@pepperized STALKER is awesome, you are correct sir. Not too long ago @unmanneddrone convinced some of us to play through a mod of Call of Pripyat called Misery. It retained the basic missions from the main game but made the experience decidedly a hardcore survival based affair with limited resources and extremely deadly encounters. I was actually quite thrilled with the intensity of the experience, but still have yet to have finished that game. (Though if I remember correctly monsieur @bowlisimo found the ending of COP a little anticlimactic) I am all for a formal mission through Chernobyl, if there are some things people want to share about the experience. If you want to see more about our experiences with the misery mod click the tag above this post.
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@bowlisimo I’d messed about with it only intermittently before word of the Complete Mod surfaced, then put it on hold, then was preoccupied with other geekery, upon which the return to CoP was met with word of this Misery mod, so it’s all pretty fresh. I’m liking it, though. It’s definitely my favourite “terrestrial” game world, the ol’ Zone. I don’t know if you’re in the mood for more open world craziness, but have you ever considered Precursors…or Xenus 2 (the sequel to Boiling Point: Road to Hell)? Not nearly as much polish – can you believe it!? – as STALKER, but earnest Ukrainian sci-fi and South Caribbean FPS/RPGs respectively. Hideously bare-boned English releases, so much so that you’re best to seek out the Russian sound packs, but so much fun. I’ve lightly pimped them here, but you might dig them. Clunky, unwieldy, semi-broken, but ambitious and strangely intoxicating!
Both from the same engine. Developer went bust years ago, probably negotiating the 360 version, but there’s a small group of fans dedicated to slowly bringing in the fixes and patches.
You probably don’t want more irradiated Eastern Bloc picnic simulators for a while, but keep these rough as guts gems on the list.
In regards to time…I do tell a lie, because I got an hour or so last night where I was able to relive the Burnout 2 days with a good friend back home; bit of Steam Voicechat and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Went to bed thereafter dreaming of Big Surf Shores and the Custom Roadster, all those years ago.
@beige You played Shadows of Chernobyl, so as far as I’m concerned you’ve done your duty. The question is do you want to experience the Zone again? Do you want to visit a more openly designed (read: less map loading), more atmospheric, all around more well realized part of the Zone? This also means similar Eastern European game design jank, better artifact hunting and periodic “run for your life” emissions/psystorms and gun/armor upgrading from Clear Sky on top of the Misery Mod, which really distills (as far as I can tell) what was originally released into the most definitive Stalker experience to date.
The story really isn’t bad, in fact it’s pretty low key and in the background most of the time. You’re a military guy dropped in to figure out why these helicopters crashed during a mission into the Zone after what you did in SoC (hint, the zone is still there). This means that every once in a while you’ll check out a helicopter carcass or two, but the rest of the time you’ll be doing what Stalker does best, the real takeaway, the experience of walking through irradiated muck and surviving on moldy bread. It just never really culminates in anything terribly interesting once you hit Pripyat and kind of ends with an “Oh, wait, that’s it? Well that was easy” ending. There’s no real climax to the story in my opinion, but it was better than jumping through stupid portals, like you did in the first game.
If you forced me, I’d say yes, play it, if only to experience the terrifying and awesome experience of a Zone emission in first person, which has no equal in video games right now. Play it to drink in the atmosphere for a bit, including the dark-ass nights, but whether or not you take it all the way to the end is up to you.
@redswir1 It says a lot about that game when you compare it to prison. It doesn’t sound like you enjoyed it at all, were you just playing it out of spite at some point?
I know I’ve said this before, but as far as that series goes, FF12 may be my best hope of ever cracking those games. It’s one of the last widely revered gaming series left for me to dig into or forever be ignorant about. Maybe after MGS4 (which is great so far), before Mass Effect 3 hits.
@unmanneddrone Call of Pripyat / Misery done. I feel like after all that time, Pripyat was the low point of that game, which is weird considering the game’s name. As interesting as visiting a long abandoned town with a history like that is (and you can tell they spent a lot of time making it accurate), it just wasn’t interesting to be a Stalker in it. The narrative thread there really unraveled quickly and wasn’t very satisfying at all. Although, it was nice to get a little SoC closure, and I did enjoy the character focused “where did everyone end up” final scenes. I managed to keep all the important people alive without knowing it would matter in the end. They did right by me in that regard.
@Roc Call of Pripyat (at least with the Misery Mod installed) feels like the game they wanted to make back in 2006, especially with how much attention “The Zone” itself has gotten. The environment feels much more alive and moody while still totally being an oppressive, muddy wasteland, punctuated by empty concrete structures and gutted ship hulks bleeding rust. But you’ve played the original game, so you know what you’re in for in terms of setting (and also technical jank).
