Chernobylite Review

Anything with Chernobyl involved and I’m immediately intrigued. The tragedy of Chernobyl in 1986 has always been something that I have been really interested and curious in, being someone who has no experience or idea in anything to do with nuclear studies….or any science in that matter. I had heard about this game for a while but never thought to look into it that much but when I did, I became very intrigued so I had to jump in on it. Many thanks to Farm 51 and All In! Games for providing me with a copy for Xbox to dive into.

Now Chernobylite is described as “Science Fiction Survival Horror RPG”. Possibly the longest category to describe the type of game and to be fair it is actually a spot-on category description for this game. You play the role of Igor, a physicist who was working at Chernobyl in 1986. About thirty years later he becomes haunted by weird dreams, where he’s lost his wife Titania who still speaks to him through visions. 

He returns to the exclusion zone with a small military team on a mission. The grounds of the power plant are now patrolled by a private group called NAR. It’s here where the focus is placed on a special new greenish mineral found at the site – Chernobylite – and it’s this which does some very strange things. Igor himself has crafted a device using this mineral that opens up a portal between worlds so you can travel very quickly. 

When you see the Chernobyl facility in front of you (fun fact: the full name of Chernobyl is called the “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant”) it is quite the site to behold because it was well known that a new containment facility was built over Reactor 4 but to see it actually completed in front of you is quite the site to behold so I can tell that the research and examinations of these details during development was taken extremely seriously and it shows. 

After you complete the first mission you are then taken into the survival aspect of the game, which for some shocking reason I didn’t actually see coming. I didn’t see the category of the game until I finished playing it. You are in your own little hideout with resources around you to pick up and craft and survive by taking on daily missions to continue to advance in the story. The moment you leave your hideout to explore, the surroundings are atmospheric, stunning and to be honest just a little bit scary because at this point you’ve only seen the kind of enemies that you’ll face in the introduction section. You are alone and the world and writing makes you feel alone in this land built up of bad memories, which you will experience in the first few hours as there are sudden flashbacks of the events just before and immediately after the AZ-5 button was pressed to complete the chain of disaster that was the destruction of Reactor 4 and for anyone who has watched the HBO series Chernobyl (seriously if you haven’t watched it yet, do it. It’s only 5 episodes and so worth the watch) you will notice a few references to the program. 

Now when it comes to the feel of the gameplay, I do get a weird mix of Far Cry and Metro vibes, 2 games that I love so this to me is a complete win. This game isn’t just an FPS as it definitely feels more of an RPG as once you complete the first mission you then have a warehouse with numerous amounts of junk and the game begins to separate your experiences between day and night. The game definitely emphasizes that you should try and play with stealth in mind, which I definitely try my best to as the weapons feel seriously heavy to use. I have seen numerous people complain about this but what isn’t being taken into perspective by these people is you are a physicist, not a weapons expert. Of course, you are going to be lugging that weapon around if you don’t use them on a daily basis, I know I would! 

I know I’ve mentioned this quite a bit but as you do the daily challenges and progress you will notice the beauty of the whole game world as its mysterious, abandoned, unknown territory since its all the exclusion zone with the radiation that can kill you in the most excruciating painful ways, seriously do some research on radiation poisoning and you’ll see what I mean. Visually Chernobylite uses the fiction of thinking you are in this huge open world, but really you are traversing a group of small maps. The developers have used 3D scans of the area to create a living breathing world that is both beautiful and terrifying; there are some of the best foliage I’ve seen in a game and the lighting is fantastic, especially on Xbox Series X. The power station itself is brilliantly realised too, looming ever-present in the now and the past. There are a few odd glitches and strange bugs, but never anything to ruin the feel of the game. Only thing this bad boy needs is either a patch for 60FPS or give us FPS Boost Microsoft come on! 

The characters are voiced in both Russian and in English, and the counterparts do an excellent job of bringing the characters alive and delivering great performances. The soundtrack is also superb and becomes an important part of the whole experience so it’s really down to preference on whether you’d prefer English or Russian when it comes to experience. For me it is English but I’ve watched plenty of Anime so reading subtitles has never been an issue at all.

Chernobylite basically takes a whole load of gaming styles and puts them in a mixing bowl and stirs the hell out of it and managed to come up with something very unique and challenging and trying something new in these times is extremely risky. It’s a game in which you can invest a bunch of hours, especially in the resource management stuff, but is neatly complemented by a cracking story and some great visuals. 

If you want to experience a great story and manage resources to survive and have the time for some serious gaming, then Chernobylite is definitely something for you to pick up and give a go. As always I haven’t covered everything but that is how I like my reviews, not giving everything away and still leaving somethings to the imagination of the player.