Whether you are a gamer or not, you must have heard about Chernobylite by now some or the other way. This game is truly the best in the horror genre. The Chernobyl game has always been a setting ripe for games to embrace. It took players to The Zone, impressing many with its unforgettable atmosphere and immersion.
This is the first game in recent years that explored the Chernobyl Excursion Zone. It comes with eight hours of straight gameplay to experience. The entire area has been baked with radiation. That makes it uninhabitable since the reactor overloaded.
Although the event was a terrible thing, it does inspire some interesting radioactive themed horror for game developers to explore. If you have not played League of Legends yet, here is a review for you.
This will hopefully help you make your decision whether to take up this game or not.
Introduction & Background
The Chernobyl disaster is one of the most dangerous tragedies in history. It has recently been brought back into the spotlight through HBO miniseries. It was incredibly well-reviewed. But, In the realm of video games, Chernobyl has seen surprisingly little focus. Just the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise and that one Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare mission and that’s it.
The folks at Farm 51 have changed that with their survival-horror project Chernobylite. The Farm 51, the studio behind games like World War 3 and the Get Even, made “Chernobylite”. As the name Chernobylite suggests, the game is a rogue-lite of sorts.
Each playthrough will be entirely unique, introducing new story elements, characters to interact with, and new in-game events.
It is a science-fiction survival-horror experience. In case the title is not a dead giveaway, the game is set in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, 30 years after the events that led to its creation, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to that other Chernobyl-based shooter series like Stalker.
You might already know that Chernobylite is a “technogenic compound” with a high percentage of uranium and it’s highly radioactive, glossy, glass-like material created when Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 melted down in 1986. The glass-like material is a Chernobylite crystal.
Its actual appearance is nothing like the shiny green Chernobylite crystal that its portrayed in the game. This real-world mystery material is also responsible for inter-dimensional travel in Chernobylite, a radioactive stew that stirs together elements and aesthetics from the Metro and Stalker games with some herbs and spices culled from Fallout.
Although Chernobylite is a first-person shooter of sorts, this Early Access game has much narrower goals and a far less expansive map than the Metro franchise, and is focused less on combat than on survival mechanics and crafting.
The game developers have 3D scanned the actual Chernobyl Exclusion Zone to make the environments look as close to the real thing as possible, and you can tell when you are in-game.
Everything from the rusty vehicles and abandoned buildings to the dense foliage swaying in the ghastly breeze feels like something taken straight out of the real Chernobyl exclusion zone, and that is because it was. The eerie beauty of the Chernobylite game is further enhanced by its lighting and texture detail, both of which are incredible.
History & Love mixed
Chernobylite’s story is a mashup of historical fact, including a detailed recreation of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and sci-fi fantasy. Elements of time and dimension travel serve to generate the game and main character Igor’s story arc, as he’s trying to go back in time and save his wife from the meltdown.
Igor builds a home base, then takes on a series of timed missions to collect materials and progress the story and his understanding of what happened. Because the game is still in early access and content, missions and story are being added over time, there are significant pieces of the puzzle still incomplete. With this game, you also come to unlock the secrets of Chernobyl.
Chernobylite’s story has a more personal bent, however. You were a young physicist when the deadly incident at Chernobyl stole your girlfriend from you. 30 years later now, you remain haunted by the event, and so you do the reasonable thing and seek out the services of a good therapist.
No, wait, that’s not it—actually, you suit up and head to the Zone, where the decades you spent in a laboratory will surely prove useful as you try not to die.
Using a strange, otherworldly resource called Chernobylite that has been found in The Zone, your goal is to save your girlfriend Tatyana by traveling through time. However, you’ll need to search for clues that will show you where to find her.
Unfortunately, this won’t be easy — the discovery of Chernobylite also led to the introduction of terrifying supernatural phenomena to The Zone, and you’ll have to deal with the military’s interference as well as the survival needs of you and your crew, too.
The game opens with you playing through that first mission to the plant, and it proves to be a very effective introduction to the game. One of Chernobylite’s hyped features is how it’s built from scans of the actual area, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the approach to the power plant.
