Lost Alpha is a new episode of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series made by dezowave group for free!
Anyong giving this a 10 in its current state (as of April 29th, 2014) is both lying and telling devs its alright to release buggy projects early. I'd have taken a later, more stable release over this terribly buggy early one. No, the leak did not force them to do this, they DECIDED to do it.
I love Stalker, I love all of them, even CS (which was actually my first, though my first completed was SoC 1.000, which should tell you something about my patience for bugs). This game is a mess. The AI is absolutely braindead, so the point where it can't even see you over chest high walls, and frequently can't see or hear you at all. There are numerous crashes, even in the Main Questline. There are numerous model errors, and the models for the weapons are highly lackluster. The voice acting is horrific. There are balance issues all over the place (all weapons seem to be recoilless laserguns, artifacts are practically useless), and performance is terrible even on my powerful PC (AMD 965 X4 @ 3.4Ghz, Radeon HD7870, 8GB ram etc.)
I'm glad moddb allows you to change your review score, because I will once the game gets fixed, but right now it's a ball of good ideas and ABSOLUTELY AWFUL execution, and for that I feel 7/10 is fairly generous. If it wasn't stalker it's be 4/10 or less.
UPDATE AS OF 10/19/2014:
Still bad, fixing the bugs only brought to light more issues. Don't even get me started on the plot. It's better than the average mod made for a random game by some dude no one knows about, but only because of its scope, certainly not because of its content.
Full Review Here - Pastebin.com
This mod is a great example of what not to do when trying to recreate a game in your own image, due to it being worse than the SoC in almost every way.
+Fantastic Map Design
+Textures better than vanilla
=Gunplay unchanged from Vanilla
=Weapon textures + Models unchanged from Vanilla
-Maps lack things to do in them
-Sounds are subpar
-Voice acting is bad and immersion breaking
-Constant poorly animated cutscenes
-Forced horror moments
-Constant breaking of atmosphere
-Fanfiction-tier story and writing
-Complete lack of A-Life
It's almost as if the developers decided to take SoC, find everything that was good about it and do the complete opposite, which is a shame, since this looked like it had potential, especially since it took '7 years' to get to this point, but the fact this took 7 years just makes me wonder how it could take so long and still produce something of such poor quality. If not for the Maps and Lighting this would probably be a 3/10 in my books, maybe a 4 if I'm feeling generous, but currently it is being held up entirely on the maps and lighting.
UPDATE: Changing my rating from 5 to 2 due to the rudeness of the mod team. A 5 was just being generous due to the large amount of effort it took to create these maps - but I'm giving it a more honest rating now since the creators choose to be dicks and respond to legitimate criticism with denialism and sarcastic comments (ex. "If you don't like LA be sure to return it for a full refund"). Yeah, like that's going to win you guys brownie points with your fans, lmao
Not to mention that nearly every one of these of the high ratings were made before the mod was even released based on the trailers alone (check the dates - after the mod actually came out the ratings dropped sharply from 9.5 to 8.9 - so that's pretty telling).
The "Alpha" in the title is fitting because this isn't a real game, it's just an unfinished alpha with little to no actual gameplay unless "walking simulators" are your thing.
While the first few moments of the game are enticing (ex. exploring the new Cordon and Garbage for the first time), the game quickly loses its charm and starts to feel more like a chore
Even ignoring the numerous bugs and poor AI in this release, the game suffers from some serious design flaws and misses what made the original SoC fun in the first place.
First off is the new maps - while the maps are beautiful to look at and much larger and more complex, you'll soon find that there's just not that much to do in them after the initial sightseeing, and the end up just resulting in lots and lots of tedious backtracking.
In SoC the maps were smaller and simpler but were more exciting and unpredicatble - whenever you entered an area you might run into a bandit ambush, or a pack of wild mutants. In LA however you might end spending 30 minutes just navigating the maps to complete a quest without encountering a single firefight; a perfect example are the missions which require you trudge back and forth from the caves in the Darkscape - you'll know what I mean if you play this mod, and it's about as fun as watching paint dry.
