9 Amazing Post-Apocalyptic Games Like "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." You Must Play
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a rare series that successfully blends RPG and FPS elements to serve you with the best possible result. The end result is a shooter cum RPG with a really dark done, winning over a lot of skeptics.
I fell in love with the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series later in its cycle. In fact, I continued to ignore it until 2010. Released in 2010, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat was the very first game of the series I played. I absolutely loved the shooting elements, the role-playing mechanics, and the dark tone of this game. That’s when I started looking for other games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The first two games I came across were S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadows of Cherynbol, and Clear Sky—the other two remaining games from the same series. Those two games share the same tense scenarios with a huge world to explore. Although they follow different individual stories in each game, these stories are loosely interlinked. I would recommend you to play all of the games from the series before moving on to find similar titles. Unfortunately, there aren’t many games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R, but I have found a few games that would definitely revive your memories of playing this gem of a game.
Games Like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Mods
- Fallout 3
- Fallout New Vegas
- Bioshock Series
- Borderlands 2
- Metro Redux
- Dead Space 2
- Dead Space 3
1. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Mods
One of the perks of being a PC gamer is that you can mod your games to death if you want. With games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Fallout, and Skyrim that openly support modding, it makes the job easier for our modders.
I would suggest you to try these mods only after you have completed the game at least once without using any mods at all. Just enjoy the game the way it was supposed to be and then come back to try some other awesome stuff. I personally have tried a lot of mods, but I am not going to tell you which one you should try as it will ruin your experience. Go to Moddb and browse through the list of amazing mods available for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. It can be about anything, ranging from graphics improvements, weapons, and new quests to an unofficial patch fixing some bugs of this series. You can get them for free, thanks to an active and enthusiastic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. modding community. They will definitely change your way of playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. It's pretty much guaranteed to have a different experience if you play the game once again with some of the mods installed.
2. Fallout 3 – An Open World Post-Apocalyptic RPG
Developed and published by Bethesda, Fallout 3 is the third game of the franchise, but you don’t need to play previous games to be able to get into this game. It stands on its own pretty well. Although the series was already popular before, Fallout 3 introduced this epic series to tons of other gamers as it became an instant hit after the launch.
Fallout 3 is a special game with a lot of depth, unlike anything you have played before. It might look like a Borderlands game to you at first glance, but once you will play it for a few hours, you will realize that it's much deeper and darker than you imagined.
This game is set in a world where a nuclear war has destroyed almost the entire human race. All the technological comforts have been taken away from the few remaining lucky people as the war has destroyed nearly everything. You can evidence the aftermath of the war yourself as soon as you set foot in this huge wasteland. It looks strangely beautiful!
I have said it so many times and I will say it once again; the Fallout series, especially Fallout 3 is your best bet as far as finding games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is concerned. Apart from the same dark tone and post-apocalyptic settings, these two games share a lot of other similarities which will keep you coming back for more.
The story shapes according to the choices you make along the way, so choose wisely. For example, siding with a faction over another might lead to a situation where one faction is on the brink of being wiped out while the other faction is blossoming with your help. The fate of the Fallout 3 universe is in your hands. Its future will shape up just the way you'd like it to.
There would be different endings depending on factions you chose to fight for and decisions you made throughout the game. I for one have already tried all possible combinations by joining all the factions one by one in my different playthroughs of Fallout 3. It’s definitely worth playing more than once!
3. Fallout: New Vegas – A Sequel to Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is regarded as one of the best RPGs ever, but Fallout: New Vegas is not too far behind on the list. In fact, it’s so similar to Fallout 3 that I just want to call it a huge expansion instead of a full-fledged sequel. They haven’t changed the formula as not much has changed apart from the locale and story. I am not complaining though. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
The story revolves around two main factions—New California Republic and Legion as they are fighting over the control of Hoover Dam, the only source of power and water after the nuclear war. Everything is in shambles, but life in City Vegas is still pretty much unaffected as it has miraculously survived the nuclear bombardments. There are hotels, casinos, bars and pretty much everything else you'd expect to be there. People live a prosperous and healthy life in New Vegas.
People around other areas are not quite as lucky though. Some have resorted to robbing and looting stores and people while others have formed groups and factions to stay strong as a community.
Most of the area including New Vegas is under the control of New California Republic, but things could change pretty fast depending on which faction you decide to join. There are also some smaller factions that will play their part in the main story. You may choose to join them or wage war against them. And If you want, you can join a particular faction and then betray them later if you think that you are on the wrong side of the war.
