Oh, Completely: Clear Sky Complete

By Jim Rossignol on April 11th, 2011 at 3:37 pm.

Get out of here, etc.
This is a random sort of update, but it’s just a polite recommendation for all of you. Way back in the mists of 2009 I took a look at the state of mods for Clear Sky, and concluded that while a markedly improved experience was possible, none were a perfect fix to that flawed gem. I’d like to revise and update that, having spent the weekend playing Clear Sky with its Complete mod. That’s the most fun I’ve had playing an FPS since, well, since I played Call Of Pripyat. And the Complete stuff cranked up to maximum on everything seems like the best way to exercise a decent PC. I’ve spend quite a bit of time marvelling at the visuals, but lots more time enjoying the challenge of the unscripted manshoots. It really is something.

What a shame that no other studio seeks to emulate GSC’s achievements with these games. The one time we want people to shamelessly rip something off…

, .

120 Comments »

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  1. MrThingy says:

    Please please PLEASE let the Faction Wars be fixed.

    (i.e., no waiting at checkpoints for allies that never come and losing credit for checkpoints you DID take successfully)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      So the faction stuff does seem to be working. I did have to wait about 10 minutes for the AI to sort itself and send reinforcements to capture the final swamps location, but it did happen *eventually*. I’ve had no real bugs so far, just odd pauses in the action like that.

    • MrThingy says:

      Fantastic!

      There did seem to be stages (usually in the Garage) where it seemed impossible to get any further, even if you wiped out all enemies and waited and waited until you started questioning the meaning of life and whether it should be spent waiting for NPCs to arrive.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I would love to see an article on how GSC went about designing these games, the world, the characters and so on. I know its based on Roadside Picnic and the STALKER movie, but I’d like to hear about their own process. Oh and also hear a little about whats going on with STALKER 2 due in 2012! Has RPS ever tracked down these elusive folks and unearthed whatever it is inside their brains that makes us love these games so much? If not, can you? Purleeeeese? :D

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Jim: does it actually manage to hold those points, though? Even with previous versions of Complete I’d found that the enemy would respawn and suddenly the region would revert to their control instead of staying with whoever I put in charge.

    • Gar says:

      I managed to conquer every checkpoint on map for the Freedom faction last time I played Clear Sky with the Complete Mod. I know this is far from the common opinion, but Clear Sky is my favorite out of the three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games (I’ve beaten it 5 or 6 times :P)

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I got the impression you were never actually mean to COMPLETE the faction wars – i.e. even if you took a location, and got that bit out of the way, it would never stay held. I just played the game assuming this never actually resolved itself fully, never stopped me finishing it though I did waste quite a bit of time before realising I could just ignore it. Got annoying constantly clearing out the Rail Shed in the garbage though.

    • Muzman says:

      It’s possible to defeat entire factions, if that’s what you guys are talking about. I’ve done it in vanilla. It’s a bit quirky but I wiped out the bandits with the Stalkers/Loners and Duty with Freedom in one game.
      By and large the other faction will still occasionally respawn a few guys in their old base. With the Stalkers this was never a problem as they usually put down the insurgency themselves. Duty could often get the upper hand again without my help, however.

      It’s good that people are giving it another chance. It’s not perfect. The central quest is a bit naff really. But there’s a lot of interesting stuff there if you explore the game a bit. Complete’s general solidity helps a lot there.
      I haven’t played it right through yet. I still want to really try to join the Bandits some more first.

    • Muzman says:

      (comment got eaten somehow. trying again)
      It’s possible to defeat entire factions, if that’s what you guys are talking about. I’ve done it in vanilla. It’s a bit quirky but I wiped out the bandits with the Stalkers/Loners and Duty with Freedom in one game.
      By and large the other faction will still occasionally respawn a few guys in their old base. With the Stalkers this was never a problem as they usually put down the insurgency themselves. Duty could often get the upper hand again without my help, however.

      It’s good that people are giving it another chance. It’s not perfect. The central quest is a bit naff really. But there’s a lot of interesting stuff there if you explore the game a bit. Complete’s general solidity helps a lot there.
      I haven’t played it right through yet. I still want to really try to join the Bandits some more first.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Alexander Norris

      They’ll hold the points. But there are locations that aren’t considered points as the enemy will continually respawn at those locations. So I don’t think you can ever completely win the faction wars.

    • Mistabashi says:

      The Clear Sky Complete mod makes no significant changes to the faction wars scripts, so there’s still that element of luck involved as to whether your allied squads will actually come claim the control points you clear. Generally it’s because there’s no clear ‘route’ for them to take (the control points are joined up with specific waypoints), and there’s a pretty major flaw in that neutral squads can ‘block’ your faction’s movements by inhabiting control points on the route (can be solved by killing them yourself).

