STALKER Games in Order: Which game to play first?

STALKER is a series of first-person action games developed by the Ukrainian studio GSC Game World, which creates its entire story arc in a large radioactive area of ​​Ukraine. Arkadi and Boris Strugatskys science fiction novel Roadside Picnic, published in 1971, serves as the basis for developing their playable proposal. It also reflects real-life events, such as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. And the subsequent transformation of the surrounding area into the Exclusion Zone.

The first installment of the franchise, which hit the market in 2007, quickly became one of the most successful titles in the sector.

After the success of this first foray and several expansions in 2008, and a prequel called Stalker Clear Sky, it was 2009 when the culmination of the franchise came for many with Stalker Call of Pripyat.

Which Order to Play STALKER game in

In this guide, I will explain the Stalker series, Stalker games in order, and Which STALKER should you play first? I will also explain the STALKER games series with a brief explanation. Also, explain what you can expect from the series and why you follow this order. Let’s start the STALKER games in order.

1. STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl (2007)

STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl

  • Platforms: PC (Windows)
  • Release date: 2007
  • Developer: GSC Game World

The first STALKER game in order is Shadow of Chernobyl. The plot of the Shadow of Chernobyl can rightfully be called the most intriguing of the entire series. In 2012, six years after the second disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, one of the stalkers found among the wreckage of a crashed truck the only survivor – the protagonist.

The guy remembers absolutely nothing about his past life. And the only clues are a tattoo and a PDA. Now he has to figure out the situation and learn how to survive in a dangerous environment. Fight monsters and unfriendly members of various factions, complete different tasks, equipped with more powerful equipment, to finally find out the truth about his mission.

As for the technical part

It turned out to be brought to mind only sometime after the problematic release. The developer ambitions reached cosmic proportions. But they were unsuccessful in realizing everything they wanted. As a result, a large number of critical reviews.

But let’s not talk about technical flaws – after all, the game has a lot of really motivating things to come back again and again. For example, it is a pleasure to explore the world around here. Abandoned villages, ruined houses, rickety pillars, and rusty equipment have already outlived their time. All this constitutes the primary atmosphere of the game. It is close to the inhabitants of Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics.

The A-life technology deserves special attention, which is responsible for organizing life within the ZONE. At first, it is practically invisible. And then its influence begins to come into view more and more often. Stalkers leave safe places, going about their business, be it searching for artifacts or shooting mutants. During the ejection, they run to safe places with sparkling heels and valuable equipment. And ammunition is taken from the corpses.


Monsters also live their own lives and not just stand rooted to the spot or patrol along a specific trajectory in some MMO RPG. They often continue to chase the unlucky player. Leave their usual habitat and pseudo-dogs, for example, dodging and dodging bullets, obviously acquiring primitive artificial intelligence. Also, monsters can be found in completely random places.


2. STALKER: Clear Sky (2008)


  • Platforms: PC (Windows)
  • Release date: 2008
  • Developer: GSC Game World

The second STALKER game in order is Stalker Clear Sky. According to the plot, gamers will have to be in the shoes of an experienced mercenary named Scar, who undertook to deliver a group of scientists to the swamps. One way or another, another anomalous release stopped all their research, leaving only the main character alive. The protagonist is rescued by guys from the Clear Sky faction. A paramilitary research group that is equally repulsing enemies and is studying the ZONE. A long and thorny path of the player along the updated map will begin from its base.


The gameplay of STALKER Clear Sky has become a little more complicated compared to the previous part. And this happened due to several changed aspects. Firstly, the economy in the game has become somewhat tight, and now the player’s pockets will rarely ring from the abundance of money.

Money in the new part will have to earn, climbing into the fields of anomalies in an attempt to get a rare artifact – after all, they alone are now worth something. You can also participate in a war between factions on one of the sides, but this is quite long and not so profitable.

And what is the point of making money if there is nothing to spend them on? Now good equipment will not be a problem because each faction has a merchant in its arsenal. And there, it is not far from a sniper rifle or exoskeleton.

