When a video game deservedly achieves the status of legend, there is one thing you can always expect: total fan dedication. The result of such dedication is the Anomaly mod — a complete overhaul of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
In the history of gaming, rarely have we experienced something as immersive as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Released in 2007, it felt like a role-playing game without any explicit RPG mechanics. It felt like horror but without being too blunt about it. The first-person shooter gameplay was outstanding. The atmosphere was unmatched by any other game.
If you are not familiar with its storyline, as the title suggests, it explores the alternative universe following the Ukranian nuclear reactor disaster. In the real world, nuclear disasters are horrifying but still mundane. The very worst you can expect from them is contamination of huge swathes of land or dying horribly of radiation sickness. In the world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a nuclear reactor cataclysm produces fantastical anomalies and dreaded mutants — along with a host of opposing factions.
Since the original game, fans have made many mods which attempt to eliminate bugs and improve the experience. However, combining the environments from the three official games while integrating a multitude of mods may have finally reached the pinnacle of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. experience — The Anomaly mod.
Calling it a mod would be a severe understatement, however.
Thanks to the open-source nature of the X-Ray engine — which is now entirely maintained by dedicated fans — Anomaly looks to offer the most polished, bug-free, fine-tuned and comprehensive S.T.A.L.K.E.R. experience yet.
You can already download it here to see for yourself.
Of course, one cannot expect to see the level of polish and production values seen in Metro Exodus. Nevertheless, these kinds of games are so rare that you really don’t stand to lose anything by trying it out — especially when Anomaly is completely free!
What do you think of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? Let us know in the comments below!
Images/videos courtesy of YouTube, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. official website.