While the game does offer driveable cars to help shorten the backtracking - they're (and the fuel they use) are too hard to come by, not to mention the cars handle very poorly and easily get flipped over, or get stuck on objects in their path - which renders them useless.
My other major turn-off are the new cinematics and voice acting (such as the visions of the scientists in lab-X18). Sure it's impressive that the team went through the trouble of creating all of this in their spare time, but the mediocre dialogue and cinema scenes using NCPs kill the immersion and just aren't scary or eerie.
In the original SoC this was kept to a bare minimum and the rest was left up to your imagination, and the end result was much more terrifying.
It's also worth noting that you can "break" many of the main quests by killing or turning key characters hostile, and the game gives no indication of who you can kill or can't, for example killing or shooting certain Duty members now means you can't complete the game (this was also a non-issue in SoC).
Overall this mod's too big of a disappointment. Right now I'd rather just be playing good ol' SoC.
Consider this more of a first impressions.
- New areas triple the size of the game world, old areas reworked extensively enough that they feel new as well.
- Some decent looking graphics changes
- Zero optimization. The updated graphics don't even come close to justifying the performance drop.
- The AI is blind, deaf, and dumb, but can put you down in one shot if they land a lucky random headshot.
- New inventory mechanic where you have to put "clips" of ammo on your belt from the pool in your inventory. This is completely useless inventory micromanagement that adds literally nothing but clunkiness to the game. If this was originally meant to be put in SHoC, then I applaud GSC's good sense to remove it.
- It seems they forgot to do anything with the weapons, aside from re-implementing ones removed from original SHoC. They look just as dated and sound just as flat and wimpy as ever
- The SVD has either a misaligned scope, or is less accurate than a smooth bore musket, either reason is unacceptable
Second, probably last impressions (1.30013 patch):
The installer gives you the option to reset your settings to default. DONT ******* DO IT. For some incredibly brilliant reason, they removed an option in the menu that glitched the sound when turned on, EXCEPT THEY FORGOT TO HAVE IT DISABLED BY DEFAULT. Every sound associated with player movement/behavior, such as foot steps and breathing effects, is disabled due to this which completely breaks the immersion.
Still dealing with that nonsense, I reached the level changer to The Garbage and was immediately turned back with the message (paraphrased) "ROAD CLOSED BECAUSE LAND SLIDES LOL". **** you, devs. Honestly. I immediately deleted this mummer's farce from my harddrive.
_extremely buggy, crash to OS very often
_feels even more like a hiking simulator. Prepare to have to run for up to 15 real minutes (SIN quests). Parts of maps were removed for the final release of SOC FOR A REASON. Having to walk for 3min, from entering barzone, to the bar itself, is a hindrance. And some new maps are way too big.
_The barzone is completely screwed, you have to seek way too much time to find the bar. Even to access the actual entrance of the town you will have to circle around the whole map. This is supposed to be a town, the main place of the town shouldn't be hidden behind a dormitory.
_about quest, they had a vicious way of changing them. Every kick starter quest giving you armor, artefact, weapon in the cordon was simply removed, while they want you to look for quest item on the celling (seriously WTH was that with agroprom), and run back and forth between 2 zones.
_New maps are pretty...but empty, horribly empty. The few filler "must do" quest they implemented to give them a purpose, fell like a rape of your time.
_cars...so rare, so expensive and so fragile, while eating a can of 20L of gas in a couple kilometres. Too bad it could have saved this mod.
_catastrophic voice acting. X18 cut-scene should be skip-able.
This could have been good, they spend a tremendous time building this, which for I give those 5points, but this mod is NOT enjoyable, NOT fun, except if you want to go hiking the new maps.
This version would have never passed beta.
My advices to them:
_put back the quest like they were before, don't remove, don't change, just add yours.
_bring back the "release edition" of the bar. THIS is the major point.
_change the SIN clan position, or give more cars.
And that's for now since I seriously hesitate to keep playing the mod, having to walk for 20minutes from the bar itself, to the sin base.