    • Dhatz says:

      this here exactly for you: http://exploringbelievability.blogspot.com/
      youre very lucky theres STALKER analysis on the main page right now.

    • bhlaab says:

      I replayed Clear Sky recently with Complete and Faction Wars are just as broken as before. Not only that, but I had to stop playing after Limansk would crash in the same spot 100% of the time.

      I was sort of ok with that since I had beaten the game years before and knew that once you get to Limansk the best the game has to offer is far behind you, but still.

      Clear Sky is certainly the weakest STALKER by a long shot.

  2. Spatula says:

    how does clear sky compare to cop??

    may get just for the complete mod!! especially as i’ve played COP to death

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      CS is like a quirkier version of Shadow of Chernobyl. Its very much the middle sibling, as many of the things that work well in CoP were kind of experimental in CS. Stuff like weapon upgrades, guides and lots of things I cant remember were in there, but tweaked for CoP. I would say that CS feels harder, and at first, slightly grindier, than CoP, and if you have played SoC you may be disappointed at the recycling of some old maps, but the new maps have a great feel to them and flesh out the world a good deal IMO. It can feel a little like an expansion in places. Something thats annoying though is that when you first pick up weapons, they are ridiculously underpowered or inaccurate. if you loved your Vintar BC in CoP (as I did) then you will be shocked when you first pick one up in CS. It cannot shoot for shit until you upgrade it, and then you need money and a tech guy that can perform it.

    • Dhatz says:

      those kind of thing why i cant play any stalker before cop.

    • syntax says:

      “when you first pick up weapons, they are ridiculously underpowered or inaccurate”
      Well said. Until you upgrade weapons fully, enemies are extremely bullet-spongy and hard to kill. Upgrading weapons makes too much of a difference in Vanilla CS.

  3. SuperNashwanPower says:

    I really liked the original CS on my first playthrough, which I think makes me the only person on earth who felt that. For some reason STALKER games seem to be made for my PC and I have never had any crashes or the game-breaking bugs people talk about, or nothing a quick-save load wouldnt fix. What I liked about CS is how extremely vulnerable you are at the start – almost more so than in Shadow of Chernobyl. You’ve got armour made of cake and a gun that fires corks, and all these swarms of enemies – you have to be playing well to survive, and then the game slowly beefs you up with armour and weapons. I kind of like that swift, russian slap across the face at the start. Break me down then build me up. Ooooooh. I have it with Complete on my PC right now, though my aging rig creaks a bit with all the added textures.

    Also, BRAVO to throwing down a “copy this” gauntlet to the devs. These titles need to be on every dev’s inspiration list IMVHO.

    • Archonsod says:

      No, I enjoyed the vanilla too.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Hurray :D This will sound odd, but it gave me tingles to be ‘returning’ to Cordon and Garbage from the swamps. It felt like visiting a place I know well, but going back in time – very strange feeling going back there after the first one. Meh i dunno, not making myself very clear. Must go polish brain.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I freakin’ loved vanilla Clear Sky. Still do.

    • Premium User Badge

      Petethegoat says:

      I also loved Clear Sky when it came out!
      There are at least a couple of us. :)

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Wha-hooooo :D

    • dethtoll says:

      I liked CS when it first dropped too, man! It just had some really awful design decisions that made me really angry. So far, CS Complete seems to have improved on that in every way. And I liked revisiting old places and seeing what they looked like prior to Strelok visiting them.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Does Complete make entering Cordon less stupid? The only three things I genuinely hated about CS were a.) the machine gun nest b.) the sniper-accuracy grenade tosses from the skyscraper in the final grind and c.) the broken faction wars. Oh, 4 – the night vision that is somehow less usable than real life first gen night vision.

    • dethtoll says:

      The machine gunner can no longer see you 30km away, so yes, entering Cordon is significantly less stupid.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Reply fail.

  4. Xocrates says:

    Hum… The Steam store page for pretty much every game (including the STALKER games) contains a link for a pdf version of the manual.

    That said, I just had a look and the manual for SoC didn’t seem particularly comprehensive.

    Which is kind of a problem with the game series really, they’re something you need to dedicate some time to get the hang of.

  5. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Clamp yourself to your desk, get a caffeine intravenous drip, and persevere. You will be rewarded young paduan :D Also have a look at the STALKER wikia maybe, but I think the key thing with these games is that so much is left to exploration and the sense that the world is very organic. That can be appealing to some and annoying for others. They all have a pace that is several notches lower than most FPS’s, its more about chilling back, taking in the world and then having that silence broken with WAR from time to time. Its not for everyone, but is one of those games that lets you slowly uncover things and make you go “oooh”. Very much ‘growers’ rather than instantly sucking you in. Took me a couple of return trips to bother with it, but things start to grab you after a bit.

  6. Sidorovich says:

    The only thing that would make me wanna play CS again, would be if some clever modder re-integrated the underground areas back into. Some Russkie actually did that I think, but it never got a proper Western release….
    Still waiting on Lost Alpha too.

  7. Vinraith says:

    Thanks for the tip Jim. I’d been waiting to hear something like this before giving Clear Sky a try.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well you should have tried it of your own accord. No, it’s not as good as the original but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it. If I followed that rule with everything all I would ever do is masturbate and eat chocolate.

      I found it to be inferior to the first, but better than CoP. I’ve seen a lot of people on the net saying they didn’t bother trying it because people told them it was shit, which I find really disappointing. I was told the first Stalker was shit, but I tried it anyway, it looked appealing and ya know, I have my own brain and opinions.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Gonzo
      You’re vastly overestimating the amount of time I have, or vastly underestimating the number of games I have to play. Hell, I haven’t even finished Shadow of Chernobyl yet. I own both Clear Sky and CoP, but haven’t had a chance to get around to either. This mod is reason to try to find some time for Clear Sky.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Some days I masturbate, eat chocolate AND drink tea. Now thats evolution. I never like to stand still in life, not me.

      Up up up the ziggurat, lickety split.

  8. Tim James says:

    I plan to reinstall this for my PC upgrade in a month.

    The narrative on Clear Sky was always to skip it and go straight to Call of Pripyat. I think that’s changing now. It’s still the weakest of the 3, but each game in the series offers its own unique take on the Zone. In Clear Sky, it’s the unscripted manshooting. It’s actually a lot of fun once you tone down the enemy grenade accuracy (which I assume Complete does). Find a shootout in an open urban area and go flank someone. You’ll love it.

    If GSC had taken the dynamic faction wars to another level we’d have a strategy-FPS for the ages, but at least it sounds like it’s somewhat playable now. That’s good enough.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      Grenade Accuracy is stlil enormously high (if you hear grenade, or see one, RUN!), but the amount of grenades is toned down considerably.

  9. wcaypahwat says:

    Ah! I just ordered in a copy of Roadside Picnic, so this will get me quite in the mood while I wait a fortnight for it to arrive.

    • Spatula says:

      Good book that- nice ending too- very dark.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Ive got in on PDF and just cant make myself finish it, I am like that with PDF’s. Maybe I shall get a cheapo hard copy from amazon :) I have only read as far as when they first go into the zone . Have you guys seen the movie? Its pretty cool.

    • Maykael says:

      I think the book and the movie are wildly different. The movie is incredibly beautiful, but a rather strong orthodox Christian statement, as all Tarkovsky movies are, and a rather anti-science one (the last scene with the glasses). The book is not really connected to that and I like the atmosphere in there better, as well as the characters. The games thankfully stay closer to the atmosphere of the book and by “stay closer” I mean they absolutely nail it.

      It was quite cool that when I was reading the book (before any of the games were even announced), I imagined that a game exploring that place would be quite cool. Thank you GSG. :)

  10. DeanLearner says:

    This and Starcraft 2 makes me want to buy a half decent PC. I loved the very first STALKER and didn’t have any problems with bugs? Unfortunately it’s the only stalker game I’ve played but my god, they got it right.

    • DrGonzo says:

      You shouldn’t need a particularly decent Pc to play either. Anything mid range ish from the last 5 years should play both fairly comfortably.

    • DeanLearner says:

      Got ya, thanks :)

  11. Navagon says:

    EDIT: oh and does anyone know how I can sort out the water in Call of Pripyat? Right now it’s completely flat looking. No ripples at all unless someone’s walking through it. The screenshots for Complete are totally different, but I don’t seem to have any options to change that.

    Any ideas?

    The Complete Mods really do live up to their name. Well, that said I did feel the need to crank up the weapon damage further to something approaching one shot one kill with SOC and CS (although I took it back down near the end of CS for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has played it).

    I don’t know what CS is like without the mod actually. I only bought the game after the mod was completed. But it’s well worth getting now, despite the awful DRM.
    Also worth noting is it’s worth reapplying the Absolute Texture mods over Pripyat Complete. While those mods are included in Pripyat Complete, they’re not to the highest settings.

    • arjuna says:

      Be careful of these guys (game collection). I ordered CoP and I got Band Hero for the Wii instead.. this was a week ago and they still havn’t sent out the correct game like they said they would.

    • Navagon says:

      Well that’s bloody unfortunate. Sorry to hear that. I’ve never had a problem with them myself. But naturally that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems to be had with them, so I’ve removed the link.

  12. hocevar says:

    Maybe I’ll give it a try again, I bought the first game and CS during one of those crazy steam sales in 2009 but barelly touched them. The game atmosphere felt too depressive for me heh

  13. Vague-rant says:

    For SoC, surely radiation is just “stay away from the dangerous clicking noises”, anomalies are the funky glowing things/lightning on the ground and artifacts are the bouncing solid bits of loot in the middle.

    CoP makes things a bit more complicated with the detectors, but I’m sure the tutorial told me what to do.

  14. Ricc says:

    I just listened to the PC Gamer UK podcast and they briefly talked about what could be the big FPSes of the next few years. Battlefield 3 and Rage came to mind. I sure hope Stalker 2 is among them.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I’m not sure that STALKER will ever be what most folks consider ‘big’. It tends to have a smaller army of fiercely passionate (rightly so, the games are IMO amazing) fans, and a word of mouth success – but being so different I am not sure they will ever appeal to the masses. I’d love to be proven wrong, and maybe the cross-platform nature of STALKER 2012 or whatever they are calling it might bring it to new eyes. Just hope cross-platform doesnt mean what it … usually means. If they can do Fallout 3 on the XBox, there’s no need to nerf STALKER to make it work. HEAR ME, GSC!!

    • Xocrates says:

      I don’t buy the “being so different” argument, as overall the games play a lot like a low budget Fallout 3. The problem is that the games have very little hand-holding, particularly pertaining to quests, which makes them fairly inaccessible since newcomers never know what the hell they’re supposed to be doing.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Thats sort of what I meant by different :) There’s an ethic running through how the game treats you and what it expects of you that I havent felt in another game – it pretty much says “here’s the world and a PDA, get on with it”. Absolutely, an open world RPG is hardly something new, but the way STALKER pulls it off is to my mind very different, and what I love about it.

    • Xocrates says:

      Personally, I think the problem is that the games don’t do that very well, since they often tell you what to do, just not the how, which is just plain frustrating since it means I often can’t do what I want to do.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Hmm interesting. Can you give an example of a mission where you felt that? I am not meaning to sound argumentative, more that I dont recall ever really getting stuck in any missions. Maybe in some side quests where you had to find an item, or a certain artifact, like Beard’s quests on the Skadovsk in CoP – its true that you can take the mission and be hunting forever trying to find one. The solution to that is not to take the mission until you have the artifact in your inventory, or go and try to beat Beard’s own stalker’s to it. Maybe also some of the ‘find the item’ missions at the start of CS are a bit like that – but I cant remember any core missions being this way. What ones are you thinking of?

    • Xocrates says:

      Here’s good one that annoyed in Call of Prypiat:

      When you’re asked to get a hazmat suit you can ask around and be told there’s one in the bunker.
      Problem then lies in that if you go to said bunker you can’t even ask about/for the suit unless you ask another guy to join you and then he’ll tell you to get said suit for him.
      Since I had no intentions of recruiting said guy at the time, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how the hell to get said suit for no other reason than the game refusing to acknowledge information that I had.

      Another thing endemic quests are the ones where the only way to solve them is to stumble into them, even in story quests. I can understand this being the case in the artefact hunts, but when the main quest in CoP is essentially solved by a guy you hadn’t seen, heard, or even looked for before walking up to you and telling you, during a cutscene, everything you needed to know, I felt kind of cheated.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the games, but I find the questing in them to be atrocious.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I can see your point on meeting the general bloke and him handing you all the facts like that, it does seem to be a less satisfying way of resolving it.

      With the hazmat (SEVA) suit, I just didnt seem to have that problem. First time through I had bought it from Nimble early in the game and already had it, and the second time and subsequent times I have played I just got it off the shopkeeper at Jupiter. I think its a mix of luck and preference – I seem to have never really got stuck as you describe, or been frustrated in that way, but I think its because there are so many ways it can play out sometimes one person gets stuck where another doesnt.

      However also, its trying to be like reality. If you asked around where something is in real life, you would get some inaccurate replies, some vague ones, and by trial and error, you eventually find it. So one guy might think there’s a suit in the science bunker, when maybe there isnt (I think the scienstists give the pilot guy a green suit, but you still have to find your own SEVA if I remember correctly), but going there means you talk to the guy who then joins your group. I like that abut the game – the sort of shonkiness, vagueness and organic feeling of the game, really having to play with this flawed thing to figure it out gives me a real sense of having found my own solution. Maybe a touch of rose tinted spectacles with me though, as I am a bit of a fanboyman when it comes to STALKER :D

    • Xocrates says:

      While I certainly understand that they’re attempting a realistic approach, my problem is that the games don’t support it as well as they should and it can break immersion, which was my problem with the bunker thing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t get the suit, it was that I couldn’t even ask about it.