Many video games fail to capture the proper scale of buildings in their worlds, but this one lays the sprawling complex out for you to marvel at. This first mission also goes very hard on the lore of the game, introducing you to some fascinating sci-fi elements and also throwing in some particularly well-done flashbacks to the meltdown.
At its core, Chernobylite is a stealth game. Igor isn’t capable of taking more than a few bullets, and the resources necessary for creating healing items are scarce. Additionally, both the soldiers and the monsters within The Zone’s borders are deadly, so open fights seldom end in your favor.
To succeed in this cruel and twisted world, you’ll need to blend into the shadows. Like Stalker, Chernobylite promises to let players freely explore a “beautiful and horrifyingly accurate” recreation of the Zone, which is populated with who you can work with but probably shouldn’t trust.
Chernobylite game takes the players to the lush, irradiated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and tasks them with fighting for their survival by any means necessary — all while trying to save a lost loved one. There are some impressive, detailed environments in Chernobylite, radiating sadness and mystery but they are side by side with some flat, copy/paste textures and unconvincing character models.
These are real-world areas that other games have explored before but the haunted and desolate exclusion zone still has an impact and carries an implicit warning.
You’ll do battle with strange, dangerous creatures, craft equipment and manage supplies, and pursue a strange, semi-supernatural story in the ruined remains of an overgrown, poorly-lit town. Everything around you is a potential danger.
Not only will you encounter other characters that can help or hurt you, but the area is also rife with mutated creatures that want nothing more than to tear you apart. Not to mention the supernatural encounters and other strange anomalies to be found.
You have to craft your gear and weapons to protect yourself from the hostile military personnel and supernatural threats lurking in the zone. You should make use of the sophisticated tools at your disposal to aid you in your struggle while navigating the rough and contaminated environment.
You also have to stay undetected and gather all the evidence you can to piece together events from the past. Most importantly, you have to decide what happens in the world around you by making choices and finding, or avoiding, the truth.
There’s a strategy element to Chernobylite as well. Each level counts as a “day,” and you have a limited amount of days (15 by default) to play through the story. Therefore, choosing what you and each of your team members do every day is essential.
Do you send your friend on a supply run while you do a story mission, or should you spend a day collecting ammo? Can you afford to skip a raid on a food stash to complete a mission that will be unavailable tomorrow? These are a few of the types of decisions you’ll have to make.
Remember that life is fragile, and it’s your decisions that determine the fate of your companions. You can spend as long as you want to prepare. But, be aware that your story is still being written.
Every passing moment in the game, your chances of success are dwindling: comrades are dying, supplies are running out, or an unexpected patrol could discover you. And on top of all this, supernatural dangers are arising around you in mysterious patterns in unexpected ways.
Each day in the game brings new challenges with the ever-increasing severity of your current situation. So you have to plan your strategy carefully if you want to survive.
You’ll have to maintain a base and the health of your crew, too, which is where your collected resources come in handy. Nobody likes discomfort, so using the game’s base-building system to make your hidey-hole cozier with decorations is essential for keeping morale up.
If morale falls, teammates will be less likely to succeed in missions. Your food stockpile also influences morale; if you’re forced to ration, people will become irritable. However, if you can afford to give double portions, they’ll be ecstatic.
The process of trying to make your way through The Zone’s thick forests and long-abandoned towns while threats lurk all around reminds you of Stalker in all the right ways.
The game’s levels are filled with useful resources and locations to discover, but exploring tends to put you in riskier positions. Using your wit to avoid or neutralize these dangers is an experience that’s both incredibly rewarding and heart-stoppingly intense.
When dealing with The Zone’s supernatural creatures, this moment-to-moment tension makes Chernobylite feel like a horror game. Ultimately, these in-game strategy mechanics provide a much-needed contrast to the constant tension of exploring The Zone.
The first thing to bother is that the missions are quite underwhelming and often feel like a game of hide and seek. Most of the time missions pose little threat if you have some patience, but every now and then you’ll find one of those hacking AI’s that seem to notice you through a house.
