The Stalker series is such an interesting one: GSC Game World's open world first-person shooters are intensely beloved and incredibly influential, yet at the same time they cry out for major modifications and overhauls to fix their notable shortcomings. There have been many big mods for the Stalker games over the years, like Remake (opens in new tab), Dead Air (opens in new tab), and Call of Chernobyl (opens in new tab) for Stalker: Call of Pripyat, Remaster (opens in new tab) and Lost Alpha (opens in new tab) for Shadow of Chernobyl, and plenty more.
And now there's a new one, in a manner of speaking. Gunslinger, an overhaul mod for Stalker: Call of Pripyat, has been in the works for almost 10 years, but it's never had any sort of playable version released. Until now, that is. Gunslinger is finally in open beta.
Gunslinger is an overhaul of many of Stalker's weapons and animations, adding more realism to just about everything you do in the game:
"This mod overhauls the original first-person point of view to true quality vision with every movement looking natural and every weapon behaving like its real counterpart," the ModDB page says. "Using items like med kits will be visible to you now, weapon jamming will have its own unique animation and upgrading your weapon will be another big point of your survival in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – every weapon have it’s own upgrade tree which consists of suppressors, scopes, laser sights and etc."
Those animations look fantastic, too. Just look at this pill-popping video posted in December, and some combat footage (opens in new tab) posted in June. There's also a sweet-looking modded PDA you can see in the video at the top of the page. Rather than switching to a map screen, you hold it up in your hands in front of you in real time, which is the best kind of video game map.
I recall seeing a video clip of Gunslinger way back in 2014 of an encounter with a controller, one of Stalker's most-dreaded mutants. Unlike the vanilla attack of psychic bolts that can eventually kill a player, the modded controller in Gunslinger can actually force the player to raise their pistol under their own chin and pull the trigger or stab themselves in the gut with their own knife. It's a difficult sequence to forget, especially due to the skillful animation that shows the struggle of the player to fight the deadly mind control:
There are a few hurdles to trying out the Gunslinger beta—currently, there's no English localization, the files aren't yet on Gunslinger's ModDB page, and the google drive and Yandex links listed in the YouTube video's description (opens in new tab) are currently out of commission, possibly from too many people trying to download the installer at once. Hopefully there will be new sources to download the files from soon, so keep an eye on the Gunslinger mod page on ModDB (opens in new tab).