Review by Stabbersis
1 step forward, 10 steps back "Game is utterly worthless"
SUMMARY (yeah, I put it first, so what?)
It only gets this because it doesn't totally desecrate the idea of the zone nor does it destroy the coat tails it rides on. The game's story itself is nonexistent and your character is never explained, the end is never explained, nothing is explained.
It's not great, but it works, nightvision is still annoying
While it adds DX10.1 support, it's implemented so poorly that it requires outside tweaks and the like just to get it to work on any system.
While graphically, it can be impressive, it's not much better than what mods allow on the original, and the system drain kills what could have been a better score.
They barely added anything to the game, and literally reused 90% of what they already had, just ruining it.
This game is far closer to a third party mod, and I'd never recommend to anyone to pay for this game (unless it is to for use with mods which make the game better, as the original).
If you enjoyed STALKER, or found it unenjoyable without the various mod tweaks, don't even bother picking up this game.
The game, even when patched to 1.5+ is very buggy.
Beyond that, the world is in no way believable. When an emission comes, no one reacts to it, and people in bases can otherwise just vanish into thin air.
The only real improvement to the game is that you can now repair your gear instead of having to buy or find new guns when yours becomes ineffective, but you'll only ever use it a few times because any assault rifle will effectively do just as good a job as any other, and the shotguns perform better than most of them for most of the game.
Damage and Accuracy are both decreased from the previous game, with no consistency between weapon statistics. An 80% accuracy weapon will be significantly less accurate than another 75% accuracy weapon. While it's normal to aim for head shots, you'll find it pointless to even bother with anything else.
The beginning of the game is infuriating because not one single weapon has any kind of range on it, bullet's just randomly vanish in mid air, and the AI does not suffer from this defect.
Finding of artifacts, or useful artifacts, is a chore and a half. You can't even use an artifact until you've upgraded your armor, you no longer are simply granted slots for them.
Artifacts are, again, implemented poorly. +Health negates bleeding (as normal), the new +Max Weight increases your maximum weight, as anticipated, but does not decrease stamina drain, so it does little to benefit you.
The physics engine puts nothing on your character for most situations, NPCs will shove you out of cover positions that you're using, or block you off with no ability to move. This makes the knife a nearly useless weapon most of the time (and it's more damaging than anything you'll get for most of the game). An enemy attacking you will nudge you with it's animation and cause a knife attack to miss.
The shotgun is too prevalently powerful, aside from head shots, no other weapon does any notable damage to Mutants (30+ shots from an AK is not necessarily fatal).
Summarily, the game itself has been converted to a generic First Person Shooter, with the annoying stamina and weight limits.
There's one boss in the game, prior to the end, which is nothing special. However, the end game is a series of hallways, ending with a boss (complete with life bar, which is just sad), a room of infinite respawns for a time, and then another life bar boss that if you fail to kill within a time you just lose, and if you win... you just lose in the form of an end game cut scene.
Unfortunately, what could have otherwise been a nostalgic experience, shaping the Zone to what you remember it was in the original, there's only one event in the game that happens in this manner., aside from this one event, the game could easily be a sequel instead of a prequel.
The quests before that you'd get from a Barman are now handled through individual people, but the rewards are gotten from their faction bar, so you can find yourself having to run all over the place to get your money, but most of the time, no one has anything to offer you, and there are 0 delivery quests (so no more just getting money for keeping random items).
The economy is completely unpredictable, and almost game ruining. Almost no merchant will pay face value for any weapon, normally defaulting down to 1-10%, and marking up their sales in excess of 30%. There are a few people (I count 3 personally) that are willing to pay full price for goods, one buys only food items, one buys only ammo, and the other only has 5000 RUS so you can't really take advantage of the fact, so bringing 40 lbs of loot to a vendor (all 12000 guns in perfect condition) will only get you ~5000 RUS generally, and you have to make long treks to even find these vendors. Further, the Faction system is poorly implemented into this: having high faction doesn't grant any discounts or improved sales.
The game is a sore disappointment in every category. If you have to play this game, only do it if you haven't played Shadow of Chernobyl, as it will make the original seem infinitely better.
Otherwise, don't touch it, don't even look at it.... don't even THINK about it.
The game is bad, pure and simple.
Rating: 0.5 - Unplayable
Product Release: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (US, 09/15/08)
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