The lost alpha

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
Author and references

STALKER: Lost Alpha was born from the deep love of the developers for the 2007 game of GSC Game World. Some of them had begun to know it from the first images shown in 2002, so they had followed its evolution to find in their hands a final version with a lot of cut material. Without letting themselves be disheartened, they began a work of data collection and information exchange that led them to amassing a mountain of data on what appeared to be the authors' original view of the game. From there, the step to starting work on Lost Alpha was short, fueled by the 2009 release of a 2004 build of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl filled with discarded materials.



Born as a total conversion, Lost Alpha soon became a more ambitious project. Development went on for years, well beyond the originally planned release date. Meanwhile, the main series has had time to see the publication of two expansions and the announcement and failure of the official sequel, for reasons not yet very clear. From the chaos following the failure of STALKER 2 and GSC Game World, the only flame left to keep the hope of seeing the series returning to the glories it deserved was the work of dez0wave, in the meantime grown again and promoted by total conversion official stand-alone expansion. Unfortunately, in the last few weeks everything has fallen apart. Expected for the end of 2014, Lost Alpha was released early on April 26, free of charge, due to a tester who posted an old build on the pirate circuit, breaking the pact with the rights holders of the series.. The move was motivated by the desire to stop the spread of the old version. Of course, it's maddening to know that such a talented team will not receive any financial compensation for such an effort, which certainly deserved a commercial life. But remembering the popular adage that says the futility of crying over spilled milk, let's see why it would be absolutely crazy to miss this game.



Where to download STALKER: Lost Alpha?

STALKER: Lost Alpha can be freely downloaded from its official page on ModDB: Link.
The archive is divided into three parts (in addition to the patches that are released quite regularly). If you prefer, there is also an official torrent, downloadable from here: Link. Some will find it more comfortable.

Love for STALKER only bears good fruit

Starting Lost Alpha for the first time it seems to be in front of the old STALKER, at least as regards the general feeling. It soon becomes clear that it is an illusion. Sure, the game system has remained the same in its general aspects and the graphics engine is that, albeit vastly improved in lighting and atmospheric effects. Especially by activating the full dynamic lightning mode, indeed quite heavy to manage, some landscapes gain enormously in impact. The style is always that of the past, but honestly we do not remember an expansion that has improved the technical side up to these levels, making some sections worthy of those of a modern triple A title (think that the bullet holes on the corpses have been added , for one thing).


The novelties of Lost Alpha, however, are not limited to cosmetic enrichment. After a few hours of play it is impossible not to realize how much this total conversion is bigger than the original title: huge maps, richer scenarios, lots of completely new zones, completely revised old zones (apart from Yantar, however heavily modified, and the x16 lab) new plots and sub-plots and so much more content that you are amazed. There are so many as to make most of the official paid expansions pale (we are not talking about DLC ... with those the comparison does not exist). Indeed, let's say better: the new content of Lost Alpha can easily make the single player campaigns of most triple A titles pale. We are talking about hours (and hours) of extra gameplay compared to the already long-lived Shadow of Chernobyl. At this point the most mischievous will be dribbling the tongue on the question "what about quality?" Fear not, even here Lost Alpha does not disappoint. Indeed, we do not hesitate to say that the remade maps are better than the originals in many respects. Meanwhile, the various factions are distributed in a more rational way and the sense of crowding that could be felt in the old maps has largely disappeared, moreover each territory has been better exploited thanks to dedicated secondary quests and numerous secrets (really many) that go to enrich without upsetting the culture of the series. It is difficult to ask for more from such a production.



Is there currently a video game that there is no reason not to play? Yes this.

The life of the stalker

Ok, you may be thinking, everything is bigger and more refined, but in terms of game mechanics and gameplay? What changes compared to the past? Let's say that also from this point of view a truly valuable work has been achieved. Meanwhile, you can collaborate more often with other factions, even by teaming up in some missions. In addition, all weapons have been added and revised, to be more realistic and in line with the scenario. The flashlight remains, which requires consumable batteries to be used, while to rest there are special areas, or you can use the sleeping bag. There are new enemies and there is a new faction, the Sin, who have their own standalone quest chain written completely from scratch.

There are new mutants and different species of mutants already seen in previous episodes. Much of the equipment has been revised to make the impact of individual tools on gameplay more important. Let's say that, in general, a lot of effort has been made to create with Lost Alpha a title for hardcore gamers who love demanding challenges. Easy to notice at the first shooting against multiple enemies, very capable of killing us with a few bullets. However, the maximum from the clashes is obtained by raising the level of difficulty, because only in this way are you forced to develop greater tactics in approaches to shootings. In fact, if you are particularly gifted you can solve many situations with a more silent approach (you can even drag corpses, to say how versatile the system is). You will soon discover that the possibilities offered are so many and that overall Lost Alpha seems to be what Shadow of Chernobyl should have been and in part was not, despite being still considered a masterpiece today.


The Spanish translation

Like the game, the Spanish translation project of STALKER: Lost Alpha also suffered the setbacks of the early release. So the patch, which you can download from here: link, is to be considered complete only at 70%, by admission of the same coordinator of the Leonardo Sassi team (it was impossible to complete the work with the minimum notice received for the release). Obviously the translation work is continuing at a high pace and the Spanish version will be updated in the coming months. In the meantime, you can start playing with it, because in any case many strings of text are already translated and it is not very difficult to go on in the adventure.

Any flaws?

Defects? Sure there are. Meanwhile, by the admission of the development team itself, there are still several unresolved bugs. Reading on the various forums, some have experienced frequent crashes (also due to the graphics engine, already not exactly a masterpiece of stability), while others the game freezes for a few seconds, and then returns to flow as smooth as oil. . Even the artificial intelligence shows some uncertainties, with the enemies that occasionally get stuck in the scenario. Said without too many words, it was pretty clear that this would be the case ever since the early release was announced. The developers themselves have talked about a version with still several problems to be solved through post-launch patches and, since there is no longer any financial support behind the project, given its overall size, it is already a miracle that there are only these bugs. In this case it shouldn't be a burden for players to also be a beta tester, as you pay absolutely nothing to play STALKER: Lost Alpha. For this reason we will take into minimum consideration the bugs for the final comment, as well as we will not rage against some graphic uncertainties, mainly due to the resumption of the original models (we are always talking about a 2007 title). There's really nothing to complain about, trust me, and all the little problems the game suffers from pales in the face of its immense qualities. In fact we are talking about a free downloadable commercial quality title.

Comment

Digital Delivery: ModDB Price: Free at Resources4Gaming.com

9.5

Readers (45)

8.7

Your vote

STALKER: Lost Alpha is the best total conversion we've ever had the chance to try. It has all the features to be essential for any self-respecting PC gamer. Honestly, since it is still a free title, we can't give you reasons to advise against it. The only valid ones could be a visceral hatred for the scenario, a dislike for the genre and so on, which are then valid for any video game. So don't be too surprised about the vote. Had it been a commercial title, we would have treaded more heavily on some of the problems, but given how much it costs, it would be really absurd and unfair to do so.

PRO

  • An immense amount of new content
  • STALKER as many dreamed of him
  • Huge map
  • Some scenarios are really beautiful
  • Longevity skyrocketing
  • Did we mention it's free?
AGAINST
  • A few bugs
  • Some old texture out of place
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