After breaking loose the chains of boredom that grip you in the first hour or so, I found the game transformed into a fantastically gripping and dark game.
The storyline is great! The main story gives you the ability to branch off to loads of different missions and climaxes while still providing a driving force behind the non linear nature of the maps and locales.
Graphics were great for the age of the game and the local Stalker community offers some new engine additions which will bump the awesome factor for those of with more powerful machines.
Gameplay begins a bit slow but quickly becomes fast paced and gripping as the story unfolds. This is, of course, interspersed with safe areas in which you an buy items and guns and such to further the plot. The underground and indoor sections are some of the creepiest of any modern game. You are forced to endure a soundtrack so atmospheric you'll end up walking with your back to the wall while you hide in the light and squint through the dark to spot your assailants.
Despite this it has its fair share of irritations:
- Its very very buggy in places and patches are mandatory
- Some issues with physics can ruin enjoyment in some areas (gates falling when they aren't supposed to and corpses clipping into the void)
- It is hard to get started, it took me an hour or so before I really got drawn into the game.
I was able to overlook these defects however for the sheer enjoyment I got out of this game.
All up this is one game that'll be in my top ten for all time!