I can’t quite speak towards the story end of things, yet, but they take a similar approach of dropping you in alone with fuck-all but a long term objective. It’s been very detective-y so far, but I’m not too hopeful for any amazing conclusion if the previous two games are anything to go by. Anyway, Stalker was always more interested in getting the experience of schlepping around in a patched together survival suit, with a half-working firearm, and a can of tunafish that’s well past the expiration date right moreso than building some kind of strong and memorable narrative.
@UMD My favorite part of any storm is the moment right before it hits. They captured that “oh shit…something bad’s coming” feeling perfectly. Also…technically…it’s the “Noosphere”, but whatever. : P
@RocGaude I reckon you’d like STALKER, being a Fallout fan. There’s a very dark sense of humour running throughout that you’d miss if you didn’t know it was there.
@bowlisimo My favourite part of a blow-out has to be that initial groan in the strata – in the vid, around 1:38, then the fear-inducing booms that roll in at 1:58 and 2:08. Like a primordial demiurge gleefully counting down to the next great extinction.
Sorry for getting airy-fairy and verbose, STALKER is the only game that triggers such a reaction.
Alright, time to transcribe a little Friday night session. Just a quick one.
At Yanov Station, I traipsed the perimeter in the rain, deciding to keep my checklist of runs for another day. Hearing the dull mumbling shuffle of reanimated, brain-fried Stalkers, I spotted them milling about in the rushes. My trusty FN2000 slotted a few rounds neatly in their skulls, their misery ending with the kindling of my own wry delight and carrion appetite. Found an OC-14 Groza in the dirt, must have belonged to one of those unfortunate men, so picking what I could from the corpses, I turned around and spotted four more zombified Stalkers, in heavy armour and drawn by the gunfire.
They had cut between where I was now standing – knee deep in some turgid swamp water – and Yanov Station. I squatted in the filthy mire and began to draw a bead on the lead one when that ominous sound echoed across the landscape.
That sound. That stratospheric contraction, that ionospheric draining. The colossal, majestic yet paradoxically subtle preclude to a blow-out. And I was in for a run to make it back to Yanov…under the inaccurate machine gun bursts from glazed shamblers and a backpack full of fossicked, irradiated hardware and paraphernalia.
One hell of a fearful, breathless run it was.
@squad One reason why the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe is awesome. Skip to 1:30 if you want to get to the point.
@impynickers It’s rough with an aged Russian bolt action rifle. I keep a .45 caliber pistol for close encounters, but it’s not ideal, and those bloodsuckers man, they make a meal out of me more often than not (their cloaked hit and runs are bruuuutal!). I was fortunate to catch one of those bastards in my scope in broad daylight, dragging its leg down the road like it was injured. I was more than happy to put it out of its misery.
I love the atmosphere in this game so much, it feels lived in too. Stuff happens whether you’re there or not. For some reason my stupid sniper wouldn’t go to sleep, so I had to make some insomnia runs out into the Zone in the dead of night. It’s creepy out there in the dark, but also serene with the periods of quiet and the Milkway on full display. I crested a hill on my way back from bringing food to the mercenaries, took a moment to rest, and watched the adjacent hill momentarily light up with the frantic muzzle flashes of a Stalker party that ran into a pack of mutants. I don’t know who won, I didn’t want to go find out.
@unmanneddrone Good to know, I definitely had that problem with the iron sights, but I solved it by picking up an old WW2 scope, which made clearing out the assholes in that wastewater plant a turkey shoot… until I ran out of large caliber rounds and had to clear the last guy out with my sidearm.
I can’t quite tell how much is Misery and how much is Vanilla CoP (which is probably for the best), but this game is SO engrossing. It has the same flavor and technical jank of Stalker SoC, but it’s more open and the oppressive atmosphere is so much more dense, especially when you run outside at night with a gas mask on. That weather!
I’ve been surviving pretty well so far and I’m looking like a real Stalker now. My sniper is a cold individual. With the survival stakes this high, I’ve found myself running into firefights to scavenge the dead as well as saying “EFF YOU, buddy” to a lot of people in need. Trust is scarce. Oh, this artifact will heal your dying friend? Too bad, it means fresh ammo and hot grub to me.
It’s a little desperate at first. Of course, they drop you off in the forest with 5 bullets, a vague mission goal, and zero direction. But once you get to the Skadovsk and manage to get some scratch, I feel like you fall into a sort of realistic routine of getting the food and ammo you need, going out to do a specific mission, and then going back to get paid and to sleep before the exhaustion headaches set in.
Then again, the Zone has other plans, and you may run into the basement of a building to escape an emission (which are scary and amazing), but find it’s full of bloodsuckers that your Mosin-Nagant does fuck-all to.