I booted up a new game, jumped into the action, and within 10 minutes I was stuck. Not glitches, not CTD's, no- physically stuck. I saved while crouching beneath some stairs, died, quickloaded, and that's all she wrote. Luckily, there's no 'no-clip,' so I get to enjoy the cordon for another 3~ hours of progression. No worries to the team, this is a common error in a lot of FPS' where save-states don't check overhead obstructions, placing the character inside of geometry. It's a petty gripe- but that's that.
Overall? +1. I'm proud of Dezowave, they really did well with the patches. In all sincerity, I haven't seen such quick, yet well maintained patchwork outside of a triple-a launch title, and I'd say that DW has outdone even some of the market leading competitors in terms of releasing stable patches. Problems were fixed and fixed well, I've yet to have a CTD, not in hours of gameplay, and the missing game components seem to be back in.
But the old gripes are still there. The ones that broke the original STALKER's gameplay like the neck of a poor rabbit in the hands of a hungry Ruskie. NPC's can see you from miles away in pitch darkness, Stealth kills with the knife should reward players by sending flowers to their estranged relatives for how impossible they are to get, and from what I've experienced, the upgrade/artifact system is almost useless. Sometimes the A-life will make NPC's wander off from where they're supposed to be, something I thought was cool until I ran into an impossible-to-beat mission, because the NPC I had to kill had lost interest and moved on to a new area, completely unknown to me.
It's too bad, because these problems really do break immersion, but the game is FAR more stable now, and still incredibly fun to play. It's a staple to a genre of games that I'd like to see more of.
8/10. Keep it up!
line 77: fire_distance = 2.0;2.2
I know the game wasn't supposed to come out now and it's expected to have a s*it load of issues but some of theme are EXTREMELY easy to spot and encounter by just following the quests. If only their testers were more dedicated with the project instead of screwing around and leaking builds...
Damn, guys, I really don't know what to say. With full access to game sources, seven years of development, lots of good developers, agressive marketing everythere and users donations, you made the ultimate S.T.A.L.K.E.R disappointment EVER
First of all, it's buggy as hell. Everything what can be broken is broken, what can be spoiled is spoiled. Whom the hell are you allowed to make changes in game engine? This is awful, you've even somehow manage to broke the NPC's combat AI. It's now absolutely braindead, even in the original game it was so bad so I written myself a full-scale standalone scripted combat AI for OGSE 0693, but your is even worse than in original game. You managed to step on a rakes even in game's dangers recognition and NPC states manager, which problems are well known and documented by many dev's including myself.
Second, you heavily oversized the locations. There are absolutely nothing to do on them, yes, i know, users wanted a bigger locations, but not so big ones.
Third, the plot is awful. Illuminati in my S.T.A.L.K.E.R? You must be kidding. Who wrote the plot, an UFO freak? You don't mistaken the game you modding? It's S.T.A.L.K.E.R not DeusEx, you know.
Fourth, gameplay features are bleak. Really bleak. You really think a PC with tetris game at barmen's room can add some joy to the game? If you really wanted to do this, you must add at least a hacking minigame to this. All this things you added was interesting 4-5 years ago, not now.
Last and worst - guys, what is so special about leaked build? Are you some A+ game gevelopers or someone? We have some builds leaked then we was in process of making OGSE 0692, and just warned the users what leaked build are unfinished, unacceptable by our standarts, and by distributing and playing it they will spoil their own enjoyment from game and mod, and we wouldn't provide any technical support or feedback on this build. And then we just continued ours work. And everything went fine in result.
-main quest, storytelling
-BIG EMPTY levels
-bugs, bugs everywhere
-cutscenes and animations
And I waiting this 6 years? Oh, common, give me a break. If you really want see "old, forgotten stalker" try Oblivion Lost Remake mod.
Levels design is great, that's for sure.
Textures and effects are good, obviously.
Everything else, isn't even at the level of ShoC.
AI is a shame. I think it's the most outdated AI mod I've seen. Even worst than my remembrance of SHoC.
It's a been a huge disappointment.