I've been working six days a week, including lots of overtime, so I haven't had a chance to post recently.
In my few moments of freetime, I've been playing Oblivion Lost, a fantastic MOD for Stalker. What does it do? Well, the list of changes is massive - we're talking pages and pages of massive overhauls. A brief overview:
-ALife much improved. Mutants wander everywhere, everyone attacks everyone, and you can find any enemy in any place; it's totally random. Using a silenced weapon makes enemies confused about where you're firing from. Enemies heal and bandage themselves. They will flee when bleeding badly. They will throw grenades, flee from grenades, and generally be little fucks who just won't peak their damn heads out. They will also attack any mutants that are near them, instead of having both sides decide to kill me, instead of, you know, the huge boar who just gored his best friend.
-Weapons do realistic damage. A quick burst kills anyone, yourself included. You need to bandage all bleeding wounds. Headshots always kill. Good weapons are expensive, but all weapons can be modded (scopes, silencers, etc) and fixed when broken.
-Night is fucking dark. With no city lights, you need your flashlight to see six feet in front of you. If you have night vision, you can even sneak up on enemies and knife them in the back. Using your headlamp lets everyone know where you are. Mutants come out of the woodwork to hunt you. And it's fucking creepy.
-You need sleep. Granted, you can go without sleep for some time, but you will need to sleep every so often. You even dream - flashes of videos play while you're sleeping.
-You can drive vehicles. I've yet to use one (I have this thing about vehicles in games -- I tend to die near them,) but you can drive around.
-24 hour day/night cycle. Fleeing a horde of mutants in the dark, only to have the sun crest the hill in front of you, makes you feel like you just might make it.
-NPC's will move corpses away from campfires. It doesn't sound like much, but watching the fact that they hate having poor Alexei's body next to them while they play the harmonica, sing, and talk to eachother is pretty awesome.
I could go on for days, but that's a quick overview. The new weapons added are great -- I use an AK-47 in every game I can. It's just a thing I have.
The main change I enjoy, is that once you beat the game you can keep playing. Duty and Freedom constantly attack eachother. Mutants will get loose in the Bar.. and that's a sight. I watched a pair of bloodsuckers annihilate half of the Freedom base -- that was a sight. As was defending that same Freedom base from a huge Military attack. It was me and five Freedom soldiers versus 30-40 military commandos, complete with AS Vals, AK-74's, and a fucktonne of grenades. Let's just say, when me and the two surviving Freedom were done, I walked away with quite a fortune in gun sales. Not to mention the AS Val I am still using.
I think this just goes to show that mainstream (Read: Gears of War, Halo, etc) games are often forgotten about once you're done, and it's the truly non-mainstream ones that are enjoyable over the long term. This is my 5th playthrough of Stalker -- the first with mods, and I love it. Clear sky is coming soon, and I hope it continues this trend. I've always had a fascination with Russian/Soviet culture, and this game really brings it home. The desolation, the industrial feel mixed with farming culture, and the raw need to just survive is huge in this game. I really wish more companies would make games like this. It just has so much character that is missing from the soul-less games of the bigger producers.
Not to mention, good luck having games like Deus Ex (un-fucked), Stalker, etc on a console. I like consoles and all, but my favourite franchises would never survive in-order processing.
So if you have Stalker, give Oblivion Lost a try. Just don't ask Kanyhalos for help -- any problem you've had will be happening 'only to you,' and he will 'never [have] seen it before.' Apparently, both my friend and I managed to be the 'only people' to have none of the unique guns for the first half of the game, even though the AK-47 is supposed to be there from the start. Just a warning, /grin
G, 'WASD Warrior'; "Ahh, Marked One. It Is Good To See You Again."