The Lads at Fidget decided that we needed to take a deeper look into the Russian game revoilution with a quick sneak peek at the Prequel to last years epic post-apocalyptic RPG S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
The article is over at Square Go for your perusal.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky – First impressions
2007 was a good year for releases, one of most signficant of which was a PC game from a relatively small Ukranian developer, GSC Game World. The game was S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a post apocalyptic shooter, set in The Zone, an atomic wasteland created by a second nuclear disaster. The game followed the trials and tribulations of an amnesiac Stalker (it stands for Scavenger, Trespasser, Adventurer, Loner, Killer, Explorer and Robber), his survival in The Zone and ultimately his own self rediscovery.
It was a phenomenally dark game and was rightly successful, not only creating a fantastic experience, but also ushering in a new interest in games coming from the former Soviet Union. However, despite the game’s ingenuity and the darkly macabre subject, it never quite managed to deliver on all its initial promise. It provided one of the best and most realistic worlds ever seen, complete with roaming packs of animals and random alliances forming between rival gangs, but the AI was still decidedly ropey at times. The much publicised 30 km Zone was butchered down to a few dozen playable chunks, and there were more than a few game-breaking bugs.
Which is probably why GSC have been more than vocal about how they’re clearing up the problems in their newest release S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. The follow-up game is a prequel, set in the early days of the new unpleasantness with the events of the original game still some way off. This time the player controls a man named Scar, another Stalker assigned to assasinate the character from the first game. Naturally, doing this would leave you slap bang in the middle of paradox-city, but thankfully, early word has it that the mission is only the start of the story, and can’t be completed in any case. Instead, the game lets you discover more of the backhistory of the world and explore even more of it, all the while filling in plot holes from the original story.
Along with a new plot comes a whole host of new areas to explore, including rebuilt and much improved versions of the core locations from Shadow of Chernobyl, and let’s face it, wandering round the tragic ruins of the Nuclear Plant isn’t going to get old anytime soon. There will be the added bonus of destructible scenery and much larger play areas as well. The new game promises improved AI, with enemies now able to team up and use cover against you, as well as now being able to throw grenades. To even things out, players can now upgrade and repair both their guns and armour at practically every base in the game. You’ll also be able to team up and lead one gang against another, so choosing sides will evidently play an important part in your experience of the game.
There have been massive reworkings of the engine, allowing all manner of graphical improvements, insuring that the bleak wastelands look even more bleaky and wastelandy while still featuring all of the quirks and unique touches that made the original such an unforgettable experience. Things are looking rightly hopefull for the flagship Developers of Eastern Europe, let’s hope the game lives up to its promise.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is set for general release on August 29th. We’ll be seeing you in the Zone.