SoC is my favorite game of all time (HL2 is a close 2nd). So ... YES.
And be sure to grab and install the Complete 2009 Mod for it before you start ... makes it look a ton better (like 2009 game instead of 2006), and adds a couple nice subtle improvements to gameplay like repairs of guns/armor).
Skipping CS is no big deal, you can play it last no problem, but make sure to play SoC first, for sure ... this is critical.
I'm jealous of anyone getting to play SoC for the first time. I've played it through like 10 times w/various mods. SUCH an amazing game.
Beware, though ... you'll feel a bit lost in the beginning. The tutorial and manual are weak. Make sure to lower difficulty to 'Stalker' level at most, above that and you're going to DIE a LOT in the beginning. The guns and armor suck in the beginning, too, but once you get into it a ways you'll find a lot better stuff. Once you get the AK w/a scope, the game gets awesome. The gunplay is my favorite of any game out there, and specifically the Vintar BC is my favorite gun in ANY game, EVER.
Just make sure to tough out the beginning, the game does get REALLY cool, but the beginning is TOUGH and you'll feel pretty lost until you get used to how things operate in teh Zone.
At some point a ways in, you're going to be heading to a place called Lab X-18. Make sure you are playing this level alone, at night, with headphones on. It's one of the freakiest sections of game you'll ever play if you set yourself up right to be scared
Lastly ... MAKE A LOT OF MANUAL SAVES, and save OFTEN. This game doesn't hold your hand w/autosaving AT ALL, and if you're not diligent w/saving your progress yourself, you'll be playign the same stuff over and over.
One final thing ... once you clear out Lab X-15 (second lab in the game), you'll get a mission called 'Meet the Guide'. DO NOT SKIP this mission thread, otherwise you won't be able to get the 'real' ending. Which means the ending sucks and you miss out on like 2 more hours of great gameplay.Edited by brettjv - 12/31/10 at 3:27pm