I’ve figured out what makes S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fun to play. It’s because the weapons are huge.
And I don’t mean they’re all omnipotent BFG’s, they’re modelled after real weapons, after all (uh, with a few notable exceptions). I mean they just take up a lot of space on the monitor, making them feel extremely beefy. Examine, if you will, this comparison:
The Half-Life 2 Assault Rifle:
The G36 from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:
Does this mean HL2 is not as fun as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? Of course it doesn’t! HL2 is sheer brilliance. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. does, however, win free points on the simple fact that using its weapons makes you feel extremely powerful and deadly. It makes you feel like you’re packing several tons of pure death that you may at any moment rain down upon your enemies. This is not a bad trait in a shooter.
Oh, it also helps that by the time you get that G36, you’re getting really tired of not being able to hit a bloody thing. The G36 changes all that, because it’s one of the first weapons you get that has anything resembling an acceptable accuracy rating. The G36 pretty much changes the game completely.
And then you get the FN F2000. And now we’re talking.