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STALKER: Clear Sky Review

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October 22, 2008 5:21:02 PM

Review by Ryan Lord

A prequel expansion to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl puts players back in the radioactive Russian wasteland battling mercenaries and mutants. Clear Sky brings some new elements to the series, but do stability issues derail the game?

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/10/22/stalkerclearsky_review/
October 22, 2008 5:38:41 PM

Cue someone disagreeing with Ryan Lord on something in the review, and then Ryan Lord charging in like the elephant in the room stomping his feet and being condescending to anyone that has the audacity to disagree with him, because apparently writing a review for Toms Games means he can never be wrong about anything, ever.

Best entertainment on the net.

That being said, great review!
October 22, 2008 10:42:52 PM

This game had some critical stability issues, and I mean CRITICAL, it would BSOD and crash to desktop on me like crazy, horrible optimization, corrupt save files (Lost about 6 hours of my day there), game breaking bugs like at the very end you couldn't save in Chernobyl, otherwise Strelok would become invulnerable, and so on.

With that said, it is THE only game I would take all of this crap from, STALKER series have no comparison to anything out there, and to me they are the best games made in a long LONG time. The Master difficulty was just right for me (Yeah... I like my STALKER a little sadistic), customizable weapon and armor system was something really appreciated, the new artifact hunt thing was fun for me, and the increased amount of AP rounds available was also a great improvement.

Despite technical issues, I still love my STALKER, the reviewer probably got too frustrated with the stability of the game and numerous (I can relate to that), but in my opinion this game is superb.

EDIT: Two things I have to comment on the reviewer's conclusions are first of all, if you don't like if the game is too difficult then set it to easy, I prefer my games as hard as possible (increases playtime for me) and even some games on the verge of impossible. This is an acquired taste and obviously doesn't translate to you, but I really do hate when people bash games based on difficulty, just like what happened to GRAW2, brilliant difficulty, but bashed to death by angry reviewers.

My second statement refers to the ammo bit, I don't think we played the same game, because I carried at all times a SGI-5k (modded to 5.45), an Avalanche, and a GP37 I think, and I usually had ~1100 5.45 rounds, ~900-1000 5.56 rounds, and ~600-700 9x39 rounds (This is total ammunition available by adding together regular and AP rounds). I can honestly say every time I was running "low" on ammo (About 400-500) I would just switch to a different gun and be restocked in no time. If you didn't notice, the trick was to pick up every rifle from every guy you killed, unload it, and the drop it on the floor, that way you get insane amounts of ammo.
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October 23, 2008 2:31:56 AM

Quote:
I just can't stop laughing


Okay, that is pretty hilarious, and likely a quite accurate description of the game. And yet for us S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fans, Clear Sky is god's gift to mankind... :-)

Seriously though, complaining about the difficulty in a review? The only reason Clear Sky is so hard is because it was often complained that Shadow of Chernobyl was too easy...
October 23, 2008 4:53:23 AM

emp said:


EDIT: Two things I have to comment on the reviewer's conclusions are first of all, if you don't like if the game is too difficult then set it to easy, I prefer my games as hard as possible (increases playtime for me) and even some games on the verge of impossible. This is an acquired taste and obviously doesn't translate to you, but I really do hate when people bash games based on difficulty, just like what happened to GRAW2, brilliant difficulty, but bashed to death by angry reviewers.


I couldn't agree more. Crying about the difficulty in a game?!?!?!? I am no hardcore gamer, but its not that difficult. What did he want Serious Sam CS, with ammo lying everywhere. I have tons of ammo, all he had to do was search every bandit he killed! No the money is harder to come by, but thats a good thing. In the 1st STALKER I had like 100,000 RU at the end of the game. And complaining that artifacts gave him radiation, I have found like 3-4 without trying hard that reduce the radiation, its called "GAME BALANCE"! If the game were easier it would not be nearly as fun. Can you tell I'm a STALKER CS fanboy! :) 

The CTD and bug issue I can understand, the first STALKER had similar problems, but I personally have almost no problems with the game.
October 23, 2008 9:37:33 PM

Void - what was that about?

In regards to other comments about difficulty, I didn't give it a 5 because of difficulty. Actually, the difficulty of the game and the missions were hardly covered, and I was able to beat the game just fine. Trust me, I'm almost finished with Mega Man 9. I can handle difficulty in games. :) 

My biggest gripes were related to the balance, the inventory system (and weight restrictions), the lack of return on items brought back to be traded (which voided out the value of trading anything but artifacts really), and the negative element of radiation that almost every single artifact that I personally found gave. Call it bad luck if you want, but I was pretty ticked off that I couldn't use the artifacts that could have been really useful since I couldn't counter the radiation.

