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The guys over at IGN UK have reviewed S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky. They gave the game a 7.0/10 (Decent)
The Zone was the best game place of last year. Sure, Bioshock's Rapture had incredible architecture and a killer soundtrack, but it was more a system of artfully-decorated tubes than a world. The Zone, the Chernobyl-devastated wasteland in which the first STALKER was set, was huge and convincing. It had its restrictions (you can defeat entire armies, but you can't climb over a barbed wire fence?) and its linearity, but it also had the sense it was a fully-functioning environment. While primarily a first-person shooter, featuring the usual gunning down of mutants and militants, it was also a survival role-playing game of sorts. The Zone was dark and weird, inhabited by surly men, horrifying beasts and random occurrence â€“ a brilliantly harrowing holiday to somewhere only a videogame could realise.
Sequel Clear Sky doesn't achieve that. Its take on the Zone, though fundamentally very similar, is seriously overpopulated, cursed with awful writing and saddled with design madness that makes progression a cheerless chore rather than a survivalist joy. 'Atmosphere' is a dangerously vague word to apply to a game, but it's the touchstone description of what the original Stalker did best: spookiness, grimness, weird beauty. Atmosphere is what Clear Sky most critically lacks, and why it could be the most disappointing PC game of 2008.
They loved some things, hated some others. One thing I found interesting is they mentioned that THQ's interference with the first game might have been what made Shadow of Chernobyl the great game it was and since THQ is absent from Clear Sky some things fall short. Check out their full two page review here.
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