Chernobylite PC Review

Chernobylite emphasizes base management to survive nuclear fallout. The game can be delightful for players who want to take on the role of team leader and savior.

By Fragnarok, Posted 26 Apr 2022

Chernobylite is a survival horror game from The Farm 51. 30 years have passed since the real-life horrific nuclear tragedy of the Chernobyl Power Plant at Pripyat, Ukraine. Players take control of scientist Igor, whose wife Tatyana went missing during the disaster. Haunted by his wife's voice, Igor hires a team to return Chernobyl. But the "NAR" armed forces are controlling the region and have taken an interest in the bizarre new elemental christened "Chernobylite".


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Base management is the core of Chernobylite. Players will need to organize the small amount of space by clearing the area of debris, building crafting stations, providing beds, and having enough supplies to feed and heal anyone injured. The overarching goal is to form "The Heist" team to infiltrate NAR. Outside of the first recruit of Olivier, it is also suggested to find experts in spying, impersonation, hacking, and firearms.

Another aspect of planning is assigning scouting tasks to various team members. Different areas of Pripyat will have supply drops ranging from food, medicine, and ammunition. Characters have a percentage chance to recover these items successfully and possibly sustain injuries, become sick, go crazy, or outright die. There is also the choice to let them rest in-base to recuperate. So it becomes a balance of sending out characters on missions they are good at or taking the risk and gambling on a better reward.


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The second half of Chernobylite's gameplay comes from choosing to send Igor out for the day. As the main hero, players have complete control over how to explore and conquer their selected regions. Igor starts Chernobylite with just a knife. This can be used to make stealth kills or attack via several swings. Another option is to use the same structure and base build system to construct traps, barriers, and other means of defending oneself. Eventually, one can also craft firearms, though it should be reserved for emergencies with limited ammo and loud shots.

Another simple item Igor owns includes a radar scanner, which can highlight item categories. Players can select if they are searching for chemicals, herbs, mushrooms, scrap metal, or more. However, this device has a cooldown and may cause players to sit in one patch of land waiting for it to reset. Igor also has a Chernobylite portal gun, mainly used for either story elements or a quick way to end a mission and retreat home. 


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Besides hostile NAR, Igor can also encounter other explorers wandering around Chernobyl. These scavengers may hold their goods or even traders peddling their wares. Because there is no currency, players will need to barter unwanted items for the exact things they need. If Igor only has essential parts, one can also craft better items from the scraps and then trade those.

Map zones at Chernobyl also have weather and time effects. This can include sunshine, rain, fog, dark night, or long days. Each changes the environment and can either provide additional cover or make Igor much more visible. Additionally, various radiation levels can build up across the area due to nuclear fallout. This can be lethal at extreme exposure but primarily serves as an affliction player will need to cure before being able to enter a clean place (including back to base).

       

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While killing NAR soldiers and other survivors can yield supplies and other items, causing too much direct harm will lower player sanity. Once a character loses hold of their psyche, their health bar will automatically drain until they ultimately perish. Other forms of discomfort like starvation, lack of sleep, and at-base hostilities can also harm the sanity of Igor or his allies. This also makes it essential to help ease others during conversations, as anyone displeased enough may turn a traitor.

The story slowly unfolds as each day goes by. It becomes clear that something is seriously wrong with Igor. Players will constantly see jumps in time, visions of the deceased, and strange movements of zombie-like creatures. This may be due to heavy use of the Chernobylite elements or something more sinister. But since all of this is revealed based on in-game time, it can either be narrated very suddenly or only after prolonged amounts of daily missions.

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The horror aspects of Chernobylite are relatively minor. None of it becomes outright scary or even teases a little bit of creepiness. Instead, it fits into the weird, hallucinatory, and disorientating realm. It does enhance the feeling that characters are slowly losing their grip on reality and less that there are actual supernatural forces.
   
The default controls of Chernobylite are overly compact. Players will move with the classic WASD and peek around corners with Q and E. Most device selections are controlled with R and T while switching between build menus using various combinations of B, T, and F. This can make it cumbersome if one wants to quickly stealth, search, and build quickly in a short period. To alleviate this, players will need to do those various actions in phases: set up traps before anyone notices, sneak up, and only then start collecting materials once the danger is neutralized.


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Chernobylite defaults to Russian voice acting with English subtitles. There is also the option to turn on English voices, though it requires entirely restarting the game, not just exiting from a gameplay session. The English voices are serviceable but bring on a completely different feeling. It is as if character identities were not considered when hiring actors, and they are simply reading lines off a page. This is especially true for Igor and Tatyana, who goes from sounding mysterious to a hammy soap opera. Most players should consider staying with Russian, even if it requires extra reading.

Chernobylite can be very enjoyable for players who want to take on the role of team leader and savior. While exploration will be crucial at first, as the base grows in size, players will be spending much of their schedule staying behind, sorting supplies, and simply manning the fort. Players that instead want a deep combat-focused game will not find it here.
 

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Chernobylite

85/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): All in! Games, Perpetual Europe
Developer(s): The Farm 51
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: Supernatural, Role-Playing
Release Date: 2022-04-21

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