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I know that most of the gaming world views Gamespot these days with jaded eyes and whispers, but regardless they too have been playing Clear Sky and have their review up.
They give the game a solid 7.0/10.
If you've already visited The Zone and got lost in its nightmarish world and deliberate pacing, you'll find the landscape is still bleak and uninviting. You play as the silent loner Scar, a survivor of a strong emission originating from the nuclear plant at the center of the zone. His rescuers are the Clear Sky faction, a group of scientists investigating the reasons behind the emissions. And of course, their goal becomes yours as well. During your measured journey through The Zone, you'll visit other factions' headquarters as well, where you'll be asked to assault enemy bases, join their brotherhood, and perform tasks in exchange for information.
With so many bases scattered about, you'll soon discover that compared to its predecessor, The Zone is practically teeming with human life--though you shouldn't take this to mean that it's suddenly a carnival of cheery faces. This meatier population is borne out of necessity: Clear Sky's major new addition is that of factional warfare, in which the various packs of mercenaries (or in this case, stalkers) fight each other for turf control. As a result, you can meet the faction leader and join the team, assuming you've proven yourself worthy. This in turn means better merchant prices and other perks, as well as easier (or harder) passage to certain areas. Thus ensues a Battlefield style tug of war, in which factions fight over controls points in an attempt to take over the other's base.
Joining your teammates in these battles, like almost any combat situation in Clear Sky, is a nail-biting excursion into the unknown. Impressive enemy AI is one of the biggest reasons for this. Enemy stalkers make excellent use of cover, crouch and move away when they reload, flank you whenever possible, and generally react in plausible ways. They're tough cookies, so even at standard difficulty, you can't play as you would a standard first-person shooter. The only successful approach is to act and react as you would in real life: with caution and perseverance. Because of the slow flow of cash, you'll often feel spectacularly underpowered, but while these fights are often tense and difficult, clearing out a base with nothing but a pea-shooting pistol and an underpowered hunting rifle feels like a major accomplishment. Just be prepared to save. Often.
The games atmosphere, AI, world and faction wars are praised, but the odd bugs and high level of difficulty (hey, the zone's a rough place....) bring it down.
Check out the full Gamespot review here.
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