"STALKER: Complete 2009" In the sights of SniperWolf427

image

STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl has been one of my favorite games since it came out back in 2007. However, as many of you know, good things cannot last forever, and I grew bored with the game in time. While sitting at school and not doing my work, I remembered that a mod had been released a while back that added many new things to the game, which were supposed to make it very fresh and ripe for another playthrough. After spending about a week with the mod, I've come to report my findings.

For the uneducated, STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl was the very first in a series of games about taking a lovely stroll through post-nuclear-disaster Chernobyl; all the while fighting for your life against mutants, bandits, and even the land itself. The game featured some of the best atmosphere the gaming industry had ever seen, with an amazing open world, and AI that would kick your ass if you gave them the chance. Not only that, but it had a compelling story that drug you by your hair through some of the creepiest underground levels in gaming, just to show you what happens next. For lack of a better term, Shadow Of Chernobyl was the shit. Unfortunately, not everything about the game was good; only almost everything. It was so buggy, glitchy, and crashed with such frequency, many people simply gave up on the game without finishing it. It's terribly unfortunate for such an amazing game to become buried under technical issues, and that's where STALKER: Complete 2009 comes in.

For the slightly less uneducated (i.e. those of you who don't care to follow a game's modding community), STALKER: Complete 2009 is a mod for Shadow Of Chernobyl, and surprisingly, not a year based dietary plan for people who like to stalk things. The purpose of the mod is to stabilize the game and add all sorts of new content to it, making it fresh for all you veteran STALKERS out there. If you, like me, research things before downloading them, then you'll be colored very impressed before you even click anything. The mod's feature page is miles long, listing all the tweaks to the delicious STALKER recipe, such as added textures, an improved day/night and weather cycle, and new and improved AI. But how much of it is actually true?

*All screenshots were taken by me personally.

image
This is the "starting town". It reminds me of Borat's village, strangely enough.

The mod's most boasted improvements to the game are all in the graphical department. It claims to have added many new textures, skins, and improved the existing ones. Well, when you first boot up the mod, it won't seem terribly different if you haven't played Shadow Of Chernobyl in a while, but it is certainly an improvement. Everything looks much more detailed, and the textures on all the guns are particularly impressive. These additions simply add to the entire experience greatly, and don't seem to put any extra strain on your system than the original game did. One thing I noticed instantly was the vastly improved lighting system, which, when set to its highest setting, can make the environments look simply amazing. The placement of the sun even shows in how your gun is lit up (Like, in the screenshot above, you can tell that the sun is behind me.). The draw distance has also been increased, allowing you to see much more detailed objects at greater distances. Sadly, the trees and grass still look like someone went around and glued green felt to everything. Guess it can't be perfect.

A few other improvements shoved right into your face from the start, are the ones involving the game's day/night cycle, and the weather of the world. Sunrise is a particularly lovely time, noon is very shiny, and night time features pitch blackness that makes you wonder if you're actually playing the game with your eyes closed. They've also added varying degrees of overcast, ranging from light to HOLYFUCKINGSHIT, and further increasing the notion that the atmosphere in this game is always going to be completely awesome. One improvement I noticed right away that had me thanking whatever god would listen, was the tasty new HUD. The old HUD was such a hideous growth on the face of Shadow Of Chernobyl, I'm very much glad that it god its well needed replacement. The new HUD is much more sleek and sexy, displaying all the information you need to know in compact, clear glass boxes. It takes up much less of the screen, allowing you more room to soak up the fantastic atmosphere on display.

image
It can get so peaceful, you sometimes forget that you're standing on the geographical equivalent of Satan.

The sound design has also been added upon. Many weapon sounds have been completely redone, like the Fort pistol, which sounds much better than it did before. The double barrel shotgun sounds more like a dying rhinoceros than I would have expected, but it isn't a huge issue. The guns are simply much louder and more enjoyable to shoot than before. Plus, it's really cool to hear a firefight taking place far in the distance. Many small touches have been added to the existing sounds, like the added crunch while stepping through tall grass, or the nice new fire sounds, completing your Cherbobyl hobo experience. They've even added new guitar songs for the Stalkers to play while huddled together in camp. I'm not exactly sure how many, but I haven't heard the same one more than twice so far.

Not all of the added features are cosmetic, however. There are a great number of gameplay changes that increase the pure awesomeness of the game. Unfortunately, this is text, so you probably didn't pick up on the sarcasm in that sentence. There really isn't anything added in this department. No new quests, no new areas, no new guns, and not even a single new artifact. Almost everything about Shadow Of Chernobyl's gameplay remains here, for better or worse. They have added a mechanic that requires you to sleep though, just in case you needed a few minutes to take a shit, walk the dog, or anything that you can do while entirely pointless heartbeats play over a black screen. The only interesting thing about this is the random dream sequences that play sometimes, which are cool the first time you see them, but really annoying the next thousand times. STALKER: Complete 2009 does allow you to continue the game after you've beaten it, if you finish with the good ending; a feature I quite like. I always hated getting roped into having to finish the game without even realizing it. Also, the AI has been improved so they can't spot you in pitch darkness and fill you full of holes before you even realize they're there. That is now your job. Sneak up on enemies as much as you want. It's a blast. The enemy will now retreat if shit gets too hot for them as well, adding a whole extra level of intelligence to them. Oh, and they don't throw piles of grenades at you simultaneously anymore, reducing the overall frustration level a tad.

image
"You sure you wanna go out in that storm?" "No. No I'm not sure."

