These 3 cult classic FPS games are MUST-PLAYS, and their sale price works out to less than $3 each

Cyber Monday is one of the best times to pick up some excellent games at rock bottom prices, and right now, the entirety of one of my all-time favorite series is on sale: STALKER. This trilogy of cult classic survival horror shooters from the late 2000s is both incredibly unique and utterly captivating, and right now, you can get a bundle of all three games for only $7.19 at Fanatical (Steam). That's an amazing 82% markdown of the usual $39.99 price, and the lowest I've ever seen it sell for. However, this deal is only available until November 30, so act fast.

STALKER Complete Bundle | $39.99now $7.19 at Fanatical (Steam)

STALKER Complete Bundle | was $39.99 now $7.19 at Fanatical (Steam)

Get all three of the original STALKER games — Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat — for under $8 with this incredible Cyber Monday discount. These are the best survival shooters I've ever played, and I strongly recommend pulling the trigger on this deal before it goes away soon.

Perfect for: Fans of atmospheric FPS games with survival horror elements, as well as dynamic open worlds and tense gunfights 

Avoid if: You're looking for an experience that's linear, completely action-focused, or on the easier side

☢️Individual STALKER game deals: Shadow of Chernobyl ($5) | Clear Sky ($2.50) | Call of Pripyat ($5)


Welcome to The Zone, stalker...

A stalker fighting off "snork" mutants in STALKER: Call of Pripyat. (Image credit: GSC Game World)

Developer GSC Game World's STALKER games take place before the upcoming STALKER 2 in 2012, and are set in a fictional version of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone — a sectioned off portion of Ukraine that surrounds the site of the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986. In the game universe, a second disaster mysteriously occurred in 2006, resulting in the spawn of bizarre pockets of deadly supernatural phenomena called "anomalies" as well as horrifyingly mutated creatures. The Zone was sealed off by the military shortly thereafter, but rumors of otherworldly treasures and the allure of a region cut off from the rest of the world inspired brave and curious explorers, dubbed "stalkers," to find ways inside.

You play as one of these stalkers in all three games, exploring The Zone's various regions, interacting with its different factions, and scavenging for supplies while trying to survive its numerous dangers. Without spoiling anything, your general goal in each is to push into the center of The Zone and learn what's going on there, working with other stalkers and completing quests along the way to kit yourself out with the best weapons and armor you can find, along with enough ammo, food, water, medkits, and anti-rad medicine to get you there in one piece.

The series' open-ended structure leads to these journeys playing out very dynamically. Though the main questlines have linear progression, you're free (and encouraged) to go off the beaten path as much as you want, and thanks to STALKER's ambitious "A-Life" AI system, no two playthroughs are ever the same. For example, in my first run of Shadow of Chernobyl, I ran right into a checkpoint of soldiers as I was fleeing a military base and was forced to take cover behind a tree while I desperately tried to pick them off; in a recent playthrough, though, a group of friendly stalkers exploring nearby snuck up on those same soldiers and took them out before I even got there...only for a pack of deadly mutants to attack once I did.

Indeed, STALKER constantly keeps you on your toes with emergent situations like these, and the atmosphere is scarily effective at making you feel like anything could happen at any moment. Gloomy autumn landscapes, eerily quiet, will have you nervously checking your surroundings after every ambient whisper of wind, rustle of leaves, or distant howl. Occasionally, fierce gunfire will erupt between two factions or a mutant will run into a nearby anomaly you weren't aware of and explode with a violent burst of blood and bone...only for things to fall silent once more, leaving you anxious and on high alert. The suspense is so thick that you could cut it with a knife, and that tension is precisely why STALKER is endlessly thrilling to play, and also one of the best PC games.

Now, it's certainly not perfect. Firefights, while wonderfully intense, are also a bit clunky, and the series is rather notorious for its goofy voice acting and some cheesy sound effects (personally, I enjoy these, as they add some levity to the experience). The games are also a little buggy, so you might experience the occasional crash. But on the whole, STALKER is fantastic, and with the modern sequel STALKER 2 slated to drop in Q1 2024, there's never been a better time to head to The Zone — especially when Cyber Monday allows you to get all three games for this cheap.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.