In regards to ammo complaints, I did gut the ammo from guns most of the time but I was also trying to carry a close range weapon, a automatic rifle, and a sniper rifle at all times. My sniper rifles required their own special ammo that was a pain to find, and I kept running into situations where I'd encounter a bad dry spell of ammunition for my auto rifle. I had invested a lot of money in upgrades for my weapons and I wasn't ready to ditch them for something else especially when the stats were worse.
October 23, 2008 10:34:29 PM

Man... you need to play the first STALKER to understand how to play STALKER games properly, otherwise you're going to find yourself in a sea of trouble getting used to the mechanics.

First of all, you need to get a suit that boosts your weight limit, until then you have to use artifacts to get the job done, also you NEED anti-rad artifacts like Bubbles, that's just how you mix artifacts, 3 Anti-rad and 2 stat boosters. That's the reason you didn't get the proper use of artifacts, because you weren't using Anti-rad ones, you're supposed to balance the negative and positive effects.

I'm assuming by close range you mean a shotgun, of course I see your problem now, no wonder you were running low on ammo, regular Sniper ammo is very scarce and shotguns are almost useless after the beginning of the game. You'd end up using all your ammo for the useful weapon (Assault rifle) and find yourself with no other viable weapons, if you wanted a sniper-like experience you should've scoped an assault rifle and upgraded it's accuracy or waited until you get the Vintar BC sniper rifle. (This one is the best and has lots of ammo by the time you get a hold of one)

I immediately tried to play this game like the original STALKER and worked pretty much perfectly. One trick for your inventory problems, throughout the game carry a few weight boosting artifacts (or a suit that boosts weight limit), 2 scoped assault rifles (5.56 and 5.45), a handgun if you want, med kits. DO NOT CARRY FOOD! You should have enough space/weight in your inventory to haul a lot of loot back to a trader to sell.

Basically you can't just jump in the game and carry a lot of stuff, you need to think what are the more widely available types of ammo, how much does gun weigh, what's your maximum weight limit, what type of ammo used by a gun, how are different artifacts affecting your stats, etc.

A good example of a decent inventory is a Bulat Suit upgraded to anti-rad, 5.45 and 5.56 scoped rifles (fully modded to accuracy), a .45 ACP handgun, 2 Bubble artifacts (anti-rad artifact), a stat-boosting artifact, and med kits.

With the stuff above you should get 55+ on every defensive stat (anti-rad, psy, bulletproof, etc), have two accurate rifles that you can use on firefights or sniper showdowns, 70 kg max weight (using about 30kg with the stuff above), and if you pick enough ammo for both rifles you should NEVER have problems with it.
October 24, 2008 12:36:17 AM

ryanlord said:
Void - what was that about?

In regards to other comments about difficulty, I didn't give it a 5 because of difficulty. Actually, the difficulty of the game and the missions were hardly covered, and I was able to beat the game just fine. Trust me, I'm almost finished with Mega Man 9. I can handle difficulty in games. :) 

My biggest gripes were related to the balance, the inventory system (and weight restrictions), the lack of return on items brought back to be traded (which voided out the value of trading anything but artifacts really), and the negative element of radiation that almost every single artifact that I personally found gave. Call it bad luck if you want, but I was pretty ticked off that I couldn't use the artifacts that could have been really useful since I couldn't counter the radiation.

In regards to ammo complaints, I did gut the ammo from guns most of the time but I was also trying to carry a close range weapon, a automatic rifle, and a sniper rifle at all times. My sniper rifles required their own special ammo that was a pain to find, and I kept running into situations where I'd encounter a bad dry spell of ammunition for my auto rifle. I had invested a lot of money in upgrades for my weapons and I wasn't ready to ditch them for something else especially when the stats were worse.

I think the difficulty comments may have been aimed at the zero puncuation review which I posted along with the comment "i can't stop laughing" - but those reviews aren't great in terms of actual reviewing, they are just hilarious (check the painkiller review XD)
October 24, 2008 7:59:34 PM

I never got any of the stability issues. I played the game from start to finish, twice. Not a single crash.

Then I loaded back to a half-way point to just hunt for easter-eggs and artifacts where I explored just about every sq. foot of the map, still no stability problems.

Things that I thought sucked:

-Pin-point accuracy of enemies w/ grenades

-Your own grenades hardly stunning the target

-How pitifully weak and inaccurate some of the weapons are until upgraded
Maybe I was just special though. :p 
!