Online game "Stalcraft"

  • Release date:
    09 December 2022
  • Game type:
  • Game website:
  • Operating system:
    Windows 10 — 64-bit
  • Minimum requirements
  • CPU:
    Intel Core i5-2400 / AMD Athlon II X4
  • RAM:
  • Graphics card:
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 / AMD Radeon HD 6950; DirectX 10
  • Disk space:
  • Internet:
Game screenshots

Stalcraft Game Review

At the heart of the free-to-play MMO-action game Stalcraft is a simple but interesting idea. The developers from EXBO team decided to combine two universes - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Minecraft, taking from the first entourage and mechanics of the shooter, and from the second borrowing the visual style. The designers started back in 2014 with an amateur modification, but then they changed the engine, added a lot of content to the project and translated everything into English in order to prepare a full-fledged release in December 2022. Unusual work has caused interest at once - the online Steam rose to values unattainable for some big-name MMORPG. Let's find out what the secret of Stalcraft is and whether it's worth coming here for a fan of the genre.

Getting to know the game

The adventure begins, naturally, with the creation of the character. There are no classes here, and the appearance settings of the man with a cubic head are not really needed, so the character editor is an optional thing: just do it and forget about it. And then something more interesting happens. Each newcomer has to pass a tutorial mission, during which you get acquainted with control, different types of weapons, level structure and behavior of your enemies. You get a workout with almost all guns and in the most extreme conditions - on the ruins of Chernobyl, teeming with zombies and militants of the "Monolith" group. When the floor is shaking under your feet from the ejection, and you shoot at fanatics with an SVD, looking through the window sight, or fight with monsters in a dark corridor, it immediately reminds of the "Shadow of Chernobyl. Already on the first mission you can see with what love to the original and attention to detail the developers approached the matter.
After a debut with an unexpected denouement, you can choose one of two factions that share power in the world of Stalcraft. On one side of this confrontation are ordinary stalkers, for whom adventure, exploration of anomalies, reputation and morality are important. On the other side of the barricades are the bandits. For them, the laws are not written, and their main motivation is to amass wealth by any means, including all sorts of sneakiness. The first is led by a character nicknamed Ataman, who lives in the village on the marshes, and the latter is led by the Saint from the boathouse.

In other words, the choice of faction affects both the starting location where you appear, and the quests to be performed. After some time allowed to join a special faction: the stalkers presented "Duty" and "Freedom", the bandits - "Mercenaries" and "Covenant". In addition, with the series S.T.A.L.K.E.R. resonate not only the names of "clubs", but also the plot.

The story is this: after the accident at Chernobyl there was another cataclysm, which led to the emergence of life-threatening anomalies, where artifacts are born - the booty for all adventurers. But the more people have pushed for the treasures of the Zone of Alienation, the more often it spawned mutants, becoming over time a place where it is difficult to survive and keep your sanity. Willing to put themselves at risk has become less, the influx of stalkers dried up. However, some people began to see in their dreams the "blue orb" that can be found only in Chernobyl. They followed the vision - in the world of Stalcraft they were nicknamed the blessed.
The players are in the role of these blissful ones. To rest between sorties, complete a few quests and collect an arsenal, newcomers gather at the base of their faction, where they can't attack other heroes. At first only the traditional Makarov is available for battles, but then, as you complete quests, you get a sawed-off shotgun, shotgun, submachine gun, and full pockets of grenades. Not a bad set of weapons is given by going through the "The Call" storyline, where you deal with the secrets of your character's dreams and run around on various errands, from finding geocaches and killing monsters to investigating. For example, in the game for the stalkers, you have to find out who is to blame for the death of the Aquarius guide by conducting your own investigation and pointing out one of the three suspects. You wouldn't expect such variability from an MMO shooter with characters resembling little men from Lego.

And if you have no desire to go on missions, you can go and explore the open world. Outside the base anything can lead to death, whether it is an ambush set by the enemies, landmine, pack of mutants, gravitational anomaly, radioactive puddle, or just a rival from one of your camps, who noticed an artifact under the bush before you. Here you do not have to yawn, because the loss of most of the items from the inventory. Then you have to go back to your own body to get back what you lost, like in some Dark Souls.

