Chernobylite is a new first-person shooter survival horror RPG developed by The Farm 51 and published by All in! Games. Players take control of Igor, a physicist previously employed at the Chernobyl nuclear site. Chernobylite follows Igor as he returns to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in search of his wife, who went missing 30 years prior during the disaster but still talks to Igor in his head.
While trying to find her, Igor sets up shop inside of an abandoned warehouse in the Exclusion Zone. Over the course of the game, Igor recruits several colorful characters to help him in his search, each with their own distinct strengths and personalities. The writing for the characters is effective enough, although players should opt to play with Russian voice acting and English subtitles, as the English performances tend to be a bit over the top. The most interesting part of the game’s story is in its non-linearity. Story missions can be completed in various orders, but they can also be failed, which has a rippling effect on the story. Igor’s various companions can also die, and the story will continue to advance dynamically in their absence.
Chernobylite’s gameplay consists of main story missions and supply runs. Both mission types see Igor venturing into different regions of the Exclusion Zone. While in the Exclusion Zone, players can scavenge for supplies, craft small campfires to make healing items, and contend with a military organization and mutants created in the disaster. Missions can be approached in whatever way the player wishes, whether that be stealthy or sprinting around with an AK-47.
Main missions feature a variety of objectives like rescuing a hostage or interdimensional boss fights. Supply missions are more repetitive, like stealing stockpiles of medicine, ammunition, or food. Thankfully, players can assign Igor’s companions to those missions to avoid being bogged down with repeating missions. However, companions sent on those missions have a chance to fail, be injured, or even killed. If companions die, players lose out on being able to assign them to missions, as well as not being able to receive training from them to learn new skills and abilities.
To prevent this, players have to manage each companion’s happiness in the base, health, sanity, and equipment. Health and sanity are raised back up by feeding them full rations and letting them rest for a few days at the warehouse. Comfort and equipment are managed by the player using supplies to craft. For the base, players can build various amenities like sleeping areas, generators, lights, decorations, and comfort items like couches, tables, and televisions. Players can also craft things like different crafting tables and farms to allow them to create better gear or not have to scavenge for so much food during missions.
Gear can also be greatly customized. Players can create a handful of different weapons, but each weapon can be customized with several attachments in different slots like silencers, sights, stocks, magazines, or barrels. Customizing guns allows the player to choose their own playstyle for missions, but it also is important for properly equipping companions to increase their chances of completing missions.
In Chernobylite, the Chernobyl disaster also led to a titular new element as well as a variety of mutant aliens. The material brings a heavy dose of science fiction to Chernobylite’s survival elements, with mutants posing major threats on player excursions along with players and Igor wielding a Rick-and-Morty-like portal gun to teleport back to the warehouse after missions. The Chernobylite element also has a devastating impact on the Exclusion Zone throughout the game’s story. Player actions can lead to the element growing in their presence with higher amounts causing thunderstorms and rolling green fogs during missions.
The mutants and added weather effects from the Chernobylite add a lot to missions throughout the game. Encounters with mutants add much-needed variety to the encounters and can be extremely difficult when players first encounter a new type or aren’t properly equipped. The weather effects also add good variety and force players to adapt their playstyles accordingly. Later in the game, however, players can build expensive machines to manage the weather for more dangerous missions or help control the influence of Chernobylite on the Exclusion Zone.
As for the game’s difficulty, there are many options for players to customize their experience. Chernobylite has three different difficulty settings that adjust how demanding the game’s combat, resource management, and survival elements are. The options give players a good number of choices to set their preferred experience. Players wanting the game to be as difficult as its story presents it to be will likely want to set them to Hard.
In the end, Chernobylite is a solid package for any player looking for an original survival FPS with a lot of heart in it. The story is sufficient, but the game will really satisfy players who are looking for a difficult experience without holding their hand too much. For players looking for much more than just the gameplay, however, they may be left wanting.
Chernobylite is available on July 28 for PC and September 7 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- Rating - 7/107/10
Chernobylite is a solid package for any player looking for an original survival FPS with a lot of heart in it. The story is sufficient, but the game will really satisfy players who are looking for a difficult experience without holding their hand too much. For players looking for much more than just the gameplay, however, they may be left wanting.