Here’s the big question though - after so many years (six by our count) and so much strife, is the game finished? Well yes, in as much as it’s a full game without too many glitches (you can expect a patch). On top of that, it’s an entirely enjoyable experience, so in that sense, yes, it’s finished.
This isn’t to say, however, that you can’t see the loose threads. On the map screen for example, there are various areas that were clearly once in contention for inclusion but met the vicious scissors of fate: you’ll find yourself leaving one area through a creaky gate and magically entering the next zone through a road tunnel.
The interactions with other Stalkers also seem empty compared with what the interface seems prepped for - witness the (now irrelevant) ladder system showing your rank in the world of Stalkers, and the sudden appearance of your rival’s stashes on your PDA once you’ve offed them.
Finally, as we’ve already indicated, the game’s dialogue and storytelling techniques are cumbersome in the extreme. The game is superb at conjuring up visual treats - the shadows of zombies projected onto a wall by bright orange firelight for example - but the smooth gaming putty needed to fill in the gaps between these wonders is striking in its absence.