And lastly, the most important feature of the mod: The Technical Stability. Is the game more stable? Yes and no. Remember those annoying points in Shadow Of Chernobyl where the game would completely freeze momentarily, for absolutely no reason? Well, they're still here. Except, instead of the game crashing on you, it continues and you just get shot in the face/devoured alive by whatever you were trying to kill at the time. But really, there's only so much a mod team can do, and they've done an excellent job with what they were given. I haven't had the mod crash on me a single time, and those hiccups are far less frequent than they were originally. Plus, the physics engine has been made more stable as well, resulting in you getting stuck in less things, and all around better physics. So, if you're one of those people that gave up on the game because of technical problems, you might want to give it another go with this mod installed.

I'm going to be completely honest here... I am entirely unable to stop gushing about how my first night in The Zone went. I stumbled blindly through a hurricane at midnight, making for some of the most fun I've had in the game. I happened across a firefight in progress, and could not wait to join in, dashing madly through the rain, shooting at anything man shaped. You haven't lived until you've had your own midnight hurricane firefight. I can't recommend STALKER: Complete 2009 highly enough. It's fresh, without making any major changes to the game that the fans would dislike. And if you love Shadow Of Chernobyl, that's really all you can ask for. Make sure that you don't pass up this mod.

image
See that flashlight in the distance? That's a camp of soldiers to ambush. It doesn't get much better than that.

Thank you for reading. Any and all criticisms are welcome.

Also, if you want to read my other reviews of HAWX, Fable 2, and The Boondock Saints, please feel free to do so.

Click this link to download STALKER Complete 2009

Great review.

A good friend of mine actually worked on this project. (Those in the Elder Scrolls modding community may know him as 'FrakeninceFVS').

I enjoyed reading this. The effort shows, keep it up

This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Pimppeter2:
Great review.

A good friend of mine actually worked on this project. (Those in the Elder Scrolls modding community may know him as 'FrakeninceFVS').

I enjoyed reading this. The effort shows, keep it up

Thank you kindly. Means alot coming from the Pimp himself.

oliveira8:
This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Shit, you sir are correct. It seems after the stress of all the site downtime not allowing me to publish my review, I've forgotten to add a download link. I'll do that now.

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:
This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Shit, you sir are correct. It seems after the stress of all the site downtime not allowing me to publish my review, I've forgotten to add a download link. I'll do that now.

Awesome. ^^ And the best part is that there's a Steam automatic installer.

oliveira8:

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:
This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Shit, you sir are correct. It seems after the stress of all the site downtime not allowing me to publish my review, I've forgotten to add a download link. I'll do that now.

Awesome. ^^ And the best part is that there's a Steam automatic installer.

Yeah, unfortunately I'm unable to tell you if that works or not, as I have a boxed copy of Stalker.

Be sure to let me know the results though, haha.

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:
This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Shit, you sir are correct. It seems after the stress of all the site downtime not allowing me to publish my review, I've forgotten to add a download link. I'll do that now.

Awesome. ^^ And the best part is that there's a Steam automatic installer.

Yeah, unfortunately I'm unable to tell you if that works or not, as I have a boxed copy of Stalker.

Be sure to let me know the results though, haha.

The installation went really smooth and fine, then I completely forgot to tune in the graphics settings and started a new game with everything maxed out. I think my video card committed suicide. Wasn't pretty but I got the too se how everything looked in the outside for some seconds.

Looked pretty. And the HUD is so much better than the old one. Going to try it again and see if my video card can handle it in our lower settings.(This is why kids you don't put off upgrading your computer.)

Nicely written review, and accurate to boot. I loved STALKER when it came out, and the mod breathed new life into it. Of course, you need a decent PC to get to the most out of it, since most of the improvements are graphical. Thankfully, I never had a problem with the original's gameplay, apart from the technical issues, so that and a few tweaks was all I needed. This mod is fantastic, and more people should know about it.

Here's looking forward to Call of Pripyat (and hoping it isn't a huge bucket of spunk like Clear Sky)!

oliveira8:

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:

SniperWolf427:

oliveira8:
This is all nice, but I'm going to give this a review a F...for failure to provide download link!

But yeah very good review. Keep it up.

Shit, you sir are correct. It seems after the stress of all the site downtime not allowing me to publish my review, I've forgotten to add a download link. I'll do that now.

Awesome. ^^ And the best part is that there's a Steam automatic installer.

Yeah, unfortunately I'm unable to tell you if that works or not, as I have a boxed copy of Stalker.