      There are plenty of quests I had trouble with for the simple reason that the game didn’t really gave me the option to ask about, and when it did I had no way of keeping track of what information I’ve received short of writing it down myself.

      I’m hoping that Stalker 2 improves the quest tracking, or at the very least includes a way of adding notes.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Hmm well i can see why that would pee you off :D I swear my computer just exists inside some STALKER heaven-anomaly. I have had this convo with folks before, but I never had any bugs, and never came across these issues you are talking about at all. I think my PC just loves the game and filters out anything that might hamper it. Or maybe I just have a super high frustration tolerance, I don’t know.

    • Xocrates says:

      You misunderstood me, I didn’t ran into any bugs, just into situations where I wanted to do something the game wouldn’t support. I could only ask about the suit IF I talked to the guy I could recruit, but random Stalkers could tell me about its existence, which lead to the situation where I knew about the suit but couldn’t actually ask if I could have it since the game only supported it if I got the info from that specific guy.

      Likewise, there is plenty of info that I’m not allowed to ask around for no other reason that the game doesn’t support it.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I was talking about a convo I had with other folks there. Anyways, them problems you ran into, bummer dude.

    • Nick says:

      Come now, they are much better shooters than Fallout 3.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      The shooting in STALKER is IMO farrrr better than Fallout 3, agreed.

    • Xocrates says:

      I don’t recall ever commenting on Fallout 3 quality, I merely pointed out that games using a similar model to STALKER have been popular within the mainstream

    • dethtoll says:

      Fallout 3 is what Shadow of Chernobyl wanted to be, and Call of Pripyat is what Shadow of Chernobyl should have been.

  15. dsi1 says:

    You should be able to just right click on your game and hit “View Player Manual”.

  16. Torgen says:

    The first Stalker has the Complete Mod available? Does it behave with the Steam version? Stalker is one of those game I keep meaning to play because it sounds so awesome, but sits on my hard drive because something else catches my attention to the point that I forget I bought it.

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      I can confirm that the complete mod does indeed work with the Steam version the original and COP. I’ve not got CS but I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work.

      It really adds a lot to the game in terms of look and atmosphere. Well worth it.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      All Stalker mods work with Steam, iirc.

    • Cooper says:

      I played CS:Complete on the my Steam version of the game yesterday. It was working fine.

  17. MasterBoo says:

    Okay, so all these talks about STALKER really make me want to go in and play it. Which should I play first, and with which mods etc?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Most people say Call of Pripyat is the most accessible, though personally I had no trouble getting into Shadow of Chernobyl. TBH I would say if you want to get into the series, do them vaguely in order. It gives you more idea of the story and establishes a sense of ‘place’ if that makes sense – sometimes I got little chills down my spine in the later games when there are references to things from SoC, and its this sense of atmosphere that is carefully created that was so central to why I loved this series. SoC is a great game, patched very well by now and should be stable. I would say go SoC first, then maybe CoP if you like it, and CS last if the bug bites :) Adding the Complete Mod to SoC will add some small things, graphics tweaks, and so on, but doesnt change the core experience, so maybe do that. SoC should be so cheap by now.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, the general rule of thumb on the whole trilogy is ‘Get the Complete mods’, even if you’re a first-time player.

      They’re basically what would happen if the games had another few months in development specifically for polishing, tuning and bug-hunting. The amount of content they actually *change* is utterly neglibile. The mission statement for the entire mode series is just improving and refining what’s already there.

  18. dethtoll says:

    The best part about CS Complete is they reduce the minigunner’s vision. No more getting chewed to mincemeat the second you step out of the tunnel!

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Now THATS the best reason to get this mod :D I hate that bit! DRRRRR **flump** DRRRR **flump** sigh …..

  19. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    I think the excellence of these unscripted manshoots is something which ARMA also has, albeit in a less accessible manner.

    Nevertheless, my most intense game sessions were either in STALKER or ARMA. I’m not 100% sure why but even just placing a few enemies on a map in ARMA and pressing go can generate an hour’s worth of amazing gaming while you try to stay alive and finish off the last of the few dudes you created, you know he’s there but you don’t know where.

    Similarly in STALKER going about your business and then all hell breaking loose is an amazing experience. Especially in buildings or areas with a lot of hiding places. The enemies are smart enough not to divulge their location too blatantly and this can create some pretty tense moments.

    • Torgen says:

      Just thinking aloud, but….

      Someone should make a Catsh*t One mod for ARMA I or II.

