"Am I the only one who wasn't overly impressed with the Stalker series?"
Unfortunately, yes. I think what you fail to realize about this game is that the gaming industry is not on a level playing field. Take the Gear of War team, which was probably hundreds, against a game like Stalker which is under 15 people. Not a fair comparison.
These comparisons happen to movies too where people think a movie that has a 50 million budget can compete/compare to a 1 mill budget flick. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised when an underdog does work and beats the odds. I think Stalker is that game.
Sure it has a lot of problems, the Quality Assurance team is gone, the bugs are pretty bad, but what it does right (originality, atmosphere) hasn't been matched by any game/rpg in recent memory. Not even Fallout 3 can beat Stalker in those areas, but F3 is better selling, has a much bigger company, came from a well known IP etc.
You get the idea.