STALKER blows your mind and other thoughts

STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl is clearly a game long awaited (since 2003). It brings significant game items (part role playing game with a lot of liberty for action, part a First Person Shooter with a lot of guns for action). It has been several hours now that I’v been playing I thought that it would be time to give some information and thoughts.

Clearly, my opinion is very favorable. The game is very pleasant to play with and very addicting. Sometimes, it happens to feel a little longer than needed, but it stays very distracting and the Artificial Intelligence provides a powerful life to all the environment you play into (non playing characters have a very wide autonomy: Even in your absence, some IA-controlled characters will not miss an opportunity to fight between themselves and you may stumble upon the corpses left after a fight you only heard from afar).

I did not yet install the 1.0001 patch that is now available for all versions (US, non-US or Russian) from the web or from the game itself. Be cautious, your saved games will all be lost when you do this upgrade.

I have to admit that I have used several times some of the small bugs in the graphics engine like when you sometimes can see the shadow of an opponent through a thick wall. It goes well with my stealthy and calm approach to fights (you will find me often hiding and preparing an ambush behind a corner where I can wait to pin down somebody with a couple of short-distance gun shots).

I also found an interesting little optimization guide (tweak guide) for the game: “STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl Tweak Guide” that even gave me the solution to the bug of the blocked quick-save issue when you registered with a name containing a space character (like “Jean Dupond“).

Quicksave Problems: Some people are having problems getting the Quicksave (F6) and Quickload (F7) commands to work. This happens if your Windows account name has a space in it. You can try creating a new user account without a space in the username and use that to play STALKER. You can also try rebinding the Save and Load functionality to a new set of keys and use them like a quicksave/quickload: start the game, open the console and type the command bind_console save Save1 kF8. This will make the F8 key act to save the game to a save slot named ‘Save1’ each time you press it. You can then also add bind_console load Save1 kF9 to turn the F9 key into a button that loads the Save1 game each time it’s pressed. See the Advanced Tweaking section for more details.

This is simple and efficient. Nothing can hold me now to keep gunning mutants, Stalkers and Russian military personnel.