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Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath HD

Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath finally goes HD on Steam

10:00 PM on 09.14.2012 // Jordan Devore

I picked up Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath long ago during a Steam sale and didn't bother to play more than ten minutes knowing that, one day, the HD visuals of the PlayStation Network re-release would make it to PC as well. Granted, it took much longer than I had anticipated, but it's finally happened.

The upgrade comes by way of a free patch, so if you also own a copy already, you'll be able to play with the high-def upgrades implemented. If not, Stranger's Wrath is currently on sale for $6.99, which comes out to 30% off the regular going rate.

I spent a few minutes tinkering with the post-patch game and while the art assets are indeed quite impressive compared to the originals, I had trouble getting to a constant 60 frames per second. Bumping the anti-aliasing down to 4x (rather than using the max value of 8x) seemed to do the trick. Weird!

Patch notes:

Stranger's Wrath HD PC - v1.4
(C)Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc. 2005, 2010-2012
(C)Just Add water (Developments), Ltd. 2012

Changes from the original 2010 PC port

== Characters ==
- All 84 character models have been updated with increased polygon counts and higher resolution textures.
- This includes all three variations of Live Ammo: Those in the environment, those on the Crossbow and those in the General Store.
- Zappflies left in the environment glow.
- Fired Thudslugs left in the environment are now not an older design.
- Wolvark Sloghandlers now release Slogs instead of Slegs.
- Professor Dimble now has glasses and an academic tome.
- Made Blisterz Booty unkillable.

== Environments ==
- All environments have been given higher resolution textures.
- Most vegetation has been updated with increased polygon counts and/or higher resolution textures.
- A lot of environment now reflects in water where it didn’t before.
- Many, many pipes and barrels rounded.
- Floating debris displays on water surfaces correctly.
- Eliminated some methods of escaping levels as pointed out by Brody Taylor (thank you!)
- Added Abe’s Oddysee and Munch’s Oddysee easter eggs to the game.
- Added Blisterz Booty’s broken crud gun to the floor by his bola’d body.
- Sekto’s Office has been changed to more closely resemble that seen in the FMV.

== Audio ==
- Sound effects in Bounty Store menu fixed.
- New female voices have been recorded for two characters.

== Display ==
- Fixed shader bugs that were affecting ATI and Intel users.
- Support for 4× and 8× FSAA.
- Anistropic filtering and GPU synchronization togglable in the launcher.
- Instance rendering togglable in the configuration file.
- Vertical synchronization is now checked by default.
- Frame rate has been capped at 100 FPS to lessen the problem of Stranger becoming immobile. This cap can be changed in the configuration file.
- All 16 menus have been updated with a new design based on original unused concepts.
- All menus now support keyboard, mouse and gamepad input.
- Textures added to stamina and bounty bars.
- New posters now occupy the inventory menu when no bounty is accepted.
- Radar fixed to show all enemy vision cones.
- Alt-tabbing is now supported properly.
- Fix to stop movie playback looping.
- Fix to snow effect.

== Controls ==
- Duplicate controls in the configuration menu now show up in red text (but to permit you maximum customaziation, you can still set duplicates if you like).
- In the controls configuration screen ‘Up’, ‘Down’, ‘Left’, ‘Right’ and ‘Select’ have been renamed ‘Menu Up’, ‘Menu Down’, ‘Menu Left’, ‘Menu Right’ and ‘Menu Select’ respectively.
- Added ammo selection controls separate from menu controls. You can map them to the same keys if you wish.
- You can also now interact with the ammo selection screen using your mouse and fire left/fire right controls as well.
- Added support for tiltwheels.
- The controls you’ve mapped now appear in gameplay dialogue boxes (except for ‘Movement Controls’ and ‘Camera Controls’) and are listed correctly in the layout schematic.
- Non-dynamic gamepad layout image replaced by dynamic list upon user configuration of gamepad control mapping.
- Tutorial dialogues can be closed with Esc and primary mouse click as well as Jump and Menu Select keys.
    - Clicking to close tutorial dialogues while in first person mode will cause the corresponding barrel of your Crossbow to be fired.
- Removed deadzone on camera if mouse-controlled.

== Difficulty ==
- All armour upgrades increase Stranger’s health (they did nothing in the original 2005 Xbox release).
- Added difficulty levels to the game: Easy, Medium and Hard.
    - In easy mode Stranger has twice the health, enemies have half the health and stamina.
    - In hard mode Stranger has a third less health and enemies take a bit more to kill.

== Unlockables ==
- Added 12 brand new Steam achievements.
    - “Hideout Seek” renamed “Junkyard Challenge”.
    - “Get to ‘Last Legs’” renamed “Giving a Leg Up”.
- Concept art and movie extras for completing each region of the game.

== Language ==
- French and German audio has been added.
- Togglable subtitles for pre-rendered and realtime cutscenes, and for vital GameSpeak.
- Full text translations for French, German, Italian and Spanish.

== Launcher ==
- Only one instance of the launcher can be created at any once.
- Launcher displays a warning message if you’re not running OpenGL 2.0 or greater.

Guide to configuration file
The configuration file for your installation of Stranger's Wrath HD can be found in your Documents directory under Oddworld > Stranger's Wrath HD > config.txt

The majority of the file comprises your control scheme mappings. Other settings can be changed to affect the game's performance on your computer.

- "bbp" stands for 'bits per pixel', describing colour quality. It will only accept 32 or 24 as its value.
- "maxfps" defaults to 100 if unset, but you can lower it yourself. This caps the game's framerate, which can be useful if you have a problem with Stranger getting stuck on the ground.
- "novsync" is present if you have unchecked 'Vsync' in the game's launcher. Vertical synchronization caps your framerate to your monitor's framerate, which can be useful if you have a problem with Stranger getting stuck on the ground.
- "anisotropicon" is present if you have 'Anisotropic filtering' checked in the launcher. Anisotroping filtering makes textures look better when they're at an angle to the camera, but can slow down the game.
- "useinstancerenderer" is present if you have 'Instance rendering' checked in the launcher. Instance rendering draws all like decorators in a level at once. This improves performance but can cause graphical glitches on some graphics cards. Disable if vegetation appears skewed in your game.
- "mipmapbias" controls the distance at which mipping comes into effect. Mipping is a graphical improvement that makes distant textures lower res to reduce visual noise. Making this value more negative pushes away the distance at which mipping occurs, making distant textures sharper. Making the value zero or positive pulls that distance in, making textures blurrier.
- "antialiasing" can be set to 0 for no antialiasing, 1 for 4xFSAA, or 2 for 8xFSAA. Be aware that antialiasing in Stranger's Wrath HD is more resource-intensive than you may be used to in modern games.

Fixes v1.4
Added missing achievement "Slakker Clakker".
Fixed issues with some achievements not getting triggered correctly.
Fixed in launcher audio language selection problem.
Fixed in launcher joypad configuration issues when using dpad controls.
Added into launcher new advanced options. Shadows, Vegetation & Water Reflections can be disabled to improve frame rate. Mip Map Bias can be adjusted. Max frames per second can be set.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
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