  20. dr.castle says:

    Yeah, I recently played through it from start to finish with the Complete mod. This was my first playthrough (had been waiting for it to be optimized), so I can’t compare to earlier builds, but I can say that it was a fairly seamless experience (no major/game-breaking bugs) and looked quite nice throughout. It still has some serious weaknesses in terms of game design (the way it fizzles out at the end, for example), but I’d say it’s very much worth playing, especially at its current price point.

  21. dethtoll says:

    Actually it’s kind of funny you post this right as I started playing the mod a couple days ago- I’m playing through all three with their respective Complete mods, though I’m waiting to download CoP Complete just to see if he releases another version between the start of CS and the end of Shadow of Chernobyl.

    CS was always the black sheep of the Stalker family but it’s actually quite tolerable with Complete. It’s made a so-so game awesome.

  22. Dominic White says:

    The entire Complete series of mods are absolute gems. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone even looking at trying the STALKER series, simply because they don’t try to change anything, just tune, bugfix and generally improve on them.

    They’re good, but inconsistently polished games out of the box, but with these three mods, they’re all fantastic.

  23. SuperNashwanPower says:

    For anyone who is looking forward to the upcoming “STALKER 2″ in 2012, there is some limited info here http://stalker.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Tagaziel/S.T.A.L.K.E.R._2_developer_questions_and_answers_No._1 . Turns out PC is lead platform, with no features nerfed to make it work on consoles. Sounds like its going to be a true STALKER game, with only a downturn in graphics for those playing on consoles.

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      That sounds just like they did it for Crysis 2. Which was absolutely fine.

      But it didn’t stop everyone from moaning and complaining and whining and… grrr.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Thats not really correct. Something that article says is that for STALKER 2, PC is lead platform, with consoles playing second fiddle. PC was not the lead platform for Crysis 2 – they actually said that their way of working was “if it works on PC but not on console, we leave it out”. To work with PC as lead would have meant leaving those PC-centric features in and then nerfing something like graphics on console to fit it. Crytek’s focus was unabashedly “make this run on a 360″. Whether you loved the game or not (personally I liked it for the most part, but then got bored about 90% of the way through), and whether you think it was a good or bad decision, consoles were of prime importance in the core design of C2, rather than being a port from PC. Crytek admitted it was necessarily more limited to reflect that.

      I’m not judging that – I am just saying that GSC’s approach is not the same as Crytek’s.

    • CMaster says:

      Thing is, I don’t think you can actually do that.
      A big, open area game like STALKER and make the most of the PC, while at the same time handling the 256mb of memory that the consoles have available (yes, a little more complicated on the 360, but let’s call in 256).

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Why do you say that CMaster? I cant help but look at Fallout 3 here for comparison – they managed the huge world and complexity of choices / side quests on consoles, the graphics were just a bit better on PC. In that article GSC have said the consoles will have worse graphics to make them cope, so I am not sure there’s any reason to doubt it could be done (true I do not understand the complexities of video RAM and so on). If the next STALKER is as open as Fallout 3, and provides the 100+ hours of playtime that game delivered, then I will be quite happy. Time will tell, and I am usually cynical about these things, but I NEED to believe the next STALKER will live up to my love of this series :D

  24. perestroika says:

    i’m i the only one who cant stand these complete mods? or just graphical/”fixes” mods in general? what happened to the days of user maps and big episodes or even total conversions? thats what i want. :(

    anyway, i’m sleepy. i always comment when i’m sleepy for some reason, so take that in mind.

    • Navagon says:

      There are mods that add whole new areas to the game (mostly for the first one, I think). Tons of weapons too. Not that I see why you can’t stand the idea of improving the base game. But maybe that’s just your tiredness talking.

    • Dominic White says:

      Given that the STALKER SDK was only released after the entire Complete series was released, yes, you are the only person who hates them and you should probably feel bad about complaining. You want to make whole new regions of the Zone? Well, now you can – go to it and find out just how hard it is.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      “anyway, i’m sleepy. i always comment when i’m sleepy for some reason, so take that in mind”

      LOL a man who half-apologises for his internet grumpiness is a wonderful and rare thing. Bravo to you sir :)

  25. Ergates_Antius says:

    Fuck it, it’s only £8 on steam. Bought.

    Ahh Steam* why do you make spending money so easy?**

    * Insert direct download shop of choice

    ** Don’t answer that.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Flimgoblin says:

    Completed the first one…

    Given I’ve got an unplayed-game-wall-of-shame of a worrying size, should I bother with Clear Sky? or skip straight to CoP?

  27. Premium User Badge

    fupjack says:

    Clear Sky had its issues, only in comparison to the other STALKER games. It’s good all by itself, and the Complete mod really does make it pretty.

