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53

Clear Sky: The First Patch

BE ADVISED!

We’ll be talking more about Clear Sky soon, once gamers have had a chance to actually play it rather than just shout conspiracy theories about the mixed-bag scores it’s been receiving. On the pre-eve of the game’s European release, however, there’s already a patch out. Notably, it addresses a few of the things Jim’s, Kieron’s and my respective reviews complained about, such as easing the penalties from bandit muggings (note to everyone in the world: the multiple random, avoidable bandit muggings and the single, cutscene-based, unavoidable bandit mugging that happens partway through the main quest are not the same thing), improving performance, increasing the cash won from missions and vague talk of balance improvements. I’ve stuck the complete patch notes beneath the cut, too.

Even if it’s as good as it sounds, I’m really not convinced it can lift the game to the level of its predecessor, but I’ll be glad to be proved wrong. I adore Stalker, and I had dearly hoped Clear Sky would be awesome. I’ll give the patch a spin tomorrow and see whether it takes the game any closer to my obscenely high standards.

Oh, and something I raised in comments on another post, but will repeat here. It’s a little rhetorical on my part, but hey, it makes for a good talking point. Should game reviewers make their judgements on games with evident technical problems with presumption of a problem-fixing patch in mind? Or should we base it only on the code we’re presented with? If option a) what happens if the problems aren’t, in fact, fixed?

Patch notes:

Changes:
• MultiSample Anti Aliasing
• Added use of special cover during fights.
• Improved dynamic lighting.
• Changes to combat balance: some enemies are now stronger.
• Changes to economic balance.
• Added secondary objectives.
• Changed some animations in the multiplayer.
• Improved sorting of secondary objectives in the PDA.
• Added the ability to communicate with storyline characters, squad leaders and guides without holstering weapons.
• Added description of stash contents when purchasing information about the stash.
• Added additional information to pop-up tips in the PDA.
• Changed traders’ item stocks in certain areas.
• Changed life simulation balance (event intensity, mutant strength).
• Added the opportunity to get your items back after being mugged at the Garbage. Only part of your money is now taken when you enter/leave the Garbage.
• Added rewards for joining factions.
• Changed the PDA log message filtering system.
• Added flares in Limansk and the Red Forest.
• Increased reward for capturing enemy bases in the Faction War.
• Save/load file names can no longer contain brackets.
• Added use of localized strings in game console, chat etc.

Fixes:
• Game optimization (approximately 5% improvement).
• Overall game stability improved considerably.
• Fixed errors in saving the game, which caused consistent crashes during long games.
• Game loading speed increased by 10-15%.
• Fixed error with the emission.
• Fixed error which caused characters to run around with activated grenades in their hands.
• Fixed random enabling of music which had been disabled in settings.
• Fixed stash errors, including incorrect saving and accumulation (disappearance) of items in stashes.
• Fixed error with automatic failure of a number of objectives, which prevented them from failing.
• Fixed errors in some secondary quests.
• Fixed the guide algorithm. Guides can now take you to more locations.
• Fixed an error which caused the player to become an enemy of Clear Sky.
• Fixed the player’s starting position when entering areas.
• Fixed errors in the response of detectors to anomalies and artifacts. The detector no longer responds to artifacts it can’t detect.
• Fixed reward at the Duty base.
• Fixed minor issues in the PDA interface and in the multiplayer main menu.
• Fixed errors which caused the game to crash when the player joined Duty.
• Fixed minor bugs in mutant behavior after death (vanishing corpses, continuing animations).
• Fixed appearance of items in crates owned by camps.
• Fixed tree penetrability, including the ability to be penetrated by machine gun fire.
• Improved visual presentation of some anomalous areas.
• Fixed appearance of some Freedom stalkers.
• Fixed some text errors.
• Fixed errors which made it impossible to upgrade some items.
• Fixed the error which made it impossible to use grenades in the player’s inventory.
• Characters no longer give out secondary objectives during camp attacks and defense.
• Some traders now sell upgraded weapons.
• Added places to hide from emissions in the Dark Valley.
• Fixed an error with detector activation from the inventory.
• Fixed FPS drop in the main menu.
• Fixed double super-sampling buffering.
• Fixed bug with night vision effect which remained after the suit which provided it was removed.
• Fixed font display in DX10.
• Fixed errors in key assignment in game options.
• Fixed team history in the console following log clearance.

Multiplayer
• Added the Repair Base map
• Changed multiplayer balance.
• Fixed health indicator bug caused by using medkits while invulnerable.
• Fixed inventory opening bug, which occurred when the player died in DM, TDM and AH modes.
• Fixed the bug which caused a pause after client connection.
• Buy menu improved.
• Fixed BattlEye support.
• Fixed patching system.
• Fixed incorrect error message.
• Fixed error with movement of items in the backpack.
• Fixed first bullet dispersion.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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