Developer: The Farm 51
Publisher: All In! Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Sersie X, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 28/09/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code
Chernobylite is set 30 years after the reactor 4 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Not long after the disaster, a strange material called Chernobylite formed throughout the exclusion zone.
After 30 years, the physicist Igor Khymynuk receives a picture of his fiancée Tatyana at the same time she appears in his dreams. The pair both worked at the Chernobyl site together. However, after the explosion, Tatyana disappeared. Determined to find her, Igor returns to Chernobyl to uncover what happened and where she is.
With Chernobylite, it is a bit of a love hate situation I find myself in. Parts of the game come together nicely and then everything else feels inadequate. Yet I was still, for some reason, compelled to keep playing.
Chernobylite is a sci-fi role-playing game according to the developers. I would agree to an extent that this is true. But not 100% accurate. There is a massive lean towards survival. As for the most part, Igor is close to death at any possible moment, and has a base to maintain and keep safe.
After Igor’s first attempt to get in to the reactor and find the information was a disaster. Igor sets up a base camp overlooking Pripyat and Chernobyl. Here Igor can build work stations that allow him and his team to better deal with missions. For instance, upgrade tables for weapons.
The base building requires materials that Igor and the others will collect in order to build. This aspect of the game felt a lot like Fallout 4’s base building. Just plopping down items where you can, while looking after the stats of the base. To me, this felt either under developed or added later on in development. Do not get this wrong, it’s not bad at all, just felt tacked on.
Also, at the base Igor can improve his skill by spending his upgrade points to train with the others at the base. For example, sneaking, gathering, stealth take downs and so on. One little addition I enjoyed was that when you got a new skill, you had a tutorial that was set up to look like a training exercise.
The base is also where you allocate missions, with each party member having a %chance of completing a mission. If they die, they are dead, so choose wisely. Party member can equip a weapon and amour this can increase the chances of success.
When Igor goes on a mission, you will be in control. Most of the missions are a simple get to a point to find an item or person, then leave. These objectives get a boring quickly. The gameplay is however, the part that got me to come back, not because it is new, or exciting. In fact the opposite it felt familiar and it was slow paced and Igor needed to take his time in areas.
The atmosphere the devs created was fantastic. It was dark, sullen, oppressive, weird. There is a brilliant use of sound to keep the player on edge while they skulked around a hopefully empty building collecting supplies.
As the game progressed, the areas become more dangerous with Shadows, appearing more frequently. These are beings that use the Chernobylite to come to our world.
Luckily, Igor can build on the fly while on a mission. He can build traps, work benches and even items that will affect how the Chernobylite acts at a level. This gives Igor some nice options to keep in the fight and make his life easier.
When confronted by humans, Igor has a few options, ignore them and sneak by. This will lower the supplies Igor will collect. He could kill them. This will affect his mental health and this could lead to disaster. He could knock them out, the only drawback is it is slow so possibility of being seen if higher. But the AI is not the best, so it is a simple task.
Time to Decide
While playing, Igor will need to make choices that affect the games narrative. Each choice will affect the party also and if they become too unhappy, they will leave. This will leave Igor at a disadvantage later on. Not only will choices change the parties out look they can change how the world develops as well.
Also Igor can change past choices if he has made a bit of a mistake and left him in a pickle. All he has to do is die. Because of his use of Chernobylite, he can alter the timeline.
Overall, Chernobylite is an interesting game, with good ideas. However, they need fleshed out and more added. The game is good at creating tension and giving the feeling of dread. It does nothing bad, but does not excel at anything.
I would say if you are looking for something a little different, Chernobylite could be for you. I say could be one for a sale.