Be sure to let me know the results though, haha.

The installation went really smooth and fine, then I completely forgot to tune in the graphics settings and started a new game with everything maxed out. I think my video card committed suicide. Wasn't pretty but I got the too se how everything looked in the outside for some seconds.

Looked pretty. And the HUD is so much better than the old one. Going to try it again and see if my video card can handle it in our lower settings.(This is why kids you don't put off upgrading your computer.)

Awesome man. You're really going to enjoy it. It's almost feels like taking your first trip through Chernobyl again.

scobie:
Nicely written review, and accurate to boot. I loved STALKER when it came out, and the mod breathed new life into it. Of course, you need a decent PC to get to the most out of it, since most of the improvements are graphical. Thankfully, I never had a problem with the original's gameplay, apart from the technical issues, so that and a few tweaks was all I needed. This mod is fantastic, and more people should know about it.

Here's looking forward to Call of Pripyat (and hoping it isn't a huge bucket of spunk like Clear Sky)!

Hopefully they bring back the horror sections in Call of Pripyat. I was very disappointed to find them nowhere in sight in Clear Sky.

Thanks for the feedback, it's greatly appreciated.

If you enjoyed this mod, You ever got or heard of the "Oblivion Lost mod" It basically remakes the game into the most perfect thing it could be. Well ok its not that good but its 150% imrpovement on the original STALKER game.

PayJ567:
If you enjoyed this mod, You ever got or heard of the "Oblivion Lost mod" It basically remakes the game into the most perfect thing it could be. Well ok its not that good but its 150% imrpovement on the original STALKER game.

I do remember hearing about Oblivion Lost but i never got around to downloading it. I might have to check it out and do a little comparison between the two.

SniperWolf427:

PayJ567:
If you enjoyed this mod, You ever got or heard of the "Oblivion Lost mod" It basically remakes the game into the most perfect thing it could be. Well ok its not that good but its 150% imrpovement on the original STALKER game.

I do remember hearing about Oblivion Lost but i never got around to downloading it. I might have to check it out and do a little comparison between the two.

I highly recomend it, It adds new guns, new suits, new sounds, new monster, a whole new game mode. You basically just live the life of a stalker, there random nuclear blowouts. Its well worth getting, I mean its made stalker last 3 times as long for me.

"It can get so peaceful, you sometimes forget that you're standing on the geographical equivalent of Satan"

Everything after that point was just a bonus.

Superfly CJ:
"It can get so peaceful, you sometimes forget that you're standing on the geographical equivalent of Satan"

Everything after that point was just a bonus.

Seconded. A really terrific mod, it makes the game worth playing all over again (again). I think that brings my grand total of trips through STALKER to about 3.5. Once vanilla, once with COMPLETE, once with LURK, and about halfway through Oblivion Lost.

I found this mod by accident, and it single handedly made me buy the game - again - from Steam for two bucks (I broke my first disk in frustration, because leaving the starting hamlet kept crashing the game).

Everything you wrote here is correct, and well written too.

A bit late to the party but I loved Oblivion Lost. How does this compare to both that and LURK? I'm thinking of playing again with one of these.

rembrandtqeinstein:
A bit late to the party but I loved Oblivion Lost. How does this compare to both that and LURK? I'm thinking of playing again with one of these.

I never played Lurk, but I remember Oblivion Lost being not that great. I mean, the drivable vehicles were cheesy, and the random military raids didn't work. Then again, that was a few years ago, so I'm sure there have been some updates to it since then.

Regardless, I highly recommend this one. You can always go back through with LURK or Oblivion Lost later on, if you're feeling adventurous.

SniperWolf427:

rembrandtqeinstein:
A bit late to the party but I loved Oblivion Lost. How does this compare to both that and LURK? I'm thinking of playing again with one of these.

I never played Lurk, but I remember Oblivion Lost being not that great. I mean, the drivable vehicles were cheesy, and the random military raids didn't work. Then again, that was a few years ago, so I'm sure there have been some updates to it since then.

Regardless, I highly recommend this one. You can always go back through with LURK or Oblivion Lost later on, if you're feeling adventurous.

Oblivion Lost had issues but no more than the vanilla install. The vehicles were unnecessary but fun. One thing Oblivion Lost did is make enemy grenades brutal.

In any case I'll give complete a try, thanks for the review.

I'm using Oblivion Lost 2.2/Arsenal RC1 which is a great combination.
On topic: good review and there are other "epic" mods to try also.

You should really try Lurk 1.1, I thought it was a little bit better than Complete.

I have wanted to buy this game for some time now but never really got around to it and had mostly forgot about it till now. I think i might go out and get it today :D

Should I play the game as-is or should I install the mod first?

And Great Review! Keep it up!

I just read that they've announced Call of Pripyat Complete is in the works. I'm currently a good portion through that game (at least 2/3rds through I think), it's my first time in the STALKER world, and so far it's really great aside from some technical hiccups.

Good review :D

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked