Giganto-Spoiler: First 25 Minutes Of Clear Sky

By Jim Rossignol on July 12th, 2008 at 6:42 pm.


Initially I couldn’t actually bring myself to watch this. Those that had assured me that it was “okay, I suppose”, “looking a bit better the first game,” and – ominously – “Jim, it’s a kill x rats mission.” I hoped that’s wasn’t true. I had to take a look.

Also: it’s almost sarcastically karmic. There was me moaning about trailers that had no game footage, and then along comes twenty-five minutes of a game that I didn’t want to spoil for myself by watching. Sigh.

So…

- It has a mixture of Russian and English dialogue, but more English than before, I think.
- It looks as beautiful and desolate as ever.
- Friendly AI is looking remarkably solid. They actually appear to work with you.
- They’re bandits, not rats.
- The blow-out thing looks astonishing. Although I’m not quite sure what happened afterward.
- OH GOD THE TERRIBLE ACTION MUSIC.
- Slightly better-looking inventory.
- More shooters should have RPG-style inventories.
- Intriguing faction stuff going on? There’s already a lot of plot clues in that twenty-five minutes.
- I can’t wait to play this.
- Roll on the 29th of August.

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107 Comments »

  1. No Problem says:

    I watched without hesitation, sure in the fact that I probably wont remember what I saw betime I actually have the game :D.

    I was totally impressed. English voice acting isn’t bad at all except that one stupid nazi line. Heh, even the battle music isn’t that bad now that I think about it (I’d still sign a petition to remove it though).

    I’m more psyched than ever, I predict GOTY.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, this could well be my game of the year. Again.

    Then again: Far Cry 2? It’s going to be a close one.

    And also: this is going to be an incredible six months for PC games.

  3. No Problem says:

    Far Cry 2 will probably be technically as good or near to Clear Sky in terms of gameplay, but Clear Sky’s artistic merit, atmosphere, etc. will put it over I think. The fact that it’s PC exclusive and I’m a biased PC snob helps too. Far Cry 2 looks great but it’s still got that flashy, action packed, meathead-with-an-uzi feel of console games. Clear Sky will be branier than it.

    Oh and yeah I can’t help but chuckle at all the PC IZ DED riff-raff from earlier this year. Clear Sky, Far Cry 2, Red Alert 3, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Dawn of War 2, Empire: TW, BiA: Hell’s Highway, Mercs 2, Spore, Crysis Warhead, HAWX, Fallout 3…I didn’t even need to consult a release schedule. Having a gaming PC has never been more awesome. A lot of those are multi-plat but of course we get the unequivocally superior version.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Actually, the most common criticism I’ve heard against Stalker was that the combat was bad. I found it to be strenuous, but thrilling. Some badguys did take a few too many bullets, I think, and that put a lot of people off.

  5. No Problem says:

    I didn’t mind it. I think I’d agree if you were fighting normal soldiers, but a bit into the game you’re fighting guys with super uber exoskeletons with self sufficient oxygen generators and air conditioners. I wouldn’t want to kill Monolith guys in a few hits, it wouldn’t feel right.

  6. SwiftRanger says:

    Yeah, you really had to aim for the heads in STALKER. The gunplay was for the rest among the best last year, even with so many guns and parameters it felt right imo.

  7. MetalCircus says:

    I acctually liked the combat. There was some level of working involved which is something rare in an FPS. You really had to do the leg work to tackle a bunch of enemies.

    I remember the first time I killed a group of Army soldiers, felt like I had acomplished something.

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, especially if you get reduced to a gun with less power, and you still manage to take them down. That is extremely satisfying.

  9. No Problem says:

    It took me a while but when I realized you can ricochet bullets in STALKER, and kill people that way no less, I peed a little.

  10. Pidesco says:

    I really wish they had gone with Russian voices accompanied by English subtitles. :(

  11. No Problem says:

    I tried that with The Witcher, Polish voice with english subs. It gets old very fast. And I’m someone who has a vast collection of kung-fu movies in chinese with english subs.

  12. Pidesco says:

    I did it with The Witcher too, and loved it. Here in Portugal everything is subtitled except for cartoons, so it really isn’t an issue for me.

  13. Nikica says:

    Yeah, many releases, Urban Dead (Yes it will be for PC), Mirror’s Edge, Pure, Tom Clancy’s EndWar, Legendary, Velvet Assassin, LEGO Batman, Street Fighter IV, KOTOR 3, Gish 2, Prototype, Blood Bowl, Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty: World At War, Lord of the Rings: Conquest, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Battlestations: Pacific, the ones that No Problem named and many many more, yay !!! Long live the PC !!!
    Uh oh…I feel bad I forgot one that’s pretty cool…Mafia II

  14. mike says:

    Rammstein meets Eurodance. Luvly.

  15. Turin Turambar says:

    Yes, the open shooter crown will be between Far Cry 2 (after that last trailer with the wounded enemy and the c4) and Stalker CS.

    Still, GSC has right now the upper hand by pedigree:
    -GSC did before in the “open world” type of game, Stalker.
    -Ubisoft did before in the “open world” type of game, Assasin’s Creed. Ugh.

  16. the_apologist says:

    This really is going to be a great six months, and this game could well lead the charge for me.

    Yay!

  17. Cooper says:

    The combat wasn’t bad, so much as not quite tuned enough.

    Spamming the medikit or bandage hotkeys broke immersion no end. They really needed bandage / medkit animations, and for friendlies and enemies alike to withdraw or retreat when wounded. Bandits on ‘opportunistic raids’ suicidally pushing on till the last never made much sense.

    I love the fact that GSC prooved THQ wrong. People were clamouring for a game like stalker. Sure, it’s hard to start with and unforgiving throughout – but that’s the point – it’s a game more of survival and exploration than of constant action. I’m glad they’re doing the freeform world much better this time, giving us what we want rather than listening to damned publishers who think no one wants anything new or different and just yet another on rails shooty. Gah.

    Anyway, this game is the one which is gonna make me get a new computer.

  18. MetalCircus says:

    All this talk is making me all wet in my pants. I haven’t even watched the vid yet!

    Stalker really was a special game wasn’t it? I mean not perfect but it was damn good.

  19. Al3xand3r says:

    Why a new PC Cooper? If you could play the original, you should be able to play this just fine also, and I do believe it’s meant to be better optimised too so with the same visual settings it’ll hopefully run better so maybe you can enable an extra effect or two as well. I guess they also up the eye candy potential though, saw some nice lighting effects there.

  20. No Problem says:

    Stalker really was a special game wasn’t it? I mean not perfect but it was damn good.

    There’s something special about a game where I can comfortably call it an instant classic while at the same time be able to write an entire book on all the flaws and bugs in it.

  21. Jim Rossignol says:

    There’s a few people I’ve talked to recently wanting something to test their high end DX10-hungry machines on, I think this could be it. A tipping point for people who are thinking about new cards, too.

  22. darthpugwash says:

    It’s funny, I never had any problems or bugs with STALKER at all. I think I had a couple crashes to the desktop when messing around with mods but other than that nothing, ran perfectly well, even though my video card is not all that great.

    Also, sorry to be a copy cat but this warrants being said a second time: OH GOD THE TERRIBLE ACTION MUSIC. Other than that it looks great, looking forward to it.

  23. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, Stalker was quite stable for me. I had one massive comedic scripting error that caused one of the NPCs to vanish and another to go on a killing spree, but it was still highly entertaining.

  24. darthpugwash says:

    Wait a second, I did have one bug with it that was thoroughly hilarious (can’t believe I forgot it): For some reason, all the monsters in the level started walking up into the air, as if they were all on an invisible slope. I grabbed a screenshot of it but seem to have lost it. Only happened once. But yeah, other than that it ran very cleanly.

  25. Cooper says:

    Al3x:
    A new PC, as my old one just played the original. I could only get decent framerates without dynamic lighting, which does makes a massive difference to the look and feel of the game. I could play it with it on, but it made it occasionally unplayable.

    Also, it seems to be the processor and memory limiting Stalker more than my graphics card. The data just can’t seem to get anywhere fast enough for a smooth framerate on my current PC.