    I’ll admit the first time I played through the Clear Sky version of the Red Forest area, it was enjoyably worrisome. The environmental sounds combined with the lack of visibility from all the undergrowth meant I did a certain amount of panic-shooting at nothing.

  28. Odiorne Point says:

    I’d like to revisit one of the Stalker games with these Complete mods, but I have no idea where to start. The original Stalker? One of the expansions? Help!

    • Dominic White says:

      You might as well play them in order.

      Shadow of Chernobyl is the most linear and structured of them all. Clear Sky is semi-procedural faction warfare across multiple regions, and Call of Pripyat is set across three huge MMO-ish zones, each of which with a central town/quest-hub.

    • Odiorne Point says:

      Thanks Dom.

  29. sonofajoiner says:

    I love love love Stalkers SOC & COP. But Clear Sky was a buggy piece of crap saddled with godawful Tages copy protection that would randomly crash/refuse to recognize the disc whirring noisily in the drive/refuse to load savegames. And what little I managed to play was frustrating to say the least what with essential characters getting picked off by stray bullets & having my weapons forceably holstered whilst in the middle of a firefight.
    So I guess what Im asking is, is the Steam version of Clear Sky any more stable than the boxed version? I notice that other Tages lumbered games on steam are flagged as such and the CS page doesn’t mention it. I could be persuaded to buy the game again if the biggest inconvenience I’d face is having to use steam.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      My steam version seems to run happily, but my PC seems to be extraordinarily STALKER friendly. Never really had any significant crashes or bugs, which seems to be an exception.

  30. Nithy says:

    Perhaps my favorite game series of all time. I just recently finished CoP for the first time and I’m now replaying SoC w/ Complete 2009 for the umpteenth time. I rank this series up there with The Elder Scrolls and Ultima.
    The series is truly ambitious like the simulation games of old. This often results in the games being a buggy mess upon release but at least they are making games like this when so few developers are. Who else even attempts games of this scope these days? Bethesda and Bohemia Interactive? That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head.
    I’d rather play a buggy STALKER game any day of the week than the highly scripted, linear, yet polished games that come out of the Triple A development houses.

  31. Stevostin says:

    “What a shame that no other studio seeks to emulate GSC’s achievements with these games. The one time we want people to shamelessly rip something off…”

    Amen to that. But the “why” is pretty obvious : unscripted manshoot is for manly coder only.

  32. psyk says:

    When gamers start having trouble playing an FPS you know the state of gamers is going to shit.

  33. Premium User Badge

    theunshaven says:

    It’s not the one time we wanted people to rip off a game only for it to sink into the past!

    There’s also Starcontrol 2.

    Which is the *last game of the series.*

    – The Unshaven

  34. iQue says:

    Don’t stop with Complete if you like the game, there are loads of mods for all Stalker games (mainly for SoC though) that adds loads of new content and extends the replayability by a ton. Try out L.U.R.K. 1.1 for a very different and grittier experience, Oblivion Lost 2.2 if you like hoards of mutants and crazy overpowered artifacts (my favourite), or alternative story mods like Priboi Story.

    • kataras says:

      I agree, and it seems some of the more obscure Russian mods (mostly for SoC) are getting half-decent English translations. But beware, they re like crack: http://www.gsc-game.com/index.php?t=community&s=forums&s_game_type=xr&lang=en . the Complete mods are nice but once you play something like the above mod, they pale in comparison…
      Also I loved Clear Sky!

      edit: stupid link. I meant mods like Narodnaya Soljanka : DMX 1.32 : dkz-02, which you can find in the mod discussion/download sections of the GSC forums.

  35. RiptoR says:

    Recently replayed Clear Sky with the Complete Mod myself, but got stuck near the end when the game crashed every 5 steps during the Limansk level.

    Even saving during that level wasn’t an option because loading those saves always resulted in a crash to desktop.

    Too bad, but up until then it was extremely fun to play.

  36. Juiceman says:

    I liked Clear Sky. Granted it wasn’t nearly as scary as Shadow of Chernobyl, but it had it’s own legs to stand on. Assaulting that metal drawbridge with the Mercs and your Clear Sky buddies is still probably one of my favorite moments of that series. As for the bugs, I don’t really notice them anymore. There have been bugs in these games since day one and its just become background noise for me.

  37. N says:

    lol couldn’t agree more psyk

  38. Jason Moyer says:

    Someone should take Stalker, and set it in a jungle with the checkpoint respawn rate turned up higher.

  39. Eightball says:

    Should I buy CS just for this mod? I found SoC to be too scary (barely got through the first underground lab, couldn’t muster the strength for the second) and CoP was rather tiring with the constant blowouts ruining my exploring.

