S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
A creepy, mature, first-person sci-fi shooter.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You play as a mercenary in a radioactive zone trying to recover magical artifacts.


As a violent and gory first-person shooter, players see bodies torn apart, lots of characters and animals bleeding profusely, and chunks of flesh flying. Realistic weapons are used and shots to the head rewarded. Knifing an opponent is also praised.


While not excessive, near the beginning of the game you'll hear "s--t" and "bulls--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Liquor (most notably vodka) can be located and consumed all throughout the single-player campaign. It reduces radiation and applies a limited "drunk" effect.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the extreme violence and gore in this game make it an adults-only affair. Anomalies tear bodies apart, characters and animals bleed profusely when shot, and chunks of flesh fly freely when hit by more powerful attacks. It is possible to shoot others in the head, which results in a reward during multiplayer gameplay. This game offers online play, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for anyone under 12.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byInnovation874 November 24, 2018

Title says it all

Great idea lots to explore.
I enjoyed most of it up till... I will explain

Where I felt odd......

It is dark from A monster called bloodsucker which appears... Continue reading
Adult Written byTheInsaneDude June 25, 2015

I think parents and the like should start using their brains and play this magnificent game.

You guys should actually read what's on the box, and play the game yourself before making judgements based on what you think goes on, based on what actual... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bygreen plastic chair May 5, 2020

The reviewer probably didn't even play the game.

Suggested Rating: T for violence and alcohol.


Summary: some uses of sh*t

First of all, common sense gave 4/5 for profanity even though they said... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 26, 2017

Did you even play the whole game, common sense media?!

This is a really good game people. It does have some violence and swearing, but like though you wouldn't start yelling the b word if someone shoots you. Th... Continue reading

What's it about?

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL takes place at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, where an army of zombies spawned by the 1986 disaster is bent on destroying humanity. You're a \"Stalker,\" a freelance mercenary, and your goal is to stay alive long enough to recover rare artifacts with magical properties to sell to the scientific community, military agencies, and anonymous collectors. With the money you accumulate, you can buy better weapons, ammunition, equipment, and protective suits to be worn in areas with extremely high radiation levels. You can consume artifacts, too, but each comes at a price: The gelatinous Slug artifact, for example, can drive out radiation and nourish you, but it also makes you extremely susceptible to thermal, electric, or chemical injury.

Is it any good?

Because of its creepy atmosphere and disturbing creatures, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is billed as a "survival shooter" game, combining elements from the "survival horror" genre. You will also experience stealth games, role-playing games, and tactical-action games. With the latter, you can go it alone or work with computer-controlled allies to solve the non-linear mission objectives. The game's artificial intelligence is quite good.

The single-player game boasts more than 60 hours of gameplay, not to mention multiplayer modes for up to 32 players online. Because of its many missions and modes, chilling atmosphere, and interwoven role-playing elements, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. won't disappoint fans of first-person action games. Just be sure to take notice of the game's "Mature" rating (for players age 17 and older) because of its intense violence and gore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game is purely science fiction. While it takes place at Chernobyl, years after the real-life nuclear disaster there, you are primarily shooting radioactive creatures and other baddies. Why do you think producers chose to use a real-life disaster as the setting? With mature teens who play this game, you may want to discuss what happens to people and vegetation near a nuclear accident or bombing.

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: THQ
  • Release date: March 19, 2007
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, use of alcohol
  • Last updated: June 20, 2019

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