Clouded skies

Yes, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is not that new, but I did not have an opportunity to play it till now. I have really mixed feelings about it. While it does have more than necessary old maps, it did have some fun elements, but it definitely is NOT a complete new game, maybe not even an expansion.

With the .06 patch, DX10.1 was introduced. It looks surprisingly well on a HD4850, but is really at the edge of playability in 1440x900 maxed (except AA). It does not look extraordinary on its own right, but it is still way better than e.g. Fallout 3, while not so graphic as CoD 5. It has about all the wistles and bells one could think, and the modelling is on-par with the dead area.

Dynamic music, which does not exactly turn off when combat is over. I've had better luck with ten year old implementations. Sound effects are nothing to write home about, they are there and that's it. I did like the muffled suppressed sound though.

Levels & Design
Well, this is the worst aspect of the game hands down! First, for about the price of a new game, you get mostly the old maps and some new ones. In places, the anomalies were moved, in others, left as they were. My greatest pain was to the fast traveling system: there are special NPCs, who will take you to other places for gazillions of rubels. You have to chose between ammo, an update to your rifle or a long trip. Better yet, after the forrest, I didn't bump into any trader NPC,
so I didn't have any opportunity to exchange loot for money, which meant that my equipment quality went down the drain, even when I did collect enought loot to arm an army. (yep, my only cheat: carry 2 tons of stuff so I thought I didn't have to do return trips.) Then I dropped the loot before the feet of a repair NPC, amounting to quite a pile, but still no luck, you can't sell guns to anyone but the specific trader ones, which were nowhere around.

Weapons & Items
If you played with the original, you already met with just about everything you'll meet in here. An advice: go for headshots always, leave the heavy consuming rifles for others, or you will run out of ammo before enemies. Stick to the head, and you'll have enough, in most cases, plenty to spare.
As in the previous version, maybe even more, you're always stretched thin in rubels.

Well, it rather feels like playing the same game again, with some graphical updates and barely a handful of new maps. If you plan on completing the sidequests as well, join the factions or something like that, than you're in for quite some time. If you only go for the main quest, it still is longer than most new FPS games. But nothing is an excuse for being the bug-ridden unplayable game that it was from the day it came out till the very latest patch, or having even less new content than an expansion.

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