All About Gears80
My rantings, which are generally in the form of talking about particular games or series I have had good (or bad) experiences with.
The result was extremely surprising but very pleasing. I am a huge fan of the Half Life series, as Half Life 2 was my first real introduction into the expensive pastime of PC gaming. After seeing water hazard on my friends new pc in 2004 I was completely blown away. The graphics and physics were far beyond what I had previously seen, and within a month or so I had bought a new 8600gt card and Pentium D processor to realize the games full glory. But the game does seem very old fashioned now. The players experience of Gordon Freeman was a man who could hold every gun like object known to man, shoot a pistol with dead accuracy while climbing a ladder at around 50kmh and drive and pick up objects without using his hands (Come to think of it he did not even need a lower body to achieve all of this). What makes his choice as greatest game hero even stranger is that while he could do all these amazing things he could not talk. For this reason alone I thought characters such as Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series would be a shoe in because they contain so much more depth. But I think the real reason is because Half Life 2 was one of 'those' games, the special ones that have that certain x factor which means they will develop a massive cult following. The Half Life series has probably been the most modded out all pc franchises, with fan developed material becoming full retail releases, such as CS, Team Fortress and Portal. Don't believe me? Then why does Stalker and Crysis have huge user content base, while Far Cry 2 was left out in the cold? Because Far Cry 2 is not a bad game, it just isn't special.
What do you get when you mix Eastern European sensibilities, corny dialogue, awful lip synch, Crysis rivalling levels of environmental beauty and a weed smoking bartender called Ganja? S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear Sky of course.
Ganja the pot smoking barman
For those unfamiliar with this game and its predecessor, Shadow of Chernobyl, it centres around an alternate reality in which the 1986 explosion of Chernobyl's Lenin Memorial Nuclear Reactor caused an area of fallout to form, filled with anomalous activity and mutated animals. The worldwide interest in the so called 'Zone' gives rise to Stalkers (S.T.A.L.K.E.R stands for Scavengers, Trespassers, Adventurers, Loners, Killers, Explorers, Robbers) who brave its dangers to bring back 'artefacts' to sell to the scientific community. The Zone is sustained for a long period of time giving rise to a legend of the 'wish granter' which exists at its centre. Both games are based on the movie Stalker which was based on a book called Roadside Picnic, which included the idea of radioactive 'Zones' but scarily predated the Chernobyl incident by 15 years.
Anyone who played these games will realise they are addictive but painfully buggy. Both have required multiple patches and mods until they could be easily played through till the end with no problems.
Sunset in Stalker: Clear Sky
Clear sky improves on what made Shadow of Chernobyl great, and fixes many of the issues with its gameplay. While it still uses the system of unstructured missions in interconnected areas, fast travelling though guides is now possible, and stops the mind numbing trekking through the wilderness. But what the games do right is amazing. They both possess atmosphere only rivalled by the likes of Fallout 3 and Bioshock, and Clear Sky has some of the best lighting I have ever seen. It will take some tinkering to get running nicely, but the dedicated modding community and the relatively simple process of adding their work can solve many issues and prolong the life of both games. If you can get past their numerous problems they are definitely worth a play.
Next up is another equally good shooter with equally stupid contraction name, F.E.A.R. Or maybe Splinter Cell.
My Recent Reviews
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