@impynickers Awesome. What class are you playing? I’ve got some bloody work that needs doing this eve, but hopefully I can make some time for the Zone. I want to source some more ammo for my FN2000, and hopefully make a little cash so that drunk aboard the Skadovsk can do a little upgrading on it. We’ll see.
@bowlisimo Man, if you didn’t already nab it, there’s an updated version of the patch. It apparently was an unofficial clutch of reworked code and configs before the actual dev sorted things out. Prior to the updated version, snipers were badly affected because it broke the aiming reticule positions in scopes. Being a man with a penchant for the long shot, that would have busted balls more than the game already does.
@shingro I forgot to mention, sir…I finished the Emi route in Katawa Shoujo! I got a bad ending, I think…no happy happy finale; just the cold hard facts and, dare I say it, an outlook on life strangely dove-tailing a (perhaps slightly embellished) Ukrainian one. I took issue with a few things, namely Hisao being a bit of a dolt and surprisingly (infuriatingly) oblivious to why Emi felt the way she did, despite the cards being on the table rather obviously. Perhaps it was a matter of story-telling emphasis and simply required to paint the exploration of a character aptly.
In any case, thanks for the recommendation. Unique! I went in feeling a little unsure, a little queasy, a little apprehensive…but ultimately glad I sipped that chamomile.
OH, just before I forget! A gentle departure lounge DING, and the following message spoken pleasantly over the PA…a reminder for the Squad Music Mix:
Get Out The Map
Submit two tracks via THIS FORM, supply links if you feel the need, send me MP3s IN ADDITION to your form submission with the appropriate details via email at unmanneddrone ( a t ) gmail (d o t) com IF tracks are really obscure.
Thanks to @Cgrajko, @impynickers and the irrepressible @redswir1 for submissions thus far. Logged and retrieved. Some terrific tunes have been corralled!
I bet stalkers smell terrible. Ive been rolling in mud and breaking a sweat all day just trying to stay alive.
Misery of course makes the stakes just that much higher, and the sense of consequences are constantly looming. I think I plan for a trip across the map, but end up half dead stumbling back towards ‘Skadovsk’ the sweet heaven of a beached rusted tanker. Back to the appropriately named ‘Beard’ for supplies on the next trek. Mutants are tough, yes… but at least they don’t shoot. Those mercenaries guarding that building down south… I can’t seem to give them the solid snake, in the totally non-erotic way.
Bullets act like they should, which is something I have come to appreciate. Suddenly you are as powerful as anyone else, and your urge to shoot a friendly Stalker for jollies is met with apprehension. You end up finally binding yourself to that unspoken agreement all Stalkers would have to have, that in calloquial situation you don’t try to murder them mid sentence. If not for that it becomes a game of chance like two cowboys ready to smoke each other in a saloon. You feelin’ lucky …. punk? Say you get a head shot, what if the guy next to him doesn’t like the cut of your jib? Odds are not stacked in your favor. Chances are you only have 2 bullets anyway. Thats right keep that shooter in your pants.
So far? I love it. There are a lot of subtle upgrades to the aesthetic which I enjoy, and I feel that the pacing really helps give the environments a lot more character too. There is nothing quite like being chased by extremely deadly mutants through tall grass that makes you mindful of the routes you take. Even the sight of Skadovsk in the distance is a sight that gives such tangible relief when you have had a harsh run in with the wasteland.
@bowlisimo There’s a fresh patch at ModDB that adjusts the stamina drain, amongst other things! It should get you where you need to go, Stalker.
I don’t think digital nights come more dark than those miserable lonely evenings, curled up in a sleeping bag in some abandoned facility.
@UMD I went sniper, mostly because I wanted the Mosin-Nagant. This mod seems a little buggy at the moment, my guy gets exhausted and has to rest after moving about 5 feet with default gear. It certainly is miserable, I’ll give them that.
One thing I do love, night is PITCH BLACK. Damn.
@redswir1 I dunno, I suppose it depends on the genre…I’ve always associated the French with pristine, visually grandiose adventure titles…the big studios of yore were French; Cryo, Microids, White Birds (the Benoit Sokal game devs) etc., not always the most exciting of games, but aesthetically rich. As far as indie developers go, all I can think of at the moment are the Fray guys – Braincandy – out of Paris. Germans…well…Germans make good economic strategy games. JoWood – when it was alive – did a great job filling the void left after Chris Sawyer and the Tycoon games dried up…although they were always hampered with strange UI choices, Transport Giant being a huge offender. I don’t think they were terribly big studios, so perhaps the indie scene wasn’t there in any big way due to burgeoning devs being able to jump aboard in a relatively free environment.