    In short, I’m a massive wimp. But I did like joining Freedom and fight Order chaps in SoC. Is CS what I’m looking for?

  40. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    I didn’t play Clear Sky before playing it with the Complete mod, so I only know through reading what it changed. But I will say, Clear Sky has some very enjoyable moments. I was disappointed that I could never truly win the Faction struggles in most areas – I’d wait and wait for ten minutes or more and the site would never be taken by my team’s reinforcements. And some areas seemed to always fall again the next time I came by (Train Depot for example). Some areas I ‘won’ entirely, others always had just one last holdout area I could never hold for good.

    The ending seemed… odd to me. Just not a fun ending, not a good ending, i know it made sense in the story, but it still seemed like I ran wildly around rather than ‘chasing’.

    Parts of it were so very fun, and the game was very pretty, but it seemed more like a tactical MP game in areas than a SP game.

  41. Toshley says:

    Just wait until you’re a little later in the game (in the garbage) and you’ll notice the game getting shittier and shittier.

    Complete seemed to only make the good playable in the first two areas, after that I slowly noticed the two main things about vanilla that made me fucking hate the game return.

    Enemies taking ungodly amounts of damage(a bandit in a fucking trench coat should not be able to survive 6 shots from my winchester shotgun, point blank, and then proceed to kill me from a single shot of his shitty sawn-off)

    And of course, the fucking faction wars bollocks which was what really ruined CS in it’s entirety for me. Capturing a point only to see a group of mutants recapture it mere moments later, hell you can even see them on the PDA heading towards the place after the team you cleared the point with leaves, the fact that they recapture so fast lets you exploit it for easy money.

    And don’t get my started on the sense of satisfaction that is quickly crushed, after slaving away to clear out a massive bandit HQ in garbage(fucking trenchcoat dudes and their health/resistance), walking a few a mere few hundred metres away from the place you just cleared out only to hear over your PDA “THE BANDITS ARE BACK AND HAVE TAKEN OVER THE GARBAGE!”. Returning to see 20 or so bandits there was infuriating. It was also damn strange that after taking the place over, and hearing the loners yell over the stalker network “hooray we have captures the garbage” none of them made there way to secure and guard the base, they just continued being useless where they were.

    All in all, the problem with faction wars it that it was entirely arbitrary and never actually changed anything. Areas that were taken over would no matter what always be taken back, you could never actually hold an area because the folks you capture it with would leave for whatever reason, and the place would be taken over again, it made the system feel utterly pointless and incredibly frustrating.

  42. sgt. grumbles says:

    Never played any of these so plan to start with SoC. Read someone say these are good mods:
    ———————
    Oblivion Lost – better AI (flanking, grenades, suppression), better A-life (Mutants attack settlements, NPC’s drag/search bodies, use bandages etc), better graphics, more weapons, zone is deadlier (blowouts etc), not to mention the best change of all for me, the balancing of the combat and ballistics model.

    Arsenal – over 70 new weapons including the Kriss, Glock 18c, D Eagle, Fal, Aug, and plenty, plenty more..

    Sky4ce – adds distance blur, reflective surfaces and other cool visual effects to bring the visuals up to scratch.
    ———————
    Anyone have opinions on those? Should I go with the above suite, or just Complete?

    • Dhatz says:

      I cant google any reliable screens from latest sky4ce, can you find some?

    • sgt. grumbles says:

      I decided to go with Stalker Complete + the SC Realistic Weapons add-on. Sounds like Complete includes things like Sky4ce already, and a number of people said that the first time through, one should do SC, not Oblivion Lost, as it changes too much core gameplay.

  43. phenom_x8 says:

    fINISHED Unmodded CoP recently , and skipping CS for several reasons(but want to try it with Complete mod). Loved SoC and CoP very much, but CoP is kinda slow on my win 7 64 bit with HD6850 (my SoC complete runs very well with 60 FPS indoor and minimum 40 outdoor)! My unmodded CoP stuck on 30 Fps outdoor (and 15 FPS minimum indoor,Yanov station esp.) even after reducing some stuff (2xAA, 8xAF, no Vsync,prefetch script,half view distance and detail.etc)
    Is there any solution with this??

  44. dethtoll says:

    God damn it, the game keeps CTDing on me every time I try to go back to the Garbage. I’ve narrowed it down to possibly a scripting problem of all things.

    Left me feeling angry, and I’ve decided to abandon my Stalker marathon for now out of spite. Too mad to play the other games.

  45. Ergates_Antius says:

    That was odd, I clicked on download and was treated to an audio advert for strawberry flavour Gaviscon tablets.