Games Like STALKER - Other Dark & Mysterious Shooters
Games Like STALKER - Other Dark & Mysterious Shooters
I loved the dark and unique atmosphere of the STALKER series so much that I've been on a constant search for games like STALKER
I feel in love with the STALKER series of games as soon as they were released. The games had many unique elements that hadn't really been done before and I just loved the amount of choice that players were given to shape the game world. Being part of something dynamic where mutant attacks and factions wars would happen around me as I experienced the story was something truly amazing and memorising.
It really wasn't until a few years later that other gamers started to realise just how fun the STALKER series was (helped in part due to great mods for the game that changed some of the smaller nagging issues that the games had). By this time I had already done quite the due diligence on my hunt for games like STALKER which is why I've put the list here for all STALKER fans to see.
If you want a game that has a similar atmosphere to STALKER (dark, mutants, post-apocalyptic) you'll find that here. You'll also find games that have small RPG elements or games that let you drive the story direction.
Why Do You Love The STALKER Series?
What Makes The STALKER Games Great?
Not many STALKER fans are aware of Survarium, a game that aims to pick up the pieces from the cancelled STALKER 2 game and change it into a free MMOFPS. It's a big task and one I hope they can pull of successfully (like many other STALKER fans). It's still in closed beta at the moment but with regular development updates it is easy to stay updated and hyped up for the game release.
Getting into the closed beta is easy through the website although you'll need to be lucky or active to actually get your invite. With an open beta on the horizon it won't be too long before all the STALKER fans will be running around this STALKER themed MMO.
Despite making the game series a MMO it still feels very much like the STALKER experience with similar HUD elements, weapons and locations to what you've already fallen in love with.
In terms of gameplay right now only the team based multiplayer features are in the game but eventually the game will include full blown artefacts, rankings, factions and a deep character development system to truly bring the MMO elements of this game to life. The locations are the most impressive element thus far with some absolutely breathtaking environments developed so far.
If you're a STALKER fan then you'll want to connect with the Survarium website and their Facebook page to make sure you don't miss a single update of this game that will no doubt be a great experience.
In terms of similar setting the Metro series is the closest I've been able to find to the STALKER series, it's got the same Russian undertones, the mutants and the split factions. The series currently has two very solid games which are connected with a story in and around the Russian subway network after a nuclear war.
The game even has some past STALKER developers behind it so it's quite obvious where the inspiration where the game came from. As the game is set in the Metro you'll find your paths are more linear in comparison to the STALKER series. Your combat options haven't been diminished though with the game still offering plenty of room for stealth or more direct combat. Just like in STALKER your decisions throughout the game will ultimately change the outcome of the game with a number of endings available.
As a post-apocalyptic setting much of your game time will be spent scavenging the Metro system for supplies to keep you alive. From air filters to the extremely rare amount of ammunition you always feel like you're just one fight away from defeat.
While the gameplay mechanics are solid what keeps bringing me back to the series is the atmosphere of the game and with reduced HUD elements it's easy to forget you're in a game as you are brought closer to the action than most in the genre.
Dead Space Series
If zombies and science fiction were to combine together you'd have the Dead Space series. A very dark and horrifying series of adventures that encourage you to scavenge and purge your way to survival. Just like the Metro series above I'm featuring this game on my list of games like STALKER because I feel the overall vibe of the atmosphere is similar.
The game falls under the survival horror genre and isn't limited to games either with plenty of other media (movie shorts and even a comic book series) also carrying the Dead Space name. The gameplay is slightly different as there are very few external parties to deal with and it's an over the shoulder perspective rather than a first person one. I still think that the atmosphere alone warrants it's inclusion on the list but I know that not every reader will agree with that.
The setting for the horrifying adventure that awaits you is the 26th century. In this time period the human race has been able to expand their civilization to the stars and beyond Earth. This hasn't come without risk though and the most notable discovering is one of the Marker, an ancient artefact that can reanimate dead tissue to create Necromorphs.
Unlike most games where you're enemies will die with ease you'll find this your main challenge in the Dead Space series. Not only will you often have limited weapons available but you'll also have to deal with Necromorphs that simply won't die until they are in pieces, even taking out their head will do little for most enemies who will simply change their tactics and adapt.
The unique elements of the series alone warrant a playthrough and with three games there is no reason to hesitate.
Deus Ex Series
When I talk about the Deus Ex series in comparison to the STALKER series I'm focusing mostly on the first two games (Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War) which were released in 2000 and 2003. The third (and upcoming fourth) game are still worth your attention but moved to a third person perspective which I wasn't a fan of and don't believe they have a STALKER like experience.
The games have science fiction elements mixed in with advanced technology and cyber punk to deliver one of the most unique settings and game worlds I've experienced in a game yet.
So why do I consider the game worthy of inclusion on this list of games like STALKER? It's mostly to do with the freedom available to the player, a variety of factions to deal with and the light role playing elements to customise your character (similar to artefacts from STALKER).
Set in the not to distant future of 2050 (depending on the game) the themes for the game centre around a nano virus, human augmentations, terrorist organisations and a growing disconnect between the well off and the have nots. It's definitely a fragile world and you'll constantly find yourself in the middle of it as you play as a security agent.
With countless inventory options, the ability to modify your weapons and even yourself through nano augmentations you have great flexibility in how you design a character that works for you're intended playstyle. Be it running faster for a run and gun strategy or upgrading your legs to walk silently instead so you can go unnoticed.
The flexibility to do what you want, the mixture of genres and just generally well polished gameplay make this the sort of series that every gamer needs to try at least once.
Deadly Premonition is a game that has those subtle elements of humour and weaves it into a terrifying experience to offer something that you'll come out the end of in quite a daze. It's one of those games that didn't do well on release but slowly gained traction from a cult like following in a similar way to the STALKER series of games.
This isn't where the similarities to STALKER end though with an open world and non linear approach to gameplay. In the same way that events were dynamic in STALKER you'll also find that Deadly Premonition gives every single character their own schedule to stick to so events are always going on around you regardless of your involvement (one of my favourite features in the STALKER series).
In regards to the plot you'll be playing as an FBI agent sent to the sleepy town of Greenvale to try to solve the various murders that have taken place there. As you would expect from a psychological horror experience the game quickly takes a more sinister turn and you find yourself trapped in the middle of a truly strange adventure.
Gameplay almost feels like something out of Grand Theft Auto with you having to manage many relationships, your wallet and many side quests as you advance through the main story events. You'll also have the option to drive around from location to location to speed up travel time but also make the game world feel more realistic.
Images on this page are either provided by the respective developers or are my own images from the game. They are used solely for review and identification purposes.
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STALKER Links You'll Like:
- Stalker Game Series Gameplay - Farewell, GSC
A farewell to the company that created the STALKER series with a collection of gameplay footage.
- A Tribute To S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
A very informative and in depth post on TrueGaming (reddit) about why STALKER is one of (if not the) best open world horror games.
- Horror FPS Games Like STALKER
A few more game options for those of you who love the STALKER franchise and want more like it.