Meanwhile, it became possible to repair and improve the purchased equipment. It is a powerful vacuum cleaner for the protagonist’s money. Any such trip for improvements or a new sight will surely turn into empty pockets for the player.


The new part of the STALKER series has become better and more beautiful. Although it is not immediately clear what is the reason for this. It would seem that the developers just added a couple of new effects, increased the detail of the game models, reworked the lighting, and made the textures clearer. However, all this together creates a pleasant feeling from the game. It feels more coherent and detailed.

In the last part of the series, the PDA and the map of the playing area evoked a lot of criticism – everything was too illegible, mixed in a heap, and generally not delimited. In STALKER Clear Sky, the developers have completely redesigned these interface elements, leaving more information and minimum water. GSC Game World did their best, and they managed to create the STALKER that players were waiting for at the time of the release of the original.

3. STALKER: Call of Pripyat (2009)

STALKER Call of Pripyat

  • Platforms: PC (Windows)
  • Release date: 2009
  • Developer: GSC Game World

The third STALKER game in order is Stalker Call of Pripyat. In the new game of the STALKER line, the world has become much darker and more hostile. The player will have to trample where life seemed to be in full swing. And also contemplate the post-Soviet ruins of Pripyat with abandoned stalls, panel houses, and squares.


The main change in the setting was the complication of the gameplay. Since now, all the action takes place in the center of the exclusion zone. It is obvious that there are more monsters here, and they have become more aggressive. And instead of scattering artifacts and golden mountains, there are only numerous anomalies here.

One of the main disadvantages of the previous games in the STALKER series was dull and burdensome tasks in the spirit of give-fetch, or go-find out, which, as a rule, were generated randomly.

In STALKER Call of Pripyat, the developers have fixed this problem by adding about twenty hand-made and exciting quests to the game so that now players have more motivation to explore. Also, in some sense, the new STALKER can be called non-linear. The resulting ending will depend on the player’s actions.

In the finale, the announcer will tell what will happen to the zone, its inhabitants, and the main characters. And if you fill up the wrong one, you will instantly want to return to that ill-fated moment and fix everything.


All the other innovations are, for the most part, changes regarding the appearance of the game. A new user-friendly interface with quick access cells and a map has appeared, much more convenient than the one that was in the previous parts. Optimization is also pleasing.

The new STALKER does not glitch, does not slow down, and does not try to crash every ten minutes of the game, and although it seems that all this should be present in a normal game. In the case of the STALKER series, this is another reason for joy. Yes, STALKER Call of Pripyat did not become a phenomenon in the gaming industry and didn’t offer anything new to the players. However, it took everyone’s favorite aspects from the first two games and brought them to mind. So now, this radioactive excursion through the abandoned post-Soviet wasteland is available to anyone. And you can play it.

4. The future of the series – STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl (2022)

Of course, fans have long been expecting a full-fledged sequel from GSC Game World with a new engine and significant improvements – both in the gameplay and the storyline – that the past three parts have already been wiped out. And in the summer of 2010, Grigorovich and the company announced the second part. The next year the development was curtailed, and the team was almost completely disbanded. For six years, there was no news, until May 2018, the case again got off the ground. The project now has an official website with a timer and mysterious numbers that represent a cipher for fans. It spawned a whole list of fan guesses:

  • STALKER 2 coming out in 2021?
  • The game will use a new version of Unreal Engine 4.
  • The action will take place in a large, seamless world, with no loading screens between locations.
  • The game will have multiplayer.

Of course, since, so far, nothing is known about the game. Fans have to be content with only the music theme on the site and the only art. All of the above cannot be confirmed or refuted in any way. It remains only to wait for the release date or at least a full demonstration of the gameplay.


Honestly, deciding which one to play first is difficult. But I think it would be best to start with the “Shadow of Chernobyl” because of its simple mechanics. It allows most players to enjoy themselves. Then, already accustomed to the mechanics, you get into Clear Sky. And finally, you end up with Call of Pripyat. Yes, this is my opinion. I only recommend that STALKER games in order. I hope, after reading this guide, you can play the STALKER games in order.

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