That biker game looks rather interesting, though! Fingers crossed for a Vita port, because that touchscreen is crying out for such a game! I daresay it’d be even better on the Sony portable!
@bowlisimo Very good! What class are you going? I think the class choice is hardcoded into the installer, so your choice is FINAL! Or, unless you reinstall the mod. Ahem.
@beige As a man who likes a challenge, jump in. It’s not, from what I understand, a Dark Souls-esque difficulty; perhaps one where you know you’ve planned poorly and must deal with the consequences. You know that last medkit in your pack is it. You know that if you eat that rancid meat, you won’t have anything left, with the chance of happening upon another meal slim to none. Plus the meat is irradiated and you’ll have to find anti-rads once it starts poisoning your system and begins to affect your faculties. Etc. etc.
It is the life of those in the Zone. Life is cheap, supplies are expensive, solace fleeting. But my greatest fear, my vicarious thrill…that deep, ominous stratospheric rending, like opposing celestial glaciers colliding: the mighty emission, the all-powerful blow-out. Bowley can attest to the Clear Sky blow-outs. Old Testament-level business.
@impynickers Join the party, comrade! Hardened on RO2, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the massive increase in ballistic lethality.
Two vignettes from the Zone, if I may share: Learning To Share and Fear & Loathing in Kiev Oblast
I feel like such a bastard.
It was raining, that glorious Zone rain that burns the hairs off your chest as soon as the Zone itself put them there. Thick fog had radically curbed visibility and had made my traversal across a swamp towards a small collection of hilltop ruins an even spookier affair than it usually is.
I heard gunfire atop the hill and cautiously made my way up towards the plateau to find a long range encounter between some Stalkers and a group of bandits coming up the road. The bandits fell first, but not before taking out two Stalkers. The remaining Stalker went to check and scavenge from the bodies of his friends, walked up to a mortally wounded bandit and shot him (I was kind of agape at that, so awesome, so cold!). Then I saw it.
I couldn’t help it. I was overcome. This Stalker bastard, whoever he was, had an FN2000.
So I stole up behind him and shot him in the back of the head and took that magnificent gun. It’s a bit tough to source the ammo for it, as it’s a 5.56 NATO round, rather than the relatively more plentiful 5.45…but damn, that scope is useful.
I am indeed a bastard.
I forget the name of that intense health recharge syringe in the inventory from the beginning of the game, but I used it out in the field when approaching a Mercenary base.
Do not do that. At least, do not inject the contents of that syringe without a) finding a safe place and b) have enough food for the ridiculous hunger that’ll beset you when you wake up from your near-overdose. I squatted in the cement sabo slip that ran up towards the Merc base – some scrubby, chemical-stained outflow – near midday, and injected. It hit me like an intravenous freight train; I fell backwards and woke up six hours later the rapidly darkening chill of the evening, utterly famished with blurred vision and not even a strip of irradiated pork to chew.
I should have turned back, but like an idiot, I went to scout out the outskirts of the base, a miserable effort to make the trip out into the wilderness worthwhile. I couldn’t focus properly, kept shaking my head to concentrate…and didn’t make out some Mercs getting a bead on me as I approached the outer perimeter of their base.
Needless to say, I got shot. And bled out on a hillside, with an empty stomach and many regrets.
@Unmanneddrone Misery. Another reason for me to hug my PC so tight… out of love and fear.
I really want to go through this experience. Stalker was pretty hardcore to begin with, but this seems to push things into an area of desperation that I think will fit the tone of the game quite nicely.
Ill give it a go. Maybe it will turn into a new masochistic obsession such as my Red Orchestra tales of desperation. Survival. Don’t slow down yet heart… we are going for another ride.
@bowlisimo Looking forward to hearing your views. I’m playing an Assaulter class, by the way. Probably the worst for ammo, utterly gruelling. I’ve got twenty rounds in my AR, ten in my pistol. That’s it.
I think the most glorious part is planning for a stalk out into the wilderness. So much to consider.
@UMD Ok, my only playthrough of CoP will be in misery mode, this I vow. I’ll also probably never finish it either, but having to drop everything you were doing to take cover from Zone emissions and ride them out with other Stalkers or all alone in some god forsaken corrugated pipe out in the middle of nowhere in Clear Sky was probably my favorite part about it.
@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…
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.
предупреждение – This is a public safety announcement:
STALKER: Call of Pripyat – Misery Mod to deploy this Friday. Those choosing to stay within the contaminated demarcation site do so at their own risk. The Ukrainian Civil Safety Bureau takes no responsibility for injuries sustained or deaths that occur in the Zone after the 13th of January.
Speaking of games with stories without ‘stories’…the true Zone survivalist simulator is upon us.