Townsfolk will hate or idolize you depending on whether you protect them from hostile factions or not. You can’t win all of them over though. For example, a particular town may idolize you for protecting them from Powder Gang members, but folks living in areas controlled by Power Gang will hate you. There are a lot of exciting possibilities which makes for a really amazing gameplay!
Apart from the main storyline, you will have an opportunity to take hundreds of side quests spread all across the reason. This is where Fallout: New Vegas truly shines. Just when you think you have reached a dead end, you come across a hidden pathway which leads you to a totally new unexplored area. There is an overwhelming number of caves, cities, shacks and hidden area waiting for you to be explored, but you don’t have to explore them alone. You can always take your companions with you on your journey. As you stroll through the wasteland, the funny back and forth banter will keep things from getting boring.
You’d almost never run out of things to do here as there is always be someone nearby who’d need your help. Granted, there are some generic kill and fetch quests, but they are not mere fillers. In fact, it’s fun to do these quests as you’d never get tired of killing things in Fallout: New Vegas.
Seriously, New Vegas never ceases to amaze me! Even after wondering around for almost 100 hours in this game, there are some areas I haven’t set foot in and a lot of quests I haven’t completed.
4. BioShock Series – A Story-Driven Shooter
The only reason it’s not in the first place is that it’s not an open-world shooter like the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. It’s a series of narrative-driven first-person shooters. With a brilliantly thought out level design, some amazing stealth gameplay and a really intriguing hacking mechanics, BioShock series has set a benchmark for other first-person shooters. If you loved the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series’ shooting mechanics, you are going to love what BioShock series has to offer. You can’t go all guns blazing and expect to come out unscathed. The shooting mechanics are designed in such a way that will reward the players for their patience and tactics. An engaging combat system with some amazing storytelling makes it a contender for one of the best games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
5. Borderlands 2 – A Shooter With Cell-Shaded Graphics
You might question why I have not included other games from the Borderlands series in my list of games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The reason is the lack of a serious storyline, a prerequisite for being considered as a similar game, in other Borderlands games.
Borderlands 2’s story, on the other hand, is surprisingly solid! It’s an improvement over the original game in every aspect. Almost every system has been tweaked here which makes for a significantly better game than its predecessor. The insane world of Pandora is yours to explore!
The hook of the game is its vast array of guns that will keep you playing for hours without break. You will always be just an inch away from a better gun. Once you get it, you will have to works towards getting a superior weapon than what you just obtained.
There is an overwhelming number of weapons which include Bazookas, Plasma Rifles, Chemical Weapons, and Pistols to add to your already impressive arsenal. In a world filled with psychos, monsters, and crazy people hell-bent on not letting you live, you need those guns to survive in Pandora as you would spend more than 80% of your time shooting at others. No matter what type of quest it is, bullets are going to be exchanged sooner or later, so you must brace yourself for a fight before you take on a mission.
Apart from an engaging main storyline, you will have the option to engage in side-quests as well. These side-quests overshadow the main quest sometimes which is a testimony to the fact that they have put in a lot of effort into every aspect of Borderlands 2. Expect the game to last around 40 hours if you choose to do side-quests along with main quests. It certainly a lot of bang for your buck!
6. Metro Redux – A Post-Apocalyptic Shooter Game
Metro Redux packs two of the most amazing first-person shooters into one cohesive package with better graphics and more polish. The story takes place a couple of years after the nuclear explosion that wiped out almost every living being on the earth. The lucky ones (or unlucky) who were traveling in the metro are the only ones who survived the explosion. Now they are forced to live under Metro underground tunnels as living on the surface is not an option anymore. Only the brave ones choose to venture outside the safe walls of the metro stations to wander around in search of traces of humanity and resources. The truth is, the world below is not much better than the world on the surface.
The storytelling is one of the best I have seen in recent times. If you chose to stop for a moment and pay attention to random chatters, you will more detail about the Metro’s world. For example, I encountered a mother telling her kid that they actually used to live on the surface instead of the endless stretch of darkness in Metro stations. Their plight and disparity almost felt real.
You will explore various tunnels, encounter bandits, and meet a lot of interesting people from the other side on your journey to save humanity from extinction.
Everything is enveloped in radiation on the surface, and you will have to wear an oxygen mask to be able to go outside and explore the surface. Just like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Metro Redux is going to test your survival skills by putting you in some of the worst possible scenarios. If you won’t get killed by the lack of oxygen, there is every likelihood that mutants will eat you alive.