    That and look at all the DX10 pretty! The wet effect on the rained-on parts vs not rained on and the dynamic smoke effects just left me awed when I first saw them.

    I really do hope it’s optimized. I had that awful framerate slowdown (precaching or something) problem and a couple of hard crashes. I don’t think stalker was anywhere near as bugged as people made out (apart from NPCs spawning ontop of burning barrels…) just really badly optimized. (I used to keep a stock of weapons in Garbage, which meant a 10 second freeze everytime I got close to the hanger. That, and that one of the suggestions for the choppiness was to pick up all the guns laying about after a firefight always made me roll my eyes.)

  26. No Problem says:

    When I first installed STALKER it had incredible issues with Vista. Whenever I tried to save the game it would crash. Eventually I figured out a work-around and it was fine, but there were still lots of in game bugs, most notably lots of broken side quests.

  27. MetalCircus says:

    I had no major issues with Stalker. The main one I remember is the infamous “COME IN, STALKER!” type bugs.

  28. skalpadda says:

    I really agree about the combat. I found it hard and frustrating at first (I think everyone did) with the wildly inaccurate shotgun/pistols/SMG you had at the start but it certainly got better once you got hold of the neater assault rifles. Compared to, say, HL2 where you can snipe people at insane ranges with the pistol, it felt remarkably satisfying when you killed enemies in Stalker. Also, if you shot someone in the head they’d generally die, which was nice for people like me who are crap at FPS games but enjoy playing them. I could always start from a distance and try taking out a few enemies which was a godsend, because I really couldn’t take out foes fast enough in close quarters before they took be down. Still, even the best sniper rifles would sometimes miss.. things are different in the Ukraine :)

    Oh, and you were never a superman. You couldn’t take any insane amounts of punishment even with the later end-game equipment. That made everything so much more intense with a need to think up strategies for a lot of fights and it also made the jumpy horror stuff a lot scarier where things really could kill you *fast* if you weren’t careful.. ahh, joy!

  29. spd from Russia says:

    thnx for posting it!
    looks great, awesome atmosphere. I guess I`ll have to upgrade my PC pretty soon
    but they still use same old jokes! (russian speach heard in the background)

  30. MetalCircus says:

    Acctually, at the start, it’s possible to lure some of the Army guys from the outpost nearby into the villiage and make them fight with the other neutral stalkers. AFAIK, that’s a good way of getting your hands on some fairly okay equipment from the start. You could plonk yourself in one of the upstairs bits of the houses and if an Army guy came near you cold blast him at relativley close range with the shotgun.

    Plus there was a good suit in the attic of one of the houses that you could get if you did some jumping…

  31. Blindpsychic says:

    Yeah that early suit in the attic is a life saver.

  32. skalpadda says:

    Acctually, at the start, it’s possible to lure some of the Army guys from the outpost nearby into the villiage and make them fight with the other neutral stalkers.

    I tried that once, it seemed like the military just kept sending troops infinitely and after a while all the stalkers were dead and the trader had shut the door to his bunker, which wasn’t good. I then tried to assault the patrol that wanders up and down the road, looted their gear and ran away to hide. about 20 minutes later I returned to a rookie camp full of military. I think it’s a better idea to assault the roadblock by the train tracks if you want weapons, but then again they only have the crappy AKSUs and you get better rifles from the quest to find Strelok’s stash anyway.

    The suit was removed in one of the patches I think, at least that’s what I read and I couldn’t find it anyhow. I wasn’t among the lucky few who could play it unpatched, it kept crashing at annoying moments until I got to the 2nd patch, after that it was fine.

  33. A-Scale says:

    As a shooter I would just like to comment on how realistic the recoil is on the shotgun. Very few games get that right. I am also tickled pink to see a standard over/under shotgun in a game rather than a tactical swat pump action 870 express with a light attached. That’s a bold move in and of itself.

  34. MetalCircus says:

    And I can’t believe how no-one’s mentioned the Guitars yet. The first time I saw a stalker playing a nice tune on the guitar by the fire, I have to say, it warmed my heart a little bit.

  35. Deuteronomy says:

    I *might* get Vista to play in DX10.
    ^— This is an incredible statement.

  36. espy says:

    Lovely, except for the combat music.