Chernobylite can start to feel like Fallout in places, with the somber atmosphere of the zone lost in bouts of hoovering up junk from the floor. When you’re actually out on missions, enemies tend to be clustered around the main objectives, leaving you mostly free and clear to loot the rest of the place.
The challenge there is just finding your way to the more valuable goods, as buildings can be twisting mazes of blocked-off passages.
Chernobylite game has a decidedly rough-around-the-edges, lack of polish feel, with lots of crash bugs, unintentional visual aberrations, etc. These eventually may be patched but it is doubtful that the game’s dialogue issues and tone can be solved by a digital band-aid.
Although the tone and story are grim and serious, sometimes weirdly translated dialogue can never settle on a level pitch, veering from profanity-laden tough-guy talk to oddly dumb stabs at sarcasm that often feels like something critical has gone missing.
Likewise, the game’s interface seems like it is one or two tests away from being consistently comprehensible and friendly.
Chernobylite is so heavily focused on crafting. The game, for the most part mechanically seems to echo that of Fallout: scavenge for materials, return to the workbench and make stuff: food, medicine, weapons, armor, survival gear, walls and doors, and decorations, etc.
Like most survival games, there is not a shred of realism about any of it, which, of course, would be tedious. But it also feels like a busy work substitute for more engaging gameplay, action, or story. Survival in Chernobylite is not easy, either.
If gunshot wounds do not kill you, then starvation or radiation poisoning can do the trick. Your companions can be sent out on the story missions alone. But they are subject to the same slings and arrows that you are and they must be attended to and healed when they return.
When you do come up against enemies, they’re mostly going to be government soldiers, whose necks are ripe for snapping if you can sneak up behind them. Later on in the story, you’ll encounter more supernatural foes, though it’s important to note this game is far lighter on the horror elements than its inspirations would suggest.
Don’t expect any of the horrific encounters of the X labs or blowouts here, just shadow monsters and some awkward attempts at jump scares. There’s honestly not a whole lot to Chernobylite at the moment, as all your missions will take place on the same two or three maps.
Combat is simple and a bit awkward, with stiff weapon handling and some weirdness when trying to reload. All of these flaws are simply part of the Early Access state, with more maps and polish and an actual ending to the game promised for the future.
What’s here now is absolutely playable, and with how good it looks and sounds, it’s not a bad idea to give it a try, start scavenging up junk and take down some denizens of the zone. This game had a strong start in Early Access itself. Not many games have done it.
If they can bring the content up to the level of the presentation, this could easily breathe new life into the Chernobyl setting.
In just about every aspect, Chernobylite feels like a game that sits comfortably between stellar and mediocre. Its tone is inconsistent and even if its survival mechanics were well-oiled and bug-free, the lack of a coherent dramatic approach to its story and characters would still be an issue.
The exclusion zone is once again rendered with chilling realism and thanks to cable TV, the events of Chernobyl are on our cultural radar once more. Fans of survival games, shooters, and horror will all find something to like about Chernobylite, but they will almost certainly be a bit disappointed as well.
It is the best science-fiction survival horror experience, mixing the free exploration of its disturbing world with, unique crafting, challenging combat, and non-linear storytelling. Play as a physicist lover, one of the Chernobyl Power Plant’s ex-employees, and investigate the mysterious disappearance of your beloved.
Try to survive until the end and reveal the contamination zone’s twisted secrets. Remember, the military presence is not your only concern but they are many other unexpected surprises.
While Chernobylite could definitely use some gameplay refinements and technical polish, it’s off to a tremendous start. If you’re a fan of survival horror, you shouldn’t miss out on this game. Come and explore the secrets of Chernobyl. Brace yourselves for a thrilling adventure of survival, conspiracy, horror, love, and obsession.
One that will prove to you that it’s not about how you face your fears, it’s about how you survive them. Hope you found the Chernobylite review helpful. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of Chernobyl? Tell us how you liked the Chernobylite game.