@bowlisimo and any others wanting Misery to descend upon them, that STALKER mod is now available for download! Works with all versions – Steam, Loyalty Edition, etc. – and is totally what @beige wanted in terms of a hardcore survival sim of sorts. Incredible. This is my kind of “Dark Souls” experience. I need a little military hardware and Slavic fireside mutterings with my punitive yomp towards fame and fortune, or disease and death.

EDIT: @bowlisimo Man, knowing you’re coming off a Dark Souls high, and knowing you’ve trudged the Zone prior, I’ll recommend this one. It’s a deadly, deadly, miserable place. And the blow-outs are utterly terrifying. It’s an awe-inspiring scene to overlook the swamplands, then hear the blow-out siren and see Stalkers and bandits come out of the woodwork and race towards cover. I rode one out in the belly of the Skadovsk, and the rusted old container ship was weathering a savage beating. I cannot imagine what it’s like to ride out a blow-out in some decrepit concrete ruin…

But yeah, I’d only dabbled in the Complete Mod, but this is definitely the droid you’re looking for.

EDIT II: Have a screenie. It should warm the cockles of your slightly irradiated heart…

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I was wandering back to the Skadovsk after using up the last of my anti-rad meds and heard the usual commotion. Picking my way down through the gorse, I saw either Stalkers or Bandits – I’m not sure which – beset by a marauding pack of wild dogs. Two men fell, not before five-odd hounds were eradicated.

Suddenly, a group of bandits came down from the hill and began to take pot-shots at the survivors – of which were joined by another Stalker band leaving the Skadovsk. I watched the firefight through my binoculars, thinking how wonderful it’ll be to scavenge the corpses once the encounter dies down and survivors crawl back to their shithole encampments, when I turn to see a bandit looming on the ridge, priming a grenade and hurling it down the hill towards me. I stumble away, but get caught in the frag radius and almost buy the farm.

Barely making it back to the Skadovsk, bleeding and stumbling, I see the physician aboard and get patched up…and realise, as I make my way to the observation deck above to get a good idea of what’s still out there, that the damn grenade blast blew the goddamn binoculars out of my hands and they’re lying somewhere out there in the mud and bullrushes.

Hopefully those corpses are still there in the morning so I can make a little profit when looking for my field glasses. They better not be broken.