I've never played S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and want to fix that. I bought all the games over the sale, and have two questions.
Is Shadows of Chernobyl the best one to start with what with it being the first?
And are there any "must have" mods, or should I just play through vanilla.
Consult this Starting Guide,
then see the /vg/'s huge Stalker General for more tips and links: >>>/vg/stalker
Play in the release order. Start with no mods - only latest patch, OR get the full "Starter Pack" first; these contain bug-fixers and light visual mods that can help performance as well.
Leave big overhauls for later playthrougs. Avoid the "Complete" -mods. Always play on MASTER difficulty for best realism and atmosphere, and disable crosshair.
Don't give up in the beginning! The starting gear sucks ass and first area is quite boring.
>Is Shadows of Chernobyl the best one to start with what with it being the first?
yes the others dont have the same intense atmosphere
>And are there any "must have" mods, or should I just play through vanilla.
vanilla first then mods for a second playthrough
patch the game though without the updates its buggy
Couple things that people seldom seem to realize when starting the Stalker series:
-ALL guns have fairly detailed bullet physics and caliber-dependent ballistics coded to them. They're not quite simulator-level, but still affect the gameplay a lot.
-In the sequels, they added an upgrade system to guns and suits, and thus they start with nerfed stats by default.
-NPCs don't magically "know" where you are. Instead, they track you by their vision AND hearing. Keep an eye out on that audio-meter on your HUD; even simple stuff like switching or reloading your gun makes enough noise for the nearby AI enemies to hear you.
-in CS and CoP, you can help framerates a lot by setting SSAO and SunShafts to "Low", and by disabling Volumetric Smoke (when playing on DX10 or 11 mode). All this barely affect the overall graphical quality of the games.
Finally, once you're done with the vanilla(ish) games, here's a neat guide to help you seek up fitting mods for yourself.
I personally loved AMK1.4 for SoC, The Faction War 3.8 for CS, and Misery 2.11 for CoP. The Call of Chernobyl's looking pretty sweet too.
>patch the game though without the updates its buggy
Steam and GOG versions are auto-patched to latest, so that's already taken care of.
For Clear Sky, I also highly recommend using Starter Pack's fixes (at least SRP). That game's seriously problematic by default.
There's always one. Been like this for the past 8 years.
At least nowadays we can just post the standard reply and send the greenhorns off to the Zone.
>tfw SoC will turn 10 years old later this month
where did the time go?
I enjoy knowing new people are going to fall in love with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Maybe try cutting the prawns out?
SoC is the first game in release order and is the one you should first play, partly because other games spoil its story. SoC has a bit slow start since you start with extremely shit peashooters.
The second game, CS is a shitty prequel with zero plot relevance and revolves around the extremely buggy, repetitive and boring faction system instead of exploration. There's few core gameplay improvements, but CoP has all of them. You won't miss anything by skipping CS.
The final game, CoP is a proper sequel that continues straight off from SoC's true ending. It doesn't have that impressive of a plot since you already know the main mysteries of the Zone from SoC, but it has great side quests, new areas, exploration and nicely wraps up the series' story.
All games can be played unmodded as long as you have the latest official patches with the exception of CS due to it being a broken piece of shit.
Remember to play on MASTER difficulty as it makes everything, both you and enemies die faster instead of being bullet sponges.
You should start with creating a new character, because the standard dude you've got is not optimised for anything in particular. And he can't drive vehicles nor learn that laters, as his Reflex and Intellingence are 1 point too low.
I suggest going high Dex and medium Int for first playthrough. Investing skillpoints in melee is not worth it for most of the game, but the moment you get yourself an exoskeleton, punching things is immensely satisfying.
And remember - when Controller attacks, just run to the bastards, as he is absolutely and completely helpless in melee range
Now go figure which one of those is actually an useful advice. Because one of them is.
Damn, I forgot the most important bit - the pump-action shotgun is probably THE best weapon in the entire game. Packs aburd punch at close range and that's the range you will fight most of your enemies. When in doubt - pull out pump action. Throwing entire bunch of grenades into tight corridor where horde of monsters is chasing your ass is also helpful. Assault rifles are great against humans, sniper rifles are great at thinning the herd from afar, but when things get messy, you will be glad you are carrying that pump action.