it's an invention as gorgeous as years-old graphics overhauled for a late launch get.
  31. Littered with a variety of anomalies which can cause the unwary to explode and other delightful stuff, mutant doggies, deserted buildings, weather effects, real-time day/night cycles etc. etc. - it creates a deliciously unique atmosphere.
  32. 80
    It's amazing that a slightly buggy game that was originally slated for a 2003 release can provide such fantastic gaming. It's almost scary to think just how influential S.T.A.L.K.E.R. could have been, had it been released 3-4 years ago with completely polished code.
  33. Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl has arguably one of the most engrossing game environments ever, but it is annoyingly railroaded by tight fencing-in. Also, the constantly respawning enemies are annoying and take away the feeling of free exploration. Luckily, the great end-of-the-world atmosphere keeps the player interested till the very end. [Apr 2007]
  34. 80
    An innovative and engaging game, provided you can get over the steep learning curve.
  35. One of those games that hardcore shooting fans will eat up, but the rest will be left wondering what the fuss is all about. It has some unique ideas with its open-ended world and myriad of mission objectives, but it’s all dampened by its questionable gunplay.
  36. Succeeds and amazes in some areas but almost horridly trips and stumbles along in others. Still I find myself liking the game and am willing to overlook its potholes.
  37. It’s a good game that has many bugs and doesn’t seem to be appropriately optimized.
  38. Not a fast-paced shooter, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. appeals to a deeper sense of survival, in which players scrounge for valuables and information in a world gone twisted.
  39. From an objective point of view, it suffers so many technical flaws that I would normally caution against purchase. However, from a subjective perspective, I enjoy the setting and ambience so much that I recommend it despite the bugs and inelegant performance.
  40. Stalker attempts to be many things, which is a lofty and worthy goal, but its inability to deliver is a huge disappointment. It wants to be an RPG, offering you an inventory and items with modifiers, and yet has no implementation of experience, skills or adjusting your attributes. It also wants to be a free-roam, huge world, Oblivion/GTA hybrid, but comes across as having bitten off more than it could chew.
  41. 70
    Multiplayer combat is quick and brutal, but straightforward and really nothing to get too excited about. It's really the single-player mode that shines here.
  42. Patient players looking for a unique experience ultimately will be rewarded by this atmospheric and ambitious shooter.
  43. A messy amalgamation of storylines and side-quests, coupled with poorly executed Quality Assurance and archaic game saving, STALKER is about as radioactive as plutonium, and should be treated as such - behind thick lead-lined walls of concrete. The lead-lined walls being a metaphor for the high spec required to play the game at a decent performance.
User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 846 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 243
  1. Jul 5, 2011
    10
    This is hands down, the best single player game I have played. The atmosphere is fantastic and unlike any other game out there. it was in development for years and even though they didn't manage to include everything they wanted, what they did is still incredible. this is no Console shooter or port, if you want a simple run and gun don't buy it and play for 20 minutes and complain when unlike Crysis you can't kill everything in 10 seconds with your hi tech gun and invincible **** suit.

    First of all, don't play it without downloading the Complete mod for free first. This updates the textures, sounds, AI, fixes a load of bugs and errors and makes the game what it wanted to be. It doesn't change anything, just cleans it all up.

    This game isn't like other FPS because it is actually hard. You don't start off with an amazing gun and squad and intel, you have a coat and a pistol and aside from that you are on your own. The Zone is an easy place to die even without having a host of powerful mutants and heavily armed humans roaming around. This game doesn't hold your hand like Western shooters do, or load you up with amazing gear under the guise of being some Spec Ops soldier. The atmosphere is incredible, part's of it are creepy as hell and scary and not like the Doom3 teen equivalent of having a monster jump out when you press the door button or a loud bang etc. It is hard to get into because it is so unforgiving, and the first few maps and missions you are constantly trying to find a decent weapon that doesnt force you to retreat when outnumbered etc. If you want a linear shooter like HL2 or CoD with no freeplay, dialogue or exploration and lots of cutscenes then look elsewhere. There are plenty of games liek that around. if you want a slow hard atmospheric adventure then give it a try, turn out all the lights and play it till the sun comes up; call in sick and keep on playing.

    Very few games are ever made like this because of the time spent and expertise of a dedicated small team that a large company could never replicate. There is such a talented modding community there are literally thousands of mods you can install; including some Total Conversions that change the story completely - and are good enough to be stolen by the developers for Call of Pripyat.

    10/10
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2010
    10
    A truly atmospheric game which gives you a very strange feeling while playing it. I remember the first time I played it, I hated it for the dated graphics (even though I never look at the graphics in games), for the bad so called tutorial and the (what I felt then) extremely hard gunfights. As I was going to uninstall it I got the feeling that I should give it a chance. I don't regret that choice today. While you play along you get to learn the art of killing in this game and get a very rewarding feeling when you do it. Combat is complex in this game but that is a positive thing since I'm tired of today's FPS games where you are like a tank and your weapons are so easily used that even your grandma could pull a shot at somebodies head. Other than that I can guarantee that you will fall in love with the Zone as it is truly alive with its mutants, environments and anomalies. This game combines big parts of the FPS genre with its own twists and elements of the RPG genre with its free roaming, scavenging etc. I recommend this game to everyone cause it is a remarkable and special game in it own right. Give it a shot and you won't get disappointed. Good hunting stalker! Full Review »
  3. Aug 22, 2012
    6
    Not sure why this game has received massive praise from people. The setting and possible story elements are great, but the actual story that is presented is bland, confusing, and uninteresting. It's often hard to understand what the ingame characters are saying and with the absence of subtitles, the story becomes useless. The atmosphere outside of Lad X18 is not engrossing or "atmospheric" at all. The levels are hardly open as you will often see fences and other obstructions which force to to take a pre-defined path. The gun play is okay, if a bit stale. There are an insane amount of bugs and glitches present, including broken animations, application crashing, etc. If you want an engrossing Post-apocalyptic game done by an Eastern European studio, get Metro 2033 instead. It is far, far better than this title. Full Review »