After the hit drama miniseries, Chernobyl came out early this year, my interest in the massive disaster was at its peak with me doing research, watching loads of videos and even a documentary or two. From this, I came across this wonderful gem, Chernobylite. For those that might not be in the loop, Chernobylite is a game that is in early access on Steam and is based around the Nuclear disaster but puts a twist on the whole event and lets the player explore what is called the Chernobyl Exclusion zone, to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of your character’s girlfriend. So you might be wondering what this game has to offer. Well, it’s a science-fiction survival horror set around Chernobyl, which comes with a mix of free exploration, challenging combat, crafting and a non-linear story. Team up with your allies or other people that are trying to survive within the Chernobyl zone and see if you have what it takes to get through each day. Make weapons, gear, and medicine to aid you in combat against the supernatural threats that have started to appear around the area as well as fending off against the soldiers that are trying to cover up the truth. One of the huge reasons I love this game is it’s been 3D-scanned to recreate on accurate representation of Chernobyl and its surrounding area. On top of this, you can go online to the website and see the roadmap for the game and know exactly what’s coming out all the way up to the full release. That’s so reassuring nowadays seeing as some early access games come out and don’t even get finished or worse run of money.
Chernobylite is so easy to just pick up and play and even easier to get lost in, even though it’s in early access it offers so much for the player to do. You’ll find yourself going out on an expedition for resources to find food and materials to keep your allies happy as well as building structures for your base. While in the base, you have a little area for you to renovate and build things that will let you craft new weapons, medicine and even homely things to make the base truly feel like home. Once you complete missions you travel back to your base and either split the resources or keep them for yourself, I mainly like keeping everyone happy so I split my food with Olivier who is one of the allies currently in the early access. When you have done everything you want you can head to bed to get some sleep and when you wake up you’ll be able to go out again and further the story through missions or revisit locations to gather more resources.
The game does have one frustrating feature when you die, you go back to day one. Luckily you keep all your equipment and base progression but it makes the missions change and you basically have to try again to progress through the game. I like the fact you keep all your clues, equipment and base progression but it does get tiring hearing the same audio for a mission over and over. The interface is clean and simple with a point of interest HUD that sit in the top centre of the screen, which is awesome because it doesn’t take you away from the game world, though at times I still need to bring the map up to see how to get to certain areas due to things being locked off or soldiers being in the way and me not wanting to provoke them, but the overall layout is tidy and can be accessed through the Environmental Analyser because you can just right click and it sends out a pulse that detects nearby resources that you can scavenge. Your health bar and radiation levels are tucked neatly in the bottom left, leaving enormous space free for the in-game world.
Chernobylite has you wanting to explore the world of the game because of all the things you can find and just because of the beauty of it, the supernatural creatures have given me a heart attack or two when exploring the decaying buildings and exploring the world. They put up a nasty challenge and have to say that they have been the cause of like 70% of my deaths so fair. Using weapons is weird at first because you have to look down the sight to shoot, I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone to shoot something but kept punching the air first because I’ve tried to fire the gun without aiming. Once you get the hang of it though it’s not a problem but a word of warning if you are going in for a gunfight make sure to aim first!
Graphically the game looks beautiful and captures everything down to a T, you can really feel how run down this environment has become over time. My only bugbear with it is that there are areas that have evident clipping and sometimes you’re character will get stuck while trying to go through small gaps or just on rubble that’s on the floor, though it’s nothing majorly game-breaking but has led me to die once by one of the supernatural creatures while in one of the buildings. The audio in Chernobylite adds to the whole atmosphere, with the Environmental Analyser having a built-in Geiger counter that constantly keeps ticking in the background to warn you of the radiation levels in the area and the chit chatter of the soldiers that are patrolling really creates a nervous feeling for the player and makes you want to be as sneaky as possible because if you get caught you will probably die. I love the voice acting too, I’m love playing the game with Russian voice-overs and English subtitles. I know there is the option for English voices but I’m a huge fan of playing games in their native language or from the area the game is set. This further allows for the player to get more immersive with the whole setting and really get a feel for the characters.
The Farm 51 has done a breath-taking job at capturing the truly eerie atmosphere that is the Chernobyl Exclusion zone, they went and got hands-on with everything to bring this game to life in their own unique way. With the added element of the supernatural creatures that are pouring from an alternate reality and the whole time travel twists, the game gets you hooked line and sinker straight from the start. Sure if you purchase Chernobylite now you’ll get some performance bugs but that’s understandable and shouldn’t put you off this masterpiece at all. Some of the game is still missing but with the promise of getting released and updated on a regular bases makes it worth the investment. If this game isn’t on your Christmas list or your radar I honestly recommend that it does make an appearance, because I have loved every minute of it and continue to sink hours into it. It has a Fallout feel to it but in my opinion, is miles better. Overall this game looks promising and could be up there with the best sellers when it comes to the survival horror genre.
Developer: The Farm 51
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Did you enjoy reading our preview of a game before the game gets its final release and its final version? if yes, click here to find more early previews.