    “It might not be time to relax yet” is the new “Come in! Don’t just stand there!”

  37. Steve says:

    Best way to start stalker is to climb up the ladder behind wolf, edge around to the left and up on to the roof.
    Sprint and jump to the roof of the house at the end of the road.
    Look around the other side of that roof to the hole and crouch to shoot the crate in the attic.
    Now you can pick up your nice new stalker/mercenary suit…
    Also the grenade you get from the first dead body beside the wounded bloke will help you deal with the military patrol on the road…

    Dead easy.
    :-)

    Honestly given what we’ve seen I simply cannot see how they could screw this up now and i dont want to wait for the modders to fix the scripting cock-up’s..Roll on next month really.

    P.s. If you want to play with blowouts you should install the AMK mod for vanilla stalker. Its a whole new level of ‘Oh my holy crap HIDE’ type event if you never seen them before.

  38. Turin Turambar says:

    I agree with the people for whom Stalker was a stable game. I finished it with the 1.00 version. I had two, perhaps three ctds in more than 20 hours of the game, and around 2 (very secondary) quests that had problems to finish them. For the rest, no problems.

    Not the most polished game ever, but it wasn’t the “buggy shit” i read sometimes in forums.

  39. redrain85 says:

    Well, I think it’s safe to say that Clear Sky can’t really look any more awesome than it already is. :)

    Seems that the 1UP preview picked out the worst moments for bad english dialogue. Thankfully, there aren’t too many clunkers, like I was starting to fear. There were maybe 2-3 lines in this video that made me cringe a little, out of the entire 25 minutes.

    And heck, even the ambient music in Clear Sky still sounds good. So what on earth possessed GSC to implement such crappy combat music? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! There wasn’t any special combat music in the original STALKER (that I can remember), and we didn’t need it. The ambient music helped to maintain the sombre, depressing atmosphere. This new combat music completely destroys the mood that they’re so carefully trying to create.

  40. spd from Russia says:

    btw the english voice action is HORRIBLE
    I hope they fix it and have proper russian voices as an option too

  41. kenok says:

    Looking forward to it – looking forward to turn the music off as well.

  42. MetalCircus says:

    I know gamers shouldn’t put up with it but the Stalker community is so damn good that there’ll be a mod for it in no-time. Hell, they might change it before release but i wouldn’t bet on it.

    Can’t wait!

  43. Solario says:

    Nothing but bugs in the last one, but it was still amazingly funny. Like having pseudodogs kill the guards at the first checkpoint.

  44. MisterBritish says:

    Was there any music at all in the first one? I can’t remember now.

  45. Stelios says:

    MisterBritish
    Was there any music at all in the first one? I can’t remember now.

    Yes, and very good at that. Seriously, some of it could have been included in that near-legendary “Ambient 4: Isolationism” compilation and fit in perfectly…

  46. Frank says:

    Yeah, the music wrecks the atmosphere for me too. Instead of a playing as a lone Stalker, we’re traveling with a techno band. And I hope there aren’t too many faction missions of the form (1) clear bandits (2) come back to our base for a reward. I want factions that are asymmetric in more ways than just armor and philosophy.

  47. Lavitz says:

    WoW! the game looks really good but I just have just don’t how a game that looks this good can have this kind of music in bg. Really makes you wonder they would even they could even think its good. Oh also really hate how the sprint makes you run fast. Also I think the weapons do decent amount of damage. The shotgun obviously won’t be able to kill a person really far away. Probably would take couple shots. Looking forward to this game :P Woot Pc gaming!

  48. Tom says:

    omg this is gonna awesome.
    what to do though; buy a second 8800gtx or upgrade…?!
    There’s still a lot of life left in them ol’ 8800s

  49. MetalCircus says:

    I was wondering about the system specs myself – I can run Stalker okay on medium settings so i wonder how Clear Sky will run…

  50. Jewce says:

    Alright I’m not going to lie, I enjoy the action music. Yes, shun me if you want. I don’t believe that the music will change the overall feel of stalker. I’m so going to loathe the head height grassy swamp bits, not because I hate the idea but because the idea is frightening. Anyhow very excited, Bring on august!