Ukrainian developer GSC Game World has finally brought its noughties STALKER games to console in the form of STALKER: Legends of the Zone Trilogy - out now on Xbox. This collection brings together the team's three existing STALKER titles — Shadow of Chornobyl, Clear Sky and Call of Prypiat — into one neat package, and we've been trying them out on Xbox Series X. Re-entering the zone has been tough to say the least, but these are worthy versions of some open-world PC classics.

First off, let's mention the actual port job here, impressively handled by GSC and partner studio Mataboo. All three titles make their way over to Xbox with relative ease - these games hold up very well visually for their time of release. Honestly, it's hard seeing these as Xbox 360-era games at times, and although there are some obvious rough edges as a result of their age, they look fantastic. On Xbox Series X we're talking 60FPS too (switchable to 30 in the menu if you'd like), and despite the team's promise of more next-gen upgrades to come in a later patch, we're happy with how things are looking anyway.

Hands On With The STALKER Trilogy: Impressively Ported, Definitely Dated 1

There's another impressive aspect to this release as well - the old STALKER games never had any proper official controller support on PC, so the fact that they feel as smooth as they do here is top work. Yes, the aiming is janky, and yes, some of the animations are dated, but we honestly thought that gamepad feel would be a lot more disconnected than it ultimately is. So, that's a nice bonus for Xbox players!

Right, moving onto the games themselves, we've had a wee bash on all three titles and man these games are tough. We can vaguely cast our minds back to messing around with the first game's PC version back in the day, but very little of that knowledge has stuck, truth be told. On leaving the bunker and exploring Shadow of Chornobyl's blasted landscape, we were almost immediately scratching our heads as to what to actually do. Don't be expecting super clear waypoints, obvious mission objectives and any streaks of white paint to show you where you're going here!

Thankfully, these games are largely freeform and you can go about things as you please pretty much straight away. Once we'd chatted with some locals and progressed our initial mission a little bit, we entered a few skirmishes on the outskirts of the opening village. Be warned, enemies in STALKER are unforgiving and it's definitely best to take your time, picking off bandits slowly but surely.

Hands On With The STALKER Trilogy: Impressively Ported, Definitely Dated 2

STALKER combat on controller is... interesting, shall we say? Aiming definitely feels a little off, especially if you're used to aim assist-ridden console shooters like we absolutely are these days. It's wise to use weapons that require a little less accuracy, and once we'd grabbed the double barrel shotgun from a fallen foe we definitely took to that as our weapon of choice in the early hours of stalking around Chornobyl and its surrounding areas.

After we'd passed that initial bandit camp we took on a few more missions, and let's just say we got used to seeing 'GAME OVER' splashed on our screen quite a bit. It can be hard to tell when you take damage in STALKER, and admittedly that led to a fair few surprising deaths in our early hours. Once we learnt some of the moving patterns performed by the somewhat janky AI, things did get a little easier, but enemies are pretty unpredictable in STALKER so you just have to take each skirmish as it comes.

All of this largely carries over to the other two titles in the STALKER Trilogy too. The mechanics of Clear Sky feel a little different, and when it comes to the shooting perhaps a bit more refined, but both Shadow of Chornobyl and Call of Prypiat are definitely singing from the same hymn sheet. That's to say, take your time with these, don't rush enemy encounters and make sure you do plenty of looting as you move around each area.

Hands On With The STALKER Trilogy: Impressively Ported, Definitely Dated 3

Outside of combat, your first few hours in these STALKER games will probably consist of lots of running around like a radiated chicken trying to find your way, avoiding harmful 'anomalies' that cause huge radiation spikes, and scrambling around trying to find mission items - and there's definitely something to be said about re-exploring these old nuclear wastelands once again. The atmosphere is off the charts here, and with a little learning of these games' systems and mechanics, we're hoping to get plenty of enjoyment of STALKER: Legends of the Zone trilogy ahead of the upcoming launch of STALKER 2 - as long as we don't die too much trying!

If you're hyped about STALKER 2 coming to Xbox Game Pass and have never played these old STALKER games, well, they're now available and have been impressively ported to Xbox. However, they're also unforgiving PC games of a very different era, and your mileage with this trilogy will definitely vary depending on your fondness for this sort of title - and if you've had any experience with the PC releases of course. We can't knock much of anything about these ports though; they're impressive to look at, surprisingly smooth to control and are decent value at $40 for three games. STALKER has arrived on Xbox, and we're intrigued to see how the franchise develops on the platform.

Have you had the chance to try these Stalker games out yet? If so, tell us what you think down below.