Weapons are not scarce, but you still need to keep count of your bullets as you will find yourself in precarious situations with not much ammo more often than not.
The post-apocalyptic world reminds me so much of the world of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. as these two games share a lot in common. In fact, Metro Redux has a more serious tone than the other series. It’s tear-inducing sometimes!
7. Dead Space 2 – A Space Horror Shooter
Dead Space 2 is a follow up to the superb first game that launched back in 2008. Fast forward 3 years, they launched a sequel in form of Dead Space 2. The gameplay elements are more like Resident Evil 5 mixed up with some amazing space exploration and enthralling sci-fi elements. If you have played survival horror games before, it will instantly feel familiar to you, but there is a lot more action and sci-fi drama into it than your traditional survival horror game.
You will be able to upgrade, customize and craft different weapons as you continue to progress through the story. The upgrades make your job more fun and satisfying for sure, but it doesn't make the game easier by any means. You will always be just one inch away from being ripped apart by mutants as your enemies will become harder to conquer by every passing moment. Yes, you'll unlock and craft more devastating weapons as you progress, but these hideous creatures will always keep you on your toes.
All in all, Dead Space 2 does a great job in accomplishing a sense of balance between the fun and seriousness. The game never tilts either way.
Apart from the amazing single player campaign, there is a multiplayer mode that will keep you engaged for some time. There is definitely a lot of content to be churned through.
8. Dead Space 3 – One of the Best Sci-Fi Games
The Dead Space series has traditionally been about less action and more horror elements, but Dead Space 3 has changed it. The focus of the last installment in Dead Space series is clearly on improving the combat mechanics. The end result is an great game with more focus on gunplay and crafting than taking the traditional horror routes. If you love action-packed RPG games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., you will love the new direction this game has taken.
The crafting system has been improved as well. It’s more fun than it was in Dead Space 2. It allows you to craft some really weird weapons which prevent things from becoming stale. You are going to come up with some really amazing combinations for sure. I for one spent more time honing in on crafting than anything else. What’s disappointing is that you can carry only two weapons at any point in time. It would have been more fun if we could carry more.
The newly introduced co-op mode, on the other hand, is a bit polarizing. Some people love it while others don’t quite like the new addition. If you like playing with your friends, though, you will not have much to complain about Dead Space 3. Playing in co-op mode will lead you to a different story with some unique cut-scenes.
Besides a unique story, there is another advantage of talking a friend along your journey—they make the job much easier for you. Tackling waves after wave of enemies is no more a headache as you have someone who can watch your back. You can effectively make a plan to dismantle your foes, especially when you have another pair of hands. It’s something you can’t do when you are playing alone. Space is lonesome where the feeling of isolation can set in anytime. Thankfully, you don’t have to play alone.
There are abandoned spaceships, fleets and other interesting places to explore. The whole world is bigger and better than the previous game as they have opened it up a bit for more exploration. And did I mention that you can float through Zero gravity? Granted, there is not much to do while you float, it’s still one of the most amazing additions to Dead Space 3. You can behold the beauty of space while slowly floating from one spaceship to another.
Dead Space 3 concludes the legendary trilogy series with a satisfying end to the storyline. Depending on how much time you spend with side quests and crafting, it's going to take 20-25 hours to finish. So if you are looking for some games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with some sci-fi elements and a great storyline, you must give Dead Space 3 a go.
9. Survarium – A Multiplayer Game
Survarium is a post-apocalyptic multiplayer shooter game with so much in common to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. If you are a fan of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, you will instantly feel home as Survarium is being developed by Vostok Games, a studio formed by staffs who have worked on S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games before. It’s still in early stages as a lot of things like co-op still haven’t been implemented, but they are getting there gradually.
Survarium only offers some quick PVP action in its current state, but the PVE missions will be added soon where you will be able to take on the mission and explore the vast wasteland with your friends. Although it is still in very early stages, you should be excited about their long term vision for this game. The vision is to develop Survarium as an open-world game where players can explore the deadly zones, anomalies and engage in some random encounters with other players and NPCs.
Put simply, they want Survarium to be the next S.T.A.L.K.E.R.! This alone should be enough for people to jump on the bandwagon. So if you are looking to play some games like S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but don’t have any issue with it being a multiplayer game, Survarium should be your first stop.