Stalker Clear Sky is the unwanted middle child in the Stalker series. In 2007, Shadow of Chernobyl enthralled PC gamers around the world with one of the most atmospheric game environments ever crafted. 2011’s Call of Pripyat refined the RPG-shooter formula and opened up the series to a wider mainstream audience. Both these games have massive community and cult followings. However, the middle game, 2008’s Stalker Clear Sky was never as well received. This is odd because I absolutely loved Clear Sky. GSC Game World, the developers of the series, bit off more than they could chew with this game by introducing new features.
Notoriously, the faction war feature remained incomplete because they didn’t have the time or budget to refine it. This extended to the visuals, too, with the in-game god-ray implementation so unoptimized that it’d bring even the best systems to their knees. Community fixes have gone a long way towards making the experience playable. Today, Clear Sky’s a great experience. We’re sharing a list of mods here for new and returning players alike to add even more value to your playthrough.
Stalker Clear Sky Mods
1. Clear Sky Complete
Clear Sky Complete does exactly what it says on the tin: It makes Clear Sky—a notorious unfinished title at launch—much closer to what GSC original intention was. The mod compilation doesn’t just cover individual aspects of the game. Instead, it enhances virtually everything. You get higher resolution textures, new weather models, new assets, enhanced AI behavior, and quality of life features like the sleeping bag. What I appreciate about Clear Sky Complete is that it doesn’t detract from the original game by taking it in (problematic) new directions (Lost Alpha, we’re looking at you). Instead, it hews closely to the original vision. You wouldn’t know you’re running a modded version of the game until you uninstall it, play vanilla and realize how much you’re missing out on.
- Adheres closely to the original game’s vision
- Covers textures, models, AI, weathers, and more
- Adjustments to the AI model can make some fights more unbalanced
2. Sky Reclamation Project
The biggest problem with Clear Sky was the fact that there were so many bugs in the shipping code. This ranged from minor oddities—wacky poltergeist physics—to game-breaking quest bugs. Where other mods aim to enhance the vanilla game with new experiences, the Sky Reclamation Project sticks to what matters the most. It’s an exhaustive community bug fix project that aims to polish up the code and just generally get Clear Sky up and running in an optimal state. If you’re looking to do a pure vanilla run—without extra visual or quality of life goodies—Sky Reclamation Project will let you do just that. Don’t think of it as mod per se. It’s all the accumulated patches that GSC should have implemented themselves.
- Fixes the vast majority of game-breaking issues
- Fixes broken visual and audio issues
3. Mystery 2.0
Misery is one of the most hardcore ways to experience S.T.A.L.K.E.R., period. But what if you wanted the Misery experience in Clear Sky and not Call of Pripyat? If you haven’t yet gotten around the third S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game, or if you want another Misery fix, Mystery 2.0 is what you’ll want to get. The Russian team that built this mod focused on gameplay tweaks. Mystery 2.0 offers a much more challenging, tactical experience than vanilla Clear Sky.
You’ll need to manage health and stamina much more carefully. And because you take more damage, you’ll want to plan out every encounter, taking heed of where the best cover is. In addition to this the stealth system has been re-engineered. It’s now viable to sneak past enemy emplacements or pick them off one by one. But while Mystery 2.0 adds a lot of value for second or third-time playthroughs, keep in mind that it’s in Russian. Moreover, it tends to tank performance on lower-end systems.
- Adds in a Misery-like experience to Clear Sky
- Makes gameplay significantly more challenging (and rewarding)
- Can hit performance hard on lower-end systems
4. Clear Sky HD Models Addon
Clear Sky features some great visual effects for the time. It was one of the few games to really leverage DirectX 10.1 (before it was quickly superseded by DirectX 11). The game’s god rays and surface shaders hold up well today. However, model quality was spotty even back in 2008. While the lighting and shading work are excellent, low quality models just stick out in the game like a sore thumb. We’re used to high poly-count models these days, with main character models approaching 100,000 polygons.
While the Clear Sky HD Models addon doesn’t exactly take things that far, it significantly enhances polygon counts on numerous important characters, like Lebedev at the game’s start. It’s a small change, but add this on top of either vanilla or a modded experience and you will notice the difference in time.
- Does exactly what it says—replaces models with higher fidelity ones
- Relatively large file size
- Only a limited number of weapons are replaced
5. Arsenal Overhaul Redux
If you’re coming from Borderlands 3 to…well…any shooting game ever, you’re going to miss the pleasure of picking up a totally unique new weapon every five minutes. Clear Sky has plenty of guns as is. They’re designed great and operate realistically. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t benefit from a whole arsenal worth of new guns.
That’s exactly what Arsenal Overhaul Redux does. It adds in a whole host of new gun textures and models. It enhances the look of existing weapons in the game and adds some of its own. We’re not talking about swords or plasma weapons: in keeping with Clear Sky’s gritty, simulationesque aesthetic, these are guns from real life.
- Much greater variety of realistic guns are available
6. The Faction War
Clear Sky’s greatest innovation—and the most glaring evidence of how incomplete it was—was faction wars. This was a feature that was both gloriously fun and almost completely broken in the initial game. Essentially, it allowed in-game factions to dynamically fight with each other for territory. This changed the whole meta of the game and added in a new layer of replayability. The feature was horribly bug-ridden in the vanilla game.
The Faction War mod drastically expands on this feature. You can now support a faction and fight to take over the entire zone. This essentially turns the Clear Sky meta into a sort of FPS version of Mount and Blade. It’s cool stuff and we suggest getting it once you have the main campaign out of the way.
- Does factions wars the way it was supposed to be done
- Might take focus away during your first playthrough
Each of these Clear Sky mods has something to offer for everyone. Clear Sky Complete is something we’d recommend everyone to just enable for their first playthrough: it covers the whole gamut from visuals to gameplay tweaks. It’s a better vanilla experience. If you really want to play the game GSC created, the Zone Reclamation Project will do that, while fixing most of the bugs GSC left in.
The HD Models addon addresses on the more pressing issue with Clear Sky’s ageing graphics: low-fidelity models, while the Arsenal Overhaul kits you out with a whole new selection of guns. Lastly, The Faction War revives Clear Sky’s biggest missed opportunity and nearly turns that into a game in its own right. Which mod did you enjoy the most? Let us know.
Also Read: How to Use AirPods With PS4