STALKER: Clear Sky (PC, 2008)

I've always been a pretty huge fan of the STALKER games. I got a copy of Shadow of Chernobyl at the local Best Buy for like $20 in 2007, I played the absolute hell out of it, and it's been way up my favorites list ever since. I got Call of Prypiat for $5 on Steam years ago and I really enjoy it. I've just never played Clear Sky. How about changing that?

(I previously tried playing this game without any mods or patches. It doesn't work. Because of that, I'll be using Patch 1.5.10 alongside Sky Reclimation Project v1.13. No "Optional Features" were installed.)


I enjoy buying physical copies of games so I did just that.

"Stalkers are dieing..." is a pretty funny typo. Wonder if anyone has a tie-die clothing/armor mod? Heh.

Day 1: Hour 0 - Hour 3

The intro plot is simple enough and I really appreciate that. You're just a dude named Scar who can withstand these events called "emissions" within the Zone, the setting which the game takes place in. Most people die, you just kinda shut down and have some minor nervous system damage. Issue is, if you take a bunch of them, you're going to have a fried nervous system and die. Because of that, the Clear Sky faction who took you in wants to know if you'll help them out and stop the emissions from happening.

The opening cinematic shows you going through an emission. The first "job" you do ends with you getting hit a second time. I think that's enough motivation to get going.

The first setting of the game is the Swamps. Lots of awkward terrain, tall grass, radioactive water, and mutant stuff running around. I enjoy it, mix it with the fact that the selected difficulty makes everything fairly deadly and you're at least somewhat on-edge when you're going around.

The first quests seem to just be getting tasked with going around and clearing out these groups of "Renegades" who are trying to violently control the place. The picture above is the Pump Staiton, the first place I went to. I was supposed to probably have four dudes helping me clear it out but, well, they all died to mutants on the way there. hah. I think I spent a good thirty minutes just going in, dying, loading, and repeating the whole ordeal. Eventually I discovered that pressing "Y" lets me switch to these ten slug rounds I have, making my shotgun into a (crappy) rifle, and man did that help. Pick off the first few dudes, switch back to shot, run in, save real quick, and start clearing the pump station itself.

After clearing the pump station, I went south to pick up this modified PMm pistol off a dead Clear Sky member to return it to the faction. I could've kept it for myself, it looked good, but eh. The reward was some cash and a first aid kit, stuff I really need, so I don't mind.

By the time I came back, the friendly dude who arrived was crouched down ready to fire. I had no idea where, then I looked to the north...

heh, ragdoll go zoooom. Some of the mutants I guess can just throw dudes around, kinda cool. The rest eventually gave up trying to fight the mutant and instead decided to try and re-capture the pump station. Didn't work too well for 'em, they came up this really thin choke point and I have a shotgun. I think you know what that meant.

So far, I have no complaints. It's just a fun game. Janky as hell, people are glitching through stuff/I had an enemy go invisible on me for some reason which was a cheap death, but whatever so are most open-world RPGs I've played. The fun moments at the start have far outnumbered the dull moments.

Day 2: Hour 3 - Hour 5

Going through the various locations to secure for Clear Sky, you come across this old burnt-down farmstead. Inside one of the buildings is an anomaly that starts spitting tons of fire whenever anyone gets near it. Pretty damn cool if I say so myself.

I found this MP5 on someone's body. Needless to say, once I got back to the trader and grabbed a bunch of 9x19 ammo for it, this is my new favorite gun. It has decent range, the full-auto is stupidly good at putting enemies down, and it doesn't jam too much? I'm sure it'll start getting as unreliable as my PM in no time.

On the topic, the weapon condiiton system isn't too annoying. In some games with similar it can be a right pain, your gun wears to a useless mess in a whole no firefights, but really I don't have to put too many rounds out onto a target once I figure out the effective rance to get within. I can clear a camp of five or six renegades with a magazine and a half of the MP5. Meanwhile, the PM is so weak that it takes like eight shots per-target if I'm lucky so that thing is entirely gone.

After you clear out all the renegades, you open a path to the Cordon. Rememember the Cordon from Shadow of Chernobyl if you played that game? Yep, same exact place. Issue is, well, the path the game told me to go puts me in front of a military base. Said military base has a dude on a machine gun who kills in like two hits and I can't hit him back. I want to say I stared at this Game Over screen for a good half hour of my playtime today.

Was this seriously what the devs wanted you to do? Keep dying until you magically get lucky and outrun bullets?

Nah. I looked at my PDA and it turns out there's a northern path that leads out opposite that house where you and the one dude (I think his name was?) get attacked by a pack of dogs in Shadow of Chernobyl. Basically, I think it leads out nowhere near the military which is exactly what I need.

Go through it and you come out into a safe opening. Same exact thing as SoC. What the heck. I think this seems like a good point to stop for the day so I will.

Day 3: Hour 5 - Hour 8

The Cordon is pretty neat. It's the same map as Shadow of Chernobyl but it's more alive. You've got roaming packs of mutants and bandits, people dynamically move around and occupy the various buildings, and it's just kinda pleasant.

Not really a ton to do here. Well, there is stuff to do, it just kinda goes by quick? You go see Sidrovich, he tells you to pick up some stuff, you do that, you go back, he tells you into, and you're pretty much already set story-wise to move to the next area. There are a few side quests I did, mainly just helping Wolf's brother and clearing out little groups of bandits.

I didn't go through the north path to the Garbage, instead taking this side-tunnel, and holy crap that's a lot of enemies. I guess the bandits control pretty much this whole area, just a few Stalkers are stuck in some ruins to the northeast and the rest are kept captive.

The Garbage is a pain in the ass if I say so myself, these guys have decent armor so I can't just headshot them with the Viper 5/MP5 like I was doing in the other areas. After clearing the five dudes next to the pipe I came out of, I tried to clear the junkyard. Nope. Ten bandits with AKs throwing grenades ruin me in a matter of seconds.

Still, it looks kinda neat. I didn't go check out that hazy blue stuff in the distance, I'm sure it'll just kill me, but maybe there's something cool in there. Heh.

Hit a funny glitch when I died one time. My body turned into spaghetti and I went flying across the whole map.

You eventually get told to go to the Dark Valley and hm, pretty dead around here. Well, dead until you progress the story. Then a bunch of mercs set out to kill the local faction, Freedom, start coming for you. By this point I got a slightly-upgraded AK so I can actually deal with these types of enemies who have proper armor. Threw a scope on it as well, really helps.

The game is definitely starting to move a bit faster but some of these side-quests... I don't like escort missions. So far they're not horrible, just escort someone through a single group of enemies, but holy crap some of the people are stupid. I think it was Wolf's brother where you have five mutants come out and instantly run to attack him? You give the dude a gun and he doesn't even try shooting the things, he just runs into a corner. Makes it even harder because now you might shoot him. I had to re-try a good five times just to get lucky enough where he didn't die. Blah.

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