All the Halo and CoD players need to stop complaining about the difficulty level. You're used to playing arcade shooters, this is a completely different kind of game. All that's hard about this game is figuring out a more realistic way of fighting - besides charging in with a machine gun. That doesn't work in real life and thank god the developers didn't chicken out and make their new game easier. Enemy accuracy is NOT better than your own, unless everyone but me has no idea how to aim.
For starters, use a rifle if you intend to hit something more than 20-30 feet away reliably. Just like in the real world, you can't aim from the hip and get 30 headshots in a row. Turn off your flashlight, crouch, hide behind cover, use bushes to mask your approach, and then go for the headshot. Virtually every enemy in this game outside of the first area (swamp) has body armor, and most beyond Cordon have heavy-duty bulletproof armor. The reason you seem to have no accuracy is that you're shooting his virtually impenetrable chest body armor, probably in full-auto mode. He on the other hand is firing short controlled bursts and is aiming for YOUR HEAD.
Guns don't break down more than once every couple hundred rounds - usually - unless they're not regularly maintained. Read stories about American infantry in Iraq - their M4 rifles are damn near useless there because they're not being used in the environment they were designed for. The Zone is a unique environment. Can you blame a gun for locking up when all the ammo you're using is scavenged, it's in the middle of a supernatural rainstorm, and you just wandered through an anomaly that defies all known physics?
You should also read descriptions of weapons. Some are noted for their high quality workmanship and reliability. The common ones are noted for breaking down frequently. My Yantar sniper rifle went through at least 1,000 rounds before it jammed the first time. I repaired it, and for the rest of the game it never jammed again.
Don't charge into battles unless you want to die. Don't use weapons in bad condition unless you want to die. Don't let your armor fall into disrepair unless you want to die. Use cover unless you want to die. Do any of these things not make sense? It isn't Halo, people... I think, for the sake of Halo-ers there's actually a few artifacts that automatically stop bleeding and regenerate health pretty quickly, btw.
Most of the game's weapons are - by design - of poor workmanship, inaccurate, and unreliable. This is by design - the developers wanted to create a feeling of decay, as if all that's readily available is garbage. That way, when you stumble upon real, high quality stuff like a high-end rifle or pistol, you have a feeling of accomplishment.
This game is only half about completing missions - half of it is simply managing to stay alive while under-equipped in a hostile environment full of deadly monsters and bandits. You're not a walking tank this time around, you're just a regular guy trying not to die in a place where dozens of people die every minute.
I noticed someone complaining about having to sell so much loot to get any money... If I recall correctly, yes in SoC you got better money for loot, but I think I prefer it this way. I remember having over 75,000 cash by the time I went for my first trip to Agropom. Maybe they took things too far, I don't know, but getting 800 or so per high-end rifle doesn't seem so unfair. Your problem is probably that you're selling to a non-allied faction. If you buy/sell to traders that don't belong to your faction, you get a significantly worse deal, by 50% or more.
The game's not perfect, I almost quit playing it half-way through because of a bug that prevented me from re-entering the Garbage and Cordon areas. Then totally at random I was able to enter those areas again but my faction seemed to be totally content to just sit around and do nothing... pissed me off, and I'm really disappointed that this game was rushed out the door the way it was. But a few months down the road when it's patched up, it will be the modern pinnacle of survival-horror and I'll buy the next STALKER game the instant it's released too, even being worried about bugs.
Games like this that don't hold your hand are a dying breed. If you want your "Halo" mod, I'm sure someone will make one. Just replace all the guns with Mattel plastic ray guns and homing explosive crystals and make your health regenerate every time you still manage to get your ass kicked. Then all we'll need are some new ewok voice-overs and some kind of "extra shittyness" shader that make everything pastel colors.
edit: someone mentioned "where's the horror of SoC"... this is true to an extent, there's not nearly as many mutants in this one which I fount disappointing. But when you reach the Red Forest suddenly you're beyond SoC-level of monster terror. That's the only place in the entire game that I ran through like hell without even thinking about checking for artifacts. Going on an artifact hunt in that place is suicide.
*thump thump thump thump*...
louder *thump thump thump thump*
disembodied eyes suddenly coming at you
QUICKLOAD I WANT THE HELL OUT OF THIS PLACE
edit 2: Also, for the record I played on medium difficulty, as I always do the first time through a game.
1) difficulty is GOOD, go back to Halo if you want a game a child can beat.
2) enemies aren't more accurate than you, you just don't have enough practice aiming when a computer doesn't do it for you (btw, running and gunning, doesn't work)
3) traders of factions you don't belong to rip you off, that's why you're... getting ripped off.
4) A gun that's traded hands several dozen times and is using scrounged ammunition that was taken from the dead body of a guy who also scrounged the ammo off another dead body (repeat infinitely) in a hostile environment will probably lock up a lot. Probably not as much as in STALKER, but meh.
5) Repair your guns and armor frequently, don't use guns that are noted for being unreliable like that yellow British one or the AK74.
6) This isn't Halo, you can't hit someone a mile away while running full tilt backwards across a pond made of eels.
7) Not as creepy as the original STALKER, but still has very creepy spots.
8) Buggy as hell and I'll be the one leading the lynch mob if they don't patch this thing up, and quickly.