To survive it is necessary to look more often in your pocket computer, PDA, where the most sinister places and hiding places are marked. Also you must watch the mini-map - it shows the number of characters next to you, even if there is no eye contact with them. In short, you can't run straight to your goal - again, in the spirit of the classics.
But that's not all of the game's surprises. The developers have tried not only to add variants to the dialogues, but also to voice important for the plot lines, and with the involvement of professional actors - among the voices, for example, we can guess Peter Glantz, familiar from the translations of foreign films. Add to that the ominous ambient musical accompaniment, which builds up the tension. Everything to do with weapons also delights with detail: guns shoot like in a decent shooter, wear out and break down, use different types of ammunition, require repair and improvement, including installation of sights, silencers, flame arresters and other attachments.

What does the Zone do for a living?

Those who are familiar with the work of GSC Game World studio will have no trouble getting used to Stalcraft. The rest of us will briefly explain how everything works. The Exclusion Zone is a huge area divided into locations with names dear to your heart: "Cordon", "Agroprom", "Red Forest", "Limansk", "Bar", "Army Depots" and "Radar". There are also selves like "The Way of the Fools," but in general the topography is taken from the series S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - The further you go north, the more problems arise. There are short subplots between locations, and the transition locations are always clearly marked. Orienteering in the world of the game helps map, available in the ADF (Latin P on the keyboard). It shows mutant nests, bandit camps and basement entrances.
Although almost all of the monsters are shown on the mini-map, sometimes the creatures depart from their nests and attack travelers, so even in a relatively safe place still need to keep your ears open. And memorizing the location of anomalies makes no sense at all, because after each discharge (a regular disaster, which must wait in the shelter) they change their location. And if some anomalies can be noticed - for example, by sparks or distortions in the air, then others at first glance are not visible. It is easy to fall into such a trap, losing part or all of your health. Therefore, when in doubt, you should throw in front of you the bolts that reveal the tricks of the Zone - their selection is assigned by default to the button with the number 5.

The inhabitants of the server can be both AI-controlled characters and live-player-controlled heroes. With the former, if they are friendly, you can chat or run away under their protection - if you see a monster or bandit chasing you, these stalkers will immediately open fire. There are many more ways to interact with gamers: make friends, invite them into your squad, exchange items or messages. And those who have reached a certain level of reputation are also allowed to challenge anyone they meet in a duel or invite them into their faction - in the "Duty", for example. In order to get more people to talk to you, you need to pump up your reputation. It is given for completing tasks, clearing mutant nests, collecting artifacts, success in a firefight with members of a hostile faction, and just for helping a friend in trouble.
And, of course, the Zone cannot be imagined without abandoned houses, stretching for hundreds of meters of pipes, fences, stops, transport bases, landfills, factory buildings and other Soviet heritage. Exploring these ruins the game encourages: there we find some canned food and anti-radiation pills, here - bandages and first-aid kits that can rescue after injury, in the ravine raise an artifact from the ground, and in the devastated lair of mutants - parts of their bodies, which can then be sold to the trader. Since you can't take all the loot and the arsenal with you, the Personal warehouse, available only at your faction's base, comes in handy. In between sorties you dump extra ammo, guns, and resources here - and then move out again in search of unexpected encounters and sudden dangers.

About Pumping and Multiplayer

As in any MMO, there is a hero progression, only instead of experience - reputation. It depends on how strictly you adhere to the rules of your faction. In order to accumulate points you have to perform tasks, fight monsters and enemies from the enemy's camp. And the more authoritative your character is, the more opportunities he gets. This also applies to interaction with other users, when you open groupings with duels, and equipment. The fact is that in Stalcraft, all items useful in combat come in several levels - to use the coolest guns, bullets and suits you need to pump. There is also the order of parcels from the outside world - if you can't wait, you can get cool equipment for real money.
When the missions are over, the mutant hunt allows you to accumulate reputation. And this is where the support of other gamers comes in handy, because it's extremely dangerous to clear the lairs of the local fauna alone. You can find partners right in the camp of your faction, which is always full of people. Newcomers are eager to get together in groups to complete initial tasks, to clear the lairs of mutants and resist the enemies. The reason for such cooperation is that outside the bases and camps - all the territory of free PvP, that is, you can attack anyone, and anyone, in turn, can attack you. Later on, the "Sessional Battles" mode opens up, where stalkers fight squad on squad.


Both visually and gameplay-wise, Stalcraft is one of the most unusual online games. It is sure to please fans of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, because despite the cubism of the scenery, the atmosphere of the original is transferred very well. And the developers screwed to their project what was missing in "The Shadow of Chernobyl" - multiplayer. The rest of you should keep in mind that this is more of an action game than an MMORPG, so the personal skill of the gamer here means a lot more than the development of characteristics of the character. But if they give you a chance to take part for free, why not try it?

Zarium. March 2022